The 5 Stages of Emotions

In life, in dealing with problems and losses psychologists generally say we go through five stages of emotions:  denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.  Most commonly we experience this from heartbreak, losing a loved one, going through a crisis, business problems, etc..  The list is endless.. We humans have a lot of problems and we deal with them through our emotions.

Sometimes we do not acknowledge that these are our emotions.  Yes, we feel hurt, feel sad, feel angry, feel serious, feel resentment.  We try to act “civilized” and push these emotions aside.  We ignore them. After all, we are all grown ups and grown ups do not succumb to their emotions.

It’s dangerous.  Psychologists mention that it is not good to ignore these emotions for it can cause “emotional indigestion.” It can cause us to be tense, stressed and ready for a fight. Our heart beats faster and our natural instinct sets in.  We want to survive. We are ready for battle.

It’s dangerous to ignore our emotions, because if we are not aware of our emotions, it can cause a wide
variety of problems in our lives.  If you are stressed and tired, you may end up shouting or relieving your stress on those around you.  People who had nothing to do with your stress and were instead trying to help you.  We lose our sense of judgement.  We decide things differently, than we otherwise would have if we had a healthy mental state.  As a result, bad feelings arise and things can go down hill.  Relationships, work and things can easily go bad.

This historical flood in Bangkok too is causing those in Bangkok to experience the stages of emotions : denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.   I’ve witnessed this around me and have to admit I too am going through this five stage emotional process.

Denial: At first when talking about the flood with friends I said, “No way, Bangkok will not flood. The government is protecting us, and even if we did flood, it will be minimal. Nothing to worry about. Don’t
worry about it.”  I am denying the fact we will flood.

Anger: If you follow the online social network, Twitter, Facebook, etc.. you see this many places.  At one stage when the “water” first entered Bangkok, many were angry.  I was angry.  How could the situation be handled so badly?  How could the authorities not have seen this coming? How could they not have prevented this?  Anger, anger, anger. Anger at the authorites, anger at the news, anger at everything. Anger at having to empty the first floor of furniture, wrap up everything in plastic, use sandbags and plastic to turn the house into a bunker, take out the curtans and evacuate.  Yes, I was angry.  One should not have to go through this.  Life is too short to be spent worrying about floods.

Bargaining: Even after over a month of flooding, some people still believe that “inner Bangkok” will not flood.  Everyday, some good news give hope. I hate to break the good news.  From the data, I think it will definitely flood.

Before, authorties said the domestic airport would be saved, it succumbed to dear water.  Water now
fills the runway up to airplane bellies.  It has turned into a beautiful lake.  Then they said 7 industrial estates would survive.  They all flooded.  We are bargaining that perhaps it isn’t true. It’s not true that an entire capital city will flood.  Something must be wrong here.  Maybe things will be different.

Depression:  After awhile, we get depressed.  We get sad. We realize that we are indeed in a crisis. We indeed have broken up, lost a job or seen our business gone bankrupt.  I was depressed for a while about this flood and ate more chocolate cookies than I should have.  I went through an entire bag of Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies.  (Yummmm) Yes, these are my favorite cookies!

Acceptance:  In the end, we have to admit it.  The sad and hurtful truth is that Bangkok will be flooded.  We will be flooded for a month.  Now I think I’m in this stage (but I could be wrong).  I know my house is going to be flooded.  I’m less than a kilometer away from the canal that is fighting a losing battle.  I know it’s just a matter of time.  I cannot do anything about it, so I just do the best I can and live life each day as best I can.

Yes, Bangkok citizens are going through these stages of emotions.  If you feel yourself going through this, please allow it to run it’s course and be aware of it.  Don’t let it ruin or run your life.

Rest, take time for yourself and recooperate.  Heal and relax.  Reach out to those around you.

Then take a deep breath and accept the fact.  The house will be flooded.  The business will be flooded.  The factory will be filled with water.  I shall have to evacuate. I shall be uncomfortable.  I shall have to spend tons of money on renovation and rebuildng. I shall have a year ahead of dealing with contractors. I shall be tired. This flood may happen again next year.

Do not fear these emotions for they are normal and they are a part of who we are.

Stay healthy my dear readers. Both emotionally and physically.  Take care!

