I’m sure this can correlate with my fear post, but totally unintentional.
I can tell you I live in the world of “what ifs” and I am always thinking ahead and trying to plan for the worst case scenario because, to me, it WILL happen. This can most definitely go hand in hand with the anxiety and panic disorders, but I know others without those disorders who also relate.
Avoidance is one of the worst things you can practice when it comes to anxiety and panic, it only feeds that fear or anxiousness more. You want to familiarize yourself with your fear and in most cases even doing whatever action scares you or causes these “what ifs” and worst case scenario thinking. I will need something as simple as groceries, but I tell myself I cannot go today because my husband isn’t with me and what if I get into an accident on my way. My husband will want to take the interstate to get somewhere faster, but we can’t because some type of Final Destination-type accident will occur. I’ll think one of the semi trucks will hit us or a gas truck will explode near us or when we go over a bridge we’ll go off the side and how will I get both my sons and myself and possibly my husband out. It truly can be a vicious cycle…if you let it consume you and dictate where you will go and what you will do. I myself am still very much a work in progress, so please don’t feel like I am speaking as someone who is “over it”…you’ll never be over it, but you can be in control of it. There are just so many examples I could throw out there…avoidance of dental work because of what may go wrong (but most likely never will), avoidance of doctor check ups because you may find out something is wrong, avoiding going certain places because someone may go on a shooting spree or a bombing may happen. It’s stuff we worry about more so now because we see it on the news ALL the time. Should we let it control our lives though? It goes back to us wanting to be in control, convincing ourselves we’re in control, but we aren’t. That’s the truth, not one of us can control what happens to us. In some cases we can be, to a point, but only God truly knows what will happen before it happens.
Here’s a nice “what if” question…what if, in your avoiding accidents and the worst case scenario, you actually cause the worst to happen when it wouldn’t have? So many times this happens; something worse happens trying to avoid something that probably never would have even occurred! We focus so much on avoiding potential danger that we don’t live and experience. It truly seems like a waste when you sit and dissect it, doesn’t it? How many people are out there have serious illnesses with no cure or have serious disabilities yet they are living more than people like me, or maybe even like yourself?
I know I am so adamant on my children not learning from my anxiety, my fears, my avoidance, my worries etc. That gives me a special drive I wouldn’t have without them. I do the best I can to mask myself at certain times, but when you’re a stay at home mom and home schooling mom as well, the kids are always with you and sadly there are times they see you at your worst. In some of those moments I try to explain to my oldest about what’s happening and what are some ways to help someone else if he ever knows anyone with anxiety or the other conditions we have discussed. I don’t want to completely shield them, because maybe one day they can help someone who needs it. Maybe they will have that extra patience, empathy and love as their father does. However, I do not want them to fall into the same patterns. I wish for them to recognize and break the pattern. I want them to live without letting fear or anxiousness guide them.
It’s not only avoidance. There are times I can sit and be lost in thought of something bad happening to someone so close to me. I envision these horrible accidents and even death. It’ll bring you to tears, but it’s a bit like torturing yourself. It’s something that just happens, I’m not sure why, but people with a mindset like me can fully understand and relate.
Why do we let these thoughts in? Do we not have control over our own thoughts and mind? The beauty is, we do! We can choose to not let our thoughts drift to the doom and gloom. We can recognize it happening and turn it around, get our minds busy and refocused on something else. Much like with anxiety, refocusing exercises can be so helpful! I often pray in times that my mind starts to go over to “the dark side” and ask for my mind to be filled with things more positive and uplifting, knowing that He is working for me and has my best interest at heart. It can be like a boulder being lifted off your shoulders. Rejuvenating. You can also practice yoga, meditation, coloring/drawing, writing/journaling, going for a walk outdoors, exercise…something that refocuses your energy and helps you re-center. It can be easier said than done, but give it a shot and maybe not immediately, but over time you will start to see a difference. It’s very similar to trigger recognition in anxiety and panic; you start noticing the start of things that cause you to spiral and you can more quickly reverse them as you learn more about them and their origin.
My prayer for all of you today is that you all find solace in God and any one or all of those activities to refocus and re-center your minds. I am a huge advocate for the power of prayer; it has helped me tremendously, along with my faith and I cannot stress enough how without them, I would not be here today! I want all of you to live your lives to the fullest every single day, without letting your fears, your what ifs, your worst case scenario mindsets to dictate your days, weeks, months or years. I desire all of you to have confidence enough to step out of your comfort zones and explore the world around you, even if it means exposure to a fear or avoidance. Baby steps start off small and shaky, but as time progresses they get stronger and more steady. Please feel free to comment and let me know a fear/avoidance that you chose to face after reading this! I would love to hear about it! Much love and God Bless!