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.