Power. Self-control. The ability to direct the course of your life. We all need to feel, however deluded we may be about the reality of the situation, that we retain control over the daily flow of our lives. That, by making choices with forethought and intention, we thereby guide the outcome of the situations we are a part of. Books fill the shelves at the twelve actual brick and mortar bookstores still left in the country, touting the art and ‘secret’ of intentional thinking, of how changing our thoughts can change our life. Wanna feel happy? Think happy thoughts! Don’t let your anger control you, you control your anger! Turn that frown upside down!
And there HAVE been studies to show that a variety of approaches can enable us to elevate our mood, overcome bad habits, move on from trauma. But, the variety of approaches are wide and far ranging, no one approach works across the board and often the success – or lack of – is an additional source of stress. If you fail to think yourself happy, you are a failure. Outstanding! Just when you think you couldn’t feel worse!
When you are faced with a loved one who is going through a protracted and deadly health issue, one that they alone have to experience as no amount of loving someone can ACTUALLY eliminate disease in the one you love, it is stressful. It is exhausting. It is terrifying. It is rage inducing as you are forced to relinquish control over the things that matter most. It’s particularly enraging when your loved one is facing challenges not of their doing. When the very professionals they trust with their health drop the ball and cause further anxiety, disruption and potentially put your loved one’s life in danger. Again.
What do you do if “mind over matter” doesn’t begin to touch the epic levels of rage simmering in you? How do you find your way back to middle ground, channel that rage into something positive and how do you convince your lizard brain to give it a rest and GO TO SLEEP? You want to find a way to remain positive, strong and be the best partner and caregiver you can be!
Do people really think it’s helpful to tell you that others have it worse? Inform you in smug, world-wearied tones that THEY have done “this” longer, bigger, better? When they actually have only a faint idea as to what “this” is and are really just looking for an opportunity to climb onto the dais of their second home, Mount Martyr?
I’d be surprised if many (any) of us make it to midlife without negative experiences. Loss, pain – physical and emotional – disappointments big and small, all serving to shape us and change us. It’s not a game of one-upsmanship, the winners are not the people who have a shittier time of it. To my thinking, the winners are the people who find their way through it all and can still laugh. The people who control the rage and who miraculously find the way to accept the lack of control without it dulling their happy.
The search goes on, peace y’all.