I sometimes refer to bipolar as the perfect mental storm. For many of you right now, the perfect storm - Hurricane Sandy - is bearing down upon you. Call it a convergence of two perfect storms, inner and outer.
Hopefully, you are fully prepared to ride out both. I know all of you are familiar with the drill for the outer storm. Your place is well-stocked and you have braced yourself for several days without power. You probably also know what to do should you have to evacuate.
No doubt, you also know how to ride out the inner storm, but it is worth going through the drill:
- If you are on meds, make sure your supply will get you through the week. It may be some time before you are in a position to go out for a refill.
- You may not be able to stick to your normal diet, especially with power outages. Please try to make sure your survival food bears at least some semblance to decent nutrition. Bad food and bad mood go hand-in-hand.
- Be extra-mindful of creeping anxiety and panic. If you start to feel stressed, take steps to manage it using whatever works for you. You may need to be alone. You may need to be in a room with other people.
- Do whatever you can to keep to your normal sleep schedule. This may be highly problematic with all hell breaking loose around you. Do the best you can.
- Being cooped up in the house for more than one day can be a huge mental strain. If on your own, try to plan in advance activities that will keep your mind engaged. If with others, try to plan some group activities. Be respectful of the stresses your fellow inmates may be under - now is not the time to air long-standing grievances or settle old scores.
- Evacuation poses its own challenges. Please do not feel shy about asking for special assistance and accommodations.
- After the storm, you may need an extra recovery day or two. This is especially true if you missed sleep or experienced undue stress. Don’t be afraid to take time out for yourself.
Finally, you are a lot stronger than you think. Be prepared to be surprised at your own resilience. In many cases, you will find others looking to you as a source of strength. To all of you on the east coast: Take care. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.