Everyone has a bad day every once in awhile
You forgot to pay a bill incurring a late fee. A co-worker somehow takes the credit in a project in which you worked overtime hours. On a trip home, in an effort to make up time getting out of work late to pick up your kids, you see police lights in your rear view mirror. Hauling in groceries, backpacks and mail into the house, you lose your grip and everything lands on the floor amid the sounds of barking dogs and the TV screaming in the background. Oh, when will this day end?
Sound all too familiar?
While most of us deal with inconveniences, micromanaging bosses, traffic or crazy chaotic schedules…a person with special needs or mental illness can trip into a manic episode just from hearing something they were looking forward to is not happening now, misunderstanding a text message or missing a med dose. What we think makes no sense and seems ridiculous to us, turns into a flurry of “I just don’t care anymore”…”I am all alone”…”What’s the use in trying” and quickly goes downhill from there to bouts of anger, ranting and ultimately depression
There is no telling how long the episode will last. It can leave as fast as it came. It’s what happens during the episode that leaves a trail of anger, hurt and words we all wish we hadn’t uttered.
Everyone needs time to process their “bad day”
No matter which camp you find yourself, the situational induced “bad day” or special needs “bad day”…there are several emotional responses in common.
- Both feel they don’t deserve it
- Both have escalated responses beyond rationality
- Both need to vent to someone
- Neither will feel better soon
- Both need time to process
- Both may feel anger, shame, guilt or hopelessness
While some of us can analyze our circumstances and come up with some way to cope sooner rather than later, others without those skills may take days or possibly weeks to calm down and be willing to try again.
Everyone needs a special someone who will be there, to listen and understand
Trying again is hard, but is necessary for healing emotions and relationships;
But in either case, it helps if you have a support person who cares for you, listens and is willing to BE THERE if need be, without saying a word.
Sometimes it takes that same caring person to build boundaries when hurtful rants and rages are directed at loved ones who have been this time, the chosen target(s).
Everyone needs a cooling off period
When someone you love is in the midst of an escalated episode, where the conversation has turned into irrationality and abusive manipulation, it’s time to put some distance between to allow a cooling off period.
It would look different for everyone of course and I would recommend that you consult with your loved one’s team of professionals first. I am NOT a mental health professional, but I am a mother of an high functioning autistic/aspergers and other special needs child who is now an adult. Life can be hard enough when they are still living at home, but can create another set of challenges when they move out and are living alone.
Everyone needs to be able to come back and try again
Sooner or later they will come back when the episode subsides asking to try again. You may get an apology, you may not.
I’ve found that allowing the cooling off period gives the best chance of being able to again, forgive. The less engagement while the episode is in high gear and emotions are at their peak, help to mitigate the damage. The cooling off period not only is necessary for them, but also for you in not allowing the manipulation and abuse to occur, thus lessening emotions in you charged with anger and frustration.
Once you get caught in the middle of an irrational episode, it’s tough to get out; it quickly escalates and now you both need to cool off.
Stating upfront that a “cooling off period” is needed and not engaging, I’ve found works best for my situation.
Trying again is hard;
but easier when they know they have that special someone(s)
who will meet them halfway when they return
with “sprinkles of LOVE, kindness and understanding”.
Until next time…LOVE,
Disclaimer: I am NOT a mental health professional and don’t claim to be. I am a mother of an autistic/aspergers child of 35 years. It’s been a long, tough road. I am writing these blog posts in an effort to give inspiration and compassion to those children who live with mental illness as well as parents who love them. This little Mia character was created for my daughter. She helped name her and through Mia’s Musings, she finds comfort and understanding. I hope it does the same for you.