I’m going to say this to get it off of my chest and shoulders.
“I’m having a HARD time and I don’t see an end to it in the near future, which only magnifies the whole experience further!”
You likely don’t know what I mean, do you? Or perhaps, you do? Maybe, you are also going through this Pandora’s Box of Troubles that has been set into motion and you don’t see an end to what’s been coming out and what’s coming next?
If you don’t understand what I’m talking about, I’m sure you will when I explain. We all go through it if we let ourselves and dwell on it all.
I’ve recently been handed a truck load of issues that in all reality, are not truly my own creation nor, can I do anything about most of them. In other words, they are beyond my control and, I recognize this much but, it’s doing little to stop that feeling of panic, upset and feeling overwhelmed. Yet, I am doing all that I can or could have done at the same time and frankly, I know that I am. I’m not oblivious to this fact.
Let me say this also though….I can be neurotic when I can’t solve something.
Yes, you heard me right. I can tend to obsess over what is not going right and block out what is going well for me. In other words, I focus on what I can’t do anything about as though they are the only things that are going on in my life and, for all intents and purposes, because I am fairly solely dwelling on those things, they are all that’s going on in my life…in my mind. I literally can’t see anything else that’s happening which may be good because I’m so intently honed in onto the things that aren’t going well and I truly can’t do much about.
Take, for instance, the fact that I had a call-back for a repeat mammogram and breast ultrasound. Instantly, I leapt to what we’ll call “The Worst Case Scenario”. In my mind these thoughts ran through my head almost instantly after sitting down immediately to stop myself from falling over as I said out loud “oh my God, NO!”.
- I’ve got breast cancer
- I’m going to go through surgery
- Chemotherapy is next
- What will my husband do without me?
- Will he handle the pets?
- What if I never get to see my daughter again and I die, not seeing her?
- What will she feel?
- Will I be missed?
That was a few of the thoughts that ran through my shocked mind. It’s only a partial list of things but, you get the idea, right?
Then, something happened that helped tone down the panic just a tad.
I realized that there was really nothing I could do about whatever might be going on or not going on. I hadn’t asked for it. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I wasn’t in control of what was or wasn’t in there. Whatever is, is and all of this fretting, mind-racing, horrifying thinking wasn’t going to change that fact. About the only thing that I could do was to go back and get the testing done again then, wait for the results and see what may or may not come out of it. At that moment, I was safe, I needed a hot tea and to calm down. That’s all that I could do. That’s what I did.
It wasn’t as though I wasn’t already in a state of panic though. I was also worried about another two health issues that I’m dealing with as well as a plethora of other woes, fears, worries and seemingly, never-ending issues that simply never appear to be resolved. Top that off with me being a sponge and taking on everyone else’s problems, emotions and issues like a sponge and you’ve got a recipe for a total break down. I was already in a heightened state of panic or neurotic thinking patterns, anxiety, panic attacks and this, well…this added to that state to almost breaking point.
Do you recognize yourself to some extent or another in this type of thinking and behaviour patterns?
If you don’t….lucky you. You’ve learned how to prioritize and put things into perspective one way or another. Consider yourself congratulated by not only me but, every other person who can’t quite grasp that way of being. You’re truly to be commended and can either keep on reading out of pure curiosity or can stop here if you like.
If you do recognize yourself in this scenario, you might want to keep reading on for a bit. Something I say may help or at the least, hit home with you.
How to get out of this type of thinking pattern
- Recognizing what you can and can’t do something about is paramount. If you can’t do anything to change what’s happening or what you believe to be happening, move onto something you can do something about.
- Decipher what you can do something about and do it then, leave it there.
- Stop WORRYING. Worry is the most useless emotion you can have. It serves no good purpose. All worry does is to work yourself and your body up into a complete basket case state with chemicals such as adrenalin, cortisol and the like, coursing through your body to raise levels of panic. Contrary to popular belief amongst the best of worriers, worrying doesn’t cause you to think better nor, does it prevent “bad things” from happening. It only makes you feel like you have control where you still have none and oftentimes, screws you up so that you can’t act on what you can do something about by thinking clearly.
