This arose from one of Mary’s previous blogs – where self and selfish emerged – analogy putting your own oxygen mask on so you can help others. So much time to think, so many memories, plenty of crises, and just written a blog on ‘Survival’. My mother said I was ‘Hard’ because I kept calm in a crisis, and did not resort to tears. All her life she avoided responsibility – with my Pa ‘whatever you think’ marriage did not survive, every argument ended in her tears and his shouts, I was ‘piggy in the middle’.

Recent ‘crisis’ did lead to self-analysis. I was had by a ‘scam’; already severely stressed, plus trying to do anything in lock-down. Phone call, claimed to be Electricite de France. Offer of reduction in bill. I kept questioning them so it seemed OK, so gave them account number. They were not who they said. First, panic, Monday, bank shut. Then fury, EDF would never do such a thing on the phone, and hurt pride, ME, getting caught! Then brain clicked in, info could only be used for a Direct Debit. I moved nearly all money out of only account which could be used, then changed my pass code, then bank said they would deal.

I’ve been in the ‘front line’ at two road accidents. At each one nobody had called emergency services, or done anything to stop traffic causing another accident. People were just frozen. Afterwards, somebody said I was ‘brave’ calling an ambulance. Do they think any action may have repercussions for them? Or just do not want to get involved – don’t think they are naturally heartless.

Like the oxygen mask, there were frequent panics in the last few years of Mr G’s life, needed action, but not bad enough to call ambulance. His anxieties got very bad, calming him a major effort. I seldom take sedatives, but I always took one to calm myself, especially if I had to drive, and to make/face difficult decisions if they arose.

Together with the ‘Fight or Flight’ I am sure psychiatrists have theories about how we cope/don’t cope with crises. I am now convinced mine started with coping with sick animals – birds, dogs, cats, horses, even pigs. The latter can be a nasty lot, if one is poorly in a group, if you don’t notice, the rest will savage it. We had a lot of horses at livery – unless an emergency, the vets would not come when the owners were there – owners jittery, make their horses jittery, two patients. With birds, cuddle them warm and calm (parrots etc wrap in bath towel so you don’t lose a finger) then inspect – used brandy and Parishes’s Chemical Food successfully. Children, if yelling OK, even if a lot of blood, get them calm first. Teenagers are another problem, when to act, when to interfere. Poor Judy Garland’s problems started as a teen-ager – she ate too much, they gave her appetite reducing drugs, and she was hooked.

How do you see yourself?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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