Normally in September I’m writing blogs about how busy we all are and how to manage the stress. This September seems to be a time of crisis. Families are being torn apart by devastating news, loneliness has settled to the point of depression with suicidal thoughts, health concerns were put off and now they are at the point of urgency, and the list goes on. Whatever the crisis is, it is shocking, demoralizing, and painful. What do you do when it hits?
When tragedy hits the first thing to happen is our emotions escalate. Which can give us the impression that the situation is worse than it is. Take a deep breathe and evaluate what the situation is. There will probably be some practical matters to take care of even though our emotions are on a roller coaster. If we allow our minds to expand the situation to more than it is (catastrophize) then we start to feel powerless and helpless. Slow down to see the situation for what it is, not worse than what it is.
The practical matters will keep you grounded as you move through the situation, but it is important to also give yourself permission to experience your emotions. Everyone feels different in crisis, some feel numb and go through the time in a haze, others feel angry, some cannot stop crying and others have all of those emotions from one moment to the next. Often it is tempting to tell the person or tell ourselves that our feelings are wrong because we have to be strong to make it through the crisis. Bottling up our emotions causes other problems and might make the situation worse. Give yourself permission to acknowledge and feel your own emotions as they come.
Accepting what has happened is one of the hardest parts of healing from a crisis. A change has happened and there will not be a way back to how life was before it happened. Often it is unfair and wrong. The truth is, it should have never happened but unfortunately, we still have to deal with it. Finding what the reality is now that this has hit is important to know how to cope with it. Ask yourself if there are things that need to change or be adjusted to deal with the new reality. This will help you start to feel control in the situation.
The hardest part of a crisis is we feel that we must handle it alone. Depending on the situation we might even feel that we are a burden to others, and it causes us to withdraw. One of the most helpful elements to recovery is other people. Be willing to ask others for help. Let them know how you are doing and what you need.
We’ve all been through tough times before. It probably was not exactly like this time but there was something you went through before this. Remind yourself of your previous successes of handling tough times to give yourself courage to continue through this one. Ask yourself what helped in the previous situations – was it a belief, a strategy, inner faith, a person? Utilize that strategy or resource to help you through this time. Then look to the future and visualize what you want your life to be like.
You will get through this.