- Think about the “Worst Case Scenario”. Is it really all that bad? What is the absolute worst thing that could happen? Think about that for a second then, ask yourself what you might do if you were to find yourself in that position. Could you help yourself? Is there a way out of it? What could you do to deal with that worst case scenario? In my case, death is the worst case scenario and as one wise older woman once told me, “you’re either going somewhere beautiful or, there’s nothing and you won’t know the difference.” Simply put but, true. Neither were so horrific that I couldn’t go through it especially, since no one is getting out of this life, alive.
- Find the “Now”. Where are you right now? You’re reading my words, right? You’re likely somewhere that you’re used to being or you’re not in any immediate danger in the next few moments. Ground yourself by looking around to find something that anchors you to the now. Maybe, it’s the smell of coffee or you can look outside the window and see birds pecking a the ground, clouds floating by, rain coming down or (shiver) snow. Perhaps, it’s the music you have on in the background or you think of some happy place or thought. Maybe, you can’t think of anything nice around you so, you think of a movie or tv show that makes you feel good. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, think of that and concentrate on that feeling. Anchor yourself to the present moment and the fact that you’re likely doing something normal for you to be doing or you’re some place that you’re not foreign to in every single way. In other words, you’re not in any immediate danger and you’re not on Mars.
- Move around. I mean it. All sorts of nasty chemicals run through our veins when we’re feeling overwhelmed, worried and even panicked. Our bodies need to get the feeling that we’re “moving” to get rid of those pesky negatively charged chemicals. Dance if you can or walk. If you’re unable to do either of those things because you’re at work, get up and walk to the water cooler, make yourself a coffee, talk to a co-worker or just get up and stretch, jiggle your legs or anything that makes you move a bit. Don’t just sit there, fretting in your own juices. Dissipate the nasty little buggers from your body right now.
- If you feel like crying…CRY. If you feel like shouting, scream into a pillow. Talk to a friend or co-worker. When you want to pound the crap out of something or someone, hit a pillow or your bed until you can’t stand up anymore. Either you’ll be so fatigued that you won’t be able to pound anymore or, you’ll end up laughing. Of course, that pillow may need to be thrown out or your bed re-made but, that’s simply more movement. Just don’t hold your emotions in. Let them out.
- Listen to what other people are going through. It’s guaranteed that someone will have gone through whatever you’re going through or is going through it. Somewhere, there is always someone who understands or who has been through worse. Put your situation into perspective. You are not alone in anything you’re going through no matter what it is.
- Remember other times when you thought you couldn’t get through something but did. Those are the times to draw upon and realize that there’s more to you than you thought and perhaps, even feel right now.
- Break down the steps you have to take into bite sized pieces. In other words, if you’re going to get a test done, don’t try to think of the entire situation all at once. That is overwhelming for everyone. Start with simple things like, taking a shower, getting your clothes on, putting one leg at a time into a car or taxi or walking to the bus stop, getting in or getting out. Ask yourself once there if you can lay on a table or sit down. Yes, you can do it. Can you follow instructions when given to you? Yes, you can and that’s their job to tell you so, they’re experts at telling you what to do and when. Just listen and follow their instructions. Breaking things down into simple steps works on every single situation you are or may have to face in your life. Most of what you will have to deal with are every day things when broken down into smaller tasks. You can do it!
- When you’re uncertain as to what to do about anything, put it into an expert’s hands and ask for help. Whether they give you instructions, opinions, advice or take it over for you, you’ve done something towards helping your situation. If it’s something that you can do yourself, refer to #10 above.
- Accept that Life is uncertain. None of us are certain of anything. Life is filled with surprises and unexpected things happening. Some of them will be good and some of them will feel not so good. Whatever comes your way, have faith in yourself and know that no one alive has certainty about anything at any given time. The only difference between you and someone who may seem like they are certain about something is that they have either been through it before or, they don’t worry about it and have accepted that uncertainty is the only certainty in Life.
