THERE is a lot of talk these days about the need to live life in a positive way and make our own sense of wellbeing a priority, writes psychotherapist Jody Merelle.
However, we all know that however much we try to find a positive take on life, there will be things that happen out of the blue which simply knock us for six.
On Saturday I answered the door to hear the news that one of our cats had been knocked over by a car and killed. Anyone who understands the comfort and joy that pets bring a family will understand how heartbreaking this felt.
One minute she was here headbutting me and purring in bed asking for affection, and the next her little life was extinguished and she was gone.
In scenarios like these, there is no “solution” that can be found. Reality sometimes just is what it is, and no amount of lamenting is going to change that. The task is more about making the pain of a horrible situation feel in some way tolerable.
But there are still ways in which you can start to reduce the rawness of the pain. One coping mechanism I have found helpful is to consciously search for any crumbs of comfort that exist.
Sentences starting with “at least……” can be helpful.
In this scenario our cat was killed instantly, so I took comfort from the fact that at least she had not suffered. The lady that came to tell me was also incredibly compassionate herself – so I was able to say “at least our cat had not been left in the road for me to find later on”.
#Everyone in my family was upset, so I knew that at least I was not alone in my sadness and grief.
I also knew that Palina had had a happy life.
For the eight years she was with us, she brought us an incredible amount of joy and was a comfort in some dark moments. But she also received a lot of affection from a family who adored her. As much as cats can, I am sure she knew that she was loved. This also gave me some comfort in amongst the many tears that have been shed in the past few days.
My friends and family, who know how much my cats have always meant to me, have offered support and kindness – and our neighbours even popped a card through the door.
All of these things have brought a huge amount of comfort – and these are the things that are worth holding on to in a situation that feels otherwise racked with pain.
So often in life we are hit with things that we haven’t chosen, do not want and are certainly not prepared for.
Whilst there is no short cut to being free of the pain and discomfort that can result, it will help if you can focus on whatever small crumbs of comfort you can find – and there will almost always be some to find.
None of these things will completely take away the pain of what has happened – but in some small way they are likely to help you cope.
I am well aware of how many people are struggling with various things at the moment – so to anyone reading this who is having a tough time – I am sending you a hug and hope that you find comfort when you need it the most.