Decision making in times of crisis
You may not even have the time to realise that you are in crisis.
From the Greek word Krisis (decision) or Krinein (decide).
The focus is on putting one foot in front of another; taking it one day at a time.
Despite this, it may be inevitable that you have to make some very significant life decisions. About your treatment options, about care arrangements for children or dependents during treatment, about expenses, about work arrangements, potentially even about situations that may arise in case your health declines...
Decision Making in times of crisis
With illness we come to a fork in the road and decision-making can be very difficult. We may feel baffled, uncertain, lost, confused, puzzled, unsure, frozen, bewildered. We worry about making the wrong decision or fear about upsetting others. We may not be able to talk it through with our significant others or friends, as sometimes they "just don't get it".
What you are experiencing is completely normal.
During decision making we often find ourselves with an inner conflict between our head and our heart. You may benefit significantly from talking it out with someone further removed from the situation than a partner, family member or close friend. Psychologists that specialise in Oncology can help you process what has happened, help you understand what you are experiencing, and apply practical tools to help with decision making.
Head challenges require the application of logical, rational thinking, research and investigation. Dr Arthur Nezu developed Problem Solving Therapy as a way to define the problem and then work through exploring solutions, selecting one and developing a plan. This can be helpful for instance when digesting treatment options.
These confront us from the neck down- emotions, belief systems and assumptions. We often question the meaning of life and our values, look at relationships in a different way, or may feel that we cannot return to life as it was before. A more existential approach is used to help people explore the meaning of their life and their values.
Atul Gawande in his book 'On Mortality' asks us to consider:
- What do we know of where we are in life and any illness process happening?
- What really matters to you?
- What are your fears and worries?
- What is unacceptable and what are you willing to sacrifice?
- What would a good day look like?
'I wonder' is a helpful mindset to cultivate, exploring problems without the need to feel committed or boxed in. Decision-making is complex because there are so many parts to consider and new things to learn. Effectively coping with crises can build our resilience and self-confidence and minimize trauma.