(30’s, Midwest USA)
One of my anxiety coping mechanisms is to imagine a cute fluffy cat is sitting next to me, and I’m petting the creature and it’s purring. Yes, that sounds like a wonderfully relaxing scenario, doesn’t it?
I was using this coping mechanism the other night, trying to relax and sleep, holding that warm and cuddly image in my mind, and I finally drifted off to sleep to dream about the cat. However, it wasn’t fluffy anymore. It was mangy. It hopped off the bed and crawled under the sofa. It started clawing the bottom of the sofa, tearing at the polyester fabric and foam padding underneath. I realized that this cat wanted to make a secret nest inside the sofa! The cat is working hard and persistently, and soon the cat has its head, its front paws, and much of its shoulders inside the sofa. Its front claws are extended all the way so it can claw and scratch in there.
Then the fabric on the outside of the sofa, where the original tear is, catches on something. The cat starts to strangle. It panics. Because it is panicking, it can’t pull its claws back in to pull itself out of the sofa. The more it struggles, the more tangled it gets, the more it strangles.
The cat, the fluffy ideal that started out as my coping mechanism, strangled itself to death half in and half out of a hideous 70’s sofa.
I’m now upgraded my coping mechanism to a giant snuggly St. Bernard.