About a month ago, a passing car runned over my dog’s foot during a trip in the north of the country. We were on a family trip and out of nowhere a car emerged and since the vehicle was so big and high, the driver didn’t notice he was smashing Susha’s foot. The chances of such a thing happening are slight, but it has happened. Like anything surprising that happens to us in life.
The first moment it happened I was really stressed. It’s natural. A surprising thing that happens and hurts people or pets dear to us can undoubtedly stress us out. I immediately focused my attention on bandaging Shusha’s foot. I was worried about not being alone in this and immediately communicated my needs to the family around me. Or in other words, what kind of help would assist me right now. I focused them all on finding a nearby veterinarian who would bandage or cast her leg and disinfect the open wound.
Since we were in a place very far from any locality, it took us about half an hour to get to the vet. I placed Shusha on my lap, caressed her, and focused my attention on calming her down.
After initial bandaging, I took her the next day for an orthopedic surgery that would cast her leg thoroughly. Slowly the days passed and I had to take her every few days to replace the bandage wrapping the cast so that the open wound wouldn’t turn into a “stormy infection”, as the doctor said.
How to deal with fear?
Every time I drove back to the veterinary hospital, intense feelings of fear flooded me. I remember how one day when I put her in the vet’s clinic to replace the bandage, I was suddenly flooded with a lot of emotions that I didn’t know how to deal with. The bandage change took about half an hour. A nerve-wracking half hour …
I walked away from the clinic, to a place where I could think quietly. I slowed down my walking pace. I was very mindful of my thoughts. I asked myself: “Ofer, how are you feeling?”. The use of the word “you” allows us to have a kind of emotional distance; As if someone else is asking us a question we need to answer. I started talking to myself, “I feel scared.” I asked again, “What are you afraid of?” I replied, “I’m afraid it will hurt her. I’m afraid the surgery didn’t work out.”
As I began to dub my thoughts, it was easier for me to respond to each of the fears. It was easy for me to answer to myself that it was only natural feeling so afraid it would hurt her, but she had an accident and it made a lot of sense that it would hurt her. At the same time, at the moment… Shusha is currently in the safest place she can be – with a veterinarian. If there is any place where she will be cared for in the most professional way – it’s here. The pain will pass.
As for the second fear, even if the last surgery didn’t work then another surgery can be done again and the second one will work. But why should I think negatively in the first place?! One should think positively and hope that the very fact that she is taking steps towards recovery may actually mean that the surgery was indeed successful. I repeated the sentence over and over: “I believe she will recover and be fine.” As I wrote in an article where I explained how to overcome jealousy, repeating positive mantras helped me to re-wire my thinking patterns.
As I continued to talk to my fears, I noticed that my heart rate was slowing down, I saw that I was becoming calmer and calmer, and I was able to overcome my fears. I was able to manage the fear.
Furthermore, I asked myself, “What can you do now with the time you have left until Shusha comes out of treatment?” I picked up my cell phone and found myself something to do in the meantime – I watched the behind the scenes of a good series that my fiancée and I have been watching lately.
2 tools for overcoming fears
It’s not easy to manage feelings of fear, but without a doubt overcoming fears is possible. As I wrote in this article, I used two tools that helped me deal with a feeling of fear.
- Conversing with the emotion of fear – dubbing ones fears: “What are you afraid of?” Create a space in the consciousness of conversation with fear. An honest and genuine conversation with my emotions helped me tying up these loose ends, disassembling what really bothered me.
- Finding distractions for ourselves – Drawing attention to other things instead of sinking into depression is very important. Watching a funny video on YouTube helped me distract myself, kept me busy for a while doing something amusing. As I wrote in the article “How to live in peace with difficult emotions?”, raising money and establishing a scholarship to commemorate my brother’s life work helped me change my focus and concentrate on positive action, instead of sinking into sadness and grief.