“What would you do if you were stranded on a desert island?” was a question put to me and a group of peers, during a workshop years ago. We proceeded to brainstorm survival techniques and ways we would procure food and create shelter if we found ourselves deserted and left to our own devices. We discussed how we would cooperate with those with whom we were stranded and ways we would cope if alone. We organised a whole plan of action we envisaged implementing if this awful situation should ever arise. We didn’t question our automatic response. It is human nature to think about how to withstand or overcome challenging times.
Suicide and being in a frame of mind where we contemplate the act of suicide are contrary to this natural response to adversity. Our “Survival Mode” switch becomes jammed on the wrong setting and we turn to self-destruction to ‘deal with’ our problems. But, as we know, running away from a problem is the method of dealing that is least likely to succeed.
I am currently experiencing a personal issue that is really uncomfortable, even upsetting, to deal with. The details of the issue don’t matter as much as my response. It has not been what it would have been in the past. I am neither denying its existence nor panicking at my own (perceived) inability to work on it and to sort it out as I can and need to. I am facing it. This takes patience. Patience, particularly with myself, has never exactly been my forte.
But – and this is where, perhaps, hopefully, I may help you a little - I am doing some “simple” things to support myself in developing patience, in order to “survive” this rough patch, which I *will* get through.
1. I am making myself sit with feelings of upset and discomfort. This does not feel good. But just because action brings up unpleasant feelings does not mean it is an incorrect action to take.
2. I am sharing my feelings about this issue and the steps I am taking to solve it with someone. I do not have a team of supporters. I don’t need that. All I need is one person I can trust and whom will listen to me, even when I am babbling. This sharing is important.
3. Finally, I am shelving the shame that this issue has brought up. I have learned that shame is a pointless emotion. A personal problem does not make me any less of an individual. Dealing with it, in fact, makes me a better, more responsible, more competent, more experienced individual.
What I am doing is my form of self-preservation – the form I need to use right now. It is as important to where I am now as procuring food and shelter are, if stuck on a desert island.
I will survive. I will do more than survive. I will flourish…because I am Acting For My Well-being.