Thursday, 1 December 2011

Surviving through Crisis

When I think back to how I felt a year ago, I can't believe I'm the same person, living this same (meaning this birth to death) life, for I feel it's completely transformed. A year ago I was in crisis.

After a year of limbo about the future of my marriage it was decided we would divorce. I had tried for a year to save it, without any success. That same month a dear friend and first boy I ever loved, took his own life. This was without a doubt the worst month of my entire 34 year old life. I was in crisis.

Crisis is suffocating. Crisis is paralyizing. Crisis fucking sucks! It's being in a very dark and scary place with no idea how to get out, or the belief that you can. The emotions are raw overwhelming, and unescapable. Time passes slowly.

Every morning I made myself get out of bed, because I had a young son to care for. Most days I just went through the motions. I also started to read though as my nights were lonely. I found a few gems along the way which I have on the side of this page under Recommended Reads. One book I came across was, The Bounce Back Book by Karen Salmansohn. It is an easy read, even if you only have or want to spend a few moments a day. Every page is filled with a tip to help you change your thinking and get through the crisis that you are in. It includes inspiring quotes and scientific research. The words are encouraging and insightful. The activities are simple and powerful. One activity that I tried that was incredibly effective was called 3 deadlines and 3 events. It was easy to start and stick with.

Write down 3 deadlines you will complete in the week. These can be as simple as opening the mail on the counter, or making a Dr.'s appointment. For people who haven't experienced crisis before this may seem silly, or too simple, but it's not. Next you write down 3 events that you will arrange for the week. These could be a walk with a friend or seeing a new movie. This is what you will look forward to. Writing them down and checking them off is very important! I did this for months and I think it's a large reason why I am feeling the way I do today.

As described above, it is very hard to get out of crisis mentally, physically and emotionally.
Prompted by feelings of shame, loneliness, and exhaustion, I retreated from friends, physically and emotionally. I know others react in the opposite way, needing friends around them at all times and needing to discuss their feeling constantly. Either way I think that crisis paralizes us in a way that the simplest tasks or joys seem impossible. That is why I think this activity is so powerful. It gets you out of this place.

My crisis was the end of my marriage and sudden death of someone I had cared deeply for, all in the same month. For others it could be a physical trauma, act of violence, or a devestating financial situation. Whatever the crisis is in your life, you can and will survive it! It takes time, positive energy and action to reset your mind and ultimatley your life. I wish you peace and healing.

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