Coping with a major setback or trauma
Note, this article, Coping with a major setback or trauma, also carries professional advice on this topic – below. In between I waffle a bit but it all helps to clear the system.
Probably like a great many of us, I’ve had a number of setbacks in my life – the loss of a job through redundancy, loss of my parents, the loss of one of my younger sisters, immediately come to mind.
Recently (July this year) I was reminded again how it feels to receive a sudden setback. This is when I lost this website and the prospect of getting it back was looking bleak.
A big mistake
As one of my favourite TV detectives, Monk, would say, ‘Here’s what happened!’
I was in the website control panel and found my hosting company had flagged up a new update for WordPress – the program I use to build this site. I had however already installed this particular update through the program itself and so didn’t need to do it again.
Well I was in the mood for a bit of housekeeping and noticing the red cross to the right of the update link, I did what I thought was a perfectly reasonable move – I clicked on it to delete it.
The message telling me this decision was ‘Irreversible’ if I went ahead didn’t really register in context with what I thought I was doing. Anyhow, that done, I moved on to looking at other areas of the control panel as I planned to do.
Now to cut a bit of a story short. A while later, with the Some Inspiration site already open on a tab, I tried opening one page, then another, and received a 404 error page each time.
I was wondering what the hell was going on. Actually it was more like a frenetic John Cleese in Faulty Towers reaction.
What’s the worst that could happen?
It was now dawning on me that I hadn’t just deleted an update, I’d actually deleted the site. I was in a state of shock and disbelief. All that work and effort (nearly a year of data, regular articles/posts), not just by myself but by others too, was now possibly gone.
An email from the host site confirmed my suspicion – yeah it was deleted alright. I went into panic mode for a while, scurrying around the control panel to see if I could restore it in any way quickly. It got me nowhere.
The best I could do in the circumstances was to attempt to collect my thoughts, slow it down, breath normal, try and accept what had now already happened more calmly.
Now half in panic mode I opened a support ticket through the hosting site. Some hours later came the response and it was sounding bleak.
Meanwhile I needed to tell my partner.
I met up with her in our living room. I sat down, put my head in my hands, and told her what I had just done. ‘I’ve just lost my site’, I said. ‘What!’ she said, ‘You’ve lost your sight!? You can’t see?’
‘No!’ I said, ‘I’ve probably lost the website!’ ‘Oh’, she gasped, ‘I thought for a minute you had lost your eyesight.’ That aside, she could see I was in a daze and we quietly talked it through what had happened – and talking it out certainly helped.
What helped even more was her initial comment about my eyesight. It had helped to put it all into context. It got me thinking, ‘So what I’ve probably lost a website. In the worst case scenario I can start again and rebuild it! Had I actually lost my eyesight, now that would be a crisis!’ This actually helped me to cope over what seemed like an endless weekend and some.
Backups and Gremlins
Fortunately I had two (partial) site backups for the site and after further pain with these files getting corrupted numerous times on the 4 hour upload for each – the gremlins were having a field day and it was touch and go for a time – I eventually got there, with the site mostly restored up to the end of June – losing July posts as a result.
As you can imagine there was huge relief on my part. The site was in a bit of a cosmetic mess but it could now, comparatively speaking, be easily fixed – and I have to say, in context, another big ‘Thankyou’ to Daniel, one of the technicians at HostPapa for his perseverance with this.
To be honest, for me it wasn’t all a case of trumpets and fanfare and a ‘Praise be!’ though. What surprised me was that a part of me was still feeling knocked back, even getting geared up for a new start (and the excitement that may bring), so it was an odd recovery as my feelings hadn’t fully caught up. I’m over the Moon at this point however.
Seven pointers to coping with a major setback or trauma
On reflection, my coping method in this situation was helped by getting the event into context with what is of real importance to me – i.e. my health.
It certainly helped to talk to my partner pretty quickly about it. It helped to have a possible solution in hand to the problem – even though I wasn’t entirely confident regarding the solution.
It helped to get back into what one would call a ‘normal’ routine with other things – to establish the rest of my world hadn’t completely fallen apart. I found my regular workouts and meditation also helped me to deal with it.
I’d heard of Elizabeth Scott and it just so happened she had an item on the matter of coping with a crisis or trauma. She’s a wellness coach and counsellor.
I’ve abbreviated some of her views that follow here so if interested follow this Verywell.com link to get to the full item:
1. Focus on what’s important
She says, ‘When dealing with the aftermath of a crisis, it’s important to focus your resources. Just getting through the day is an accomplishment, so paring down your responsibilities in order to just do that should be key…’
2. Find support
She says, ‘… Let your loved ones lighten your load by helping with tasks or providing a supportive ear.
‘You can feel better from receiving the support, and others will probably feel better by being able to do something to help. That’s what friends do best.’
3. Reduce your stress response
‘When you experience a crisis … your body’s stress response may become triggered and stay triggered, keeping you in a state of constant stress.
‘It may be difficult to feel “relaxed” in the midst or aftermath of a crisis, but you can practice stress relief techniques [such as breathing deeply, meditation] that can reduce the intensity of your stress levels… and feel more resilient in the face of what comes next.’
4. Process your feelings
I find this of interest as I keep a journal anyhow.
She says, ‘Whether you write in your journal, talk to a good friend, or consult a therapist, it’s important to put words to your experience in order to better integrate it.
‘As you move through the crisis, you may be tempted to ignore your feelings for fear that you’ll “wallow” too much and get “stuck,” but processing your feelings allows you to move through them and let them go.’
5. Take care of yourself
Really important this: ‘In order to avoid adding to your problems, be sure to eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, exercise regularly, and do other things to keep your body functioning at its best.
‘Also, try to do some things you normally enjoy… like seeing a movie, reading a good book, or gardening, in order to relieve some of the stress that you’re going through.’
6. Be patient with yourself
Very easy to get angry at oneself or others:
‘Sometimes people who are dealing with a crisis or trauma wonder if their negative reactions are a sign of weakness, or if they’re handling things the “right” way… be patient with your feelings and reactions to things.
It’s natural to feel “not yourself” after a major—or even minor—trauma, and accepting yourself and your reactions will help you feel better and process things more easily.‘
7. Seek help if you need to
Fortunately my crisis wasn’t that traumatic:
‘If you experience intrusive thoughts and feelings, have recurrent nightmares, or are unable to move through your life the way you need to because of your reaction to the trauma, even after several weeks, you may want to talk to a professional about your situation…’
I’m very happy to say that I can place this item on a fully functioning website that remains intact and hopefully continues to be of benefit to people visiting it – like yourself! 😉
I should probably also say, with prevention being better than cure, in my case I need to ‘backup’ regularly (don’t I know that now) – and probably to read more carefully ‘what it says on the tin’ before throwing something in the garbbage in the name of good housekeeping. Well something like that…
Phew! Good to be alive!