Stella Goddard

BA (Hons) Counselling
Registered and Accredited Counsellor BACP, Registered and Accredited Counsellor ACC,
Registered Accredited Professional NCPS
Recognised Registered and Accredited Counsellor with Bupa, Aviva and Cigna

What happens to you when things suddenly go wrong?

Everything is not predictable or foreseeable.

Sometimes we may be going about our usual routine, everything appears to be fine and then – all of a sudden…..something goes wrong.

We might think that we ‘know’ what we will do if this happens – we might, but it is also entirely possible that we will be so shocked and in our survival brain that we do not have the capacity to think in the way that we can when all is well. This can be very alarming and disorientating.

The something wrong could be anything:

The loss of our health

The loss of a loved one

The loss of our home

Being in relationships where we cannot escape (or not easily) with people who should be safe but are not

The loss of safety as we had previously understood it

Clearly this list is not exhaustive

Being strong doesn’t help

When we have had a shock we feel vulnerable and understandably frightened. This is entirely normal and we need to allow this to happen rather than think that is not allowed. Or worse still have other people tell us we need to ‘Be brave and strong’ or suggest we ‘make a list of goals to achieve.’ When we are feel safe we will be able to think. Self-soothing first.

It is at times like this self-compassion is so vital. We need to find space, literal and metaphorical to be in the moment, distressing as it is – for as long as it takes – to be able to reach out to just a few people we can trust – it may be to ask them to get a prescription for you, to bring you some soup or just to listen to how you feel without trying to fix you or give you some platitude about ‘I am sure it will all be fine’ – How on earth do they know that?

Be Happy

I have noticed that the world would like everyone to be happy and successful all the time. Sometimes people find vulnerability frightening, off-putting, uncomfortable, unacceptable. The reality is that we will all feel vulnerable during our life times.

We may be surprised who comes to offer help when we are in a crisis – and also who doesn’t. We all have a limit and can’t always be of help.

We are all facing many challenges – some that we choose to share with a few select people – some we may share more widely.

The human condition means that at times we all suffer and it is not right, in my personal and professional view, to give people a ‘time limit’ by which they must be better and ‘move on.’


Trauma affects every part of our minds and body. It is not possible to ‘forget it – afterall it was so long ago.’ Do take a look at Carolyn Spring’s writings and training on Trauma on LinkedIn and on her website – She knows a lot and is so worth listening to. An incredible person, in my personal and professional view.

So what we do we need when things go wrong all of a sudden? (and at other times too)

Peace, safety, space, help from other people, self-compassion – our journeys are unique and important. We will each travel in our own way, at our pace. We can recover, but not if we don’t take the time and tune in to ourselves to check what it is that we need as we go along. Perhaps we just need to get into our beds and rest. When we are traumatised, being overstimulated with noise and busyness can be overwhelming. We need other people who are safe to help us along our journey and are willing to go at our pace and not rush us to hurry up.