The Stages Of Recovery

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Hurricane Harvey: Notes from the Storm

All through college I assumed the 4 stages of recovery from stress were:
  • Junk Food
  • Chocolate
  • Caffeine
  • Crash and sleep
It turns out that scientific types and psychologist have developed a somewhat different way of staging recovery from a stressful events – they would tell you that the 4 stages are:
  • Heroic
  • Honeymoon
  • Disillusionment
  • Reconstruction
Phase 1: Heroic
During this phase emotions and energy run high. This is the stage where search and rescue happens. Lots of activity, lots of adrenaline and people are surviving on little sleep.
Phase 2: Honeymoon
When the immediate danger has passed there is often a honeymoon phase when everyone is appropriately celebrating all of the great work that went on during the emergency and there can be a sense of euphoria that we all came through. This is a time when spirits are high and everyone is happy to have made it through and moods are generally elevated.
Phase 3: Disillusionment
This is the time when the daily grind of the long road to recovery starts to wear on everyone’s nerves.  For most people there is the inevitable “crash”  and it is not uncommon during this phase for many people to experience high levels of frustration and irritability. While these reactions are normal this is a very important time for self-care and for extra attention. This is a time when some people start to exhibit some more troubling signs of long-term stress that may benefit from medical intervention and/or counseling.
Phase 4: Reconstruction
This is the period that many people describe getting their “second wind” – they are beginning to see the end in sight and spirits start to lift again as the goal line starts to get closer.
While not everyone experiences stress in the same way or necessarily in the same order, the pattern described above is pretty common for a lot of people. It is important as we have been talking about to pace yourself and take care of yourself as you move through these natural phases or – like in the cartoon above – you may find yourself succumbing to a stress related illness and not be able to continue to be present to take care of those people at home and at work that are counting on you.
Vince Lombardi, one of the greatest coaches of all time, famously said,
“Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.”
Our work requires our commitment to be part of a team and for our team to be successful we each need to take our turn on the playing field and in resting.
Remember,when you are resting, you are helping the team by preparing to come in a relieve those that are tired. We need the ones in the game and the ones resting on the side-lines equally in order to win.

If you appreciated this post, you might also appreciate: The Healing Partnership


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