how do you respond emotionally to crisis?

In ALL, LIFE OBSERVATIONS by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

I asked this a few years ago of some of my friends, or at least I think I did.  I asked them to answer a few questions for me so I could more accurately portray them in Straight Up and Dirty.  I begged for specifics, not some general useless crap using words like "sad" or "shut down."  I wanted to know how they lived it, their panicked moments.  I learned that one friend, to gain control of situations, makes about ten lists a day and constantly revises them.  She gets upset if the piece of paper on which she started the list is too small and she runs out of space.  I love quirks like this.  It’s why I love making new friends.  I have a new friend who is terrified of peaches.  Genuinely scared.  She says some people are vegetarians.  She is a texturtarian, terrified of certain textures.  She couldn’t read James and The Giant Peach.  "I can’t even look at the cover!"  It’s adorable to me, the weirdness in people.  She went home and asked her husband to name some of his quirks.  She couldn’t think of any, which left her mildly distraught.  "I guess you’re my quirk," he responded, which kinda made me love him.  I wonder how such quirky people withstand crisis, how they navigate it emotionally. 

I think I pick stuff out of my ears, inventing skin or bumps, or anything. 
I pick my scalp. 
I basically pick anything, but not casually.  I really pick, like get in there good.  And uh, bad. 
I rip the edges of all my nails then peel them off. 
I "ride the train," a term used to describe when someone furiously shakes their knees, or bounces a foot, as if the motion signifies they’re riding a runaway train. 
I lose weight.  It’s the one time in my life when it happens effortlessly.  I lose all flavor for fat, for fried, for milkshakes even.  Nothing can taunt me.  I’m far too anxious. 
I don’t match or care what I’m wearing. 
I shower but don’t blow dry or wear makeup.  Perfume is frivolous.  And when I’m having a crisis, that’s how everything that once seemed important feels: frivolous.  Reservations and calling people back.  Emails and blog entries.  Chapters.  All of it doesn’t matter when something "big" happens.  At least it’s big to me.  When I’m responding to a crisis, it happens quietly at first, sunken.  I never cry when you’d expect.  When my doctor told me my pregnancy wasn’t a good one, that I’d need a D&C the next day, I didn’t cry.  I just blinked and went silent.  Phil couldn’t believe it, thought it was strength.  He honestly once said to me, "You freak out about little things, but when the big stuff happens, you’re a rock."  And I laughed, realizing how easy it is for people to confuse blinding fear with strength. 

Doesn’t it always seem the quiet people who never know what to say, who choose their words so carefully, who rarely speak, always seem to grab our attention when they do?  Really holding our attention, as we listen to their careful words, certain there’s something profound in there.  Usually, they’re just shy and awkward and fear they can’t add much to the situation.   Except in movies.  In movies, the one who never talks really is always wise and omniscient.

Once my silence wears thin, and things begin to sink in, I talk it over with anyone who’ll listen.  It’s my way of getting it out.  Each person thinks I’m turning to them first, certain I wouldn’t confide such details to just anyone.  They’re wrong.  I need to get it out.  I need to hear the advice that matches what I actually want to do.  Maybe I need people to feel sorry for me, to get angry for me, to tell me not to worry, to reassure me that I’ll be okay.  Then, when I’m too tired to repeat my current crisis to one more person, I write it all out and try to determine what I can actually control.  When it finds its way onto the page, it’s there for problem solving.  Everything before that moment is talk, helping to form the theories of my next move. 

How do you respond emotionally to crisis?


  1. several days pass. i wait until i'm alone. i let an odd-numbered amount of tears well and fall, and i cry, alone.

    which is where i've found myself tonight. none of it makes any sense. there is no name for that feeling. there shouldn't be.

  2. I just wrote a long response and my computer lost it! So I'll just say I loved this post…I also respond to crisis by freaking out on little things and becoming 'a rock' in my 'blinding fear'… love that people think I'm a rock 'till I start sharing with anyone who'll listen! (too) ;)

