Three ‘P’s’ to Help You When a Mental Health Storm Hits

When the winter storms of life hit, are you prepared or prone. Your mental health can take a pounding if you not prepared for the inevitability of crisis.


Three ‘P’s’ to Help You When a Mental Health Storm Hits

 A few months ago I was driving over Aucklands harbour bridge when just to the left of me was the mast of a yacht cuddling up to the barrier rail.Now that’s different!Being a island nation, New Zealand quite often has storms hit our shorelines. Winds get high, rain buckets down and life can take an unexpected change of course.

Where I live, my family and I have to be even more prepared than most for the weather bombs. We live in a semi rural area and have to provide for our own water supply.So high winds mean branches fall down on the power wires, which shorts out the electricity flow. With no power we no longer are to drive our water pump that provides water for showering, cooking and … flushing the toilet!When a crisis hits, and it will, you need a plan.

What about your mental health? Surely that needs a plan too.

It is estimated that at anyone time 1:4 people will be experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of a year. Check out this interesting article here.Just think about that for a moment.You are in a meeting, a mall, a cinema, a church. Look around you, 1:4 people you see will experience some kind of mental health problem in the course of the year.

It also means that the likelihood of you experiencing mental unwellness sometime in your lifetime is pretty much a given.

What about those of us that have an existing mental health condition. Depression, Anxiety, Bi-Polar, etc.

Well you need a plan of what to do when the inevitable winter storm rolls in. The storm may well be a sudden death in the family, a redundancy, the credit cards get stolen, car keys get lost, and all of this in one day

Three ‘P’s’ to Help You When a Mental Health Storm Hits.

1. People. ‘Who ya going to call? Ghostbusters!’ Oh dear my brain takes me to some funny places at times. However, you do need a group of people around you that you can go to for support. You probably don’t want the Ghostbuster team, but it will be a list of friends and also the professional types. Friends who can help you, reassure you, keep you focused on what the next step is. Calling the support worker, nurse, doctor will be high on the plan too.

2. Package of insights. I have a little book full of quotes, insights, and just general stuff that I need to tell the self. You might like to have them on cards you can carry about in your wallet or purse. It maybe things like this.

  • Don’t leap out of the train, just because its going through a tunnel
  • Don’t judge the future by the past – the future will be different when new insights and understandings restore hope.
  • This despair will not be permanent. One day I will look back on it.
  • This too will pass.
  • We take steps one at a time, millimetre by millimetre

3. Patience. The crisis may have suddenly happened, and you may still be sitting on the roof while flood waters swirl below but just remember ‘This too will pass’. When the mental health storm hits, we need to take a deep relaxing breath and know that this too will pass. That we need to be patient, do what we can do, and take one millimetre step at a time. Inch by inch its a cinch, yard by yard its too hard.

I have often said that in ministry for people with mental illness its a case of millimetre ministry. A little step, well learned, makes a huge change quite feasible.

How prepared are you for the storms of life?

Questions to consider and leave a comment.

  • Knowing that 1:4 people will experiencing mental unwellness at anyone time raises challenges for all of us as to how we consider mental illness. What challenges does this raise in you? 
  • What insights help you when the mental health crisis hits? Share them here and they just might help others.

Barry Pearman

Image: Alex Gilbert Check out his interesting story on his website
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