Sunday, January 23, 2011

Crisis Management, a few ways to cope when things go wrong:

In the light of the recent floods, I have been prompted to write this - although it has been dawdling in my mind for a while as I suffer and see others suffer in differnt and varied circumstances. It is applicable to any crises, although obviously slanted from my view point, influenced by the crises we have faced. Crisis management is not usually an isolated thing. It usually involves a family and or friends. How does one cope in the midst of a crisis? Here are a few ideas.
(1)    One has to acknowledge that it is okay to feel as if you are not coping; that it is okay to feel overwhelmed and to need to cry or even okay to be too sore to be able to cry – to be  emotionally exhausted.  It is not nursing pain to face pain. There is a difference between licking a wound forever to having the guts to walk through and beyond pain.  Being sad is part of facing pain, working through that sadness takes courage and is the only step forward. Acknowledging and facing and looking at pain is not cowardly - quite the opposite, it takes guts to face it and deal with it. It is a waste of time and energy to feel guilty for feeling pain and needing time to deal with it.
(2)    A crises brings with it grief or loss of some sort. Acknowledge and think about the process of grieving that you are working through. Remember that everyone works through these stages differently! Remember we can go through grief when we face any crises, not just death. If we face flooding, empty nest syndrome, fire, theft, illness, depression etc these thing may all warrant going through the process of grief. If you are struggling to cope with these issues, I would encourage you to find a counsellor. Grief can follow a pattern, here is Kubler-Ross pattern, it may help to understand it. 
Kübler-Ross : the five stages of grief quoted exactly from WIKE, so it is specifically related to death, you can adapt it to your circumstance to be of help ; see
a.       Denial—"I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defence for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of positions and individuals that will be left behind after death.
  1. Anger—"Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
    Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.
  2. Bargaining—"Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
    The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."
  3. Depression—"I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
    During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
  4. Acceptance—"It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
    In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with his mortality or that of his loved one.

(3)    Find good things that can come out of this nightmare….talk about these good things together; thank God for these good things. For example… I am closer to my daughter now, or I know my neighbour now. These good things can never make the grief go away but it helps your long term recovery to think about positive things 'out loud' and often.
(4)     Pray that you will never take everyday life for granted again; that you will always treasure every day more than ever;  that your crises will change you for the better forever; that your pain would mean you lean closer to God – listening to His sweet whispers of love in your ear. Take time to listen to his words of love and comfort in the Bible.
(5)    Allow others who are with you to grieve and cope in different ways; don’t expect them to be at the same stage as you, or process things and see things in the same way as you. Becoming impatient and intolerant will only make things much worse in the long run. It is always the easiest thing to do in a crisis but it makes you feel worse and your loved ones to in the long run.
(6)    Don’t blame those who are closest to you, again an easy thing to do. You need each other in a crisis!
(8)    Reassure and praise those who are in the crises with you…. acknowledge achievements verbally! Do so as often as possible but make sure they are real things; make sure to praise the person genuinely. Don’t go so over the top you that you sound fake and corny! (That is the last thing someone needs in a crises.) Be consistent, praise more often than usual, but be real.
(9)    Face fear, desperation, and despair…talk, pray, acknowledge these powerful feelings; and find ways to overcome them slowly but surely. Crying together, being together is a way of coping and recovering.
(10)Find time (no matter what) to do happy things together. Crises eat away time. Most often they last a long time. Even when others think you are over them and coping and living a normal life again, you could still be facing an inner crises or family crises.  In reality the crises at hand will take time away from loved ones at a time when you most need each other.

Think about this……truly ….if you spend an hour at least of good quality time together (really together not always together in front of the TV or sorting out the problems of your crises but doing nice things together); relaxing in a special way every single day – it will not make the crises go away any slower...but it will make a world of difference to how you all cope in the long term of tough times. Souls are worth investment of such time. Find fun things to do, to talk about and laugh about. Find ways to make memories about starting over again. Take photographs if you can get comfortable with this. Even if this is the last thing you want to do it can help process the crises, especially for children
(11) And last but not least remember you have a Creator who loves you dearly!  We face crises because we live in an evil world. The last thing you need in the middle of a crisis is to get angry with God. Turn to God and find comfort, mercy and eventually joy.  He is the only friend who sticks closer than the closest person, who listens and understands all the time, the one who reads your mind, who loves and forgives. He has suffered immensely too, he knows how we feel. He cries with us, he intercedes for us. Unfold you pained heart to Him and know His peace!

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