It was surreal.

I’m up early. Having clients primarily based on the East coast, I keep to a regular schedule of waking around 6am… maybe earlier. January 13th was a typical morning at 6am. As a Saturday, I lounge leisurely in bed while checking news and playing a mobile game (in-game currency doesn’t farm itself).

Dragging myself out of bed at about 0800HST, I got dressed and ready for the day. Then the alarm sounded.

I thought it was an amber alert, so I quickly muted it (I’d read it later before I headed out for the day)… but briefly saw the text “missile inbound”… “not a drill”. I froze.

I unlocked the phone and swiped down for the notifications. There it was:

Holy F***. Yes, that’s what I said. Judge me not.

I couldn’t believe it. It couldn’t be real. But there it was, staring me in the face, all caps, directly from our emergency management system.

My T kicked in…

  1. This was either an error, or it’s real
  2. If it’s an error I can completely disregard it and go on with my morning
  3. If it’s not, I have about 20 minutes to do what I needed to do to prepare for this
  4. I have to assume it’s real, in case it is real

Well crap.

I’ve got family living with me, so I went and got them… showed them the alert… and we went to the main house. Now it’s me and him in a numbed state of WTF (he’s an INTJ too).

We contacted family, via text. I couldn’t bear to talk. I didn’t want to hear any drama, words of love, or even rational words of support. My texts told my family what was happening, included a screen-shot, and included my “I love you”. That’s about as much as I could handle when it came to the human-side of this experience.

While doing this I’m searching the internet for more information. The first ten minutes had nothing. Then a few bits and pieces came in… via Twitter. I don’t trust Twitter. The only information that gave me comfort was when HI-EMA posted… “false alarm”. Thirty-eight minutes later we received an all-clear alarm via the phone, and the event was over. Or so I thought.

Those first ten minutes were surreal. Weird. Awkward. And although I would say it was scary, I wasn’t scared. I was numb. I was okay with the dying part. I was uncomfortable with the suspense and vulnerability. I felt guilt for bringing family on this move (and him dying with me today). But I was okay with dying. He was too. We both hoped, and prayed, it wouldn’t be painful.

It was so surreal.

When it was over we joked a little about it. Talked about adding a fall-out shelter to the remodel. He’s considering moving (lol), I was thankful for my gorgeous view.

I thought it was over and I’d get on with my day.

But this is where the INTJ can fail… processing emotional events.

I thought to myself, how would I coach a client on this? I’d tell her to step back and reflect on the emotions she felt, and still feel. Bathe in them and let them do their job. Feel the guilt, disappointment, frustration, regret, vunerable, and sadness. Really feel them, let them consume for a while. This was tough, as I don’t like emotional moments, and I avoid emotional baths like the plague. But I wasn’t able to let this event go, and I knew something was blocking me from doing so. I let myself feel, and express these feelings. I released. I didn’t rationalize the event or the outcome. I didn’t placate myself. I let the emotions do whatever they wanted to. Yes, there were a few tears, although I have no idea why. I didn’t try to analyze the emotions, just feel.

This is ridiculously tough for me. I analyze everything and solve/fix. But even my Thinking trait knew I had a process to go through and that process included the emotional effects of such a surreal and possible life-altering event. For over ten minutes I thought I might die. I had a biological response to that. I had to… HAD TO… let it run its course.

I’m not sure its course is run, but even mentally allowing myself to feel, explore, and release was therapeutic. I don’t want any life event to taint me, to create a wall or cripple a future response. I will never allow fear to filter my responses. I had to make sure this event didn’t create a filter, didn’t build a wall, won’t affect the future. I want it to be an event I can use for information, an experience I use to make decisions, but not one to cause an emotional hurdle.

This event isn’t over for me, yet. As a fixer, I know what course it has to run. As an INTJ, it will be more difficult. As an emotionally resilient person, I will come out of this stronger and more alive. As a communicator, I will encourage others to use events like this to grow and create stronger self.

If you were involved in the Hawaii Missile Alert, take care. Take care of your emotional needs, and those of your family, until healed. Emotions are gifts when used for good. Let them do their good.