When Things Don’t Go Well

I am generally optimistic.  I pride myself on the ability to see good is most things, and to find the positive in the negative.  When I work with patients, I can provide a new perspective when people talk about issues.  Part of treatment is changing patterns, including thinking and self-talk patters.  One of the hardest things to do is to change your pattern of thinking, and how you interpret your internal conversation.  As much as I understand this process, I must admit that this weekend wasn’t what I had in mind, and there was little that I could find that was positive.

This weekend, my family tried to go camping, and it didn’t go well.  We got to our site, and ended up being attacked by fire ants, in a full assault.  Our motor home was over run with the beasts, and as much as we tried to manage them, they just kept coming.  Now that we are covered with welts from the attack, we worked to step back and try to figure out the details, including where they came from and how to make sure they are gone.  I tend to be a problem solver, looking for answers.  It helps me feel better about “fixing things” that I can fix.

Overall, problem solving is an important skill to have, but it’s not the only skill to use when things go wrong.  Problem solving can help review the facts and determine an approach to address the problem.  If you have a motor home infested with fire ants, you figure out where they are coming from and end the migration.  You put traps around and spray for ants to try to irradiate the problem.  You fight the battle until you win, but you also evaluate the battle to make sure you are fighting a good fight, and not wasting time and money.  Problem solving will get you only so far, and then comes hope.

No matter how much problem solving you do, you have to have hope that things will get better.  If your house in infested with cockroaches, you have to believe that it can get better, or why even try.  For many of my patients, they are at the “why even try” point and just live with the cockroaches.  I had a rough weekend, but so many people have a rough life.  They struggle to find meaning in anything.  Over the weekend, I struggled to find meaning in the fire ants over the weekend, but I still have hope that we will get it taken care of and live to camp again.  Overcoming struggles is not an easy to do.  You can learn to problem solve, but it’s harder to learn that there is still hope that things can be better.

I had a rough weekend, but I will over come.  There will be other times when things don’t go well, but I will be able to look forward to a time when my wounds heal and I can enjoy camping with my family.  In the mean time, I have to acknowledge that my weekend was just one of those times when I have to admit that there isn’t anything to learn.  The only thing I can appreciate is being with my family, and hoping we can do it again soon with a different outcome.  I can’t be happy all the time, but I can keep working to be happy, for life.