Tag Archives: emotional wellbeing

In case of emergency…Understanding crisis Part 2

Globally we are experiencing a health crisis, currently known as COVID-19. However, we face crises at various points in our life. Sometimes even daily. Let’s consider crisis as a rollercoaster. We all have a turn on the rollercoaster of crisis. At different points we find ourselves in different places on the ride – waiting in line, sitting down in the seat in as it begins, screaming, gripping, crying as it flings us around various loop, peaks and dips, and finally disembarking. So what is crisis and what are some of the responses to crisis? Where are you at in your roller coaster journey?

What is crisis?

A crisis is an event, set of circumstances, or realization that threatens your physical or emotional wellbeing, and interferes with your daily functioning. 

  • Each person’s response to crisis will be unique. 
  • What may be a crisis for one, may not be for another.
  • A crisis usually involves some sort of loss – whether actual or perceived (loss of a person, state of being, control, security, etc)
  • In a crisis, the situation cannot be ignored and requires a decision of some sort.
  • Old coping strategies may not work, new strategies are needed.
  • A crisis causes a person to question, especially their beliefs and worldview.

How do people respond in crisis?

Each person will respond differently in crisis. But these are some responses a person might experience…

  • Denial – a person may attempt to block the reality of the crisis, because they are just not ready to handle it.
  • Bargaining – a person may try to diminish the situation through quick decisions and rash actions or even bargaining with a higher authority – like God 
  • Anger – a person may feel heightened negative emotions towards themselves or others, and lash out or internalise.
  • Depression – a person may feel completely overwhelmed, at a low point, without hope or devastated.
  • Acceptance – a person may come to terms with the reality of their situation – this is real – but there is a desire to take steps to get out of the situation 
  • Resolution – a person actively takes steps to implement new coping strategies and move out of the crisis in which they find themselves. 

If we consider the roller coaster illustration, some questions you may ask yourself are…

  • What has this ride cost me? Or what do I believe this ride will still cost me?
  • What were my expectations of this ride, while waiting in line?
  • Now that I’m strapped in, what is happening? How does this compare with my expectations?
  • What feelings am I experiencing on this ride? Why do I feel this way?
  • What am I thinking as I take another turn, dip or loop?
  • What did I imagine doing and what am I now doing at each twist and turn? Why am I doing this?
  • Who is sitting with me on this ride?
  • What are they thinking, feeling and doing?
  • How are we responding to one another? What effect is it having on how we each experience the ride?
  • Am I abiding by the safety regulations? Or am I putting myself and others in further danger?
  • What do I know for certain about how this ride plays out? What am I assuming?
  • What is within my control? What is beyond me?
  • Of that which is in my control, what can I do now?

In my next blog, I will look at some practical tips for working through a crisis.

One hell of a ride OR the ride from hell! Understanding crisis.

The roller coaster of crisis!

People respond very differently in a crisis situation. Over this last week, there has been a flood of emotion across all social media platforms, one-on-one conversations and in the way people carry themselves in public spaces. Today let’s look at what crisis is, how people respond in general and how you can work through it and help your children through it. (If you find yourself overwhelmed by crisis at present, please seek professional advice for your particular situation).

I imagine this particular crisis (COVID-19) as a roller coaster ride, in the middle of a hurricane, where there are no rules, the tracks are coming apart, the ride controller is nowhere to be seen and the passengers on the ride with you are all responding in very different ways – some of which appear to be making the ride even more dangerous. And at each loop, there appear to be multiple splits leading to who knows where?

The roller coaster presents us with flux from one moment to the next. At any given point, you may look at where you are and feel like “I’ve got this”, only to be thrashed around as you hurdle towards the ground at rocket speed – your stomach in your throat and your heart racing faster than the cart itself. You started off this ride clueless, a mere observer waiting in line. Perhaps initially you experienced thrills of laughter, now only to find yourself crying and screaming, holding on for dear life, knuckles as white as paint. At one point you may assess the situation, and respond with intellect and a well thought through plan, the next you may be undoing your seatbelt ready to jump for it, as it may seem safer. Or maybe, as you’re about to take reckless action, you realise this may not end well and tuck your head between your legs and brace yourself for impact, asking “How did I get here?”. Perhaps you are holding onto the person next to you, with tears in your eyes crying for them to “JUST DO SOMETHNG!!!”

Whether you experience anger, anxiety, fear, guilt, shame, helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, hope, determination, epiphany, ambivalence, detachment or dependence – your feelings are real to you, in this moment, right now. Feelings and actions may shift in a moment.

While we endure this commute of pandemonium, we need to also be aware that every other person on this ride is experiencing their own reality of this moment, and will respond in their own unique way. And this may add further twists and turns to our already vomit inducing ordeal. We’re all in this together.

 At some point the roller coaster must come to an end. How we experience the ride and how we disembark will depend on how handle the journey now.

Over the next few days I will unpack what crisis is, how people respond in a crisis, how you can get through a crisis and how to help your children get through crisis.

While I do not have answers for the devastating situation in which we currently find ourselves, my hope is that these blogs will assist you in being able to view this situation with a different perspective and giving you small practical steps to apply now.

Fasten your seat belts – we’re in for a bumpy ride!!!

Back to School

Wishing all learners returning to school for the 2020 school year the very best ahead!

May this year prove to be one that is full of new opportunities for growth and development, and bringing out the unique beauty and strength that lies within your child.