Stopping Yourself Becoming Overwhelmed
For some people, taking on the pain and distress they know the animals they care about feel, helps drive them in their activism to help animals. They use their anger to spur them on.
For others, that pain and distress can become overwhelming and crushes them completely. In instances like this, it can be counter productive, because when people feel so destroyed by it, they become depressed and anxious, leaving them unable to help animals. At this point, seeking professional treatment is sensible.
If you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed by things you see on social media, take a break from it, and do not feel guilty, because if you do not take care of yourself, you will be no use for helping animals. You are taking a break BECAUSE you want to be able to effectively help animals.
If you feel so crushed you cannot do anything, don’t use your energy fighting it, and try not to feel guilty, you need this time to heal.
When you do think about doing things that you feel you need to do, only focus on bite sized chunks, not on everything. If you think about everything, you will be overwhelmed and unable to do anything at all. Think of it as having all round blinkers on, which block out everything else and only lets you see one small task.
Some people find that repeating a mantra to themselves every day, or at times when they need to, can be helpful. Maybe something like the following, or anything else you might find helpful.
“Me feeling pain and distress because of animal abuse DOES NOT help the animals. It crushes me so much I CANNOT help them”
Like me, you may be someone who sees happy instances of animals that have been rescued, but that makes you automatically think of the flip side: of the overwhelming number of animals that are still suffering. This can be detrimental to our mental wellbeing, and therefore to our ability to carry on helping animals.
Because it feels so automatic, we have to wrestle with our thoughts to distract us from thinking about the flip side.
I use the above mantra as soon as I get the negative “flip side” thought (which is as soon as I see the happy rescue story). I also try to distract myself, maybe pinging an elastic band on my wrist.
It is a constant struggle, and doesn’t always work, but stopping myself going deeper into those negative thoughts every time is beneficial both for my own well being, and for animals I am then able to help through activism.
None of this is professional advice, so it is always advisable to seek professional treatment if you feel you need it.
Image: There is no difference. We have just been brainwashed all our lives to think there is.
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