Tag Archives: crisis

Crisis Adjacent

I have never been in the middle of a forest fire or a hurricane or a volcano eruption. I have never felt the earth open underneath me in an earthquake. I have never faced down an angry assailant or looked death in the eye. I have never experienced a major crisis but I have been close to a few. I have been crisis adjacent .

My father was in a plane crash and that was pretty tense for a while.  but I didn’t find out about it until after we knew he was OK. I have come across car accidents just after they have happened. I offered what assistance I could but I was never in any danger. I have been trapped on a Lake in the middle of a horrendous storm but with all the canoes secured together we just floated it out. I guess I have just been incredibly lucky.

Many years ago, a friend of mine was in Mexico during a horrific earthquake. She was terrified. She and her companions huddled in the doorway and waited for the shaking to stop. She left the country the next day. I cannot begin to imagine what she went through. Maybe this is why I enjoy watching disaster movies. It isn’t so much for the disaster but how people respond to it. The hero and heroine always come out looking wonderful but it’s the side stories that interest me. It is the image of a stranger reaching down to help another. They don’t discuss ideology or politics or even the weather. They just help one another. I know it’s a movie and I don’t ever want to experience a tsunami to find out how I will react. Maybe if I watch enough disaster movies, I will know what to do but one can never be absolutely certain until you are in the moment.

All the planning in the world can be derailed by a simple misunderstanding or a missed appointment. We can have the best intentions but at the moment we freeze . Why? Because life is not an algorithm. It is a series of moments strung together to form your life, your existence.  Our reaction to what is happening around us is predicated on our past, our experiences and our understanding of the situation. People with proper training react without thinking. Police officers , first responders. These people have trained and acted out scenarios so that they will know exactly what to do without taking the time to formulate a plan. Sometimes seconds really do count.

For the rest of us we just react, hopefully responsibly. But it is in that moment of crisis when all the ego is burned off and what is left is the true merit of a person. I wonder what I will do …



The Anatomy of the Truth

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People say that the truth is not black or white and that it means something different to different people.  I agree with those sentiments.  Police will tell you that if four different people see the same accident you will have four different eyewitness accounts.  They may all have seen the same accident but they interpret what they have seen differently.  How we process information is directly related to our past experiences.

 When individuals deal with crisis situations they deal with it individually.  If you are dealing with a disease, there are others in similar circumstances.  We may have the same disease but it manifests itself differently in each case and we process and deal with that manifestation as individuals. People ask me how I deal with the pain associated with MS.  I don’t have any pain.  People ask how I deal with the lack of sensation associated with MS.  My sensation is just fine.  It is difficult for people to understand just how different this disease can be from the next person’s.  And you can’t blame them.  People can only understand what they are told and it is difficult to fully explain a disease that is so idiosyncratic.

 It is not my job to teach people about MS.  It is not my job to raise the consciousness of strangers to the problems associated with disabilities.  It is only my job to explain to people honestly what I am facing and what can help me and others, in similar circumstances, if they want to know.  In truth, I can’t force people to care.   The average person is concerned with paying their rent or completing a project for work.  I must respect that and I do.  What I must also do is insure that I am not forgotten or dismissed just because I am different.  People do not have to join my cause but they must respect my fight.  After all, I do respect them, mostly.