General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How have you handled it when events around you were out of control?

Asked by wundayatta (58709points) April 15th, 2011

A natural disaster hits, and your house caves in.

You’re on your way to your vacation, and your car conks out. You only have eight hours to make the ferry, or else you’re out a vacation.

An important relative is on the brink of death and your child develops this strange and agonizing pain in their stomach. The car is in the shop and will be unavailable for days.

I’m sure you can make up your own situations, or more likely, a situation that you’ve been in. What do you do in these situations? Or what have you done? Is there a more effective way to handling them?

Give us an example, please. Nothing theoretical.

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12 Answers

Judi's avatar

Edit myself. I realized you wanted a specific situation and I was just going to tell you how I handle the daily realizations that I am really not in control. Probably to theoretical to actually answer the question. Sorry.

wundayatta's avatar

@Judi Isn’t there a specific instance of your recognition that things are out of control? I mean, what was it today?

YoBob's avatar

I came to the startling realization several years back that there really isn’t a time when things aren’t out of control. Things have seemed much easier since then.

One of my favorite quotes:

“The secret of life is not in learning how to survive the storm, but rather in learning how to dance in the rain.”

Judi's avatar

My first answer was “Surrender.”

YoBob's avatar

I’m with @Judi, but I contend that this is not a theoretical answer, but rather a practical solution that can be applied to most real world examples.

math_nerd's avatar

I don’t really get stressed out. When bad shit happens I take nap. When I wake up things are usually better or I stopped caring.

With big stuff like getting evicted I make a list of possible solutions. Then I pick the one that hurts the least.

I don’t have a car, I don’t have kids, I don’t worry about money. The last time I was close to being stressed out was in September and that was over something stupid that was solved with a nap.

the100thmonkey's avatar

I actually had the words “fuck it” pinned on a piece of paper to my fridge door at one point in my life.

This was when I took it all too seriously.

It’s still the same fundamental attitude I take to life:

> If I make a fool of myself; fuck it – it doesn’t matter in the long run.
> I f I impress someone important (ha) with my abilities… Fuck it – it doesn’t matter in the long run.

There is very little in my life that is in my control; I just go with it and see where it takes me.

thorninmud's avatar

A few years back, during a very heavy rainstorm, we heard an odd gurgling sound coming from our bathroom. I went to investigate and saw that the toilet bowl was gushing sewer sludge out onto the floor. The brown tide had already reached the threshold of the bathroom and was spreading out quickly toward the two adjacent bedrooms and the living room. This was the closest thing to panic that I had ever experienced.

My thoughts raced. What to do first – try to contain the spreading shit or stop the flow? We mobilized the kids and emptied a nearby linen closet to build improvised containment booms (the bedrooms and living room were already breached by this point). Meanwhile, my brain was feverishly trying to understand where this endless flood of crap was coming from. I tried jamming a plunger into the toilet to hold it back, but that just sent it up into the tank instead, and it soon came gushing out from under the tank lid.

I ran to the phone and tried to call an emergency plumber. I remember trying to gather my composure enough to explain that we had shit gushing into the house as I was speaking, and we’d really appreciate it if they’d come out right now. I was standing, in my socks, in 2 inches of sewage as I hung up the phone.

I was in some kind of shock, and I had to fight off the paralysis that was trying to set in. I announced to my wife (vainly sopping up crap with our towels and bed clothes) that I was going to Home Depot to rent a wet vac.

I got quick service as I stood there in my sewage-soaked clothes, and I was back and sucking up shit within about 30 minutes. But the wet vac had some kind of problem and would only work for about 20 seconds at a time.

Mercifully, the flow was beginning to slow, and had stopped completely by the time the plumbers showed up, about an hour after we made the call.

Looking back, if I had been able to calmly assess the situation I might have been able to realize that our sewer line was blocked out where it connected to the main, that our rain gutters were funneling all the water from our roof into the clogged sewer line, and so it was all getting pushed up through the toilet. I could have simply gone out and punched a relief hole in one of the downspouts and the sewage would have spilled out into the yard instead of the house. But while all hell was breaking loose, there was no way I could have marshaled the cognitive resources to figure that out. I was reduced to a stammering, ineffectual idiot.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Set a goal and keep your eyes glued to it. Prioritize the various items on your plate based on the urgency of need. Start searching for the resources you will need to address the first item. Gradually work your way through the list, from most urgent to least urgent.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I think it through and handle it.I mean what other choice does one have unless curling up in a ball and cowering is the way you deal with stressors.
An example from me is….I was caught in bad weather on my boat and the water was very rough.I went back to my dock…XD
My car did conk out while I was on vacation by myself.I called a tow truck.
I got diagnosed with MS two years ago.I found out as much as I possibly could about my condition. I did something about it with a procedure I had done.
Do something about the things you can control and don’t whine about the things you can’t.It is really very simple.;)

noodle_poodle's avatar

sit back and just let roll…if its really out of controll then nothing you do will fix it.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have always been quick to ask for help. Your example is a good one.

On a recent vacation with our two toddler grandchildren, we checked out of our motel but when Hubby went to start the car, it refused to start. We called the pre-paid service we subscribe to, and they told us they would have to take the car to a dealer 50 miles away. We checked back into the motel, and Hubby arranged for a rental car at the dealer’s. The boys and I stayed at the hotel, went swimming, played games, and watched TV.

The next day, we checked out and drove to the dealer, picked up our car and went on our way, one day late.

We always try to plan our trips with one or two days leeway on each side for this kind of issue.

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