“So, how did you die?” I asked the very real ghost in front of me. Following the really fresh blood trail of whatever the hell was dragging Sydney around the house.
“You know how you eat something, and it makes you sick?”
“Yeah?” I answered
“Well I was shot in the face for making something that got people sick.”
“What were you making?”
“Human flesh for a bunch of cannibals.”
“Is that real or….”
“We’re here!” She flew her arms up in the air.
A rising panic built up inside of me as I just realized we weren’t following the blood away from this thing, but toward it. Before us was a torn up door complete with scratches, dents, and blood of the obvious victims unlucky enough to be found by this creepy bastered. The trail of blood continued under the door.
I felt the hair on my back rise as I became very aware of my mortality for the third time today, “I thought you were getting me out of here?”
“Yeah, but I need to figure out what’s going on here. Then we will get you out of here.”
“How do you not know what’s going on? Didn’t you like die here?”
A loud distinctive thud came from the other side of the door followed by a loud scream. We both turned our attention to what is on the other side.
“Wait here.” Temperance said handing me a remote, “If I am not back in 10 hit this button, and run as far away as you can.”
An order I was more than happy to comply with. Temperance walked through the door as I waited on the other side ready to hit the button.
Part of my wonderful (not being sarcastic) position at the local community mental health facility is jumping head first into crisis’s with people who believe that it is the end of the world. Maybe not the literal end of the world, but enough terrible no good very bad things are happening that it does seem like the end of their world. We have all been there before. It’s that moment in life when the peak quickly turns for a valley, and you quickly get this shocked feeling in the middle of the night waking you up in a cold seat as you wonder if you’re going to make it to the end of week. Which doesn’t do wonders for getting up the next day to actually deal with the problem.
So, here are ten ways of dealing with a crisis:
- Just like bad gas, this too will pass.
Yeah I know that’s a pretty juvenile thing to say, I’m aware of it, and embrace it. A crisis is something that is temporary, and causes immediate stress for a short period of time. Take some time to be grateful that this is not the “normal” state of your life. Remember what life was like on a more normal day.
2. You’re definitely not alone.
Saddest part of hiking twenty miles in the mountains is reaching the point that you think no one else has ever been just to trip over a beer can. Whatever it is that you are going through (lost dog, car stolen, teenagers being too edgy) there has been someone else who went through something similar, and made it out just fine. You are not the first person to have this crisis. You won’t be that last.
3. It’s okay to have a freak out. Just remember to apologize.
Yeah, you’re pissed, you’re angry, you’re in a state where the next person that says “Gotta case of the Monday’s?” will be killed on the spot. It’s okay to have a meltdown, but try to cope with the problem before the meltdown happens. If you’ve already melted down from the crisis make sure that you take some time to forgive that person who set you over the edge, and yourself for going over the edge. What we do when we are emotional doesn’t need to last forever (nor should it(it will still wake you up at night)).
4. Do something nice for yourself.
This can quickly take a dark turn if you take the crisis you have then add onto it because of doing something dumb like getting wasted, and driving downtown for midnight doughnuts only to get a DUI. Do something nice for yourself that won’t add onto the crisis that already exists. I like watching movies at theaters shoveling a popcorn into my mouth like some starving child.
5. Find ways of making things seem more positive
Make a joke of the situation, or reminisce with others about better times (ahead or behind). Find ways to make the days bearable even if that means taking up a new hobby to distract yourself with. My wife and I will invent inside jokes as a way to cope because we are lame and have no life.
6. Avoid rushed decisions such as going to a animal shelter, and adopting all the dogs (I can relate).
We joke…..but its a really good idea and would totally make you feel better. However, that’s a lot poop to pick up, and food to buy. Again avoid adding to the crisis when you cope. Also try to avoid calling the crisis and telling them exactly how you feel. Give yourself time to cool off and be rational. What your email says may be right, but it can also be the right way to get fired or ruin relationships.
7. Some people suck, so what?
Sometimes when we are going through tough situations other people just make it worse. They may even be the reason we are in a crisis. My thought is, I know who I am even if they don’t. Take care of yourself and get out of the crisis. Forget anyone else who tries to bring you down. Some people suck that’s just life.
8. Go someplace different
When I am upset the last thing I can handle is a mess (my life). I have to go someplace clean, and just live there until I am calm enough to handle my problem. Sometimes you may need noise, sometimes quiet. Change your environment to change your mood.
9. Come up with a really good plan
I’m talking about making a comprehensible plan with note tabs, and fancy ink. Make a plan that puts great generals to shame. Who cares if the plan is completely unreasonable, it helps to think of the problem in creative ways. This may lead to a simple solution you never thought of.
10. Recognize when its over, and learn from your mistakes
When its done, its done. Move on, and enjoy life without crisis. Learn what you did wrong, and how to improve for next time.
My last bit of advice is a crisis will solve, even if you don’t do anything. I have dived into horrible situations with clients where it almost causes me to have a crisis by helping solve their’s, and usually these things work themselves out in the strangest yet best way possible. Be open to that, and remember life is suppose to be fun.
I lost one of the most important people in my life, and now all that was left was to sit feeling sorry for myself. I cried, and cried on this bench. Then death came. It sat down beside me listening to me go on about the unfairness of my loss, and what I would give to change it all. Death, a patient individual, listened to every word. I finally turned to death, “Why did you do this?”
Death answers in reply, “Am I punishment? Do people only see me as a terrible thing that brings them pain? Oh, you are blinded by emotion, can you not see that I am as natural as these flowers, or the very air that you breathe. I exist because life exists. You were destined to meet me the very moment you took your first breath at birth. It doesn’t matter if you are a saint, or a sinner. It wouldn’t matter if you were rich or poor. Everyone will meet me. All of life groans for me as this world is pain and suffering.”
“She is too young.” I said, “How can you justify taking the life of a person so young and innocent. Her life was one that was never lived, and never experienced. She never knew love, or the oceans breeze. She never saw the starry sky, or the mountains”
“Why do you depreciate her? Do you believe that the time she has spent here was useless? Oh, you are blinded by self-pity, can you not see that she did amazing things with the time she was given, and to say her life was never lived is to destroy the great things she has done.”
“I want her back, I want to see my friend, I want to hear her laugh, sing, and dance.”
“Why do you want to harm her? Do you only think of yourself? You who is blinded by your own self-worth, can you not see she was suffering? All her life she suffered, and now she suffers no more. Am I not a gift to those who are in pain?”
Death leaves me to sit and ponder what was said, and I believe I can say it in terms that everyone can understand: Death is as natural as life. We don’t die as a punishment for the wrongs in life, nor do we die for the good we do. We die when it is time to die. To say someone doesn’t deserve death is to destroy the memory of their life. In life, we experience happiness, and joy. In life, we experience sorrow and suffering. Be thankful for today with those you love.