Crisis mode

My Ireland move is only a few short weeks away and I can honestly say, I have never felt so terrified and equally excited in my life. It’s like sitting in a plane for hours and hours and shortly before you are set to arrive, you hit the worst turbulence and you drop a few meters. You lose your ability to think clearly, your fingers digging into the arm rest and you close your eyes, hoping it will be soon over. You’re trying your best not to get sick, drop after drop and it seems like it is going on forever. And then it stops. Like nothing ever happened, you get to continue your TV program, excited for your arrival, thrilled to be getting out of your seat soon. I’ve been flip-flopping between these emotions for weeks now.

There is so many things that I still need to get done, so many things I know I need to do and so many more things that I successfully have pushed away for quite some time now. See, change is difficult, because it consumes everything, suffocating every ounce of you, it’s like rapidly dropping meter for meter until you finally reach your destination. Naturally, I’ve been in crisis mode for quite some time now and it feels like there is no rhyme or reason to my crisis mode, but here is what I learned about myself:

  • Existential fear.

I am consumed with existential fear. Mentally, I am constantly preparing for the worst-case-scenario (which, let’s be honest, in my case wouldn’t be so bad, it would just mean living out of my suitcase for a while longer than I anticipated). But when you’re in crisis mode and you give into your deepest darkest fear, it can be soul-crushing. So instead of giving into fear, I just allow myself to work through it. I explain to myself, like I was a two year old, that whatever may happen, that I can figure it out. I remind myself that I am a strong, independent, adventurous woman who has been through some crazy experiences and that at the end, I always was alive and well. Also, watching whale videos on youtube helps a lot.

  • I don’t know how to stop.

It’s weird, really, you’d think that the first crisis response one has to any situation would be to just stop what they’re doing. But somehow this ability has skipped a generation, so when I am faced with something difficult, I will go on, until I physically and mentally can’t anymore. You may think this horrible, but I learnt to use it to my advantage. If I am working on something I work until I physically can’t anymore, until I reach a turning point, until my mind decides it’s done and then I move on to the next thing. See, sometimes it may seem like there is never an end to a madness, but the reality is that there is always an ending and that you know best, where to stop, as long as you allow yourself to listen to your own mind and body. I used to eat a quarter a gallon of ice cream no problem, until I learnt that physically I’d get sick (let’s not even get started with what those consumed calories do to your body). This is also how I learnt hat I have a lactose-intolerance to dairy products in the US. I am happy to report that the same intolerance only rarely visits me in Europe, but then again I have never eaten as much ice cream in Europe as I have in my late teens in the US, that says a lot about me, doesn’t it?

  • Sleep.

It’s a safety mechanism, really. When I am in crisis mode I sleep like I am sleeping beauty. I could sleep day and night and still feel like I haven’t slept enough. I dream vividly, I have crazy nightmares and on some days I sleep over 13 hours straight and still won’t wake up refreshed. The remedy here is to force myself not to sleep, which really feels counter intuitive. But when in crisis mode a daily strict schedule is really what I need. So I get up every day at 6, I have breakfast with A, we both head to A’s work where I don’t have the opportunity to sleep all day or waste away binge-watching whatever trash TV there is. Thankfully A’s office is big enough for us both to work in, but not big enough for me to take a nap on the office sofa.

My point is that in life you will have to go through some horrible horrible times, lots of air plane drops while hoping you will make it safely to your final destination. During those times we sadly are prone not to treat ourselves nicely, we push and pull and destroy who we are, just to get through a crisis and sadly sometimes one crisis hits another and you may be in a crisis-slump for years. Believe me, I get it, I feel like I’ve been in a crisis mode on and off for the past year but I also know that sometimes it seems senseless. But if my crisis has taught me anything, it’s that I can learn how to deal with myself in the worst possible situations. I used this opportunity to understand myself and although I am still flip-flopping between dropping to my death and landing safely, I know that whatever may happen, I will be okay.

It is important to remind yourself that you are strong and beautiful and independent and marvellous. In crisis mode we may not hear it often enough and we certainly don’t tell ourselves often enough, but we are just that: Magnificent human beings, adaptable, versatile and always striving to do better for ourselves, the ones we love and our future. A crisis mode has a purpose, it has a reason, it has a cause and a solution and whether you know it or not, you have the tools to fix it, because you are amazing.

So, whatever crisis you are faced with today and every day, never let a good crisis go to waste (Winston Churchill).

Me in Iceland in July of 2014 – a few days before moving to HK, a.k.a. pre-HK-crisis-mode

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