Life is hard. Sometimes we see the punches before they land, other times we are blindsided. You can find plenty of "free" advice on what you should do when faced with a crisis, some helpful others not so much. Having weeded through a lot of it both personally and professionally, here are 3 things I believe can help.
1. Stay sober.
Yeah I know, groundbreaking right? It is often easier said than done though. I should be clear that when I say "sober" what I really mean is resist the urge to use shortcuts to escape the pain. Excessive drinking, drugging, shopping, gambling, gaming, (insert your prefered activity here), all provide a temporary escape, but at a cost. Many of these escapes rob us of the energy and resources we need to resolve the discomfort we feel. So, try to stay sober. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t, but be aware, because the hard work will patiently wait for you to return.
2. Be honest.
There is so much I could say on this topic. So often we trick ourselves into thinking that those around us won’t accept us for who we are. The truth is, people generally won’t accept us because of who we are portraying ourselves to be. I have found that while forgiveness is not without limit, it is in far greater supply than tolerance for lies. Practice honesty daily, and it will build up within you.
3. Write down exactly how you feel right now.
The reason I like this advice so much is because no matter how good or bad you feel, the feeling will pass. Writing down exactly what being in crisis feels like can be difficult but doing so can help not only in the moment, but down the road. Having your own thoughts as a resource to draw from can be more valuable than your counsellor’s words (says the counsellor). The process of writing may also help to clear away some of the confusion that anxiety and stress can bring and identify your true feelings about the situation.
Doing these 3 things will not make the problem go away. And I'll be honest, there are some life events that no amount of writing is going to help. My hope is that these suggestions may give you the clarity you need without causing more harm to yourself or others. Sometimes we just need a place to start. If you or someone you know is struggling to manage a stressful life event, I’d be happy to help.