Entry for the "Write an Essay About..." competition
|Dealing with a Crisis
Crises can hit all of us at any stage of our lives. They might be big ones, like the global pandemic affecting the entire world as I write this, to personal crises like the death of some-one close, to losing a job or suffering through a divorce. While it does depend on personal perspective, a crisis is no less devastating to the person going through it. The trick is how to cope with a crisis. It is not easy, but it can be done.
The first step is to accept what the crisis is. This might seem logical, but too many focus on something small when the whole aspect is much larger. “I can’t go out” is not the crisis; “there is a global pandemic” is the crisis. Everything else comes from that. The destruction of the Twin Towers was the crisis; “I feel unsafe” was a result of that. That is not to say other crises cannot arise: after the Twin Towers went down, a new crisis resulted in that xenophobia increased markedly. Crisis can lead to crisis. The issue becomes clouded when the crisis is personal because what appears to be the crisis is actually a catalyst for a personal crisis. “My friend has died” is not the crisis, or not the whole crisis; the real crisis could be “there is a hole in my life”, “my life has changed”, “I regret not doing or saying something”. The smaller the issue in the grand scheme of things, the more personal the ensuing crisis becomes. This seems contrary, but that’s because big crises affect so many more and we feel insignificant, and are swept along by them, whereas personal crises are right there, in our faces, and we are amongst a small group affected by it.
The second is to accept that we cannot change what has happened; we can only change things going forward. There is a climate crisis, and maybe we could have changed it, but we didn’t. But going forward, we can do things like recycle, stop using so much plastic, use alternate energies, that sort of thing. There is a pandemic, and we can do nothing about it, but going forward, we can ensure we are better vaccinated, we support increased funding for immunologists and we call for increased funding for medical facilities and staff. On a smaller scale, we cannot change that our friend has died, but we can go on and keep his memory alive, and think about the good times we shared. If we look at the stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance), acceptance is the final stage which does mean it can take a long time – sometimes a very long time – to reach this point. However, it is important not to rush it, and to let these stages go through at their own pace. This will be different for every person. And that is all right. It might take help from a professional, from friends, from books, but the ultimate goal is acceptance.
The final step is to get on with your own life. It might be changed – social distancing, being alone, having some-one no longer there – but it is still your life. Even if the crisis is something like a disease, letting the disease dominate you and dictate your entire life instead of living life to its fullest is not getting on with your own life. Yes, changes will have to be made, but adjusting to them and getting on with things is what the ultimate goal should be. However, you cannot do this until you have accepted the crisis – what it actually is in real terms, and that it has happened. Or, looking at it another way, going through the first two steps above.
Dealing with a crisis, as written here, seems simple. It is far from it. None of these stages are actually easy. They take an effort, and they often require assistance. But what it does come down to is this – to deal with a crisis, a person has to want to deal with the crisis. That is not always the case. Words mean nothing; actions dictate whether a person really wants to deal with it. Not everyone does. That is, ultimately, their choice, and we need to respect that. For that, in its own way, is a means of coping as well. In essence, though, the best way to deal with a crisis is to accept what is happening and continue to live your life. It is far from easy, but it does work.
Prompt: Dealing with a Crisis