Bangkok Flooding: Live life

I’m ready to go home.  I miss my home.  I miss my life and yes, I have to admit, I do miss going to work as well.  I miss the certainty of it all.  I like adventures, but this flooding is not an adventure I like nor enjoy.   I suppose this is what people feel like in wars where they are forced to evacuate their homes and seek refuge elsewhere.

Almost four hundred people have already died.

Some die from tripping and drowning, others from electrocution, or some from health problems.  I suspect too that all this stress from watching flood related news in order to find out if our house will be flooded or not is causing significant psychological distress.

Now all I want is to get flooded and get it over with. Dear water, just flood and begone.

This flood has also reinforced something I’ve thought about before and that is to just live your life before it’s too late.  You never know when you are going to get flooded and die.  In fact, you never know what is going to happen.  A few weeks ago, I was still happily going through life not expecting this national crisis we are currently in. I think ten million other people were too.

Now all that has changed.  So if you want to do something, do it.  If you want to say something, say it. If you want to dream something, dream it.  Do it all before it’s too late dear friends.  Who knows. Maybe there will be no tomorrow. Live each day like it were your last.

Bangkok flooding: Reasons for evacuation

It’s strangely calm here away from the craziness and hydrophobia that plagues Bangkok. All I can hear are the sounds of the waves splashing upon the shore outside my window.

I’m glad we decided to bring everyone out. Some may wonder why leave now? Why not wait for the house to be actually flooded? Are you overreacting?

Here are my reasons why and ones I think we should all consider. It’s especially important to get elders out though they are often the hardest to convince.

1. If you wait until it floods you may be unable to get out because the water level rose higher and faster than expected. You end up trapped.
2. You will have to wait for others to help you evacuate and since there are people needing help than authorities can help out, you might be stuck in a flooded home for days on end.
3. Without electricity you cannot charge your phone. Once your phone is dead, it will be difficult to contact the outside world for help. You are isolated from the outside world.
4. Wading through water, you might get electrocuted or trip over something and drown in the meter high water. No one will see you.
5. You might cause other people to die trying to help you. Wading through water to help you get out, these good people might themselves get electrocuted or drown.
6. Water that has been stagnant for long will start to stink bringing with it disease. You might fall ill with no one to help you.
7. You run out of supplies but don’t want to leave because you worry about your belongings. You have others risk their lives to bring you food.
8. If you leave when it’s flooded, everyone else is leaving too. Traffic jams and accidents are more likely to happen. People in panic driving mode are not safe drivers.
9. You can only bring with you bare necessities. Leaving first allows you to pack more and bring more of your things out.
10. Why live life without electricity and water confined to an island home when you can be outside walking and with friends and loved ones?

These were the reasons we thought about when we decided to evacuate. What do you think? Do you have any more reasons?

Have you evacuated? If not, please seriously consider it for everyone’s safety and peace of mind.

Stay safe everyone!

Bangkok Flooding: The Waiting Game

For over a week, Bangkok has been in a state of panic.  Everyone is packing up their houses, sealing doors and windows with silicone, buying sand from other provinces, finding ways to block their pipes and other points of weakness where water may enter.  Plastic bags large enough to seal entire cars are in hot demand and sold out in a matter of hours.  Plastic gallons for filling up both tap water and drinking water are snatched up like this season’s “must haves.”  In supermarkets, many shelves are empty.  Only imported mineral water remains and bread are out of stock.  Eggs vanish the minute they are restocked.  Now in order to ensure fairness, supplies have to be limited. Two packs per household.

We stock up on water and drinking water, yet I wonder if we will really stay once the water arrives. The biggest problem seems to be getting elders to evacuate.  We love our homes, but we must also cherish our lives.  Being isolated in an island in the midst of a sea of water is no fun and potentially dangerous to your health.  Along with the water comes disease, snakes, crocodiles and sea cucumbers that suck your blood.

Evacuate if you can is what everyone is saying.  Carry with you your valuables and leave.  Since the government announced the 27th -31st October as public holidays, many more people are going out of town.    Flights out of town are full.  Only one airport is left.  The smaller one which happens to be the headquarters of the Flood Relief Operations Center is closed due to flooding. They are still there behind a wall of water.

If you asked me what are the worst things regarding all this flooding? I would have to say the lack of accurate and reliable information coupled with the psychological affect of having to constantly  anticipate what happens next.  We do not know how long and how high the water will come.  It depends on what street you live on.   Some streets are higher and do not get flooded whilst others have chest high water.