  3. 1) Call my dad and freak out, wanting him to fix it but also biting his head off for trying to give me advice because 'I just need to complain!'
    2) Distance myself from people. A coworker/friend noted this once. He said that I seem harsh because I will withdraw, or act like I don't want people to talk to me when they do. I pretty much thought, 'yes, and what is the problem?'
    3) I eat like there's no tomorrow. Weird stuff, too. I'm stressed about my senior paper right now, and yesterday I ate a plain tortilla with salt sprinkled on it. Then I decided it was too much salt and put strawberry jam on the last bite. The other week I ordered a pizza with steak, BBQ sauce, and french fries on it. Ate three huge pieces at once. That was a 20'' pizza.
    4) I obsess about my home. Buy scented oil refills. Clear off my desk. Line up my sheets so the folds create right angles and parallel lines.
    5) Pretend there is no crisis. I like to curl up in bed with TV, and honestly, when I'm very upset, I can't peel myself off the matress. I think about it, visualize myself doing it, but stay horizontal.
    6) Talk to my cat. She crawls up on my stomach when I'm laying in bed and we hang out.
    7) Sometimes my body just shuts down. Sleep as a defense mechanism, etc.
    8) If it's a crisis that seems noteworthy, I often secretly revel in the attention I get and feel kind of resentful if I don't get enough.

  4. I actually sink into it very deeply . I stay literally still like a turtle with no emotions left.
    I drive the car without seeing the road …
    I stop shouting or getting angry if things does not go the way I want.
    I read twice or more any written words without understanding a single one of them.
    It's like my brain is compeltely switched off and I can do anything without realising it.
    I instantly feel the phisical need to stay in contact with the nature and in fact I start gardening a lot , actually trying to collect my flying thoughts…

    I avoid eye contact or useless talks with anybody, especially the dearest ones. I fear that they can read the pain in me and this is something I cannot bare. I usually try my best to hide my inner desperate emotions as much as possible, falling into a stunned silence. Silence inside and outside of me. As the time passes and I figure out a possible ''positive side'' to the ''crises'' happening to me, I start opening up , mostly to ''strangers''… It's like a flow pouring out of me . I start talking all of a sudden , not really to ''the selected strangers'' but mostly to myself.. after this process, I'm ready to confide in those who truly cares about me. But only after this… at this very moment tears start and keep flowing out of me exactly as the words…then I'm over it or at least I have found a reason to stop ''mourning''…
    I'm just deep into one a very tough crisis …took the hint of this entries to release some of the pain I feel inside into this big ''womb''.
    Thanks for this opportunity…

  5. I smoke! Cigarettes and pot. Drink beer. Don't eat. Cry much. Bring myself to the point where I am so physically, mentally and emotionally wrung out, there is nothing but the truth left. I do a lot of the things you mentioned, too. Train-riding. No makeup, because that would be silly – the face is red, swollen, raw. Washed in tears every few hours. Oh, and I get that feeling in my stomach like I've been vomiting all night long.

  6. Hey, this is a good one! I've been following your stories for ages and I absolutely loved you book! I'm writing now because this is a m of c for me and you made me stop and think…well…I'm more silent but when I talk I need to analyse every single tiny emotional detail; I lose interest in things that I normally love…cooking, reading, staying with friends…I become still, I don't want to wear it out, I don't feel like walking, cleaning, doing anything…And I do not want to be cuddled, but I want sex, but only if it's my partner starting it…weird, isn'it?

  7. With crises, big or small, for some reason I can´t handle other people's sympathy, or pity, or basically anything any decent person says to you to try to comfort you. I don't want to hear any of it. I'm quiet about it too, for a long time. People have also said to me, "You're taking this really well…" And then usually right then is when I burst uncontrolably into tears. I just take the time to be quiet about it, to work over it enough myself, to get where a point where I feel stable and like I'm going to be ok before I talk to anyone about it. I suppose I just don't like having other people see me get very emotional, no matter who they are, or how much they honestly want to help. I try to find the strength to deal with it on my own, not from other people. Because I guess ultimately we do have to deal with (most of) these crises on our own.

  8. I'm a scalp picker too. Whenever my boyfriend sees my hand hanging out at the back of my head he knows to ask what's wrong.

  9. When I'm really troubled/stressed I search for inspirational quotes. I try to find someone who said something in the past in just the right way where it hits my heart and helps me find peace. Millions of people have lived through what I feel in those troubled moments and luckily some of those people were smart/interesting/quirky/profound enough to be recorded. Right now this is the one that is closest to my heart:

    You must not lose faith in humanity. Humanity is an ocean; if a few drops of the ocean are dirty, the ocean does not become dirty. – Ghandi

  10. pop zits on my financee… I hunt for them… I can be extremely messy and one day declare that we are pigs and ferociously clean. Not just wipe things down, tooth brush scrubbing, good will giving clean. My organization skills are beautiful and maddening to others… I am planning my wedding for 300+ people single handed while caring for my 15month old durning the day and attending three classes at night…which makes me create lists and "itineraries" that you wouldn't believe.

