When disaster strikes

These are a few ideas about what you can do for yourself. I don't want to speculate what your disaster was or is, but just say I am sorry. These are a few things you can do for yourself. But they are not a substitute for seeking the appropriate emergency response if that's appropriate, such as a doctor, a helpline, A&E, or indeed talking with a counsellor or psychotherapist, whether found directly or via an agency.

And I absolutely don't want to tell you that it's somehow "better" to deal wtih things by yourself. Only you yourself know what is best for you. That may be urgently seeking help, or it may be doing things like I describe below.

Here are my three "steps":

  1. Treat yourself with compassion and lovingkindness
  2. Find a way of grounding yourself. This includes a lot of possiblities. Grounding techniques as in mindfulness work. Literally getting in touch with the ground, i.e. connecting with nature. Casting or dropping your anchor. Running aground. Finding a safe space. Getting in touch with your body. Many options. You may have an intuition of what you need.
  3. Find the FACTs:
    • What is the Frame you put the event into? Can you find a different frame?
    • Choose an Attitude. And be aware that you have a choice over what attitude you take. (I assume) you can't change what happened. But you can change how you respond to it.
    • Reflect on the wider Context of what happened. The frame was yours; the context is about what happened outside, in the world, in your environment. Unless you put something "in context", you won't be able to see more than one perspective.
    • See if you can find the Treasure. When the disaster struck, and for a time afterwards, this will seem impossible. Even when you start on these three steps, it may seem totally far-fetched. If you go through the steps, when you reach this final point, you may see something that you did not expect. The shock and the gap and the bad things will still have happened. But there may be other things you can feel or see that you couldn't see before. What could be the treasure beneath the pain, or "with" the pain? This is a crucial question to deal with for the rest of your life. Allow yourself to intensely dislike and hate even the possibility of this last step - and leave it there as a possbility, too.

I hope this has not given you any sense of me diminishing or trivializing your predicament, your hardship, and your suffering. Despite knowing nothing about your situation, I recognise how hard and how terrible things can be, and how much life can throw at you. I'm just trying to give you some support with ideas about how to approach it, which may give you some succour and relief in your pain.

A relationship with someone

And don't forget that ultimately almost all of life is lived in relationship. The more of this you can do with another person, the better it is. If you don't have such a person, then aloneness and isolation are added to your problem, and are likely to increase your suffering. Do what you can to talk with someone, whether a professional, or anyone else whom you can reach!