When The Unexpected Suddenly Turns Your Life Upside Down.
You and I have had this happen at some point in our lives… seriously. I think everyone has been hit with a life affecting incident at some point.
Unexpected challenges happen and when it does, it turns your life upside down, leaving you confused and scrambling to take back control.
Many of you will be facing this due to COVID-19 and that’s why I felt it was time to write this and get it out.
I’m talking about one of those things that you never planned for or expected to happen.
When it happens to you with such force, it’s difficult to find your way through it.
Here are some typical scenarios:
- You catch your partner cheating… totally shitty (check!)
- The one person you trusted with a secret betrays your trust – arsehole! (check!)
- You thought you’d be in your dream job until retirement but redundancy hits (check!)
- You are involved in a life changing accident and life quickly goes on a downward spiral (check!)
I could go on, but you may have some examples of your own, as you can see; I have experienced all of the four listed at different points in my life and I’m still here and smiling!
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary things.“
This type of experience can really mess up your head space; your emotions heighten, you feel lost and uncertain and you ask:
You didn’t see it coming, you didn’t plan for it and, there it is suddenly presenting itself and totally fucking your life up in the blink of an eye.
At the point of the ‘happening’, you really don’t know what to do; your fight or flight mode kicks into play (your Sympathetic nervous system).
When this happens, there is absolutely no way you will be able to make any rational decisions or judgments, your brain has shut down.
Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash
I have been helping someone very close to me process their new and unsavoury discovery and it got me thinking that the advice and support I gave her could help you too.
You see, I have had my fair share of undesirable events, and I can tell you, the emotions kick in with real gusto.
Do you know why?
I’ll explain: your thought process and inner self-talk determines your emotional state and your verbal and non-verbal responses. It’s all about your mind honey; that thing between your ears holds a great deal of power, you can harness control over it but that’s a different blog.
When I discovered my arse of a husband continued to cheat despite mediation and many years of talking and ‘working things out’, I was so hurt, confused and angry, I just wanted to put his lights out for good!
Don’t worry I didn’t do that, I had four children (not all from my womb but mine nonetheless) and an unborn child to think about.
I can now see things from a very different perspective; of course, being a coach and NLP practitioner has also helped me to gain clarity and develop coping techniques over the years, which I share with my clients.
If you feel you are in a place where something like the above four examples has happened to you, there are somethings you can do straight away.
Photo by John Mark Arnold on Unsplash
- Shout, cry and process – nothing wrong with this ‘better out than in’. Get it out of your system (in a safe space)
- Talk to someone when it’s fresh, tell them what you’re thinking, feeling and going through. Just process.
- Take yourself away from the environment that reminds you of it… go stay with a friend, go on a short staycation.
- Get yourself around people who make you feel loved and safe.
- Write notes about the things you want to do, say and have in relation to the situation.
- Have a journal by your bedside to jot all negative thoughts into, giving you a chance of at least some sleep
- Fill your free days up with doing things you love like reading, gardening or any other creative activity. Arrange to see friends (virtually at the moment), days out, long scenic walks.
But what it will do is help you process and manage your thoughts and emotions; taking you out of the fight and flight mode and re-igniting the para-sympathetic nervous system, allowing you to think things through more clearly.
You can’t control everything, you have to accept that, BUT you can control your reaction. Now I feel a bit sheepish writing that as, after the accident I was worse than a rotten spoiled child.
My reaction to the accident shocked and surprised everyone close to me and mostly it shocked me to the core, this is not how I usually react to calamity!
In all fairness I was paralysed on the left side, suffered fog brain (2 years later to be discovered as brain damage) and worst still, I was watching my business slowly get flushed down the pan.
All my hard work, sweat, blood, tears and a great deal of investment went into building what was set to be an incredibly successful business… until the accident, gosh that hurt more than my fractured neck and damaged brain!!
This was my process and I allowed myself that liberty to be a total wet blanket for a while, a pain in the arse for my girls who were aged 20 and 14 at the time (they were amazing!).
So many people come to me for help and I do it. I don’t bat an eye, I don’t judge, I help.
This was the reason I was getting so frustrated with my own situation.
As a coach and as an individual it has always been my place to lift others. To get them out of their rut and to help them believe in themselves and their dreams.
Photo by Matt Collamer on Unsplash
How would I look now in the vulnerable state I was in? Would people still believe in my ability to help them? Seriously, even writing about it takes me back to that very deep feeling of not being in control, bloody scary!
After that (relatively long) while of feeling sorry for myself and hating on the driver who hit my car, I knew I had to get my butt back into the game (not that game, get your head out of the gutter!).
I started to work on my mind-set, I talked out loud about my feelings, thoughts and, my absolutely mind and body numbing fear that I will never be able to get out of this hell of reliance on my children. and of course lack of money coming in. I was living my worst nightmare (worse than the one where my ex-husband cheated).
YUP!! Both my hands are up, I had therapy and I would recommend it to anyone who feels like they will be consumed by the life changing incident.
I have a habit of putting on a brave face, I bet you do too.
But there came a point at which I knew I had to get help.
I was being cared for by my girls whilst both were at crucial points in their lives; GCSE prep and final year of University.
Photo by Joshua Ness on Unsplash
Getting therapy and having a handful of amazing friends who worked to help me heal, made me realise a great deal of things:
- You don’t have to work through everything alone
- You are not the product of your experiences UNLESS you choose to be
- You are stronger than you think
- Allow yourself to be human from time to time, cry, shout, talk about it
- Once you make a conscious and committed decision to take back control and rebuild your life… NOTHING can stop you
One more thing, remember you are far stronger than you think you are and when you get through to the other side, you’ll look back at how much you’ve grown from the experience.
You’ve Got This!
If you need a sounding board, get in touch.
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