I’m at a loss. A real loss. Numbness has spread through my emotions and I want to curl into the fetal position. Things could be worse, but they could also be so much better.
This week has been a winter wonderland walk through hell. Maybe not hell. But something like being trapped on the “it’s a small world ride” at Disney. Snow blankets the ground, spreading silence and beauty. However, it has brought trials. First, there was so much snow for our southern town that we couldn’t leave the house on unplowed streets. Then, we had rolling blackouts that disoriented me and my kids. The blackouts effected cell reception and texts barely made it from my phone to
my support system. This contributed to me being able to engage very few coping skills. Anxiety, disconnection and darkness swirled around me.
For a bit of relief, we were able to hitch a ride to family’s house for a little bit of electricity and company. After experiencing some relief in my soul, we came home to water spilling out of our front door. We were dripping water to prevent a pipe from bursting resulting in a flooded house. Betrayal by bathtub. So in the moments I was feeling relief from the stress, my home was becoming logged with water.
It has been a struggle. This is on top of being in a new place with a limited support system. However. We have had a few experiences that provided comfort. Small things given to us be our wonderful support system. Here are some ways of supporting people while they are handling crisis.
Those of us in the midst of the crisis? We often freeze. We get overwhelmed. Making a this or this request? That helps. My sister-in-law texted me as I watched my carpet being surgically removed with an exacto knife. Her words? We have a room for you set up. Not, do you want to stay here or should I set up a room? Just, it’s done.
It gave me relief. I felt taken care of and the need to make a decision was taken. It wasn’t telling me what to do, it was offering me a life preserver.
My husband called a friend when we found the water. He drove through the perilous roads, a few towns away, to help. My brother came. He called someone else.
While we were frozen, steps were being taken to care for our home.
Similar to the previous point, not asking, doing. If you’re anything like me, You hate asking for help. Putting people out. But people showing up? You don’t have to say no.
This can be bringing a meal or even a phone call. I had a friend not only call, but insist on finding us a hotel room. No where was open, but still. It was a way of showing up.
It’s the small things.
My brother and his wife are wonderful humans. My brother brought us coffee and they watched our kids to give us a moment. The biggest thing to me? He put on my favorite, calming music. I almost started crying when I heard the first notes.
Before this flooding happened, I was struggling. A small thing? My sister listening and validating my emotions.
The small things are such big things.
An important small thing is empathy. You may not be able to “do” anything, but empathy is a important. When someone feels heard and feels someone recognizes their hardship, it shares the burden. You don’t need to fix or offer advice. Listen. Affirm the struggle.
In the midst of my relatively small crisis, these things have been so helpful. It is hard to know what to do when those you love are struggling. Know that grand gestures aren’t necessary. Be decisive for them, show up and know that small things make a big impact.
Ps Since I wrote this post earlier last week, the snow has thawed, but troubles keep coming. Check on your people that have been effected by Winter Storm Uri. We aren’t okay.
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