What do you do in a mental heath crisis? Suicidal thoughts, homicidal thoughts, overwhelming anxiety, thoughts and feelings of wanting to hurt yourself. All of these can be overwhelming and feel insurmountable. In this blog entry I will give you what I believe is the general guideline for mental illness. How we cope. Each of these are in directions of severity, if one doesn’t work, you move to the next. However, if you find the severity of your condition and issue is higher than a beginning stage you should start yourself farther down the spectrum. Mind you I am no mental health professional. All of this is just from my own experience. Coping Skills, Group therapy, Therapy, Psychiatry, Crisis Hotlines, and Hospital/ER are all *COPING STRATEGIES I use.

Coping Skills are specific skills we use to cope we said event. Skills I use in example include deep breathing exercises, journaling, calling a friend(works for me in more severe times), journaling, reading, just overall keeping myself busy. These exercises work by changing our thoughts to a completely new topic. As humans, as much as we like to argue about it, we are atrocious at multi-tasking. Journaling is a one of the unique coping skills. It typically makes us face what we are fearing. Who, what, where, when, why, how? The idea of journaling is to get it out of your brain and onto paper. The next coping skills like journaling are focused on getting it out of our brain.

I started group therapy at the end of May 2018 for a complete year I missed very few meetings. Here recently I have missed many, but plan to attend some shortly. The idea of therapy is things come out of it. One, it again gets those negative thoughts out of your head, and lets you share what your dealing with. Two, it helps you hone your coping skills and develop new ones. In a group setting you get to hear what works for a multitude of people. You also get to share what works for you. Many people benefit by helping others. Like group therapy, therapy focuses on honing your skills and developing new ones. Therapy and psychiatry go hand in hand, however.

The difference between therapy and group therapy is that therapy is one on one. They can help you with your problems individually. Anything you aren’t comfortable sharing. They can also give you specialized coping skills and specialized skills unique to your situation and life. One thing therapy should not be is just talking about your issues. The therapist should be proactive on developing your skills. Good therapists are hard to find. Do not be afraid to keep searching if you aren’t happy. Psychiatry is medication management. A lot of the time what we with mental illness endure is a chemical imbalance. Which can be improved to a point with medication. Psychiatry, a lot of the time, needs to be helped with therapy. Sometimes medication only improves it to a point and therapy needs to help develop your coping skills. The next two on the spectrum are typically the last used. Unless your condition severity calls for it.

1-800-273-8255 is the number for the Crisis hotline. They are trained in handling any crisis you have. From suicidal thoughts and ideations, rape, incest, addiction, anything you may have even if you just want to talk. I have used them several times. They are very well trained and respectful to what you have going on. They can get you the help you need. The Hospital/ER is the last step and they have everything you need. They will certainly get you the help you need. They are fully competent in this area. I have been to the hospital more times then I can count on one hand. Each time they have helped me with what they call “Crisis Management”. They get your crisis under control. Also they medicate you and get you therapy.

When you utilize all these coping strategies the goal is that you will need your coping skills at the bare minimum. That is the ultimate goal. But if your like me you also need the group therapy, therapy, and psychiatrist. I also occasionally need the crisis hotline. Once in a while I also need the hospital. Never be embarrassed that you need any of these strategies. It is just a part of living with our illness. I hope this helps, and I wish you the best in your journey.

*Coping Strategies – “a behavior, sequence of behaviors, or mental process employed to satisfy a taxing or unfavorable scenario or in changing one’s response to such a scenario.” – Psychology Dictionary

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