Survival – we do it all the time!

When the going gets tough, the turmoil of mind and emotions can become overwhelming. Physiological reactions come into play often without us being aware of them. Deep breaths are taken, oxygen is drawn in and our minds are given the space needed to slow down.

We now have a choice to make. We can take one step at a time to methodically and as logically as we can, work through. Our other choice is to curl up in a ball in a corner, rock back and forth and bail out. The latter option sounds dramatic doesn’t it? Or does it really? When we find ourselves rather overwhelmed, not briefly but for a period of time, bailing out can cross our minds. Sometimes the thought is fleeting. Other times we contemplate running away by any means possible to escape the discomfort we feel in that moment.

Like many of us, I have had my share of these times. Times when I wanted to be somewhere else instead of confronting what was making me feel quite uncomfortable and overwhelmed. I have wanted to get in the car and just drive; no particular destination in mind, just as long as it was away from where I was. Needless to say, this is not a great option for us. We cannot merely abort our responsibilities and obligations at whim without consequence. That is likely to make the very situation we are seeking to avoid that much worse.

Casting my thoughts back over my lifetime certain events spring straight to mind where I was completly overwhelmed. The worst include the funeral for my younger baby brother, my marriage ending and watching the kids as they were told we were separating, phoning my beautiful aunt to tell her that my dad (her brother) had passed away and being harassed and intimidated in a work place situation. They rank right up there with some but not all of the hardest situations I have been in.

Despite all the hardship each of these events brought upon me, I survived. When flung into situations we have no control over, that is what we do. We dig deep somehow and we survive. It may be most uncomfortable and most likely not an easy one, yet we make it.

Each day, week, month and year we just do what is most helpful for us at that time. We do this without consciously realising we just survived another thing that could have just as easily brought us undone. Yet again, we have survived. During our most chaotic of days we think we cannot get through but we do. We learn of heartbreaking news and wonder how we can go on but find a way to. We have ill-health that brings with it great concern about our recovery but we do recover. Day after day we get through, we find strength within to manage and we above all else, survive.

What drives us to endure varies. From the need to be with or there for our loved ones, belief in ourselves, true grit, resilience, experience or pure sheer determination. No matter what we draw upon from our toolkit we have acquired over our lifetime, we will benefit. We will build our ability to manage and navigate our way through the most challenging, difficult and overwhelming of circumstances.

We have those special people in our lives that are always available for us when we need their support. They are fundamental in ensuring we continue moving forward irrespective of what life puts in front of us. With the comfort of knowing these folks are willing us to get through our toughest times, we carry on enduring.

Surviving, we do it all the time without thought. Survival strengthens our personal growth. Surviving, we are the fortunate ones. Let’s not take for granted the very fact that we have survived despite our suffering. So very sadly, others have not.

Survival quote by Harry Crews

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