Health Association in New York State, Inc.
Community Connections, Fall 2003
for People Living with Mental Illness in Uncertain Times
With ongoing military action in Iraq and continuing terrorist threats here at home, Americans are experiencing many powerful emotions. For most people, the intense feelings of anxiety, sadness, grief and anger are healthy and appropriate. But some people may have more profound and debilitating reactions to the war. This could be especially true for those who live with serious mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, substance abuse problems, anxiety or post traumatic stress.
It is important
to remember that everyone reacts differently to trauma and each person
has his or her own tolerance level for difficult feelings. When confronted
with a crisis, a person with a mental illness may experience the symptoms
of his or her disorder or see new ones emerge. Some consumers who have
experienced this say that there are warning signs. Here are some common
warning signs of an oncoming relapse:
must take an active role in managing your illness. Continue to follow
the treatment plan you've developed with your doctor or treatment team.
get through the current crisis, take advantage of the people and tools
that are available to you:
Find what works for you. The process of moving towards recovery, especially in times or war or crisis, is not a simple one. Stay fully involved in the process by following your treatment plan and seeking the support you need, when you need it.
For more resources to help cope with the ongoing national crisis, see NMHA’s tip sheets: http://www.nmha.org/reassurance/anniversary/index.cfm or call: 800-969-NMHA (6642).