Thursday, August 26, 2010
I once attended an anxiety clinic on the advice of my doctor. One of the things they taught us was to have both feet flat on the floor and say, "I am safe." This may have worked well for the novice worrier, but it only led to more worry for me.
I was afraid of driving so I'd sit in the driver's seat and say, "I am safe." Well, yes, I was safe right now in the driveway, but what about when I was on the road? A truck carrying long, huge, cut trees could lose control and the trees could come crashing onto my car squishing me like a bug! (This happened near our town.) I might smack into someone on a bike and put them in a coma. (This happened to our neighbor, the coma I mean.) I might go through a red light and someone with a day-old beautiful sports car might ram me. (This happened to my daughter.)
I am afraid to fly, so I sit in my seat and say, "I am safe." And then I think, "Unless there is a terrorist on board, unless there is a bomb in the luggage compartment, unless the tail falls off the plane, or unless we lose all power to the engines." Actually, I could go on and on about flying because I watch the show, "Mayday."
I am afraid of social situations, so I go to a gathering and say, "I am safe." And physically I am safe, it is emotional safety I can't seem to reach. What if I can't think of anything to say? (Happens all the time.) What if someone is mean to me? (Happens occasionally.) What if I make a fool of myself? (If I'm drinking, this is a sure thing.)
Anyway, I have now learned to embrace my fear by avoiding, as much as humanly possible, all the things that trigger my fears. I do fly now, but never alone. I go with my husband or mother. If I'm going down, I'm taking a loved one with me.