Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue

Therapy Thursday: Imagine the Worst

pocket therapist front cover small.jpg

I have decided to dedicate a post on Thursday to therapy, and offer you the many tips I have learned on the couch. They will be a good reminder for me, as well, of something small I can concentrate on. Many of them are published in my book, “The Pocket Therapist: An Emotional Survival Kit.

I know this seems wrong–like it would produce even more anxiety. But imagining the worst can actually relieve fear.


For example, when I was hospitalized the second time for severe depression, I was petrified that I would never be able to work again, to write again, to contribute anything to society. I was literally shaking with anxiety I was so scared of what my illness could do to me.

I called my friend Mike and rattled off to him all my fears.

“Uh huh,” he said. “So what?”

“What do you mean, ‘So what’? My life as I know it might be over,” I explained.

“Yeah, and so what?” he said. “You can’t write. No biggie. You can’t work. No biggie. You have your family who loves you and accepts you. You have Vickie and I who love you and accept you. Stay home and watch ‘Oprah’ all day. I don’t care. You’d still have people in your life who love you.”


You know what?

He was right.

I went there in my mind: to the worst-case scenario…me on disability, hospitalized a few times a year, unable to do so much of what I did before.

And there I was. Still standing. Or lying on the bed.

Sure, life would be different. My family would face challenges. Eric could have a breakdown of his own, joining me for Bingo hour in the community room. My kids might wonder why mom disappears ever few months and can’t chaperone any of their fieldtrips. But we would all still be leading a full life. A different life, yes, but a life. And I was okay.

Really okay.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment spareparts

    Hi Therese,

    When I saw your title for today, I had to laugh! I ALWAYS imagine the worst. Pretty much about anything. And you what?

    98% of it never happens. (I tend to forget that part when I “go there”.)

    Blessed be.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment kathy

    I also had a laugh over this.. I do the same thing and yes it works. I can come up with some crazy scenarios. None of which ever happen. Aren’t we all wonderfully crazy? Gotta love us~! And you are an awesome blogger!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rita

    Can’t live with the worst…already wake up several times a night screaming in pain and fear that the doctors haven’t seemed to be able to figure out how to control. And every morning too. If I thought that I would have to live with this the rest of my life; if I let myself dwell on that thought as the worst thing that could happen; I couldn’t make it out of bed in the morning.Everyday I have to force myself to believe that one day SOON this will stop happening.I have to find a way every day to keep HOPE alive. I have to find a way every day to get through the homework of positive thinking as soon as the screaming dies down enough. I don’t exaggerate, and this is all from protracted benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome from being prescribed Klonopin for years trusting in my doctor. I’m not posting for myself but for all the others out there who might see benzos as an easy fix (benzos include Valium,Ativan, Xanax, Klonopin, among others). Proceed with extreme caution and always get a second opinion before allowing someone to prescribe these horribly addicting drugs to you. They are so seldom prescribed correctly which means in minute doses for a very very brief time. They are hell to get off of–literally–and I am in the middle of that hell now!Even having stopped taking them months ago, the agony continues. Too late to think the worst, it’s already here!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Pastor John

    What a mind-freeing, anxiety-freeing, emotionally-liberating word.
    Just love that ‘what have you got to lose’ sense in this sentiment you’ve posted.

  • Therapy

    In any such case where a child is suffering from or thought to be developing a behavioral disorder, it is always important and necessary to seek the assistance of a qualified medical professional for advice in dealing with the situation.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment suedanser

    thx for this blog Teresa. :)
    ineeded to hear this today.
    im disabled & cant physically do much. every so often it hits me & i get really frustrated & stressed out. i hate having to rely on others for things. i hate feeling useless & a burden to others – especially my man, whos my caretaker. i feel like the world would be better off w/o me. i know i have ppl who love me, but sometimes i wonder if its ok for me to be here even tho im useless….
    sorry for the rant.
    thx again Teresa for ur blog.
    i know you have ur own struggles too & i pray fir you regularly.
    luv & prayers, sue

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Rita

    For Suedanser, You are in my prayers dear one. I know what its like to feel like a burden to my family. They have told me so. Your man sounds wonderful and if he is anything like my son, no, he won’t be better off without you. My son has been my blessing and has been my cheerleader and medical advocate and best friend through years of illness. I have often thought he would be better off without me but, he says he would be literally ‘destroyed’ if I were to hurt myself as he would forever wonder if he didn’t do enough or didn’t do the right thing or say the right thing and that he loves me so much that I am his best friend and he would be horribly lonely without me. This is what keeps me from hurting myself. Right now, since I can’t live for myself, I live for him. I feel useless too but I pray for people and my therapists have actually used things they learned from me to help other patients. You are NOT useless! Anyone who can still pray is not useless and anyone who can’t pray but keeps trying is blessed in the eyes of God and is certainly not useless. God hears our unspoken prayers, the ones we are in too much agony to even think. God bless you and give you peace and hope. You see, this is the only useful thing I have been able to do today! Somewhere in Heaven it is shining gold like treasure. I love you!

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