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What is a crisis?

A crisis is not about what is happening but rather how a person reacts to what is happening. Bad things happen all the time but not everyone reacts badly to every situation or our entire society would be in a constant state of crisis.

The only person that can have an opinion on whether or not they are in a crisis is that person who is experiencing it. Just because I may be okay with my grandmother passing away does not mean that my sister is okay with it. That’s her experience, not mine.

Think about substance abuse and addiction. Rock bottom is not the same for everyone either. We often hear the phrase, “They have to hit rock bottom in order for them to realize they need help.” Well, that may be true for some but not for all and at the same time, rock bottom can range from a personal revelation to being homeless on the street.

If you sit in a drug and alcohol group, you know the one where you are supposed to talk about your feelings in a circle; someone’s rock bottom will be the worst whereas someone else’s rock bottom won’t seem that bad in comparison. Does that mean that the person whose rock bottom isn’t that bad doesn’t deserve treatment? Absolutely not.

I once had a client who was in his mid-thirties, had two children, a great job, a nice house, and a really supportive wife. He was in a car accident and broke a few bones and he just did what the doctor told him to do and that was to take Oxycontin. A few months later, he realized he was taking more than prescribed, and found it hard to withdrawal. He mentioned that when he was out of his prescription he would lay around the house feeling miserable, not able to get out of bed. His son asked him to play ball one day and he couldn’t. That’s when he knew he needed help. He didn’t lose his job, he didn’t lose his marriage, kids, or house, but he felt that he was in a state of crisis knowing that he did not want to continue down that path. On the outside, his rock bottom didn’t seem so bad right? But in reality, to him, it really was.

I hope that you can remember this if you begin to experience a crisis or know someone who is experiencing a crisis. Don’t be so quick to jump to conclusions or make comparisons. We are all unique in every situation, crisis or not.

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