  11. I watch DVD's. Last time it was the last season of "Alias". Right now "Party of Five". I watch 3 or four episodes until I am so tired that I can finally go to sleep without tossing and turning. I completely fade out while watching, it's very comforting.

    If I can't sleep I get up in the middle of the night and start ironing. The heat, the sound, the movement is like going into ZEN-Mode.

    I lose weight, forget or don't get it when my body is hungry, I don't feel hunger pangs. A whole day can go by like this until late at night, when something like "What did I eat today… oh, nothing I guess… well, never mind" crosses my mind.

  12. I pick at the skin around my thumbnails to the point where they are raw. My husband gets sick looking at it but I have been doing it since I was a child. Someone once told me my thumbs will eventually fall off to scare me. It's just something I do when I'm nervous or there is a crisis I can't control.

  13. Wow. Apparently I to emotional crisis almost the exact same way as you! I've never heard it articulated before, it's very interesting!

  14. oh my gosh!! To the person who said, I drive the car without seeing the road. ME TOO!!! I get in the car, alone, no radio, quiet, just me and God, and I drive until we've had our time together, I ask for answers, or strength, or comfort, or compassion, or just count my own blessings, whatever. The next thing I know, I've driven someplace I'm unfamiliar with and wondering how I arrived there. I think theres a metaphor in there somehow.

    This of course, is after the actual crisis. When crisis is actually happening around me, I'm calm, cool, and collected on the outside, and numb on the inside.

  15. Present subject aside, I am fixated on the words "new friend" b/c you recently had a series of posts about how you "dumped" a bunch of "good friends". Why do you repeat this pattern of putting anybody who has lately come into your life into the "friend" category? Is there no in-between for you? i.e, "acquaintance"? Is this again setting youself up for failure when these "new people" disappoint you by not living up to your UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS???? Only so you can dump them too? Vicious cycle, wow….

  16. I run in place. I once set fire (accidentally) to my kitchen and though I have always thought of myself as calm and in control at that moment all I could do was run in place. My boyfriend had to come to the rescue and put the fire out. Thinking on it, I believe I do the same with emotional crisis. I run in one place while the scenery of life goes on behind me like a roadrunner cartoon.

  17. My mind takes over in a crisis, forcing a delay in emotional response. I become mute, but not with fear…I'm thinking, analyzing, anything but feeling. I didn't cry until the day after my father died, but I was up all night thinking about it. Everyone else in my family was in emotional hysterics; I was quietly handling the things that needed to be done. People generally like me around during a crisis because I don't lose my head. I recognize the importance of eventually expressing disturbing feelings, but I just can't do it at that moment.

  18. In crisis mode or just reality check mode I find myself just dealing really. I ride the waves as they come at me and like so many others I find other guilty pleasures to jump into head first.

    People constantly tell me that I handle emergency situations well, I'm not sure if I handle them well…I just handle them.

    I find myself letting it all out (emotions, tears, thoughts) in the shower. It's amazing how cleansing it feels (literally).

    Happy Thursday!

  19. don't eat. anything. nothing sounds good. I can go 2 or 3 days without eating anything and not even feel hungry. My normal most tempting foods turn my stomach. My roomate in college was the exact opposite. When her boyfriend broke up with her, she ate a whole pan of brownies in one sitting – then on to the pop tarts and chips. Incomprehensible to me.

    You know my life is going good when I am chubby, I eat when I am content. When I am anxious and upset – I look great (thin) but feel lousy. chubby/content or thin/anxious? – sadly the choice should be clear which you would rather prefer but for me it's the later.

  20. When I was single and had a lot of time on my hands because I was working from home, I would curl up in bed and sleep. Or, I would go to Loehmanns and buy things I didn't need.

    Now, I'm married and my husband is the worrying neurotic one. I find that makes me stronger. I seem to be able to see things clearer and come up with solutions or at least put things into perspective.

  21. If it's an emergency-crisis (e.g., the time I got locked in a small room in a library while the fire alarm was going off, or the time my sister accidentally poisoned herself with tylenol) I am very together and capable, even brutally so, until help arrives, at which point I have hysterics. When I was locked in the library, I remembered a place where a makeshift wall didn't quite meet the ceiling, so I climbed a bookshelf and slithered through to fall onto a desk on the far side. That office was also locked, but I could use the phone to call for help. When they came and got me, then I cried.

