Posted in Comedy, Mental Health, Psychology

What is Crisis?

A crisis is a life storm or life event

As we live our lives, we experience a variety of life events and storms. Some of these events, such as a: 

  • divorce,
  • death of a loved one,
  • lay-off, 
  • illness and/or
  • foreclosure

are significant while others barely make our radar such as: missing the 3rd light on the way to work and thus delaying our travels by a whopping 2 minutes. 

That’s ok, though, because I have Marauder Radio on my iPod and I have a few minutes left in this eye-popping and soul-opening episode.

This book focuses on 

  • the significant life storms and events. And 
  • the significance of a storm or event is defined by YOU!

Not me or your spouse or children, parents, friends, pastor or even counselor. Oh no, you, and only you, have the responsibility of designating which life events and storms are significant or “blips on the radar.” Taking responsibility for your healing starts now.

The life storms that you designate as significant are similar to natural storms such as tornadoes, hurricanes and tsunamis. Life and natural storms share two key elements in common.

First, life and natural storms break things.

Second, both leave behind a ton of debris.

Natural storms put cars in trees and boats in living rooms. Natural storms leave behind torn roofs, broken tree limbs, mangled lumber and drywall and tile and carpet that at one time were the components of someone’s home. Now, those discarded components create a pile of garbage in the middle of a flooded community.

On November 17, 2013, a major, late fall storm hit the Chicago area. One of the many mighty oaks in my yard decided to ride out the storm in my home. For once in my life, I actually experienced the natural storm debris field (as I described in seminars, workshops, books and on my radio show for years) in my own home and life. What an ironic and iconic experience. 

See appendix A for some of the pictures.

Life storms break our dreams, hope, faith, marriages, family and security among other things. Life storms leave behind debris piles I label: hurt and fear.

There are two categories of crises or life storms: 

  • On or Off Time Crisis and 
  • Situational Crisis.

An On or Off Time crisis is a life storm that is connected to a time-line. The time-line is often created by society, our family and/or us. Along with the time-line are a unique set of expectations held as “beliefs” by the community, our family, us or a combination of us and our family or community. 

As an example, in the 1960’s the time-line, meaning chronological age, for marriage was pegged at twenty or shortly after high school. Today that age has increased to twenty-seven. As we grew as a society and individuals, completion of college and one’s initial career launch were “added” to the time-line and expectation list thus bumping marriage back a few years to accommodate for the new goals needing to be accomplished.

Following suit, most people start a family in their early thirties or late twenties. If you are forty and not married, you may experience a life storm due to the fact that you are “off schedule” with the life event of getting married and starting your family. 

God help you if you are unemployed or under-employed as well since that would be three strikes. And you know what three strikes means: ________________________________________

(fill in your own answer here)

Time lines are flexible and are altered as societal values ebb and flow. For decades most people married and started their families in their early twenties. Today a twenty-something is not overly worried or sad if they have not married yet. Forty years ago someone of the same age might have felt pressure and even marginalized if they had not “settled down” by their twenty-eighth birthday.

Today, when you meet a couple in their mid-thirties who are without children the natural reaction is to wonder “Why?” Then our minds start to create a host of scenarios from infertility to choice. It appears “odd” to us when someone is off-time with society’s time lines.

Situational crises are the direct effect of a sequence of events leading to a climaxing conclusion. Situational crises are the storylines of movies. The plot thickens and twists and turns until an ultimate breaking point is reached.

Situational crises can take weeks, months and even years to build or can be sudden, dramatic twists of fate.

The death of a loved one can be sudden, in the event of an accident, or the building and developing story line of an illness. One day you are playing golf and laughing with your friends and the next morning your doctors are discussing your treatment options for the cancer that was located during your last routine check-up.

Crises are a time of danger and incredible opportunity.

Crises are a time of danger since some of us choose healing behaviors that are ineffective and unhealthy. For a long time I dealt with the Bullshit of Life through addiction and anger. It was easier to drink and yell and drug and isolate than it was to face the pain, talk about, heal and then learn how to effectively manage the anxiety that came with having lost so much.

Those debris piles of hurt and fear that I discussed a few pages ago require clean-up. Learning our personalized and unique clean-up protocols is hard work and painful. The danger is that the hard work and pain deter us from working our way through to the other side where healing resides.

If we avoid the pain and hard work by taking the “easy way out” and use less than effective and healthy means of coping with the Bullshit of Life, then we can actually make the crisis event or life storm of which we are trying to cope even worse. We can spawn new storms and create new crises. If I turn to drinking to manage the anxiety and heal the hurt that I have after losing my job; I may also, due to my drinking, lose my marriage, connections with my children and friends.

Crises are also a tremendous moment of opportunity to learn who we are and the “stuff” of which we are made. Crises are times in which we develop character and perseverance. We forge our resiliency and develop skills that carry us past this life storm and event as well as through the life storms and events yet to occur in our lives.

We develop confidence in our own intuition and our ability to predict and anticipate the outcomes of our healing behaviors. 

We learn that we will survive and be stronger. 

Our relationships to people, places and things will grow deeper and more intense and become the bedrock on which we build our healing platform. As Tim McGraw’s Live Like You Were Dying ballad suggests, we “love deeper” and life is “sweeter” and we live more fully as human beings.

Video by Bob on Mental Wellness After a Crisis


Counselor, Satirist, Podcaster, Author, Professor, Speaker, Father and Husband

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