A report by the Association for Psychological Science (2011) states, “Psychological scientists have found that, while going through many experiences like assault, hurricanes, and bereavement can be psychologically damaging, small amounts of trauma may help people develop resilience.”
Trauma? Hmmm? Over the years we have had a lot come our way just like everybody else. The challenges of our life have been like waves along the seashore, some mighty like the shooting spree in Kansas and like the bipolar disorder of our loved one and …some weak…like the arthritis I am now dealing with. Others, like waiting in long lines at the super market, are like granules of sand that the tide washes away.
With each challenge and sometimes full on crisis I recall responding as if it were everyone’s crisis. In the moment, like when Bill was shot years ago, we were in crisis. Yes, we had a major life changing event happen. However, it was “our” problem. You see, for some reason it bothered me that anyone and everyone around me, especially in public didn’t get my pain. Years later after the shooting and well into another one of “our” problems, Bill told me, “Honey, it’s our crisis. It doesn’t belong to anyone else.” Wow! I had never thought about that! Ever since, when something comes up that is some sort of turning point, I react much differently. Instead of expecting all hands on deck I own it and respond accordingly. The outcome is usually much more positive.
Monday I had an experience that reminded me of our saying, “It’s our crisis.” My beautiful daughter has been struggling the past few weeks with the challenges bipolar disorder can bring ashore. I called the psychiatrist’s office to inquire about what steps to take since the waters have been getting kind of turbulent. I was extremely nervous. I explained to the receptionist what was going on and my fear of what might come. The receptionist listened to me and…according to the silence…rather calmly looked at the psychiatrists schedule…or so I thought. It grew silent on the other end of the phone…I finally said, “Hello?” I then heard from the other end of the phone, “Yes…” I thought, “Okay…” then I heard, “The doctor and the therapist are both booked.” The silenced continued as she reviewed her appointment book. I felt extremely anxious. In my mind I had an emergency and then I remembered, “Stacy…It’s our crisis.” With that thought I was able to calm myself enough to get through the phone call. Within the next few minutes the receptionist had set appointments up for my daughter with both the psychiatrist and the therapist. She made it work! I thanked her and shared with her how much I appreciated her patience with me. Had I unraveled, like a seashore squall, the outcome may have been very different. She didn’t have an issue at that moment. I was the one with the issue.
Sometimes when a crisis happens and life appears to be dancing happily like warm seashore raindrops all around me… I have to stop and remind myself, “It’s my crisis…” And for the moment…I have some sense of control amongst the fear. Resilience? I would love to hear your thoughts! I’d be honored if you shared your perspective as well.
Association for Psychological Science. (2011, December 29). “The Silver Lining To Adversity.” Medical News Today. Retrieved from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/239417.php.