Rough Patch

I went through a rough patch recently.

The main component of that month-long period of anxiety was my elderly cat being sick and not getting better with meds. That situation was made worse by me struggling, for several weeks, to administer meds to a cat who looked to me for love and safety and not to capture her and shove pills and syringes filled with liquid medicines down her throat.

Rough patches are often characterized by problems stacked on top of each other. It can feel like calming days are completely out of your reach.

It’s not pretty

I’d like to say, during those frustrating and scary days when Kali was sick, I never lost sight of hope or of the goodness in the universe and that I confidently handled myself gracefully as I affirmed my capacity to weather any storm with compassion and patience for my thoughts and actions.

Not! I was a mess … a sleepless stress ball of pessimism and ungratefulness.

Most of the time we can be caught off guard by a rough patch. It’s not like we plan for them or practice how we’ll react and what exactly we’ll do when one hits. It’s true that we can embrace the general skills that help us stay open and positive during strife. But how to cope and respond sort of depends on the situation, doesn’t it?

Mine coincided with Mercury in Retrograde, which to many represents the rough patch of a rough patch. It can be a double whammy … if you subscribe to the power of astrology. But it’s not a contest to judge the strength of one bad spot in time to another. It’s about being on the other side of the discomfort and moving on.

So, how to get through the rough patches?

Part of moving through any upset is to realize that these times are going to happen – period. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s true. Good and bad are joined, and we often judge things as good because we’ve experienced the bad.. We know the goodness because the opposite exists. And, if we’re really evolved, we drop the labels and just acknowledge anything as just being – neither good nor bad, just existing.

Unfortunately, we don’t have the option to avoid the whole good/bad cycles.

A couple of things that have helped me come out of a rough patch are the following:

~hang on – recall that this space in time won’t last forever and remembering that fact can make the light at the end of the tunnel shine brighter.
~friends – look to friends to support you emotionally. If you can’t see the situation as being temporary, they probably can and will remind you of that eventuality.
~strength and kindness – acknowledge and give yourself kudos for the strength you are maintaining to get through a difficult time. Be as kind and compassionate with yourself as you would with a friend in your shoes.

Another activity that helps me coop is to put small sticky notes with sayings that I connect with in places where I can be reminded hourly of things beyond the bad times … things like “Today I will not stress over things I can’t control” and “The best way out is through.” These reminders keep me on an upbeat path throughout the day.

Finally …

Oh, how I wish I could say I’ve evolved enough to recall and implement many of these ways to handle my rough patch. This recent go ‘round I didn’t handle things well, but I’m a perfectly imperfect human. I know that I’ll get another chance. Hopefully, not too soon.  

In summary, the thing about rough patches is that they’re just that — a spot in time of undetermined length where things are bad. And then they improve. If you’re in a rough patch as you read this, know that there are those who will remind you of your courage and who will be there to help you get through to the other side of anything.