Things happen to us that are not in our control – we have to deal with them but sometimes it’s hard to respond constructively.   

This happened to me on Wednesday night when I spent three hours with my mother waiting for an ambulance, and then another seven hours in A&E.  It wasn’t the best night of my life, nor of hers.  (She is now ok, fortunately).  I had to keep calm, stay positive, be patient.  There was no point in being angry with the wait times or irritable with the nurses – this would have made the night worse for them too and wouldn’t have helped me or my mother. 

There were two things that helped me get through the night.

  1. What helped?

Reminding myself of the diagram below definitely helped.  Accepting that I could not control the situation, but I could control how I responded to it.  Being mindful of my own feelings and being able to manage them.  Being aware of my potential impact on how others were feeling.    

  • What helped even more?

Most of all, what helped was the little acts of kindness that other people did.  These increased my resilience to deal with the situation.  My thanks and appreciation go to:

  • The friends who send me supportive messages during the night
  • The nurse who offered a hot drink
  • The porter who told me how long x-rays would take
  • The doctor who had time to talk to and build rapport with my mother without rushing
  • The friend who called to see me the next day with some flowers
  • My husband who gave me a hug when I got home at 6am

What’s the big lesson?

People like to be kind to each other, but they can only do this if they know you are having a difficult time.  Let people know when you are struggling – they will step up to help.  A problem shared truly is a problem halved.