Solid support to overcome crisis
The most typical problems of the psychological crisis are the following:
· Narrow, often panic opinion on the problem, inability to plan the ways for problem’s solution and future;
· Constant fear and anxiety;
· Obsession thoughts, depression
· Loneliness, feeling of guilty
· Psychosomatic disorders etc.
Person gets stuck in this bog. The attempts to stop the fear by alcohol, the obsession thoughts by debauch, sleeplessness by coffee-cigarette diets, cause further worsening of physical and psychological condition. The attempts to overcome loneliness push us for risky friendship, which cause new trauma. And often the suffering person feels that the more he wants to get out of this condition, more he gets stuck in it. Often it comes to despair and unwillingness to live. Why does it happen?
Actually, the decision is obvious – when you want to get out the bog, you need to lean on something firm and stable. There is no sense to get out one leg and another without support point.
The first and real step for escape, but not the final escape, is fining of firm and stable support point. It is not possible to escape without it.
There are lots of support points, but in this article I would like to tell only about one of it, which proves its effectiveness hundreds of times to me and my colleagues-psychologists. I never met people who regretted after they used it. Everyone can find such support point and use it. What is it?
It is good works and charity. I will explain why.
When misfortune comes, person often starts to leave the feeling of self-respect. In truth, it is not that bad if we learn how to accept, reasonably decrease the level of claims and to evaluate us actually. But we cannot do it and therefore loss of self-respect gives way to our despair.
Most of female magazines and some apology for psychologists give irresponsible advices, which cause still worse condition and serious results. The advices could be the following:
‘Forget your psychologic traumatic experience (person, situation etc.)’. But how to forget it? Phychologic traumatic experience nags brain, presents in the form of obsession thoughts and demands the emotional response, at the same time exhausting the psychological resources. Of course, the only desire is not enough in order to forget it. It will not leave you that easy.
But you can switch yourself to help others, to think about them and to compassionate them. First of all, in this case the assistance to others takes time and removes you from own suffering and exhausting ‘chewing’ of the loss. Second of all, in such case the phenomenon, described by the proverb ‘fight fire with fire’. Only in this case, this wedge stuck in your heart and consciousness, could be removed by the wedge of compassionate and real help to other people. Look around! Lots of people overcame their difficulties ONLY due assistance and help to others.
‘Have fun, divert your attention away’. This is crazy, ineffective and very frequent advice. This advice could be formulated as: ‘Seek oblivion, go away from reality for a while’. And what will be after? Anyways the return to reality will be. And you will go through this return more sharply. I would compare this return with the morning after the night before. Person, after return to the normal condition, understands that the attempt to leave reality was futile. The problem still exists, but, besides it, time was spent unreasonably.
How to draw attention away from painful reality, but with purpose? This is the same method – to make good works! I confirm that no one can say spent time without sense while helping others, as opposed to person who just made attempt to run away from oneself temporary and heard silly advices (nothing was gained, but sometimes there were losses).
‘Increase your self-appraisal’. It is recommended to stay near mirror and say that you are wonderful, beautiful, clever and successful, that is to artificially command it to yourself. And indeed, lots of people wake up and start to command. And it works! What is the result of it? It is resulted in increase of self-appraisal (often unreasonably) and level of pretensions; and in reality nothing changed towards this person. It means that the level increased, but you did not jump over it. It could help you temporary, but will not save totally. Visa versa, convinced yourself in your perfection, it will be more difficult to answer the question: ‘If I’m that good, the best, why they brought pain to me? Why did they not appraise me? Why did they not excuse immediately and propose marriage to me?’ We see huge discrepancy between the level of pretensions and reality. The crisis deepens.
One more advice that cannot help generally, but can weaken the crisis symptom, is the following:
‘Make new hairstyle, change image, and enjoy life’. I have nothing against it, but such advice could not solve the situation in the main. Here we talk about the increase of self-appraisal, but from another side. Another question arises: ‘Who will appraise me in new image? I need HIM to appraise me, not anybody and everybody! But HE does not appraise me!’ There is no effect. Or, visa versa, it works but with opposite sign. After such a tremendous work is done for own decoration and new imagine, the person, for whom it was done, does not value this work. It is possible that it is pleasure for you, but in the main does not assist to get out of the crisis. This is superficial measure that can bring only temporary relief.
What to do? How to increase self-appraisal and get assistance for yourself?
You just need not to inflate a balloon of self-respect artificially, but to receive real and based respect from other people.
It is not difficult to do it. We have always people around us, who require help. It could be old people, sick people, children, large families etc. It could be people under much more complicated circumstances than we are. Assistance could be different: gratis aid, pray for others, consolation of who feel badly; the assistance could be in the form of work in organizations and funds providing assistance to unfortunates and needy people, feasible targeted assistance to projects and concrete people.
Good works should be done regularly, without desire to get appreciation in return, with awareness that we do a little. It is well-known that these people will survive without us, but we will feel badly without the possibility to help them. It is also good if for good work you deprive something from you or force yourself. For example, you could donate funds, which planned to use for yourself, or overcome disgust or win your ‘I cannot’ and start the activity, which you have never wanted or not able to do before. Do not cheat yourself: you gave useless clothes to the orphanage or gave 10 rubles to beggar – but this is not good works we are talking about here.
Doing good works, you, of course, will receive gratitude and respect. And it will be REAL gratitude and REAL respect. Though no one tells you, but you will know that you did lots of good, noble and needed. This inevitably increases your real self-appraisal, increases better and solid than following advices that I described earlier. I would like to notice that you should not help others only in order to get and receive something for yourself in return. Try to help others for your sake. Do good works for good works!
