I’ve been told by multiple mental health professionals, from psychiatrists to social workers, that I should not make big decisions while in the midst of a crisis.
I mostly think that’s terrible advice, and it’s definitely inappropriate when it comes from someone who doesn’t understand the context of your crisis. When you’re suffering an abusive relationship, it’s a huge decision to leave – a huge decision that you must make and enforce before your crisis will end. That’s an easy example, of course. There are harder ones – quitting your job when you don’t have another one lined up, ending a relationship that has its ups and downs.
But there’s something deeply marginalizing about that advice. Yes, you’re hurting, and that means you’re not qualified to choose a path, so just keep crawling along for a while. Your problems are not real, so things will probably clear up on their own.
True, you’re often not thinking clearly when you’re in a crisis. But recovery is full of big decisions. Seeking treatment itself can be a life changing decision. We’re supposed to wait? For what?
I stayed in a traumatic job for more than a year after I knew I needed to leave. I stayed in a city that I desperately wanted to leave, too. I suffered without the support of my closest friends and family, who were too far away to realize how bad I’d gotten.
Maybe I didn’t have it together enough, or didn’t have the confidence to leave. I don’t think I was blindly following bad advice – but I did take it seriously, and it was liverwurst.
A chemistry professor, who was also a minister, once told me that we live more powerfully when we live by our own choice.
Trust yourself. Find a calm moment, think on it, and trust yourself.