    When my sister inadvertently poisoned herself (apparently, they really mean it when they say don't take more than 8 in 24 hours; she took 11 or 12, all spaced apart), we were on the highway, and it was no fun, trying to balance the urgency of getting help with the urgency of her projectile illness. I was calm and hard to the point of cruelty ("Are you going to puke again? I am pulling over now, tell me when you are done. Are you done?"). I delivered her to the door of the E.R., parked my car, came inside, called our mom, and completely fell apart, helpless sobbing, the whole nine yards. My sister couldn't figure out why all the hospital people were asking her the suicide questions ("You say you took the painkillers because of a toothache. Was the pain … more than you could bear?"). They told her that I could come in and see her when I calmed down, and she was baffled.

    If it's an emotional crisis, I brood. My appetite vanishes. I become frighteningly thin – unattractively wasted, ribs instead of cleavage, cavernous collar bones. I dwell on it, turn it over from every angle. I prod an emotional wound the way you prod a physical one. I try to pray and freeze up, rant at God (which counts halfway as praying – at least we're speaking), or, if I'm fortunate, really manage. When I talk to people, though, I tell them little stories about how fine I am.

    It's funny, because I am completely different when I'm under stress that doesn't rise to the level of crisis – I gorge myself, I share my woes, and my spot decisions aren't very good.

  22. Im a picker/digger too.
    And apparently a scratcher now when Im stressed according to my doc ever since my kid was born…my skin just goes nuts with itch when Im nervous.
    A starver too. I forget to even drink water when Im in crisis (usually depressed) mode.
    I cry.
    I obsess, obsess, obsess.
    I talk about it non-stop looking for any type of reassurance from others that everything will be okay.
    I cant watch or listen to any sad movies or songs.
    I pluck my eyebrows too much or any other hair on my body I can find, then I squeeze the hair follicle out like it's a whitehead.

    *grosses herself out*

    at least i dont eat my zits. i had one gf who admitted she did this when she's under stress. Hehe. Nasty ho.

  23. Depends on the situation. If it's my crisis, I want to be alone, but if it's someone else's, I crave information and want so badly to help.

  24. This is kind of gross, but if it's a serious emotional crisis (such as finding out really disturbing personal news, such as, for example, that your SO is cheating on you), I go to the bathroom, a lot. Automatic response. After that initial not so pleasant phase, I call the people closest to me for support. I always lose weight because my appetite disappears, and while I shower, that's about it. The hair usually ends up in a pony tail and I don't make much effort about how I'm dressed. In fact, I'd rather not wear anything cute because I don't want to draw attention to myself.

    Finally, I force myself to keep functioning, because it's what I know I have to do. But inside I still feel really sad.

  25. It honestly depends on the crisis. In some situations, I talk to friends, maybe one or two that I really trust, but often that may be because I talk to them every day anyway. In some cases, I just write in a journal. Sometimes, I go to the gym. I may be more distant or I may be more close. It really all depends on the nature of the crisis.

  26. I'm kind of a freak when it comes to emergencies. I spend nights lying awake planning what I would do in different scenarious, such as a house fire or the death of my mother. I have plans for nearly everything. As changes occur in my life, I re-evaluate my plans and make the necessary changes. When a crisis arises, I run through my list of solutions, emergency contacts, whatever is relevant and come up with a quick plan. I immediately take charge of the situation and try to get everything under control.

    The best example is when my grandmother had a massive stroke a few years ago. I was 23 years old and in law school at the time. My mom called to tell me the news and she broke down before she could even get the words out. I immediately took charge. I calmed her down, discussed the fact that people recover from strokes all the time, reminded her of people we know who have made full recoveries from strokes, and helped her figure out what she needed to do to be able to get to the hospital (take time off of work, get my siblings out of school, etc.). I coordinated her travel from North Carolina to Michigan. I called the rest of my family members, gave them the news and put plans into place to get everyone to the hospital. In between calls, when I was alone, I cried — sobbed, even. But as soon as it was time for me to make another call, I took a deep breath and was right back in charge. As messy as things got over the next week that my family spent at the hospital, no one ever saw me cry. Of course, I broke down at night when I was alone, when there was no one else to take care of.

