How do you feel about the most recent traumatic event in the nation?Do you know what I am referring to?If not, don’t feel bad as many of my clients and I can hardly keep up with all of the trauma and terror upon the land.
The recent Florida school shooting that killed 17 youths has traumatized many parents and their families. The kids/students who witnessed this tragedy will never see school the same way again. In fact, they will never be the same.
In this article and video, I will be discussing crisis planning and the 3 ways of planning I believe is helpful to understand.
A crisis can be denied in multiple ways. It is a rather subjective term. But I tend to define crisis as a severe situation in which events are expected to be dangerous, traumatic, unstable, or irreversible. No one likes a crisis or situation in which life is completely out of our control.
No one ever gets 100% prepared for an emergency.We’re not wired as humans to be this prepared.In a lot of ways, we take life at face value and if things “look” and seem okay, they are. My job as a therapist, social activist, and international writer and speaker is to enlighten you and prepare you for similar events in the future.
The best time to prepare is now, not later.Some people, when faced with a crisis, become “frozen” in time, have an out of body experience, experience panic attacks, or feel completely confused. It’s our brain telling us that we are in danger and need to make a decision on how to approach or face that danger. Sometimes our brain tells us to run and escape, while at other times it tells us to stay and fight.
Either way, the event is traumatic and can seer, into your brain, all kinds of sensory stimuli/information that will change your outlook on life and ability to tolerate further trauma forever.There are a few things I suggest my clients do (and you too) to prepare for a crisis:Psychological/Emotional Preparation
- Accept that you can encounter a crisis or emergency any day, any time: Walking through life not believing a tragedy can occur in your own life is like driving without looking in your side mirrors. You don’t want to walk in fear, but you do want to walk in reality.
- Have a plan: Write down, in a notebook dedicated to your “crisis plan,” things you could do if an emergency occurs. For example, if your loved one begins to hallucinate, write down what your first step will be. Will it bediscussionwith your loved one? Will it be hospitalization?
- Self–care: You have to help yourself before you can help someone else. If I am feeling fatigued, overwhelmed, and unprepared, I’m more likely to make mistakes or become irritable. Pace and take time for yourself.
- Know what you will do and say: When emergencies occur, it’s really easy to say and do whatever comes to mind, I’m guilty of this myself! But you want to have some idea of what you will do such as speaking calming words to someone out of control, reminding yourself of something that can keep you calm, or acting calm even when you aren’t.
- Know who you will contact: It’s always best to have emergency numbers of local healthcare centers, hospital ER’s, etc. close by. Have a list of family members or friends you will contact.
- Know how you will subdue threatening behavior: In cases of severe mental illness where violence is a possibility, be vigilant and know what you will do if your loved one’s behavior becomes violent. It’s difficult for people to associate violence with those they love, but an illness often removes your loved one from reality, increasing the possibility of violence.
My mother used to say “by the grace of God there go I.” In other words, those kids and families in the Florida high school experienced something we could have all experienced. It could be one of us at some point.The reality is that crises do happen, even to the best of us. One of the best safeguards you have is preparation.All the best