Stephen Fahey: Help in a time of Crisis

We all face difficult times now and then, and we work through them as best we can. But sometimes we face great big steaming hurricanes of difficulty that far exceed normal life-challenges. These are the massive-nightmare-ones that we all hope even our enemies never have to deal with, the seemingly insurmountable problems that appear to spell the end of life as we know it. And often times do.

These are unavoidable, but thankfully most of us only have to encounter such incidents once or twice in our entire lives. Not only do they usually come when we least expect them, like at eleven o’clock on a Monday morning, but they are so rare and painful and so intimate that we seldom discuss them in public, so there is no generally accepted “plan” for how to deal with these monsters.

To makes things even more difficult, they are unique to each of us, so we all have to independently develop our own methods of dealing with them on a case by case basis. Which sucks, on top of all the other sucking that already sucks about such a sucky situation.

Often normalcy is of great benefit in these immense, regularly tragic moments of difficulty. Whether that’s continuing with your daily chores or going for a game of snooker or pool, or watching a movie, just to spend even half an hour engaged in a familiar activity can be enough to let your mind breathe long enough to regain some of its strength.

For some as yet unexplained reason, without invite or warning, guilt also likes to wade in on such occasions and slather itself across us like a soaking wet obese feral cat whose claws are as sharp as the tongue of an blind drunk angry mother in-law. In our weakened and distracted states we are highly susceptible to it. Worse still, it comes in infinite flavours and often seems to be rooted in the most obscure, seemingly irrelevant of details. Such obscurity is a good indicator, though, that it isn’t to be afforded too much of your valuable depleted energy.

However, even with the strongest of mindsets and the most astute observational skills, the weight of such moments (which often last for weeks and even months) leads many of us to self-sooth through food or drink or other behaviours. This is a very human and very understandable, but very slippery spiral that is all but impossibly difficult to climb out of, so mindfulness of this pitfall is better than cure.

Lastly, the three most proven assets in such circumstances are time, good company and dogs. So if you have time, get a friend to brings you some dogs, little fluffy ones that want nothing more than to lick your face and then fall sleep in your lap, because puppies are the cure to everything, including but not limited to warfare, crime, disease, drought, a broken leg, divorce, earthquakes, the end of throne of games and finding out that you only have fifteen minutes left to live.

If you are going through such a time right now, hang in there. Hang on as hard as you can, until your fingers spasm and bleed and scream. And then hang on some more! Don’t listen to the guilt, or the bottle or the fork. They lie. Don’t make any life altering decisions or operate heavy machinery either. And remember do seek out tiny dogs whose noses smell like milk. I freely admit that I don’t know what magic it is they possess but it is powerful and true. I’ll be thinking of you.

Stephen Fahey

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