First rule in a crisis situation…

First rule in a crisis situation?  Don’t panic.

I know; easier said than done. Nonetheless, its one of life’s simple truths.

Life, life, life, life, BOOM! Crisis….

Crisis + Panic = Possibly bigger crisis.

Example: You’ve been through some stuff and not well, and have tests and have met with specialists, and BOOM! Your illness, be it physical or mental, is causing your doctor to pull you out of work.

Crisis.  Personally, financially; the mind boggles.

Alright, let’s say we go with panic as our first response… hmmmmm… thinking….

Nope, can’t come up with a single positive outcome that will bring.

Not judging. I mean, I myself have gone with the panic response in a number of crisis situations. It’s a valid, and historically oft utilized option.I just haven’t found it productive in dealing with any particular crisis.

On the other hand, and maybe its just because I’m old now – do something the wrong way enough times, you eventually figure out you’re doing it wrong. The first thing, don’t panic, may involve counting to ten, some deep breathing, possible sitting down with a glass of water; just to regroup. But, I’ve taken a sort of new tack on the whole crisis response scenario. More like when my sons were young. There might be sounds of hollering and bumping around, echoing down the stairwell, then one of them screaming, “MOM!!!” Now of course, very early on, I was running to save them every dang time. I found this not only exhausting, but ineffective. It only increased the number of times this exact same scenario would play out.

Finally, Iimage learned to develop a much more straightforward and calm response, at least internally. If there isn’t blood involved, or damage to my home, they will have to work it out. Screaming my name because your younger brother has you pinned, does not constitute an emergency for ME.

But back to perhaps a slightly more complicated crisis, of being pulled out of work on disability. And it ends up being long-term.  Now, we have a monumental problem. Especially if our illness affects our ability to actually complete and submit our application for Social Security/Disability.  It is an extremely complex document, or set of documents, and at the time, I couldn’t read a sentence and understand it. But, no application, no approval, no monthly allowance, no food, no power, no water, no tax money (if you are a homeowner), etc.  And those applications take months for determination as well, so there goes whatever was in savings in the interim.

BUT, if the illness, as in my own experience, is mental health related, there is help! I hadn’t ever reached out for help before. Always paid my own way. Didn’t want to take from anyone else, you know?  Despite my despair and my fear, my own overwhelmedness left me with nowhere to turn.  I swallowed what little pride I thought I had left at the time, and called the Mental Health Association.

They were so understanding. Made me feel like they were absolutely there for me.  They had me come in to meet with one of their staff, who helped turn an insurmountable task into a completed and filed application. And, it was approved on the first submission! I found out later, it doesn’t always work that way.

I’ll be honest. When I went to see them, I was in a panic. But, as one of my symptoms, I get panic attacks, which were much worse back then. Before I left that first visit though, the panic was gone.  What a gift that was. I remain grateful for their presence, their acknowledgment of me as a person, and that they treated me with respect; not like the sad ball of jello I rolled in there as.

The Mental Health Association has been around a very long time, and, while they would likely be the first to admit they are not the best at marketing what they do, the variety of services and programs they offer, can be miraculous to someone totally out of their normal zone; whose reality has been changed so drastically. They are accepting of you as you are, and just about everyone who works there, came from something similar to what you are now going through.  They have a location nearly everywhere in the U.S., so go to MHA.org to find the folks nearest you!

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