When we’re in the midst of a storm it’s often difficult to see past our worries and fears and find solid ground. For me solid ground is not when the sun comes out and the birds start chirping. It’s when I have clear vision and can think logically and make good decisions. That doesn’t mean I don’t cry and give in to my feelings, sometimes, but if I do, I don’t let myself stay there for long. At some point there will be plenty of time to breathe a sigh of relief, or grieve, but for now….
I need to be the one person I know I can always count on.
We’ve all seen news stories on television—and known people—whose response to a crisis is to start screaming and crying. That’s the worst thing we can do for ourselves and everyone around us. It only makes matters worse. It ratchets up our emotions and makes us feel even more panicky and out of control, plus we’re not thinking about how to get out of the burning building. Regardless of what we’re facing, we must FIRST get ourself under control.
Don’t let your mind go blank with fear. Instead, breathe and slow down, and think about the next step. What is the next thing we need… our loved one needs? Do we need a second medical opinion or the best doctor? Or like when I felt like I was going to pass out at the Rolling Stones concert in Italy, last year… I didn’t wait to see if I felt worse. I left, immediately, and got help.
If you need more information before you make a decision, then make that your priority, but only seek trusted resources. As I was leaving the Stones’s concert, I said a prayer and asked God for help, and a taxi driver showed up and actually introduced himself by saying, “I am an angel, Madam.” Woah!
My mother used to say “thoughts are things.” At the time I didn’t know the importance of what she was saying, but now I know our thoughts have the power to make us physically and mentally ill. On the flip side, our mindset can make us strong enough to deal with most anything life throws at us.
I’m seriously considering writing a book, but if I do, the biggest takeaway won’t be all the unthinkable things I’ve experienced. It will be, as someone said in a note to me this week, “that I have come out on the other side and am doing well.”
I understand, all too well, that depression can come with life’s storms. In next week’s blog, I’ll offer some suggestions for coping with depression. In the meantime, take a deep breath and know you are loved, valued and appreciated.
Thank you for this.
I like what your Mom said.
I like the bit about thoughts escalating and “getting out of that burning building “.
This helped me this morning.
( and 3 furry friends with wet noses who love being petted- they seem to know when
you need a friend).
I will look forward to that book of yours.
Hi C, I’m very glad this post helped you, and happy you have three friends with wet noses to love on you. Yes, they always know, and they’re always here for us. You can’t imagine how many times I’ve told my dogs, “I don’t know what I’d do without you.” I hope this is a good week for you, Brenda
Great post for me today. Today is my respite day – the woods,yoga, good food, rest, and something new. Feel like exploring some new hiking and fishing spots with my Love.
Hi Irene, Your Saturday sounded like something I’d love!! Hope you recharged your batteries and had a great time. I’m grateful this was a good post for you. xoxox, Brenda
Please write that book…
If only I could snap my fingers… Thanks for your encouragement, Jeanette. It helps to know someone wants to read it. xoxox, Brenda
I can’t wait for your book, Brenda!
Hi Sweet Friend, Thanks! I was just saying, “If only I could snap my fingers,” and the book was done. You know what it’s like to write a book!! xoxo, Brenda
I SO agree. Take a deep breath and don’t let your mind race around like a squirrel in a cage. Be constructive!
Yes, that’s a panicky mind, not one that’s going to give you the “best advice.” Thanks, Diane! Brenda
I like to listen to The Happiness Podcast which covers some of these same ideas. You can check it out at happinesspodcast.org.
Thanks, Jamie! I wasn’t familiar with Dr. Puff or the Happiness Podcast. So smart of you to listen to him. I appreciate it, Brenda
You write so authentically and from the heart.
Your journey has been one that I haven’t taken but I know women who have walked your path.
To be so open about your journey takes courage and how you put it to paper every week makes me want to be the first person in line to buy that book that sits in your head.
Put the pen to paper, my friend.
Thank you for your encouragement, Robin. I appreciate it so very much. xoxo, Brenda
When I do manage to get my thoughts in order I am able to keep my panic under control.
Victoria, It’s great that you’ve seen the difference it makes when you’re calm. It’s not always “the event” I’m walking through that scares me, but the thought of how I’d feel if I let myself panic. “Panic,” in and of itself, is scary. In many ways “panic attacks” can cause our bodies to mimic a heart attack. If we’re in a dangerous… or even stressful situation… the panic attack may prevent us from dealing with the real matter at hand. See if you can remember to take a few deep breaths and slowly exhale each one. Brenda
Brenda, I so agree it is the “thoughts” that make me panic more so then the event.
I get you and would love to have you as a close friend as I think so many people who read your blog would agree with.
That’s so nice! Oh, Cindy! Thank you! I hope everyone on the other side of my keyboard looks at me as a friend. I feel like most everyone who reads what I write are my girlfriends, and I’ve been lucky enough to meet so many women and spend time with them. That’s one of the blessings of this amazing digital world we live in. We develop real relationships and feelings for one another. Thank you, again. xoxo, Brenda
You’re so right that you are the one person in life that you can count on. And I love that you went for help at the Stone’s concert. If you wait too long, it can be too late.
