I realize that it has been a while since my last post. For those of you who have been wondering what happened, well let’s just say that we’ve had a few changes in the office recently that caused me to put some stuff on hold.
But now I’m back! And I think an appropriate topic for this post is to talk about how we react when a “catastrophic” event hits us. Because the chances are that, if you haven’t already, you will have to deal with some major crisis at some time in your life.
Granted, everyone’s definition of “crisis” differs to some extent. I may not consider getting a flat tire on the freeway to be a crisis, but my wife might.
However, I think it is safe to classify some things a crisis, such as:
- The death of a loved one, such as your spouse, parent, child or sibling.
- A major financial hardship, such as a foreclosure, loss of a business, theft, fire, or bankruptcy.
- A severe, life threatening, or terminal health condition, or injury to yourself or a close family member or friend.
- A mental health situation with yourself, a loved one, or a friend.
- A divorce, or other close relationship that breaks apart.
- Being charged and/or convicted of a crime, including serving time in prison or parole.
- The betrayal of a close friend or associate.
- A terrorist attack.
What do you do when something like this happens? What have you done when it has happened to you in the past? How have you reacted? What were your emotions?
I’ve had this topic on my mind for a few weeks, so I’m so very sad that at the time I’m writing this, a suicide bomber actually blew himself up in Manchester, England, killing 22 and wounding scores more, both physically and emotionally. To me it is ironic, and deeply saddening, that these innocent people are trying to figure out how to move on after their world literally blew up! But we can learn something from their responses - and strength - in working through this tragedy.
As I said, everyone reacts to these types of situations differently. Some people stoically work through the process of making decisions. Others fall apart as emotional wrecks. Some get angry. Others get depressed.
Psychologists list five stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Some people move through them quickly and are able to move on with their lives. Others get stuck in one of the stages and never make it out.
So, my question is this: how do you think you would react if something similar happened to you? Mentally and emotionally, put yourself in the shoes of those people unfortunate enough to be in the wrong place and time. How would you react?
I know. It is hard. It is a natural response to want to avoid thinking about bad stuff happening to us or to those we care about. And I’m not suggesting that we dwell excessively on things that are unlikely to happen, but it is important to think about how you react to a crisis. Because how you respond may likely have a long lasting impact on your life, and the lives of those around you.
Here are some recommendations to help you if or when bad stuff happens:
- Take some time to process your emotions – you’re entitled to some space.
- Find someone to talk to – get what you are feeling off your chest.
- Try to not just take “care of stuff” – busywork won’t fix it.
- Write it down, keep a journal – writing can help you work through the grieving process.
Obviously, these things won’t alleviate the pain, but they will help you work through the grieving process, and hopefully the next time you need to deal with a life changing event you’ll know what to expect and have some tools to help you try to piece your world back together again.