A person is holding a cat, promoting mental health and family wellness.

I’m Not OK🥹

Dealing With The Suffering of My Beloved Cat

I’m so sad. My cat is dying before my eyes from a very aggressive form of lymphoma. We are going through chemo and a demanding home care routine. There are so many injections to give and pills and syrups to shove down his throat. I wish I could take away the suffering.  When you love someone, you do what is best for them, even if it’s not what you want. But how do you know when you’re subjecting your loved ones to torture when they can’t communicate and when you should soldier on for the miracle that sometimes happens? It gets even more complicated in end-of-life situations when family members can’t agree on the best or right thing to do.

turkey lyphoma curaJOY

I have been sleeping on the floor with my cat so he can experience as much companionship and love in his final moments as possible since he can no longer move to the bedroom alone. I try to accept the situation, but sometimes I can’t help but sob while holding his skeletal body.  I don’t want to turn on my laptop, write grant proposals for my nonprofit, enroll providers and students, or write another blog post. My mental health is currently poor, and that’s ok. There’s been a few deaths and debilitating illnesses in my life in the last few weeks, so I am having a mental health moment. (So what? Given everything that’s happened, it wouldn’t be natural for me to be jumping for joy.)

However, I am thankful I have cared enough for myself to proactively protect my mental health and build social emotional skills so that I can survive and get back up. Sometimes, people need mental health support not because of any deficiencies but circumstances outside of their control—natural disasters, war, abuse, etc., and failure to respond to those needs can translate temporary challenges into chronic obstacles. Developing resilience, self-awareness, emotional regulation and other social emotional skills consistently enabled me to lean on them during hard times rather than only reacting, breaking down, freezing, or flighting.

A startup accelerator asked applicants to talk about a life accomplishment that shows their character and proves their capacity to succeed. I thought about the deals at work that deserved the most bragging rights and then decided that my most worthy accomplishment is the fact that I continue to be intrigued, feel joy and learn new things; I am healthy, active and content; I can entertain myself by creating music, art, reading or inventions; my weight stayed the same for the past few decades without any dietary restrictions; I don’t abuse alcohol or any other substance; I fall blissfully to sleep every night without external aides; I’m financially independent and have no debt;  I have the same best friends for the past 35+ years and my family loves me.  Yes, I’ve chosen to brag about some very mundane “accomplishments.”  They have no dollar values, but look around you— how many people have them?

Since I started writing this article, my cat has seizured and had a stroke in front of me. I’m pretty behind on work, but I aim to return to normalcy today. My dedication to behavioral health and emotional intelligence are my superpowers.  They give me full faith that everything will be alright—even if they aren’t right now, I can always get back up, and there will always be ups and downs in life. If you care about what I wrote or what curaJOY does, reach out, join us, donate, or just start doing something good for your behavioral health.

(I might not be very prompt in responding because this is a real-time painful situation for me, but we have good people.  The work is good. Get involved because you can make a difference.)

Caitlyn Wang Avatar

Response to “I’m Not OK🥹”

  1. Caitlin Avatar

    Ugh, Caitlyn, this is such difficult stuff. I’m always encouraged by your posts even in dark moments. I had a kitty who had a stroke and suddenly died right in front of me and it still haunts me years later. Hugs to you.

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