Dealing With Uncertainty

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Uncertainty is usually some part of life, but is it a big part of life right now. With a global pandemic going on that still hasn’t peaked, we’re uncertain about our health, job security, finances, social lives, and – what is there that isn’t uncertain right now?

Uncertainty feels most like a lack of control, and this can cause anxiety and depression. For people with Bipolar II, uncertainty could worsen existing symptoms, or trigger an episode of depression or hypomania.

People who have Bipolar II already deal with a much greater degree of uncertainty in their lives than most people. Right now, the usual advice for dealing with uncertainty is not quite enough (it is good advice, on the other hand).

Uncertainty In Times of Crisis

In times of crisis, it’s important to focus on what you know. If you can do that, it will help you feel more in control, and you’ll be less likely to develop (or have worse) depression and anxiety. One thing you can do is focus on positive things in your own life that you have control over.

So what do we know? At least these four things:

  • A crisis doesn’t last forever. That’s why it’s a crisis, and not normal life. There’s nothing to stop you from making plans for what you’ll do when the crisis is over.
  • You have some degree of control over your health. Keep your potential exposure to this particular crisis at a minimum by practicing social distancing, washing your hands all the time, and not licking toilet seats. You also have control over whether you keep up with your medication regimen and keep appointments with your therapist (over video chat).
  • The economy will recover. The United States has been through 17 recessions in its history. The financial uncertainty you feel now – whether it’s about your job, your 401k, or just in general – will eventually dissipate. For a lot of people with Bipolar II, financial uncertainty is already a major part of their lives, and that is harder to deal with. This extra uncertainty, however, is not permanent. You can also focus on the things you can control about your finances, like saving more, or cutting back on expenses.
  • You can keep in touch with your friends and family, even if you can’t see them. Socializing is important, and now is a time to focus on it.

I’ll admit this is not a lot, but it is something. Anything else you have control over in your life, focus on that now, and remember that this crisis is not forever.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

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