The World Turns Upside Down Sometimes

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

So, here I am walking around, completely oblivious to reality and POOF! My world is upside down. I’m sure it’s happened to you too…hasn’t it? Please say it has, I don’t want to be unique. The world-flipping event can have to do with disease, career, marriage, children or some other random thing that can’t be predicted.

Honestly, I believe I’ve had at least one of each. When it happens, my first reaction is to be totally dumbfounded. That doesn’t last too long I’m sorry to say. I always have a thought or an opinion that is dying to be released. Sometimes, what comes out is simply “I’m sad.” Other times it might be something a lot more volatile. I try to keep those to myself if I can.

There is the inevitable feeling of being kicked in the stomach. The desire to sink into the floor and just vanish. I might even have the idea that I need to be put in a coma until things work themselvesout. None of these things ever happen. I’m stuck in the upside down world, like it or not.

For those of you lucky ones out there that have never had their worlds turned upside down, here’s an experiment for you: Find a mirror that is at least 1 ft by 1 ft in size. Hold it in your hands, mirror side up at waste level. When you look down, you should see your ceiling. Okay – got that? Now, without looking anywhere but in the mirror, start walking. Don’t cheat and look at the floor or walls. Look only in the mirror at the the ceiling. You may find yourself stepping over door frames as you walk on the ceiling. You will avoid running into light fixtures. But, then suddenly you slam up against something that you don’t see in the mirror. What was that?? Oh – the sofa. Walking in this way is hard. This is sort of what it’s like when your world turns upside down. You think you know what you are up against, but then you don’t.

What do I do when my world turns upside down? I pray. First and foremost praying is the most important part. I have to give it up to God to deal with. After that, I start contacting my support system. Friends are so helpful while I’m waiting for God to do His thing. There may be friends that are unavailable, but with a big enough system, someone will be there to talk to me. God may even use those people to help me through my upside down world.

I need to take things in very small pieces. When my world is upside down, I have to break things down into manageable bits. I can easily become overwhelmed if I don’t. I deal only with those things that absolutely need my attention. I can hand off some things to friends if necessary. Other things can be put off until the world stabilizesagain.

I don’t isolate. I reach out. I will not huddle in a corner and lose the battle before it begins. I find positive distractions like keeping to a schedule even though I may want to just stay in bed and cover my head. Forcing normalcy provides stability and eases the pain.

Just like any other natural disaster, world-flipping events need to be prepared for. I have to have a plan ready. For me that plan looks like this:

1. Pray and give the event to God. He’s much better at dealing with that kind of stuff anyway.

2. Find a friend to provide support and encouragement. Let’s face it, we all need someone in our corner when the world flips on us.

3. Filter responsibilities and take on ONLY the next absolutely necessary things…one at a time. Let friends help with some things. Put off everything that can be put off – at least until equilibrium returns.

4. Distractions are good. Positive actions need to be made. Do something like meet someone for lunch. Sort out the unknown contents of the junk closet. Do something that is fun and takes your mind off the world for a little while. Read…take a brain vacation.

I don’t know if anyone identifies with this – but world flipping does happen. It is totally unpleasant. It does pass…eventually.

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