By Sunny Simon
Sometimes life hits us hard with a negative event throwing us off balance. In return, we react, we adjust, we recover. But what happens when an individual is clobbered by two major life issues in one year? What is the process for getting up, fighting back and returning to normalcy?
Recently, a client of mine learned to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and rebuild. For Rhonda, it started in August when her long-term job with a major financial institution was made redundant. Walking out the door on her last day with her pink slip and severance package in hand, she stayed positive. In fact, she did something quite wise, Rhonda decided to take a breather. She deferred our work on her job search until late October.
When I caught up with my client to schedule our first session, she answered the phone in a calm professional manner. It was what she said next that left me with no words. Rhonda explained she was sitting in a hotel room with her husband and two dogs because her home had been burned to the ground in the Northern California Tubbs fire.
There you have it folks, two major life events mere weeks apart, both traumatic, both requiring emotional and financial recovery. Where to start? After processing the initial shock of dual events, Rhonda drew on her resilient nature and began to design a plan. Although highly independent, she knew she must ask for and accept help from friends, and agencies. The family made plans to move out of the hotel and into the home of a distant cousin.
After some counseling and joining a support group, Rhonda and her spouse began finding glimmers of that illusive silver lining. Now unencumbered by a mortgage payment and Rhonda’s job, the two began discussions about fulfilling a dream and moving to Colorado. Warming to their new found freedom their burden became lighter as they anticipated positive psychological changes.
I suspect at one point these two individuals experienced situational depression. Who wouldn’t? Rhonda told me they left their home mere minutes before the fire consumed it.
People do recover from trauma and looking back Rhonda reports having a stronger appreciation for life. Certainly those two events stacked one upon the other were serious, but change often provides new opportunities.
Resilience can be learned, but the life lesson here is don’t try to go it alone. Whenever a traumatic event impacts your life, ask for help, seek counseling and as you work through recovery train your brain to see the positive. Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching and the author of the blog www.lifeonthesunnyside.net