It all started with a particular meow from the cat and ended with a mouse in the house…

For any of you out there that own a cat, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I refer to a ‘particular meow’. In our house, one of our cats is a prolific hunter. She’s the one-eyed mouse killer, otherwise known as Honey, and unfortunately she’s given the local wildlife a bit of a pasting over the years. Along with de-shitting the litter tray, it’s the one aspect of cat ownership that I loathe. Anyway, I digress. I know my cats very well and I know what each type of meow means. The one for ‘wake up and feed me’, the other one for ‘I’m in the middle of a fight. I need you to bloody rescue me NOW’ and lastly the mouse one. The latter is a proper, guttural meow that means ‘Ta-da! Look what I’ve brought you. It’s a gift because you’re a crap hunter. Now break out the Dreamies, as I deserve a reward’ (other snacks are available but don’t seem to be quite so addictive). It always fills me with dread hearing that meow and today we had that meow. Now usually it means legging it downstairs to pick up a recently deceased mouse or having to rip the house apart to rescue a live (hopefully undamaged) one. And today it was the latter – cue me and the other half running round with rubber gloves, a piece of board and buckets. But it always amazes me the different ways we react to the arrival of a mouse in the house. Don’t get me wrong, it naffs us both off enormously when the cats do this, but usually he’s focused on trying to rescue the mouse and while that is interspersed with swears, it’s something I can deal with. However, it’s a different story for me – yes its peppered with swears too, but there is a bigger reaction in terms of what could happen if the mouse isn’t caught. For those that are interested at time of writing this, no mouse has been located… But looking at the two reactions, it seems so much more stressful as a result for the catastrophising. Because it’s not just the event that stresses, it’s what could happen. The mouse could die and cause a smell, it could find another lost soul and breed, leading it to set up home, forcing us out as it claims squatter’s rights…I’m massively hamming it up, but as you can see it takes an awful lot of emotional energy to see all of these scenarios play out, some of which will never come to pass. And this small incident made me reflect on where I was during my childlessness and how it coloured my behaviour and my mental health. Being in your head that much means that you lose a lot of perspective. Nobody can talk you down because they are your thoughts, your dramas and your feelings about yourself (good, bad or indifferent). Instead, the wild fantasies become ever more ridiculous, but in some ways it’s addictive, all that drama. When I think back to the position I was in we started to try for a family, I was very much in the cycle of head drama already. I mean it had taken a while to get to this point and I’d already had a lot of problems with my health. Lots of tests and procedures had already happened and while I was given assurances that everything was OK, I was still plagued by a foreboding that this wasn’t going to happen. It was all coloured by ‘not being good enough’. How the brain loves to be right! Never have I hated being right so often. It doesn’t take a genius to see the level of negativity involved in this thinking and the way that it impacts on your thoughts and the messages you’re giving yourself. It’s the anti-cheerleader. It tells you that you’re not good enough and therefore it’ll all go wrong. It tells you that you won’t succeed at what you’re doing because you just don’t have what it takes. And then you start to believe it and so you don’t challenge yourself or that cheerleader in order to prove it wrong. And before you know it, your horizons have diminished and life’s a treadmill. So, how do you avoid this ever-decreasing circle of shit taking over? For me, I noticed what I was doing and telling myself. I started to get curious about why I felt so negative all the time and why I was struggling to find any bloody joy in anything. Listening to that little voice telling me I wasn’t good enough was a soul destroying experience, but having tuned in, I could change the record and stop the drama. Because that’s what this is all about when you break it down…it’s drama. If life has diminished to such an extent that nothing brings you joy, happiness or a spark, then that vacuum will be filled with something else to fill the void. That will be drama over the small things. Telling yourself that you’re not good enough or convincing yourself that you’re worthless is all a way to fill the emptiness. So, if you hear that script cranking up, address it by flipping it. If you’re telling yourself that your inability to have children is your fault. Press pause and think about whether that’s true. I mean how much influence and control over it did you have? Could you have magically removed your health condition, or found Mr/Ms Right just like that? Could you have felt differently about your sexuality?

The correct answer is no by the way, because control is an illusion and so is drama. Stop the record and back away from that drama!

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