We all have a different way of facing difficult situations in life, but if I have learned anything in my years of practice, it is that emotions can mark your path for better or worse. They are an essential part of our life, but understanding them is not an easy task.
Dealing with the death of a loved one, or the loss of a job or even a relationship is not easy, which is why these situations are the ones that commonly lead to an emotional crisis.
Despite the fact that God guides us every day, that He is our protection and strength, I know that it is also difficult to face life after such events. Pain frustrates us, weakens us, and prevents us from seeing the help that our Lord offers us. It is not your fault that you are blinded. You simply do not have the necessary resources to successfully face these transitions.
That is why I want to show you how you can overcome adversity, and not allow emotional crises to bring you down.
Emotional crises: what are they, types, and stages
I would like you to keep in mind that in order to overcome adversity, you need to identify what adversity looks like and what causes it. Therefore, take the following points into consideration:
What is a crisis?
A crisis is a transitory state that will affect your emotional and behavioral perception, Impairing your ability to make decisions. In other words, it is a difficult situation that you will have to go through, and it will disturb your emotions. It may be that the event affects only you, or it may be on a larger scale, affecting an entire family, community, or even country.
Tragedies come with many faces, so it could be the sudden death of someone you care about, it could be a car accident or a hurricane. As I said, each person will respond differently, and it is that response that will outline the recovery process.
The curious thing about emotional crises is that while they are a danger for some people they, for others, they are an opportunity. For example, an opportunity is when in the midst of pain, the family unites to overcome it and becomes greater than it is. It also becomes an opportunity when solutions are sought together.
However, unfortunately, there are also those who see crises as a danger because they are paralyzed by fear, their self-confidence is drained, and they wait for others to solve the problem for them.
In my therapy sessions, I have seen thousands of different reactions to crises. There are those who use them to reflect on life, those who give up, those who look for a new purpose, those who get sick, those who take years to heal, and even those who heal quickly.
There is no standard recovery time for crises, but if you are stuck in one, it is time to seek professional help.
Types of Emotional Crises
Most people have gone through or will go through an emotional crisis in their lives, as within it, creation is sincere. Great challenges will be imposed on us in one way or another. So, these events will appear unexpectedly many times, causing confusion.
However, keep in mind that emotional crises cannot really be categorized into types, but we can categorize the transitions that cause them. They can be ordered in two forms: the crises from external conditions, and the crises from internal conditions.
By external conditions, we we mean crises caused by an event that is unrelated to you, for example, natural catastrophes, terrorist acts, accidents, illnesses, deceased or missing relatives. Similarly, layoffs, discrimination, and harassment are part of that list.
On the other hand, internal conditions are crises that do not depend on facts as such, but on subjective feelings. They have the meaning that you give them.
Such are the cases of existential crises, vocational crises, identity crises, or couple crises. There are hundreds of other forms, such as developmental crises (childhood, adolescence, old age), and spiritual crises.
The 4 stages of a crisis:
In a crisis, you will generally have to deal with four stages. These stages are the following:
- Paralysis: The first stage of an emotional crisis usually begins with a sense of bewilderment and a feeling of not being able to reason or act. What is happening in the instant is processed.
- Uncertainty: Events that trigger emotional crises are not an everyday occurrence. That is why the most common reaction is having a deep feeling of uncertainty invade you. No matter how many ideas come into your head, you will be pondering them all.
- Intrusion: Intrusion is where you will finally accept the painful feelings, and live through and remember the tragic images. Having frequent thoughts of that event will be normal at this stage. It is a time that takes longer for certain people.
- Elaboration and solution: In these moments, the pain is expressed in true thoughts, and although there are those who can do it naturally, there will be those who need psychological support. In the stage of overcoming the pain, one begins to unburden oneself and reach a conclusion about what has been experienced.
The grieving process in a crisis:
Curiously, understanding the origin of the word “duel” will help to better understand what it consists of. This word comes from the Latin “dolus,” meaning pain or combat between two. Researchers define grieving as a process of adaptation to reestablish family equilibrium.
On the other hand, according to Kaplan’s Treatise on Psychiatry, a normal mourning process usually consists of three stages that are not completely linear, as it is possible to regress to one of these.
The first of these is the phase of shock and denial, in which denial and bewilderment will be the predominant feelings exhibited. The second phase is that of acute distress and isolation, consisting of a mixture of suffering, anger, and difficulty resting.
Finally, there is the phase of reorganization, where the loss is finally assimilated in all its meaning, however much it may have cost. This phase is the one that will mark the beginning of restarting life, going back to the previous roles, and starting from scratch.