This Thursday morning I left the house bright and early so I could play a round of golf before heading in to the office. I like doing this. I get to the course before anyone else. It is probably the best part of the day. Too bad it is so darn tough getting out of bed. Anyway, there I was, Thursday, heading to the course just as the sun was beginning to rise. At least it should have been. It was only after driving for fifteen minutes that I realized the fog was so thick I could not see the sun rising, in fact, I was having a difficult time seeing the road. A thought occurred. How would I ever be able to see a golf ball flying through the air, never mind the target I was supposedly headed for? I know, some of you are thinking I should have noticed the fog before I left the house. Hey, give me some credit here. I did get up awfully early. The brain does not necessarily function that well, that early. So there I was. In the fog. Hitting towards imaginary targets. Actually hit the first green in regulation. Perhaps I should golf in the fog more often. Around and about the fourth hole I felt the start of a niggling head ache. No problem. But the other strange thing was that it felt like my vision was going. Oh no. I was having a stroke. Out in the middle of a dense fog, on a golf course, by myself. All sorts of scenarios attacked my fragile brain. And then I realized that, due to the fog, the humidity in the air was actually fogging up my glasses. It was truly amazing how well I could see when I cleaned my glasses. What a relief. I was going to live to see another day. I could again concentrate on golf. Although that didn’t help. Something was wrong with my game. It was frustrating. I finally gave up. Went to work.
People experiencing mind numbing stress, after being hit by the storm (see last week’s blog), often find themselves in the foggy middle. After having come to the realization that their life has changed, after having experienced loss and not having a healthy way to cope, people feel the way I did on that golf course. In a fog, feeling emptiness, confusion and chaos. Not sure which way to go. Nothing is clear. They need to find direction. Find the target. Find new coping methods. Gain a new understanding of how life has changed.
The challenges for many people continue. The flood waters are not diminishing their on-slaught of homes, fields, businesses, and communities. Excessive moisture has ruined the chances, for many, to produce a crop, to take advantage of higher commodity prices.
The Chinese symbol for crisis consists of two words. Danger and opportunity. Although it is very difficult to comprehend any type of opportunity when you are in the foggy middle, that opportunity may well come. Through a process of “finding” yourself, through gaining new perspectives, focusing on solutions, adjustments can be made.
A good start to accomplishing this change is to find your supports. They may include family, peers, clergy, co-workers. Perhaps you need the services of a professional such as a doctor, mental health worker or a counsellor. You can avail yourself of help lines such as the Manitoba Farm and Rural Support Services. Talking helps. I know. I have been there. There is help and there is hope, Make it a good one.
Go to www.ruralsupport.ca to find further information on stress management. The resources include pamphlets entitled Hit by the Storm, The Foggy Middle and On Firm Ground.