The “best therapist in the world has four legs and a tail!” Is this a presumptuous statement? For many people this is indeed a statement of fact. As our globe wades or drowns through pandemic waters we worry about the survival of our communities. Pets kept many of us going through lock down. Pets and other animals are our quiet steadfast companions. We’ll briefly take a look at their role in life of a lock down individual.
Many people spent lock down in complete isolation. For others it was the constant chatter of family, flat mates, shared accommodations and an over burden of the senses. The true saviours of our physical and mental health, medical communities and mental health workers. Even as they work tirelessly for us, take a moment to ask how they are coping. Compassion fatigue may set in to the strongest minds, and before googling your symptoms and self diagnosing, get a professional opinion with BetterHelp.
Compassion fatigue (it is a real condition) may be what ails you during this time. Please do not self diagnosis, a reading of the signs and causes of compassion fatigue may be easy to slot yourself into, but it is always advisable to consult a trained professional. A condition common to care givers, animal welfare workers, nurses, and even mental health professionals. They spend an inordinate amount of time listening and giving and expect no rewards.
We cannot continue to live as islands. The fall out of a self centred persons actions are a ripple effect across community, family and mental health professionals, who scramble to pick up the pieces of our entitled existence. We seem to forget they are human beings, never mind that they are trained, they’re still human and the patient doctor dynamic is undergoing a shift in what may become a sharing of the burden.
“Become mentally bullet proof” reads one of the numerous ads as you scroll through social media. It flashes on the screen of a mobile phone, which has now become our friend, research assistant, work station and now doctor on demand.
Your mind is not and never will be bullet proof! Once we become impervious to change our emotions and minds have no space to manoeuvre and grow.
Do you really want everything to bounce off you? Because how long can sadness, pain and emptiness bounce off you before you recognise and address it? Bullet proof makes you impervious, and your mind will never heal, or grow. A trapped mind instinctively feels a need to ‘break free’. BetterHelp is a conduit to mental health for so many in this time of uncertainty and fear.
Verbalised beings develop biases and constructs in their minds moulded by an education system intent on bolstering ‘strong minds’ rather than ‘open and forgiving minds’. There is little attention to educating a human being, rather its pushing our youth to ‘be all they can be’ without the tools. Now that world has come to a grinding halt, ask your teens how they are coping. Especially if they do not have the ‘silent listeners’- a pet to confide in.
The labyrinth of the human mind is impossible to ‘cure with an app’ but the security of its presence is invaluable. When it comes to conversations with your pets you know you’re in good company. There is a non verbal communication and a language related to body movement and gestures which develop after living with an animal for a short while.
Who is your best therapist? It really depends on what works for you. Your ‘therapist’ may be your pet, there is an undeniable quiet calm energy with a pet in the house. Is it any wonder human beings globally rushed to empty out shelters? Cats, dogs, birds, any living breathing being was welcome when faced with the prospect of days spent in isolation.
For the “lock down animal fosters” patting themselves on jobs well done, be mindful of the mental trauma a welfare worker, caregiver endures daily. You stepped into their shoes only because the placid stream of your existence was interrupted. Volunteering and fostering are commendable activities. They’re also a visit into the world of care givers and welfare workers. Once we realise how punishing their reality is can we have a new appreciation for their dedication.
Animals know that verbal communication is not essential.
Is it indulgent to ask for help? Should your animal attend counselling with you? This may sound unconventional, but live in unconventional times. Work from Home has turned our homes into work places, board rooms, schools, home catering services, and now to therapy centers/ offices. So may be it stands to reason, your most trusted and constant companions are a part of your healing. A therapist will spot your behavioural and body language vis a vis your pets which an untrained eye misses.
There is solitude and then there is confinement, and we are dealing the after effects of a world which is changing rapidly. The concept of ‘Normal’ has played a disproportionate role in an abnormal situation. The ‘new normal’ a term thrown about for weeks has left us more bewildered than comforted. There is a rush to normalise what was never normal. Maybe that is how animals came to play such a pivotal role through a pandemic, and before the pandemic in our lives?
All welfare workers are the selfless givers through these turbulent waters. They have kept us going, putting your welfare ahead of their physical and mental wellbeing.
Stoics believe a calm existence is the key to a balanced and happy life. To have a calm mind whilst surrounded by daily reports of death and suffering is a struggle. In addition to the ‘news cycle’ highlighting the hopelessness of our world mental health becomes more important than ever.
The Internet helps us find the help we need. This is arguably a life altering experience accelerating our need for mental health interventions. We now process emotions at the speed of light, with little time to grieve or recover before the next wave hits.
Mental health during the lockdown has taken a toll has taken a toll on their families pets and communities. How long can we ignore the fact that we are facing one of the greatest mental health challenges of our lifetimes and we do this surrounded by entertainment, over the top platforms and a hyper connected world. This is when technology so often vilified is used to good!
As we’ve struggled with the pandemic. A gruelling lock down and learn uncomfortable truths about ourselves, families and governments it’s increasingly clear we must learn to rely on ourselves. But do not develop that “bullet proof mind” we read about, learn to ask for the help you need.
Learn how BetterHelp https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BetterHelp went from strength to strength to grow with professionals who are now able to give to our communities solace from a position of strength and professionalism.