Rebecca, Especially since I was in a foreign country and virtually trapped in place by so many people. If I had passed out or had a medical emergency, I didn’t think anyone would have noticed, much less stopped partying to help me. It was the only logical decision I could make, and I knew I had to do it immediately. Thanks for weighing in! xoxox, Brenda
This is so true Brenda – and you are the perfect advocate for being strong through some really testing times. I think I’m getting better at coping with adversity as I get older – less fazes me these days and I’m more comfortable with putting boundaries in place and practicing some self-care. I think your book would be a best seller (and I’ll be able to brag that I know you!)
Leanne… You’re cute! You bring up some valuable points… We do get more comfortable, putting boundaries in place and practicing self-care. You make another good point: we get better, coping, as we get older. We have more life experience to draw on. As we get older we’re no longer the “strongest in the herd,” but our experience and smarts are often more valuable. That’s what “survival” is, don’t you think? xoxo, Brenda
I just read this post again and thought about how important it is to get our heads on straight – you are so right about our thoughts playing such a large part in how we cope with situations. I work with a woman who dramatizes everything which in turn makes everything a drama – just exhausting to be around!
For me its talking it out. I need to get it out there. You’re thinking about that book? Hallelujah!
Sandra, I think we all work through things in different ways, and talking it out can be so helpful. During those crucial times when there’s no one to talk it through with, we need to also rely on our own judgement and like the famous Nike swoosh… Just do it! About writing a book… It’s a marathon, not a sprint, so I hope no one’s expecting one anytime soon. xoxo, Brenda
Thank you so much for the timeliness of this. I needed it all especially the last line. Bless you.
Hi Sally, I’m happy this resonated with you. Sometimes a sentence or a phrase can be so powerful. I hope you can find a way to make this a wonderful week! Wishing you all of God’s blessings, Brenda
It’s kinda like that fight or flight response. And I think depending on our day or mood, it can exhibit differently. I’m not a cry kind of girl, but in the right situations (and sometimes at the strangest times) I will break down…
Hi Jodie! I love seeing you here! You’re right that in the face of a crisis we often experience the fight or flight response, and what we exhibit today, might be different on a different day. Crisis situations are overwhelming, but more often than not, we need to be calm and logical. I am a rock in a crisis, but often find myself crying at strange times like you. Like at church when we sing, a cappella, “The Greatest Command.” The melody and the a cappella voices literally make me cry, and they’re usually tears of gratitude that I’m still here and that I know I’m loved by God. xoxox, Brenda
Brenda, wow. This really impacted me. Such good advice. I react with my heart and it often times throws me into a spiral. I’m working on reacting with logic, which you’ve described.
Thank you so much for this reminder. This was such important advice. #MLSTL
Patti | https://www.womenoverfiftynetwork.com
Patti, Except when I fell in love with my late husband, James and his son, and God… I always react with logic. Perhaps that comes from role reversing with my mother when I was only 12 and she had a nervous breakdown and was on valium. Thanks for stopping by! You have a great website! Brenda
Sounds like your mother was a smart woman! I agree that thoughts are powerful, and also believe that we can exercise some control over our thoughts and emotional responses, as you have done. It just takes practice and repetition. Thanks for sharing
Hi Kristin! I’m happy to see you here! Sure luck, or lack thereof, affect us, but our thoughts control much of our life. You’re right: It just takes practice and repetition. Thanks so much for stopping by, Brenda
I think you mother was certainly a wise lady. Our thoughts are powerful and can be a positive or negative influence. I was running a marathon last week and it was hard work. My thoughts could easily have turned to ‘give up now’, ‘my legs are hurting’, ‘you can’t do this’ but instead my inner voice encouraged me to keep going and I finished! Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and being part of the community.
HI Sue, I’m so glad to have discovered your community! Everyone writes about things that interest me. Running a marathon…. I applaud you, because that’s something I’ve never done. It’s a great example of not giving in to negative thinking, but instead, channeling our positive thoughts to work for our benefit. Brava! Great job, Sue! Thanks for your awesome comment, Brenda
Hi Brenda thank you for your lovely words of encouragement and we are very happy to have you as part of our #MLSTL community. Have a fabulous week! x
Good advice Brenda. I find it especially helpful to slow down and look at what is in my control and figure out that next step. For me, meditation, time in nature, and physical activity are particularly helpful in dealing with the emotions that come along with tough times. I look forward to your thoughts on depression next week. #MLSTL
Hi Christie, “slowing down and figuring out the next step” is key! It allows us to make a plan, and without a plan, we’re lost in the woods, or we make it out by just dumb luck. Thanks so much for stopping by! Brenda
Hi Brenda – Good advice. I find that in a sudden crisis, taking a few deep breaths is always helpful. Deep abdominal breathing is an effective technique to calm us down and clear our mind to think of the next step. To be proactive though, a wellness plan to look after ourselves, is essential. #MLSTL
Thanks for your wise words, Natalie. The more of us who pass these techniques along to one another and share our experiences, the stronger we’ll all be. Our mother’s generation wouldn’t have thought of talking about things like depression. We must all, instinctually, know what to do in any situation, to take care of ourselves. Brenda #MLSTL