Thunder and lightning woke me at five, this morning. Fireballs in the sky, crashes of sound and energy that reverberated through my bed. Storms are phenomenal, when they're happening outside your own mind.
Inside? That's another story.
I had a few bad months, mentally and emotionally. Well, more than a few bad months. But I had a few REALLY bad months. Depression and anxiety teamed up to poison my mind with all kinds of inaccurate thoughts. I kept imagining scenarios where everything went wrong, and reacting to them as though they were real. They weren't real. My mind created them out of nothing. My thoughts were not reality-based, and yet I responded to them as though they were.
One day I cried for 8 hours straight. I kind of reached my breaking point.
A friend of mine, who happens to be a doctor, recommended a workbook called Mind Over Mood to help me implement cognitive behavioural therapy techniques. It was exactly what I needed, because it teaches you to look at those thoughts, to examine them for accuracy, to determine whether real-life evidence supports them.
In most cases, for me, the anxiety thoughts had almost zero basis in reality.
While I was doing my worksheets, I didn't feel like they were helping me. I still felt anxious, I still felt insecure and unsettled. But the act of observing obviously changed me, over time, because these past few weeks should have been killer, and I've gotten through them with considerably more ease than anticipated.
I have my mother to thank, in large part. She doesn't know the meaning of the word "anxiety." Her philosophy is that she'll deal with stuff as it happens. No sense worrying about things that may never come to pass.
My mother's had a series of medical appointments throughout the spring and summer, culminating in a biopsy for which my siblings and I nervously awaited results. My mom wasn't nervous, though. "What's the point in being nervous? I'll just waste all this time when I could be doing other things. When I find out what's going on, then the doctors will tell us what to do."
We got the results last week. My mom has cancer. It always takes a while for these things to sink in, for me. I don't know whether I'm still in that numb stage, or whether Mind Over Mood truly did prepare me for this. Or maybe my mother prepared me by setting an example of not worrying. It isn't put on, with her. She is a truly happy-go-lucky person. She trusts her doctor. She trusts that the chemo and other therapies will do their job, and she'll be just fine by this time next year.
I hope she's right, but, more than that, I trust that she's right. Part of this is intuition. I woke up the morning of her appointment thinking, "It'll be cancer, but it'll be fine." It's just hard to trust intuition when its cousin, anxiety, has so often led me astray.
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