Welcome to 2021. I hope this year is finding you to be more adjusted to the new norm of Zoom meetings and virtual happy hours. While we are adjusting to our new norms, we can still get hit with the unexpected. Would you know how to handle those things that just come out of nowhere? Due to some recent experience with the unexpected, I wanted to share how I have worked through it, in the hopes that it helps you as well.
Life is going along as normal and either someone gets diagnosed with something unexpected or someone’s life changes in an instant due to an injury or accident. Take a deep breath. Yes, breathe. Then take a step back and just be in the moment. Is this really happening? Probably the answer to that is yes. We now know this is real. We have to tell ourselves, out loud, that this is real. This is not what was expected but it is what is happening right now. What do I want to do?
I can deny that this is happening. Yes, that’s an option but probably not a good one. I can also come to grips and say that if this is what is my current challenge, what do I want to do about it? I hope you choose to take one day at a time and do what you can do each day. While making plans for the future may seem like a good idea and feel positive, I encourage you make short term plans at best until you for sure know what lies ahead. There is nothing sadder than seeing plans not occur. Looking for small triumphs each day works much better at keeping your spirits up and gives you the stamina for long term if needed.
What about the emotions you feel? What do you do with those? Well, you feel them. You express them. You write about them. You acknowledge them. You work hard to accept them as best you can. You may feel different emotions each day, or even each hour. Be sure to surround yourself with people you trust so that when those emotions come out, those individuals can be there to support you. No one may understand the situation exactly like you do, but they might be able to relate to “parts” of what you feel. That is extremely helpful as you work through those emotions.
Accept help. Yes, we may be the one that always gives the help to others; now it’s time to allow those that care about you to help you. Whether that’s meals or hugs or organizing things or getting gas in your car…..accept help. You allow others to feel good that they get to offer something to you. It is frustrating to feel helpless. I know of a situation where there were so many meals being delivered to a person’s home that they brought leftovers to the local fire house. The firemen were so appreciative.
Be patient with yourself. No matter what the unexpected situation is, give yourself time to adjust. We are not machines where you can just flip a switch and make an adjustment. The adjustment needs to happen on the inside as well as the outside.
Last but not least, connect with others. If we withdraw, we will not heal properly. Interactions with others is very helpful. Whether that be religious services or local groups you belonged to before or even work Zoom meetings. Attend them. Learn what will be the new normal. You WILL figure it out if you have the right attitude and support. We got this!!
Thank you for your trust in me. Be safe and be well.
Maryellen Dabal, MA, LMFT
305 Miron Drive
Southlake, TX 76092