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Recently I wrote a post regarding mental illness and gave a sneak peek behind the eyes of a woman suffering with mental illness….ME! Today I want to touch on how to look for signs that you are on the verge of a psychotic break. Granted nothing is full proof but if you can deescalate things it is worth a shot.

As I mentioned in an earlier post I go to counseling sessions weekly and am on prescribed medications that I take daily. Although, I do these things I still have my moments. Here are some tips and warning signs to know when you are experiencing a psychotic break.

1.       Easily aggravated or overly anxious.  Check in with yourself. Notice that you are easily rattled or unusually excited (manic). The best way to deescalate things is to implement some self-talk and wise mind. Talk to yourself and simply say I am aggravated or anxious and try and figure out what triggered this emotion.

2.       Trouble focusing or racing thoughts.  Notice when you are having trouble concentrating or your thoughts seem to be coming at an alarming rate. Try some deep breathing or grounding exercises to stay in the moment. Recognize that may be you may be overly stressed and it is necessary to bring that level down.

3.       Rate your mood.  When I was first diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder I recorded my mood on a chart. It seemed silly at first but once I grasped the concept it enabled me to put an emotion to how I was feeling and it also enabled me to recognize my various mood swings. I tended and still do vacillate between manic and depressive moods. So I learn to say to myself when I am in either of these moods.

4.       Figure out your trigger.  Try doing a behavior chain to pinpoint what set you off. For example, one time I was really angry and I was lashing out by being verbally abusive to those around me. I keep going until I realized I was aggravated about something and I need to address that issue first and more importantly apologize and stop practicing that abusive behavior.

5.       Talk to someone about how you feel. Try and verbalize how you are feeling in the moment. Find someone who you can trust that can listen objectively without making any judgments. Being vulnerable can be uncomfortable initially but it assists you in monitoring how you are feeling.

6.       Before your emotions become overwhelming use some distress tolerance skills.  Prior to becoming emotionally aroused in an overwhelming manner I try to use some distress tolerance skills. Accepting reality using wise mind it a tough one at first. A lot of times when we are hyper-aroused we tend to distort reality by over-analyzing things and seeing things through our emotion mind. Accepting reality call us in account for our true emotions and actions. I tend to not like to accept my emotions I’d rather push them away and when I have reached a breaking point I either implode or explode or both. I have radically accepted I need to set certain boundaries and when my boundaries are crossed I need to confront the situation head on.

7.       Do not become passive-aggressive. This used to be my staple coping skill either I would fight or flight. I would take things on and stuff them feverishly or I would come out guns blazing. Always be the first to acknowledge your feelings.

8.       Compile a pro/con list. This list should reflect the pro/con of engaging in the behavior you want to use to tolerate your emotion.

I do not profess to be a connoisseur of manic/depressive episodes. I can only share with you what works for me when trying to deescalate the situation. Do you find these tips to be effective? If not what are some more useful tips or signs? Share your thoughts below.