Before and after

24th April, 2017   |    By K   |    3 min read

There are certain events in our lives that often make us feel like there is a before and an after – defining moments, which often get treated as detrimental milestones. A house fire, a family or relationship breakdown, a car accident – moments when the rest of the world seems to cease in existence, and once it begins again, time is considered a breakdown of before and after. “That was before the fire; that was pre-divorce; that was after Dad died”. Moments that feel like they need to redefine everything. For me, everything became pre- and post- house fire. Seven years on, we still have discussions about stuff that was ‘before the fire’ or ‘after the fire’, particularly in the context of someone looking for a particular utensil that we never re-brought afterwards – but that’s okay.

Psychology studies have shown that only a small number of individuals experience serious, long term impacts after major disasters and similar situations – this ability to bounce back is called resilience. Human kind is incredibly good at it, and we demonstrate it through our survival of wars, disasters, death, break ups, divorce. Being resilient doesn’t mean things don’t hurt. You need to take time to process what’s going on, and adapt to the new world around you. I remember I didn’t cry after our house fire, or after a close family friend suddenly passed away, or when we thought my Pop was going to pass away – I was just processing everything that was going on, and the tears came later. Some things may still be the same as before, but some things may have changed. This takes time to get used to – and that’s okay. Reshuffling isn’t necessarily bad; it enables us to reprioritise, and gives us an opportunities for new growth. Sometimes the start of something new is what we need to get going in life again.

If need be, get help. Talk to people, hug people, spend time with people – whatever you need to do to help you adapt. I know that sometimes, everyone wants to just be too involved and is there to talk to, but you don’t think they will get it or you just aren’t ready – that’s okay too. Take your time, but you can’t just withdraw forever. Sometimes seeing a counsellor after a major event is a good way to just vent everything that’s going on in a way that may be more understood. Make sure that doesn’t mean you get involved in things that aren’t going to benefit you in the long term (turning to alcohol or drugs isn’t going to solve much in the long run). It’s okay for things to change – you are more resilient than you think. It will be okay .


Also check the related topics:  

Traumatic incidents Coping with grief

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