- Treat yourself as though you are a gem and you’ll begin feeling like one. Rest when you need to rest. Give yourself something to look forward to when you’ve completed a task. Take yourself out somewhere and enjoy being out if you can’t do anything or you’ve done all that you can. Give yourself a rest and a treat of some kind.
- Be kind to yourself. Last time I checked, none of us here are gods. We are not omnipotent nor, can we know it all. Recognize that you can’t foresee everything and plan ahead of time, doing everything right or preventing what may happen from happening. You aren’t that good and don’t have that kind of control. None of us do.
- If you can’t do anything about a situation, accept it and move on towards other things that you can do something about or enjoy doing. There’s nothing harder on you and your body than trying to achieve something that is not under your control. Enjoy what you have around you right now or move forward to something that you might want to happen and make that happen (things that you can control).
- Most things in Life means that the sky won’t fall in so, why are you fretting yourself into a stew? Once you’ve done all that you can do, let it go. I mean, tell yourself that you’ve done all that you can and drop it from your list of things to do. Thinking it over and over and over again isn’t going to make it disappear. Letting go of it is relief. Let it go.
- Stop trying to control everything and everyone. It’s not only a waste of your time but, it’s virtually impossible no matter if you have a Superman’s cape on under your clothing. Even Superman was powerless over Kryptonite.
- Recognize that we all have limitations and crap will happen to us all once, twice or many times. None of us will escape that fact. It simply means that you’re part of the human race. Doesn’t that feel good to know?
- There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. Remember that one. It’s true. Nothing is as bad as your own fear. Don’t believe me? Think of a time when you were ready to crap your pants with fear. Did you make it through it? You’re reading this, aren’t you? Fear was the only thing that needed to be feared, right? Think about the one a bit longer and it will come to you in your own way.
- Last but, not least, when you’re already down there, weighted down by your own problems, if you need that energy to deal with or cope with those things, do NOT take on other people’s problems too. Deal with your own first and put your own oxygen mask on before taking on other people’s problems. Often enough, they’ll figure it out like you are, on their own. Unless you’re a specialist in something and it’s part of your job, look after your own needs first. There will always be someone in trouble to help later when you’re feeling like you’re on more secure ground. Mind you, there’s something to be said about helping others when you’re in trouble. If you can’t do anything further with our own issues, help someone else with theirs if you can help them out and they are asking for help. Not only does it get your mind off of your own troubles for a bit and onto someone else’s but, it’s gratifying to help others all around. And, who knows? They may be able to help you out too, even if it’s only a cup of coffee and an ear or shoulder for you.
With all of that said, it’s not that I have it all put together either. None of us do. I’m still waiting for my test results and yes, I am still concerned but, I know that as of this moment, I am here, writing this piece and hopefully, making sense to someone out there, reading this. No, I still haven’t gotten my daughter back into my life but, I can’t do anything more than I’ve already done in trying so, I have to let her go until or unless she wants to change something in her life. No, I still don’t know whether I want to sell the home I’m in now and move or where to move but, I’m looking around and I’m thinking about it. What I can do is to call up a Real Estate Agent and have her/him show me places. If I decide to stay here, I will have some renovations to do and the first thing will be to move out of here and into somewhere else while they do it. Where the money is coming from to do it all will require a trip to the bank but, at least there are steps that can be taken and broken down into manageable pieces. I know that I can sit in a chair and listen at the bank or get in and out of a car to see homes that I may like or not like. That may make up my mind right there for me. I can control those things. Or, perhaps, my test results will tell me something different and make that decision for me. Whatever it is, I am doing all that I can do in every direction. The rest…well…I kind of have to let go of because I’ve done all that I can. It’s no longer in my hands and I have to somehow, accept that much. I will.
From my little corner of Life to yours….
Be well. Love and Light.
Have a great day or evening.