There was a time in my life, a long long time ago, where I felt completely overwhelmed, and unable to cope.
These feelings essentially paralyzed me to the point where I felt incapable of taking on any tasks, making me feel like I was a terrible (new) mother, a useless wife and just an emotional mess. I suffered from anxiety attacks. I had difficulty making decisions. I tried every legal and ethical technique I could (while breastfeeding) to help me sleep soundly. I took scalding hot baths. I placed lavender sachets under my pillow. I drank warm milk, and even then, I often cried myself to sleep.
For me, this paralysis began during what I called the “worst year of my life” – in which I became pregnant, lost my mother to a drunk driver, almost lost my stepdad in that same accident, gave birth to my son, and my then husband walked out on me. I now accept that I couldn’t change what happened that year – and that yes, it was a tough year in many many ways. However, the biggest problem that I had during that year was overcoming my feelings of powerlessness.
I think that many people experience this feeling, particularly when life throws them a major curve ball. Some have been given the tools to cope with these feelings and to overcome that feeling. But many have not. I was fortunate in that I had supports that helped me access programs that helped me learn some tools to help me cope. I learned how to break down big tasks. I practiced small confidence boosting skills on a daily basis. Eventually, I began to feel empowered to make the changes that I needed to, for myself and for my child.
Lately, I have been hearing a lot of people talk anxiously about the current situation for bees and pollinators, particularly in North America. They are worried (with good reason) that these amazing creatures will die out and that this will spell the beginning of the end for humanity. I can’t tell you how many of these people have been frantic with worry – just bristling with with anxiety. Watching them express their fears and seeing them feel helpless about the situation has brought back, for me, the tools that I learned to combat those terrible feelings of paralysis. So if you’re reading this, and this sounds like you – here are three things that I learned from my programs.
1) It’s a BIG issue – and you are just one person. Don’t try to “eat the elephant” in one big bite. You will choke if you try to. Instead, take small tasks that you can manage, easily, and do that well. As you succeed at one task/undertaking, add another when you feel ready. Go at your own pace. Eventually, you will succeed at “eating the elephant”.
2) Trust in something bigger than you. You can call it “God”, “Goddess”, “Universe” “Creator” or “Consciousness”. I don’t care what you call it. Trust in yourself to do what is best for you, as well as for pollinators. Heck for that matter, trust pollinators to communicate with us about their needs and how we can help them most effectively.
3) You are not alone. Others share your concern. Look for allies, they are everywhere!
Remember these three things and I know that you will overcome your overwhelm paralysis to make the best choices for you and for pollinators!