The psychology of ‘at least’

I’m a bit of an emotional wreck at the moment. Little Miss is on week four of a cough and it is the most unwelcome house guest ever. It obeys absolutely no rules and is not taking the hint at all. Three times now it has appeared to be leaving – it has gathered its coat, and we’ve gotten it as far as the door, but every single time it’s come back in for ‘one for the road’. I’ve tried to evict it with extra nebs, steroids, an antibiotic, antihistamines, extra exercise – but it is completely tone deaf to the ‘get the f*ck out of my house’ vibes.

So I’m doing what I assume lots of mothers do in this situation – I’m crying randomly (never in front of Little Miss) and attempting to reframe the situation with the psychology of the words ‘at least’.

I think these two little words become the most used sentence-starters on the planet when you are trying to console yourself, or somebody else, about a problem.

At the moment my inner monologue is running a little something like this, making and rebutting points all day and night long:

Me:
At least it’s just a virus.
Also me:
Yes, but viruses act like complete psychopaths in my daughter’s airways and I don’t know what to expect next. Hello ‘the edge’; we shall be living in close quarters for the foreseeable.

Me:
At least nothing showed up on the cough swabs.
Also me:
Yes, but I’m paranoid in case something is lurking low down.

Me:
At least she didn’t get sick until the end of our family holiday.
Also me:
Yes, but I’m sick of being eaten alive from the inside out with worry every time we attempt to go somewhere. She should just be having carefree fun like other kids. IT’S NOT FAIR.

Me:
At least she’s only in infants.
Also me:
Yes, but what happens in later years when missing school means falling behind?

Me:
At least she’s still smiling through the violent coughing fit
s.
Also me:
Yes, because she’s an absolute rock star who shouldn’t have to put up with such cruelty.

Me:
At least her temperature is gone.
Also me:
Yes, but my worry fever is off the charts!

Me:
At least you can work from home.
Also me:
Yes, because CF made sure it was too hard to keep working full time.

Me:
At least she’s not in hospital.
Also me:
100% YES, but isn’t it cruel when that’s your bar for success?!

Me:
At least her weight and height are good.
Also me:
So true, now stop feeling so sorry for yourself and remember to be grateful for the things that are going right!

Does any of this have a point or am I just letting off steam before my brain and heart explode all over my keyboard? Steam, mostly steam. But there’s a point buried in there somewhere. We all try to be as positive as possible when challenges arise but sometimes the inner turmoil is the biggest challenge of all. The inability to fix things for your child is the hardest thing to have to deal with. It’s excruciating to feel so useless.

‘At least you’re doing everything you can.’
Yes, but sometimes that just doesn’t feel like enough.

Still –
At least it’s summer.
(YES, now somebody please tell Little Miss’s Lungs; they seem to have missed the memo!)

 

 

 

 

 

Author: mylittlemisssalty

Advertising writer and mother of a CF fighter.

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