Anxiety for Tragedies That Almost Were
Early this year, I almost lost my Father.
I’m sure many of us are no stranger to medical emergencies, and thanks to our fantastic National Health Service, they often have happy endings. Sometimes they even become anecdotes, stories to share over drinks.
But at the moment there’s rarely anything to laugh about. The acute anxiety of being on the precipice of such great loss, while being able to do nothing to help is an acutely distressing experience. Fortunately, thanks to expert healthcare and a timely diagnosis, my father received the treatment he needed including a triple bypass, and I’m happy to say that at the time of writing he is doing excellently.
But how do you contend with the stress of a tragedy that, thankfully, never came to pass? Do those feelings suddenly not count, because it all turned out well in the end? During the height of this particular crisis I lost sleep, had trouble focusing on my work, I even found myself writing out a hypothetical eulogy in my head. In retrospect this might seem melodramatic, but that stress still affected me, and even now I still get a pang of fear when I think about how things could have been.
Emotions are a complicated and oft illogical thing, and i’m not going to pretend to be some expert, or to have any real answers. I wanted to write this blog because at Boys In Mind our values include encouraging a more open, and healthier approach to the emotional side of our lives, and sometimes that includes being willing to share our more personal, and sometimes confusing feelings. I don’t want to bottle these thoughts inside anymore, even if I haven’t quite reached their conclusion yet.
Emotions might be complicated things, and can come from painful places and do confusing things, but we don’t always have to treat them that way. Maybe, sometimes emotions can be visitors that pass through us. They come, they might leave memories, or messes for us to contend with, and eventually they leave. Just because they’re gone now doesn’t mean they aren’t worth talking about and looking back on. But equally, they don’t have to define us, they don’t have to be part of the structure of our lives. They’re just guests, sharing that home for a time. If we meet happy guests with kindness, sad guests with comfort, angry guests with compassion, and confused guests with patience, then eventually they might find their way to moving on, like we eventually can, to greener pastures.
Mixed metaphors aside, I’m thankful that these stressful feelings have passed me by, and that I’m lucky enough to still have my father. In current times, it feels like there’s plenty of loss going around, and my heart goes out to those who weren’t so fortunate. As always, I urge anyone who’s coping with loss, or pain of any kind to reach out. To friends, family, or healthcare professionals. Don’t suffer in silence, by cooperating and sharing our pain, maybe we can all learn to let these feelings pass on, once they’ve spent their time with us.