Uninvited Guests

So, what do you do when the ghosts come calling? ...and how do you recognize those times when they're beating on the vault door? Hey, they recognize when a kindred spirit is working on the seals...

Sometimes you know right up front that there's company; other times there's an extra guest for dinner. ...and you don't even have a place set.

We all have reactions to events. ...and feelings about things that have an effect us. ...whether we realize it at the time or not.

I say "at the time", as often the effects of those feelings are delayed. ...and we find out about them as the containment fails on the thousand petty annoyances that have been building pressure over time. ...or they burst through a surface crack and release the molten magma of emotion that's been waiting in its long confinement.

You likely had any one of several reactions to Tuesday's events, everything from immediately apparent feelings to total numbness. The immediate reactions are pretty much up front and identifiable, but the subsurface stuff can cause a problem. ...in either the short term or the long term.

So how do you know if something's tucked away? ...and what do you do about it? You can't spend every moment of your life rooting out every problem in your life...

...but you can watch for the warning signs that let you know the pressure is building. I'm not a trained professional in this area, but these people are. ...and their page on stress management parallels the lecture I give my students every semester. They've also added an Internet Resources page...

I'll give you an example I often use with my students:

Have you ever noticed how some days it seems like every other driver on the road is a complete idiot?

...and how they're all poking along below the speed limit and generally just driving like total fools?

Ahem. Perhaps, they're all driving in sync with one another. ...and your thread is wound a turn too tight on your bobbin.

That attitude is a sign that something's eating at you...

So are changes in eating or sleeping habits. Increased use of mood modifiers (drugs and alcohol). Inability to concentrate. Feelings of isolation...

If any of those or any of the items from the list on the UB page ring true, please take a moment or two to think about looking into what's going on inside. ...and start doing something about it.

...and not by adding more caffeine and nicotine to the mix; that only winds your thread tighter. The list on the UB page is rather comprehensive, but I'd like to emphasize one item everyone reading this page can do very easily: talk with your friends.

Yeah, read the sites. Email people. Pick up the phone. Talk with people...

...to find you're not alone in your feelings.

...and ask questions. Man, somewhere out there we have someone who knows the answer or who can direct your search for an answer.

...and think about what you're feeling. Analyze why you feel that way. ...and what triggered off your reaction. ...and deal with it. If you can't handle it on your own, see if your job has a referral service. ...or if counseling is a benefit. But deal with it...

...and yes, the urge to do something is very normal. ...as is the urge to return to some semblance of "normal". ...and so is guilt about not doing enough. ...and guilt about surviving. All of these reactions are valid. Just recognize where they come from and start to deal with them.

Bill, an ex-rescuer and now a support specialist, writes in response to Dark Shadows:

...I have sorted through the remembrances, and have decided that while I am going to close the door of the vault, I am not going to lock the door. I can no longer keep these things hidden from myself. I will bring them out, once in a while, and remember the faces of the people that were there with me.

Yeah, that's the spirit: remember the "why" of it. Recognize it; deal with it. If not now, when you are more comfortable with life. But deal with it; if you don't, you may be dealing with it at a most unexpected time. ...and in a most unexpected fashion.

09/16/2001 * || send comment