In A Crisis: The Real and the Bat Crazy

Today’s daily prompt from the daily post asks writers to write a post based on this question: “Honestly evaluate the way you respond in crisis situations.  Are you happy with the way you react?”

Wow, this can bring about a pretty loaded answer.

To answer, I need to first qualify that, in my head, there are two basic types of crisis: the kind that is real and the kind that I make up.  At the time of the crisis  situation, both seem equally real.  Sometimes my coping skills switch the wrong way and I fake crisis respond to a real crisis or vice-versa, but generally my emotional reaction is the dead giveaway in retrospect for what is real or fake.

In the real kind of crisis, I externally keep my cool.  I am one of those people who can deal with really tough and intense stuff and seem as if it doesn’t affect me too much.  I process and I deal with everything in ways that I would find suitable when I am in my right mind.  I like to stay organized.  I process and re-process and can be single-handedly focused on the issue at hand despite things happening around me.

This type of coping is really useful in medicine.  I just move forward.  I reassess the situation and keep plugging away.

Emotionally, during most real crises, I am kind of cold.  I feel scared, stressed and such, but the overwhelmed feelings are usually kept at bay.  For some odd reason, I compartmentalize the situation away from other things going on.  I can empathize with others, but during times of crisis, I often feel very little aside from some good adrenaline.  I seem to act like myself, but it doesn’t always feel real.  I am serious, but I some how stay chipper.

I avoid confrontation or at least diffuse it the best I can.  I steer clear of distraction.

When a real crisis is over, I crash a little.  I still function, I am not one of those people who disappears off the face of the planet, but I feel a bit lost.  I re-hash the situation over and over.  I remember every little mistake.  I remember things that could have changed the situation.  I feel guilt.  Often, after a crisis, a few hours or days later I cry.  But, then I process and I try to learn from the experience.  Or eat junk food, like McDonald’s.

Then, there are the fake crises.

Fake crises are when I blow something out of proportion in my head for one reason or another.  Generally, these are foolish things like our house being a “disaster” or not having something prepared for a potluck or having to change a call schedule.  Things that are really of no big consequence, but feel big because I am a bit rigid at times.  Or confrontation.  I hate confrontation.  To me, confrontation is like a crisis.  Thus, it kind of falls under crisis, but only in the fake kind of way and only when it is confrontation directed at me with intent (aka, not someone who is confused and delirious yelling at me).

In a fake crisis, I often freeze.  I can think of ways to resolve the problem, but I struggle with putting them into action.  I worst-case scenario.  I get very emotional.  It is irrational, much like the problem I am usually imagining there is a crisis over.

On the bright side, I generally appropriately label crises.    And thus, I respond well when it matters.  And am bat crazy from time to time when it doesn’t.

Could I improve?

Heck yes.

Crisis management is an important skill to hone.  And although I can deal with complicated interpersonal and clinical situations, it would be nice if I could deal just as well with the mess in my house or a fight with my husband.

Baby steps, though.

I need to assess when I have the emotional response whether or not it is truly warranted.  If I think it is a crisis, the fake crisis response is never really a good idea.  I need to step back and take a breath and figure out what is next, not freak out.  And sometimes in big crises, I need to remember that it is okay to admit fear and such because sometimes people don’t realize I need help or support because I just don’t admit it.

Am I happy with the way I react?

In a real crisis, yes.  At least in theory.  If I reflect on the intricacies of the situation, no… Because I always think there is something I can work on or do better.  But, I manage to stay calm, deal with matters at hand and usually come out of the other side okay.  Could I sometimes be more honest with myself about the way I am feeling sometimes?  Yes, but that comes with a cost too.

In a fake crisis, no.  I can be really childish and, well, bat crazy at times.  I need to be able to grasp that sometimes situations are trivial or out of my hands or foolish to get worked up about and just get over it.  And I need to learn to not cry when I feel like I am being yelled at.  Emotions are good, but self-control and a bit of logic can be good too.

If it all came down to it, I can survive in a crisis.  I can improve, but at least I survive.


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