  27. 1. Obsessively check, check and re-check faucets, stove and front door when leaving house.
    2. While driving to work, obsessively wonder if I left the iron on even though I did not iron anything.
    3. Pick at scalp to pull out hair. The short "new" ones from previous picking sessions that are now about 2 inches long. Try to confine to not noticeable areas of scalp (method to my madness).
    4. Fall asleep on couch at 8 at night just so I am not awake to think about my crisis. Then awaken in the middle of night to ponder my crisis and dream up more crises that could result from present crisis.
    5. Stop eating properly but load up on cigarettes and coffee which fuels my nerves and exacerbates my anxiety.
    6. Stop washing hair regularly. Made myself do it this a.m. since it had been 5 days since last… gross, I know, but part of the sick lifestyle of the depressed/anxious. Also have to make myself take a shower.
    6. Currently in full crisis mode so I refilled Xanax prescription and took one this a.m.

    Yes, therapy might be the answer at this point. Some of you are judging me I am sure but I don't care… you see, that is part of it, too, you JUST DON'T CARE ANYMORE. Sigh.

  28. 1)Take control of situations; analyse the crap out of everything. (my skills at rationalizing everything and anything are unbelieveably good)
    2)Compartmentalize things. (aviod the issue?)
    3)Eat, I can never find the thing that staisfies my assumed hunger. (sweet, salty, protein, salad, friut, and anything else that could possibly be eaten)
    4)Act like nothing has happened/is happening. (The whole if I can't see you, you can't see me thing applies so nicely to crisises)
    5) When all else fails I go running with my music up loud. (of course the previous four things usually work well enough that I barely ever go running.) :)

  29. I respond similarly to the way you do Stephanie. Well, in terms of talking it out. I cry. I'm upset, and I usually stay home, and try not to let anyone outside of my world know what's happening. Sometimes I'll stay home from work- if I know that it would be pointless for me to go there anyway because I wouldn't be able to get anything done.

    My soon to be ex responds to something he doesn't like by shutting down. He apparently didn't like an incident that occurred lately so he just shut down. Didn't call me for two days-which is most unlike him. Now he's back to "not wanting to talk about it" and us being back where we were. I don't think so.

    Hence, my "soon-to-be ex."

  30. I was just diagnosed with cancer of the leg! WTF!?@? Anyway, I've been completely calm around everyone and I've just heard comments like " Wow! You're the strongest person" "You're like wonder woman" etc. The whole time as I'm hearing this I'm thinking, "No way! I'm a friggin' mess, you're just not around to see it." I cry uncontrollably in the shower.

  31. I pick me ears until they are raw
    I run my fingers over this little patch of wavy hairs on the back of my head, sometimes pulling them out
    I cry in the car
    I stretch for hours while watching Sex and the City episodes, laughing and crying that I don't live in the city anymore
    I drink wine – lots of it
    I smell my dog's head – it just smells like safety and home

  32. On the exterior – I deal with crises admirably. I take charge, make lists, keep things moving along, organize, inspire, deal.

    My body, however, revolts from within. Sleep vanishes. Debilitating pain becomes resident in my back and neck. Insomnia leads to a peculiar state of non-reality where things that are horrible are funny.

    Eventually – sleeping pills come into the equation and after a few nights of unfettered sleep – I come back from peculiar to always in control.

    All the while – no one knows – I just seem to be fine.

  33. When I'm in crisis, I respond with two opposite behaviors simultaneously (what a magic trick): I withdraw from everyone and avoid interaction because it seems at the time that I just can't take ANYTHING else on, even small talk. If I'm in a position where I have to talk, I ramble to friends and coworkers about nothing and everything – anything but the crisis I'm in, probably as an attempt to distract myself. About halfway through, I'll mentally stop myself and think, "Honey. What are you even talking about? Stop it."

  34. if i know it's coming: i pick too. my fingernails, and the skin around them, until they bleed. i don't notice i'm doing it until the blood runs. my teeth chatter and my hands shake. i smoke weed and watch trashy tv to become uncomfortably numb.

    in the moment: i take charge, calmly and efficiently, soothing and feeding or performing cpr or whatever is necessary.

    afterward: i wait til i am alone and i weep in the bath or shower. and then smoke some more weed.

  35. I think I'm in the middle of one right now and as i write this my future mother in law is calling again for the 3rd time today (it's 10am) to undoubtable go over another detail of my wedding in 39 days!!! when i'm in crisis, i feel pain on my chest and shortness of breathe. I was to organize and make lists and i want to disect everything else in my life. i have a hard time separating it all out. Work gets stressful if lifes stressful. i'm want to hide in a closet actually. US Weekly helps a lot and a glass of wine or snuggling my cats. Usually i want to let my fiance in but only if he gives me LOTS of sympathy. i need lilac smelling candles and a clean apartment and if it's not clean, ohhh i'm on that shit like it's my job and i think chadd fears for his life a little because i'm a tazmanian devil!!
    i wish i was one of those people who just worked out when they got stressed but i'm not unfortunately.

