A Little Self-Pity Doesn’t Hurt……

Serious content alert. Two friends, one older, and one considerably younger, just suffered injuries that turned out to be related to previously undetected medical conditions. For the older individual, it is in large part a reality of aging that things will happen. For the younger one, tests are still underway.

In each case, there is an inclination for the response to be, “Well, it could be worse.” A correct statement, especially if you spend any time in a medical facility where bodies are shattered or struggling with terminal diagnosis. On the other hand, the younger one’s current career is impacted, and may very well require a change of career. For the older one, there is the high probability of no longer being able to live independently and perhaps not even remaining at home with assistance. In both cases, the events occurred with no warning, no time to emotionally prepare. These are life-impacting situations and a certain amount of “Why me?” is a natural reaction. It is a loss; the degree of which is still unknown. All serious loss, no matter the focus, can be tied to the Five Stages of Grief described by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler in their famous book.

I’m not going into the complexity of these stages which are too often over-simplified, however, the need to cope with grief is sound. It is part of life few can avoid and anger in lashing out or wanting to scream closely followed by the desire to curl up and whimper are to be expected. (Yes, in some cultures, stoicism is greatly valued. That’s not the subject here.) There is nothing intrinsically wrong with spending an amount of time in self-pity.  As with much else in life, moderation is important, but even more so is the notion you should, “Just get over it already”, as can be carelessly tossed out. There are losses one does “get over”, and may well ironically fall into the category of clouds with silver linings and other applicable cliches. In other cases, though, it is adjusting to  (okay, acceptance of) the change, but a factor in this process is the “progress” is usually not linear. It can easily be steps forward, back, maybe a bit sideways. When dealing with whatever loss, you can be going along and then, “Zap!” it sneaks back in. When that happens, another round of self-pity isn’t going to hurt. You may want to cope with it on your own or reach out for support.  I hope anyone reading this has friends/relatives who can provide that support. And yes, the “friend” can be furry or perhaps something less conventional such as a special place in which to re-center.

 

 

 

 

 

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