Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lesson 1: In Facing a Crisis, Know How The Mind Works

Listen up. The daddy has learned many lessons. The first, and perhaps the most important, is that, when faced with knowledge of a tragic or traumatic situation, your emotions become raw. Your feelings become intense and scattered. You go from feeling relaxed as you go through every-day activities to feeling various forms of excited emotions as you struggle to get your arms around the tragedy that has befallen you.

You go from denial to confusion to grudging acceptance, to unfocused anger (saying to "Why did this have to happen to me?") to a kind of hell-with-it-all state of resignation. And, as if that’s not enough, you may go through the entire process all over again.

As you go through this mental process, your body basically acts out your emotions. When you're confused, your body movements coincide with your emotions. When you're angry, your head and eyes move from one side of the room to the other as you question doctors or police or the insurance person in rapid succession. And, as you begin to accept your fate, you sit still, head bowed.

When under stress, you're not a woman who's just "emotional" or a "girlie man' who's weak. Far from it. In fact, you're acting out a process which countless number of people go through, as they try to come to term with a tragic injury of catastrophic illness. Actually, it's a normal process of the mind adjusting to a crisis situation.

Today, tragedy has fallen upon many Americans due to the recent economic crisis. Many Americans lost their jobs. Many lost their homes. Many have homes in foreclosure and may lose their homes soon. Many (47 million) don't have medical insurance and can only get assistance by going to the emergency wards at a hospital.

This economic crisis is real, and its affect on the individuals and families are real as well. Like a person going through a personal tragedy, Americans are collectively going through the mental process of denial, grudging acceptance, anger and resignation, as they try to come to grasp with the economic crisis that has befallen them and what it means for their future. Like any other tragedy, it will not be an easy one to conquer.

There were signs of this economic crisis coming, but Americans remained in denial. They continued to live off rip-off credit cards and the equity from their homes. Government refused to see it, saying the economy was essentially sound. And while some say things are not so bad and the government needs to stay out of it and let the capitalist free market work its "magic" (Republicans), most Americans have come to grudgingly accept the market's free-fall and their personal fate: this is a terrible economic crisis, and it's going to be terrible, and it could last for years.

Other Americans are in a state of depression. They demonstrate by expressing anger at politicians (first, the Bush administration and, increasingly, the Obama administration) that bailed out gigantic financial institutions like Lehman Brothers and AIG on Wall Street while their situation remained dire at home. They still can't find a job. They have lost their home or their home is still in foreclosure. This, too, is a normal mental process as Americans come to terms with a bad economy and begin to ponder what it means for their future.

Some already know that they can no longer live the way off their homes and credit cards as before. Some already realize that they will have to sell some of the things they cherish in order to survive. Some already realize that they may have to forego that vacation abroad and take a trip closer to home in the United States.

Getting past this economic crisis and its negative affect on our lives will not be easy, but it may be comforting to know the following:

1. As a country, we have a blueprint for dealing with getting out of this deep recession. Though there are some differences in circumstances (for example, less manufacturing in America today), the solutions Roosevelt used in the 30's are still applicable today. By focusing on infrastructure, the Obama administration is utilizing many of Roosevelt's prescriptions. At the same time, he has provided quite a bit of funding to low-income people for a safety net.

2. Despite the negative talk on cable news, the Obama administration has put in place a plan to help banks provide loans to small businesses at extremely low interest rates. This money provided to banks (43 billion) is for small businesses only. In addition, the Obama administration has provided funds to assist many homeowners to, in fact, stay in their homes.

3. That said, many Americans have moved past grudging acceptance and even anger to personal empowerment. Some are eating out less and cooking more at home. Some have taken up gardening and canning to save money and to relieve stress. Some are driving their gas-guzzling SUVS less and biking more, discovering biking paths along the way. Some are having their college daughter or son live at home rather than on campus. Some are still angry but are channeling that anger in protest against the government and the financial institutions, demonstrating that anger in itself is not bad, if one doesn't get angry too often and if one channels anger in positive action.

The point here is that, like many families facing tragic or catastrophic illnesses, many Americans have already gone through the normal mental process of confusion, anger, grudging acceptance and anger. In fact, they have moved to a point where they are thinking rationally about surviving and living tolerably in today's changing economy.

