What If?

Apologies to my readers!  As I dive into 2019 with my fearless attitude, work and life have never been busier.  But I miss you and our conversations, so I got up early to spend some time with you on this lovely Sunday morning.

Last year, I learned how to not worry.  I had been through so much pain and stress that anxiety was my constant companion.  I could not get myself out of the feedback loop of “What if?”

What if I lost my job?

What if I didn’t find Mr. Right?

What if I make another mistake?

What if the planet dies?

What if I can’t support my son?

What if I die?

I always had a fatal “what if?” scenario to run to, and it was killing me, thought by thought.

Losing your job in the tech field is an everyday worry.  New technology busts onto the scene faster than you can say “Moore’s Law”.  But stress doesn’t change that.  It keeps you firmly in it’s grips, and won’t allow you to move forward.  Fight.  Flight.  Or freeze.

I fought.  I had the same shitty attitude that is rampant out there.  Grumbling was our favourite pastime.  I took myself out of that loop and tried being grateful for everything I had.

I took flight.  I ran away from my problems.

I froze.  I was constantly living in the past or the future, never the present.  Fear paralyzed me.  I exhibited symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because my life was overlapped in thick layers of stressful situations.

So I did Cognitive Behaviour Therapy to help remove the brick walls I had erected in my head and my heart.  In order to do so, I had to face my fears head on and change my thought process, which – let me tell you – isn’t easy for a fiftysomething perfectionist.

Is it a problem today?

  • If yes, what do I need to do about it?  Break it into manageable chunks.
  • If no, then STOP catastrophizing everything into it’s worst-case scenario. 

I forced myself to remain present.  What does remaining in the present mean?  Not looking ahead.  Not looking back.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t give any time or thought to my future.  Nor does it mean I don’t learn from my mistakes.  It means I look objectively at the situation in front of me and decide if it’s something I have to deal with immediately or if it I can push it aside.  Is it a real threat right now?

I have a bad habit of ruminating over things.  Going over them again and again in my head, picking them apart from every angle.  I can research this shit out of anything (I am a card-carrying technical geek, after all).  I’ve earned my title of FGI (Fierce Google Investigator), following threads of this and that and knitting them into a perfect blanket to hide under.  If I have three pieces of seemingly useless information, I can triangulate and zero in on you faster than a cold quantum search algorithm.

All the work I had done on Gratitude began to pay off.  I realized that my journey into fearlessness had already began.  I embraced change and opened myself up to new experiences and new responsibilites.  The one thing that saved me was that I have always accepted change as part of the constant.

This impeccable – Everything Happens For A Reason – timing arrived just as I would need it most.  Right before my breast cancer diagnosis.  I had no choice but to dig deep and find my strength.

fall 1

And I flew.

The Fox

 

 

 

 

7 Comments Add yours

  1. cupcakecache says:

    Maybe try it from another perspective: what if I didn’t lose my job: what if I did meet Mr. Right?what if I can support my son?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Fox says:

      I’ve learned to do exactly that! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. cupcakecache says:

    This allows you to visualize another perspective: a job holding you back; if you meet Mr. Right other things might not happen and not sure about the last one but …anyway, an interesting exercise.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. 3bones says:

    Using Cognitive Behavior Therapy is something that I also learned to use many years ago now. I retired from a career that regularly required me to speak in front of small groups of 3 or 4 up to larger groups of between 150 and 200. I developed a particular system of “pattern interrupts” for myself that were specific to the task at hand. It was these pattern interrupts that would get me out of my own loop and turn the set of negative what ifs to a new and emboldening set of positive what ifs. Learning how to apply CBT therapy was very empowering for me. And thanks for finally putting a name to FGI! I now know what to call it … good post, Fox.

    Like

    1. The Fox says:

      Emboldening set of positive what ifs is a PERFECT description of the process. Thank you for adding that!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. 3bones says:

    You’re welcome! One good turn deserves another, eh? After all, you described perfectly the acronym of FGI!

    Liked by 1 person

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