How to cope with a crisis call.

One can never say that you are prepared for everything that can happen in life. We can do our best to be well-adjusted and stand strong in faith in God. However, there are many things that happen in life that remind us of how fragile we really are. Usually, these reminders come in the form of an unexpected phone call after an accident or traumatic event.

Once you receive the crisis phone call you can’t even start to think what will unfold in the next few minutes, days, or months to come. Here are a few guidelines that can help you to deal with traumatic news.

As the sad or tragic news unfolds you need to simply breathe. It is a natural reaction to hold your breath, but breathing will help you to think clearer. It is a good idea to sit for a moment and take time to process the information you just received. The first priority is always safety. Your safety and the safety of the people in your care are very important to prevent things from getting worse.

This is a good time to call a friend for support. You are going to need practical and emotional support to deal with the emotional chaos that will follow. This emotional chaos is like a starburst of feelings and memories of past trauma, including death, losses, violence, or other assaults. You can feel more than one emotion at the same time.

Dealing with a traumatic experience right from the onset can be overwhelming, especially when it is the death of a loved one. The more unexpected or violent the death was the more the traumatic effects accumulate. You might have to deal with fear for your safety as well as the trauma that the people around you are going through.

This is a good time to act slowly. Don’t jump to conclusions or become hyperactive. Do one thing at a time. Take small steps to be practical and to find hope. This is not a time to make huge life-changing decisions. If you make life changes in the immediate aftermath of a traumatic event you might regret the outcome of these choices because you didn’t consider all your options and the long-term effect of your decisions.

Find ways that you are comfortable with expressing your thoughts and feelings. Over time the posttraumatic stress reactions should diminish. If you find that you keep on struggling with the aftermath of the traumatic experience it is a good idea to seek professional advice.

I help my clients on their journey to wholeness by listening to the story of their experiences. As they share their pain and heartache, we find ways for them to recover and become whole and well again. There is never a one-approach-fits-all, but together we find unique solutions. This is a safe space to talk about the issues of faith and spiritual questions that arise when bad things happen in life.

This article is written by Dr Barbara Louw for the Wellness4Wholeness blog. You can find the blog or make an appointment with her at