Have you had a devastating personal crisis that you threatened to drive you crazy but got pass it?

Despite an ailing economy, have you moved on and can now rationally figure out ways to personally survive?


Christopher said...

I heard this panel discussion on PBS made up with doctors and clergy and they said in the past year, the number of suicides and attempted suicides are soaring.

The level of desperation out there is very real and we can't pretend it doesn't exist.

The impact of 8 years of Bush/Cheney on the American psyche is profound and it's going to take years for things to improve.

Meanwhile, President Obama has to deal with idiot Republicans and blue dog Democrats who want him to fail, all for their own agenda.

rainywalker said...

Excellent post on the brain and how many Americans are feeling and dealing. MacDaddy give me a clue here. What history book are you looking in? Hoover nor FDR's programs pulled us out of the great depression. The programs put people to work but WWII pulled us out of the depression. The jobs put my dad to work building A/C units in Ohio and my mother building P-38 parts in a funeral home for the war.

Decades not years! The veterans aren't going to sprout new arms, legs and brains.

CurvyGurl ♥ said...

Love this, MacDaddy. I've been through this process more times than enough. It was only recently that I realized that the cycle is easy to fall into unless there's a level of self-awareness present. Simply meaning that the 'this to shall pass' cliche is true and it takes will to embrace the right, most healthy mindset. I'm looking forward to the rest of the series :-).

SagaciousHillbilly said...

No pain no gain.
After every really bad experience I've emerged a better person.
As a friend of mine says when bad times beckon: AFGO. . . another f'ing growth opportunity.

Stella said...

MacDaddy, I can't thank you enough for reminding me that President Obama has a wise plan to turn America around.

I am so weary of the criticism pointed at him, even though, as Christopher said, The impact of 8 years of Bush/Cheney on the American psyche is profound and it's going to take years for things to improve. Christopher, you couldn't be more right.

We will get through the greed and corruption of the previous administration. I still have faith in my President and, truth to tell, my Vice President. I'm sure the wisdom of Michelle Obama and Jill Biden will help guide this nation forward.

I am tired of the negativity from the GOP and many liberals. I still believe President Obama will effect positive change, even if I disagree with a few points.

I blame this fiscal crisis wholly on the previous administration and refuse to give up.

MacDaddy said...

Christopher: Well said. Though Republicans are trying to keep Americans at the stage of anger, and to focus that anger on Obama, Americans are beginning to rationally figure this out. They've already figured out that it's going to take years for the economy to improve-- like you said.

Rainy:I can't remember any particular book, but every book I've read spoke of both defense and domestic spending contributing to getting us out of the depression. I know you mentioned jobs your family members did for the war. But a lot of programs were created that had little to do with the war, such as repairing roads and bridges, developing and maintaining parks, even cultural and writing programs. I remember people like Richard Wright, Theodore Dreiser and many other writers, who would later become fine journalists and authors, getting their start in these cultural and writing programs. These programs gave people jobs, helping them to survive.

CurvyGurl: Because you work in the health field, I was particularly interested to hear what you thought of this post and what you will think about the this series. Besides yourself, I'm sure you've experienced people going through this process many times.

Sagacious: Seeing troubled times as a growth opportunity--I like that. Tomorrow, I'll be talking about that: seeing the positive and the negative that can come out of bad situations.

MacDaddy said...

Stella: You and Christopher are right: This stuff stuff got significantly worse under Bush. But I do think the Obama administration needs to get ahead of these financial institutions and re-institute tight regulations on them so this does not happen again.ll

yes, I believe in Obama and his people too.

Solomon said...

I've been through this cycle more times than I care to remember, I like what CurvyGurl had to say, "Not falling into the cycle, and This to shall pass" ring true for me in these difficult times.

Great post, I look forward to the rest of the series.

RiPPa said...

And this too shall come to pass. I suspect that the media sensationalism doesn't help matters much. But what else can we expect. They're trying to stay afloat as well.

MountainLaurel said...

I have a devastating personal crisis right now and your posts are helping me get through it. Blessings, MacDaddy, heaping blessings on your head from the bottom of my heart.

MacDaddy said...

Laurel: I'm glad that these posts made some sense. You can also contact me at I've gone through a series of traumatic incidents myself. Luckily, I've come out of them alright...

The Daddy is still here with you.