Life is sometimes about loss. Bad things outside of your control can happen, or you can make bad choices at critical moments, which can have a big impact. The worst-case scenario of multiple, sudden losses is a rare occurrence, but possible. You can lose a career track job, or suffer a business failure that you had everything invested in, or a costly divorce and loss of custody of your children. Or all of the above a in a short time. This would leave anyone overwhelmed and reeling. What to do?
- Prioritize- go into survival mode. If the life you have known has come to an abrupt halt, this is a crisis, and you must respond accordingly, not stay the course, and deny, and continue operating the same way you did when you had the resources to which you were accustomed .
- Gather and take inventory of your assets and supplies, and resources. See what you have to work with. How much do you have in the way of cash, groceries, clothing, and hygiene supplies, and where are you going to stay?
- Who can assist you and support you? You will need help getting back on your feet. This is not something you can or should so alone. You may need assistance from the state, at least on a temporary basis. You may also need professional assistance from a mental health counselor to help deal with your situation, keep perspective, and maintain morale.
- How did you lose everything? Did you hit bottom due to addiction to drugs or alcohol ? See bullet point one- the top priority will be sobriety. You need to get into a good treatment program and get clean and sober before anything else. AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) is an outstanding recovery program, free to all who have a desire to stop drinking. NA (Narcotics Anonymous ) is the similar organization for addiction to drugs. Referring to bullet point four, you will also meet plenty of people who can help you and support you.
- Have hope. Loss is a form of change. Don’t despair, because people come back from major life changes, possibly stronger than ever. Seek out the stories of people who have suffered loss and overcome adversity for inspiration and motivation. The Pursuit of Happiness, a movie based the story of Christopher Gardner , is very inspiring. He was homeless with his young son at one point in his life, and today is a successful millionaire, entrepreneur, and motivational speaker.
- Look at how you got there. After the crisis has passed and your life is stabilized, take a long hard look at yourself, your choices, and what got you to a place of profound loss. Don’t repeat a harmful pattern of behavior.
Commentary by Dr. Carlo Carandang:
When you hit bottom, you have a choice to make- you have to decide to live or die. Choosing to die is the easy way out…choosing to live after you hit bottom requires work. But if you choose life, the good news is that you have nowhere to go but up. Focus on one day at a time, placing one foot in front of the other. But you have to work every day to get out of the hole you are in. Do the basic stuff to get back into the swing of things…eat, rest, groom yourself, and keep having a reason to get out of bed everyday. Overcoming your struggles will only make you more resilient, and more able to deal with adversity effectively.