The anticipation is like watching a bomb waiting to explode, watching the clock countdown before the explosion.  If it’s a good bomb, it’ll explode in full force, if it’s a dummy, the effect will be minimal.  Yet you do not know, until it really explodes, and so you start preparing for the worst.  Three meter high walls are being built.  As the situation worsens, everyone is putting in reinforcements.  At first just a row or two of sandbags, now more and more are needed. I spotted one shop house with its windows completely lined with sandbags. I hope the window can withstand the weight of the sandbags.

Then I wonder if we will explode before the bomb actually explodes. All this waiting is indeed taxing on the psychological health of Bangkok citizens.  The only thing we talk about now is how to plan for the “flooding.”  We follow news updates as if it were some form of drug addiction.  Bangkok now awaits the flood, whilst Europe awaits to hear the summit results. Hearts all thumping, everyone awaits to see the outcome.  It’s not healthy.

We shouldn’t have to go through this. Not when it could have all been avoided.

People say we are going through a “dark phase” of our nation.  I have to say that even migrant workers no longer want to stay.  They say that in their country, floods only happen by the rivers.  No such thing as flooding entire capitals. Other workers say that this is the end of Bangkok. Such are the reactions from our domestic helps.

So once the land of smiles, and the land where people once came in search of work, will soon change to become a sea of tears.  I love my country, but sometimes I wonder if it loves us too. Perhaps we took it for granted and now we are feeling the effects.

Flood we will, Rebuild we must

For once I do not want to hear the sound of raindrops on my window pane.  Rather than relax and remind me of childhood days, it now makes me restless, fearing the flood situation will worsen.  The flood situation in Thailand is not getting any better and in fact seems to be worsening day by day.  Over three hundred lives have been lost, industrial parks inundated, and hundreds of thousands of people misplaced.  Homes are rendered inhabitable and roads unusable.  The outskirts of Bangkok are flooding and each morning, Bangkokians awaken to hear more news of ever closer floods.

Nature is strong and powerful.  It will be hard to withstand her.  I personally believe Bangkok will
inundated.  It’s just a matter of time.  We have a massive body of water towards the north of Bangkok heading out to sea and only a miracle can part the water into two to save Bangkok.  We need Moses to do that. Sandbags and man made barriers are not going to do the trick.

Worst of all is that the sentiment in Bangkok is now one of panic and anxiety.  There are no formal guidelines on how one should prepare for the flood, and Bangkokians are now reverting to their own ingenuity and creativity to save themselves.  We learn how to build walls of sandbags and how to save our cars from facebook posts and other articles.  Yes, it’s an online information sharing network.  We learn about our friends’ flooded factories and houses and how their lives have been affected.  Twitter fills our hunger for updates of news and information.

It’s one of constant concern and worry.  Now when Bangkokians greet each other, the first phrase is always to ask if their house is flooded or not.  It’s not “How are you?” or “Have you eaten?” Everyone sits on edge wondering what will happen with their houses and their livelihoods.  Few have the heart to do anything else other than follow news and listen to more news.  Some houses on the edge of the water barriers have night shifts to make sure water does not creep in in the dead of the night.

To live each day in anticipation of the upcoming flood is somewhat like having cancer.  You know you are going to get ill and die, you just don’t know when.   It’s a silent killer.

Each morning, I grab my iPhone and check the FB and Twitter updates to see what needs to be done.  This is not the life one should have to live, but then I remind myself that I am lucky now to be living dry and sleeping well. For the moment.  Millions now are sleeping in shelters without food nor water.

It’s a stressful situation now in Bangkok, but what really brightens up my day is seeing everyone helping each other.  Volunteers donate food, clothing, medicine and other essentials.  Others cook and take care of those in shelters.  Hospitals training people to help with medicine. It’s a wonderful thing to
see.   Pain has united us.

When all is over, I just pray that we continue to help each other rebuild and put in place a proper water management plan.  It is essential that one be put in place and implemented.  Without a proper water management system, Thailand’s investors will lose faith and so will its people.  Let’s not go that way. A flood this devastating to factories and industries must not happen again.

Let us move forward and let Thailand grow.  It belongs to all of us.  Let us forget ourselves, our own selfish needs and help our country. Peace.