  36. People confuse my lack of emotion for not caring. It is strange because I am a crier. I cry at commercials, at movies, at sad stories. I once cried because I watched a girl picking up trash on the middle of my college campus and it just touched my soul. But when something big, HUGE, happens, I close down shop. I become so withdrawn from the situation that I usually do not cry about it for weeks. My babysitter died in a car accident very close to my house (so close we could see the lights and hear the sirens) and I remember thinking, "why can't I cry?" I came to the conclusion that the big stuff takes time to process and that until I do process it, I can't feel it.

  37. I think you may be in trouble. With all the usual comments you get, this is the first I've seen you ask your readers a question, if I'm not mistaken.

    Looking forward to the answers.

    I may not have one at this time. An answer to your question, not a crisis.

  38. Hey, ScrewedUpChik — Your items 1, 2 and 5 were pretty much my standard operating procedure for years. Effexor XR takes care of 1 & 2 most of the time. The smoking took 6 years to finally stop for good. There's nothing wrong with coffee. Even taken nasally.

    Regarding SK's question, well, I'm old and wise now. I do some deep breathing, remind myself that I've lived through past crises (death, divorce, etc.) and this too shall pass. Sometimes I get short-tempered and have to withdraw for a while. Then I fantasize about smoking.

  39. i am silent. which is rare for me, so anyone who knows me knows something is wrong. i don't eat – just forget to, really. i take up smoking again. i drink. i cry. alone.

    completely self-destructive behavior, but it is what it is.

  40. Hi Stephanie-

    Found your blog last fall & have enjoyed it (and your book), so maybe am not aware of the answer to this question-

    Were you living in NYC on 9-11?
    If so, how did you cope with that crisis?

  41. I think of the worst case scenario of whatever it is. Then pretend like that's what's happening and try to come to peace with it. It's cruel because it causes me inner hell for a couple days, but usually when I find out it isn't the worst case scenario, no matter how bad it is, I feel better. I think it's about the least healthy way to go about things, but maybe stems from superstition that if I think it'll be okay I'll jinx it.

  42. Let's see…
    1) I smell/hug my cat. It smells comforting to me.
    2) If shit is really bad I hug my childhood stuffed animal, Rocky the Raccoon and cry into him.
    3) If shit is worse than that I get my other two stuffed raccoons out and hug all three at once.
    4) Depending on the tragedy I either starve and don't shower or eat a lot and get really particular about my looks. When my mother was hit by a car it was no food and really no sleep and spending most of my time trying to keep occupied in between hospital visits and trying to pretend like nothing was wrong to everyone.
    5) Sometimes talking to my father makes things snap back into perspective.
    6) And as long as I can be there for my brother and make sure that he is okay, I am fine. (God forbid anything ever happen to him.)

  43. Depends on the crisis. When it has to do with me or a family member getting bad news (ie, bad medical diagnosis, personal betrayal, failing relationship), I get an immediate physical reaction. Let's just say I need to be near a bathroom and the typical anxiety reaction of pounding heart, stomach in knots, obsessive thinking kicks in. When the crisis sinks in, I start getting spiritual and look for cosmic/Godly/superstitious signs. Signs like, 'step on a crack, break your mother's back' type stuff. A butterfly landing on my leg would be a profound 'sign' in a time of crisis and mean nothing when all is going well. Breaking a mirror directly following bad news would get me panicked whereas under other circumstances… it's just a broken piece of glass. Or if I make it through these next three green lights in a row, then the outcome of (insert crisis) will be good. I'll take a bible, open it randomly, point my finger with my eyes closed and read the passage my finger lands upon. (I guess if I had a magic 8 ball, I'd use that too) Hoping I have been 'guided' to the answer I need. I scour the "Book of Virtues" for wisdom.

  44. When it's my own crisis, I'm somewhat worthless. I retreat. I sleep. I check-out. I avoid. I cry, a lot.

    But when it's somebody elses crisis, I have to say, I kick some serious fucking ass. I'm the girl you want on your team when you can't handle it, because I will pick up that ball and run with it until all the bases have been touched (that was totally a mixed metaphore, but I'm not a sports fan — I think you get the point). I'll make the phone calls, drive the car, make the food for after the funeral, get the directions, rally the troops, make executive decisions…

    Luckily, my boyfriend is the same way: sucks at his own crisis, great with everybody elses. So when either one of us is freaking out, we have a very good team in each other.

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