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how-to-survive-in-a-crisis.mdd (3095B)


      1 title: How To Survive In A Crisis
      2 author: Daniel Moch
      3 copyright: 2020, Daniel Moch
      4 date: 2020-09-03 15:56:17 UTC-04:00
      5 category: personal
      6 description: Growth comes amidst hardship
      7 
      8 In one respect, the past few years could be reduced to a series of
      9 personal and family crises. In another, I can say they've been the
     10 most productive years of my life in terms of personal growth. It's
     11 an unfortunate reality that personal growth often comes in the midst
     12 of hardship.
     13 
     14 Many of the details of the most recent crisis—of which I am still
     15 in the midst—are not my story to tell. Suffice to say it has tested
     16 me to a degree I don't think I have ever been tested before. And
     17 yet the on-the-ground details—or rather my experience of them—has
     18 been better than in past crises. So rather than take this space to
     19 tell a story (which is important), I want to tell you what's been
     20 different for me. Here we go!
     21 
     22 Medicine
     23 --------
     24 
     25 This is table stakes. If you think you're not emotionally able to
     26 handle a crisis, then you need to take the initiative to get help
     27 so you can be ready. Medicine is the first step. (I'm being intentional
     28 in my wording. There are other, potentially more important steps
     29 as well ... see below.) I see a psychiatrist every three months and
     30 take a small dose of antidepressent in part because I've seen form
     31 previous experience how miserable I can be under stress without it.
     32 I think the clinical term for what I have is dysthymia, which
     33 basically ammounts to a chronic, low-grade depression. Point being,
     34 if you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, there are
     35 things you can do to help yourself. You don't need to wait until
     36 you want to kill yourself.
     37 
     38 Counseling
     39 ----------
     40 
     41 Therapy (which I use interchageably with counseling) is more of a
     42 medium-to-long term thing, but over that time horizon I believe
     43 it's equally as important as medicinal help. Talk therapy is worth
     44 the money. I took several counseling-related electives in seminary.
     45 There are a lot of different schools of thought in the psychotherapy
     46 community, and I think they all of something to offer, but in general
     47 I would recommend folks err on the side of cognitive-behavioral
     48 therapy and steer clear of classical (read: Freudian) psychoanalysis.
     49 Your working relationship with your therapist is critically important,
     50 and shouldn't be reduced to laying on a couch talkng to someone
     51 trained not to respond to you. I don't even know if anyone still
     52 does classical psychoanalysis, but I can't imagine it would be
     53 terribly helpful, even granting his insights.
     54 
     55 Community
     56 ---------
     57 
     58 I'm almost ashamed that this comes in third on my list, but here
     59 we are. We—and I'm speaking to men in particular here—like to think
     60 that we can get by without too much in the way of relationship, but
     61 there's a growing body of evidence to suggest that isn't true. We
     62 all need close friends that we can reach out to in a crisis, friends
     63 who will sit with us and let us tell them what's going on, who will
     64 empathize with us, and validate what we're feeling, but who will
     65 also challenge us when we're tempted to despair.