It is possible that people, whom you are helping, will give you support, sympathy, understanding and care. This is because none could understand the suffering person as person who suffer or suffered. Such person can really support and empathize with sorrow and gladness, in contrast to our pseudo-friends, who could not understand us in disaster, who are with us only in gladness and disappear in sorrow, finding lots of excuses for it. Even if you do not see people, whom you help to, but you know that you are doing it for them, in this case you will feel their gratitude. Good is metaphysical. When you do not expect it, good returns in very amazing manner and from there you do not expect it. Good does not loose or disappear. When you give, it returns to you. Doing good works to people, we become more kind.
It is clear that it is important to get thanks from people, whom you helped, but you want to get these thanks from HIM (or HER). What to do with it?
This is very simple. After you helped, soon you will feel that heartfelt gratitude from hapless people is more significant for you than not heartfelt but from HIM (or HER). I saw it hundreds of times and continue to see it daily. Person, saw people who felt worse, often reconsiders own situation and understand its real meaning, not inflated self-appraisal for narcissists. In addition, after raised over the situation, person often could see the effective methods to overcome it. The assistance to others helps us to see the situation on the other hand and divert the attention away from own ‘I’.
All people know that often person starts mistrust others being under crisis situation. This is natural. If we get trauma, the fear to receive it again makes us to be very careful, later caution develops into distrust and distrust, in its turn, deprive us of communication, attention and possibility to create new relations etc. And after trauma it is very hard to trust people again, we are scared to get new trauma from them.
And here again self-sacrificingness, charity and good works help us. In this case it helps us because we choose the object of charity and we ask for nothing in return, we sincerely help and we do not feel threaten to receive trauma. In majority of cases people feel gratitude and appreciation to us, though they do not say it. And we feel it well. At the same time it melts ice of mistrust of all world and we recover quickly.
Once person relies on stable ground of mercy by one leg, immediately pain will leave, life will start to restore, understanding and confidence come. Normally person, helping others, includes into the new surrounding, that has another, true values, based on mutual support, sympathy and help. Look at the groups of volunteers! What people are there! They differ from typical groups in the bud, there is true and bright life there, there are true values, there is sincere communication and friendship, and there are really needed works.
Coming into such group, you could find real and stable support. In case if you do not participate in the group of volunteers, but do good works alone, the awareness of own need, the feeling of sympathy substitute the painful symptoms connected with crisis.
I would also like to say about one positive effect, that happening in this case. This is not a secret that after parting and after other hard crisisses, person feels emptiness inside. This emptiness makes life absolutely unbearable. And there is nothing to fill this emptiness, there is vacuum, which swallows up. So, good works, mercy and charity is the best way to fill in the emptiness by new content of best quality.
Besides, I would like to emphasize that you get up on stable ground and come out of the evil-smelling bog of crisis. Put one leg on firm ground of mercy and good, there is a place to put another leg. This is really not changeable, but absolutely good reason to overcome the crisis.
I’m absolutely sure that this step is one of the most easy, practicable and effective method to get out of the crisis.
My personal (and my colleagues working in our Center) observations confirm that people, overcame the crisis of family relations, and started to help others by this or that way, come out of a recession four times quicker. Sometimes the recession comes so fast, that it is difficult to imagine!
Of course, some people think that they are not able to help others being under such condition. But this is a cunning explanation. Sinking person can not say to the rescuer that does not have the correct condition to be rescued. This is silly. In order to rescue, it is NECESSARY to make efforts to help one.
Lots of people, reading this article, feel like they are now at the scorched field and do not know that to do and what to undertake. Everyone wants this field to return to life, to bring fruits, pleasant to the eye and heart. The easiest way is to take seeds of good and to sow it at this field. There are no young growths without seeds, there is no love without good and there is no happiness without work of heart…
I would like to notice that you loose nothing and do not risk if you choose the road of mercy, help to others and compassion. New positive experience is always the gain, not loss.
This story was told us by Maria.
I know one person who could help old and sick people or abandoned children by funding but flatly refused to talk to them. He said that he does not have enough patience and moral forces for this, and that he does not love children at all; they will understand it and felt bad. Once his friends dragged him to the orphanage at the same time when he had problems. And here he is staying in the bad mood surrounded by children, whom he ‘does not love’ and who drew close to ‘aunt Katya’ and ‘uncle Roma’, this man feels himself as a bastard. Then these ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’ started to play with children and to glue folders by colored paper. Our hero stays unhappy by his ‘badness’ and problems. Hew stayed and saw that there are not much of ‘aunts’ and ‘uncles’, but there are lots of children, who cannot do it by themselves, they need it to be shown to them and they almost fight for attention. And when his sorrow overcame all his thoughts on own imperfections, he stopped to care about it and went to help children. How they surrounded him, what was the yelling there, how these three hours went! And what? He did not even think that he does not love children, he was not out of temper – how it was possible, when these children do not see any care, are uncombed, are in torn shoes and teachers only screamed. When it was time to say good-bye, children rushed after not only aunt Katya and uncle Roma, but he as well, they hugged him. After this he understood that he does not love here, his love is not important and his moral condition is not important as well. He is loved! He is loved only because he came and paid small attention to them. This feeling gave comfort to his soul on the way home! They needed him in spite of his personality. Since that time he visits this orphanage regularly, but rarely. His soul melts and warm children.
Crisis psychologist Michael Khasminski
How would you love yourself? Medicine from disliking (Dmitri Semenik)