What's The Worst That Could Happen?

I'm not sure if it is a personality trait of mine or whether it is a result of my trauma at an early age, but I tend to have an overactive, extremely imaginative "catastrophe brain". I always expect these horrible, extremely detrimental outcomes to things that almost never come to fruition. I know a lot of it has to do with my obsessive need for control and desire for preparedness, but I'm starting to wonder what purpose it is really serving me.

I had a very intense session with V on Thursday, which left me literally hurt. I could barely walk up the stairs to my apartment and every turn in bed racked my body. My normal outlet for my panic and anxiety have always been panic attacks. I can feel them building up inside me and when they erupt, it is not pretty. But lately my body has been venturing away from the "oh-my-gosh-I'm-going-to-die" panic attacks and routing that energy into my body. I have had horrible stomach pains the last few weeks during sessions, and Thursday that got completely bypassed and sent straight to my muscles. It felt like I had the flu x1000. I have never felt that much pain in my body before. I remember lying in bed thinking, "I wonder if this is what it feels like to have cancer." Even being still hurt. My whole body ached.

Thankfully I woke up Friday morning back to my pain-free self, but was left with the burden of trying to sort through all that was discussed with V. Part of it is still in the denial side of my brain. I talked about things that I have NEVER talked about with anyone. I can't believe I did it. So much so that my brain just isn't ready to call that reality yet. A few other things we discussed I don't think I can even write about here. Embarrassing... for me at least.

But one thing that we did discuss was how my overactive and imaginative brain is keeping me from having the things I want. It keeps me "in my head" too much. And when I'm in my head, I convince myself that everything is scary. That everything is going to hurt me. That I can only be safe if I'm alone. It keeps me stuck in my fear.

V said something to me during this conversation that provided me with an "a-ha moment"; something pretty rare with me.

She told me that the idea of something, whether it's an experience (having sex, being in a relationship) or a feeling (pain, fear) is almost always worse than the actual thing.

And especially with me and this dear sweet imaginative brain of mine, it's probably blown so out of proportion that it's not any wonder why I'm so afraid. I've had almost 15 years of convincing myself that these things are so huge and insurmountable that the idea itself has become it's own Mt. Everest.

So she asked me: "What's the worst that could happen?" and I laughed because I have all these horrible, improbable possibilities mapped out (and have had them for quite some time, I might add) for each of the things that have kept me frozen in fear for so long. I think she knew that I already had a response to her question, but we both knew it wasn't the answer she was looking for.

I was a little embarrassed to admit that I never really thought LOGICALLY about this. My mind has been stuck on irrational overdrive for so long (even though I am by nature, a very rational and logical person) that I never have really sat down to think about how reality is going to be completely different than what is in my mind. Can all these horrible things that I've conjured up in my mind still happen? Sure. But will they? Probably not.

I'm not a kid anymore. I know how to protect myself. I know how to listen to my instincts and trust their guidance. They've never really been wrong before (at least when it's counted). I have so much more power as an adult than I did when I was abused. I'm not going to ever be in that same situation again.

The fact that I can take all of that in and not fight against it tooth and nail is amazing to me. Not long ago I would have argued that because there was even a chance that something bad could happen meant that everything else didn't matter. But I'm taking it in. I'm pushing myself to be logical and really open my mind to the fact that even though I may still feel the things I did when I was a kid, that I'm not actually one anymore.


Sarah (Nikki) said...
October 9, 2011 at 2:42 PM

great insight. You sound so much stronger. I'm cheering for you Lily....