Don’t Let Go

I worry about my sister. I worry about my parents. I worry about my kitten. I worry about my job.  I worry about money. I worry about my boyfriend when he’s on his motorcycle. I worry about losing things I love.  ID-10087041
Whatever the worry of the day is I always feel like I have to hold on to it in my mind or it will come true. As if my thinking about it can make it not happen. I must maintain focus on it like a security guard who endlessly travels the halls of a building or tediously stares at monitors, so that the thought doesn’t become a reality. And if I let go, if let my guard down, the evil intentions of fate might intervene and tragedy will certainly ensue. However irrational, I remain convinced that my repetitious quashing of the horrible images in my head will somehow fend off the attack of fate. I’m not sure when in the course of my life I decided I have this amazing power. Some call it “magical thinking.” So maybe when Olivia Newton John sang, “…have to believe we are magic…” I simply believed her. I was probably 12 when I first heard that, which is the ripest age to set in illogical beliefs. Now that I’m 44, (halfway grown-up) I logically I know it cannot be real. But emotionally it is as real to me as any other feeling or thought process I have.
As if this horribly burdensome power isn’t enough, it also painfully compounded with the need, well more accurately, an almost primal compulsion to worry about something. So when I think there’s nothing wrong at the moment, I begin to panic because I’m wondering what I’m missing. What is it that I have forgotten or I don’t know about yet that I should be worrying about?  ID-100134005
Because if I don’t know what it is I’m supposed to be worrying about how could I possibly save anyone or anything with my super powers of destiny control?  If I don’t think about it or think ahead to all of the things that could go wrong in the path of everyone and everything I care about then it will be my fault when the shit hits the fan. Then I get to endure the mental anguish of the loss plus the guilt, so I must not let go. Must not. Don’t let go. Can’t.
I’ve read enough forums, blogs, books and medical journals to know that I’m not alone in this plight, and that with the right counseling and commitment to working on it, these thoughts can be reduced. I am not convinced they can be 100% eliminated for one’s entire future. Who could make that claim anyhow?  What I do know is that there are some exercises that can actually help.
First, you must take care of your physical body. And the foundation of that is sleep. Most people will tell you nutrition is first, and it kind of is, but really, if you don’t sleep well, you will make bad choices, including what to eat or not eat. So we start with sleep as our first building block in the defense to this (and most) kinds of anxiety.  If you don’t sleep well, exercise is excellent, but who has the energy to workout when they’ve had a crappy sleep?  So, if you ask your doctor for a sleep aid, or about holistic alternatives, it might help. I take an herbal supplement called SuperSnooze. If I remember to take it early enough, like 3 hours before bedtime, I can wake up with no grogginess. Ask your doctor if that might work for you too.
Secondly, eating the right food and on a schedule can really help. Both our body and our mind become weaker without the proper nutrition.  Imagine how you’d feel if you didn’t sleep, refused to eat right (or at all) and your immune system is unable to fend off the flu. Now, you are hungry, tired, stuffy, achy and worried about everything. You would be a huge pile of horribleness.  The most healthy diet I’ve found, that promotes clarity, health and energy is the raw vegan diet. Of course, most people won’t give up their meat, let alone get used to having nothing cooked or baked. A good balanced diet will include more veggies than anything. I am absolutely opposed to the all-meat or high-protein diet for several reasons. First, your body becomes laden with animal fats. Meat and fats can get stuck in your intestines for a very long time and ferment. The body will then have difficulty digesting other foods, which means lower nutrition. You may be full and functioning, but your body is nowhere near it’s highest potential. Further, diets high in protein have been shown time and time again to cause cancer and heart disease.
Third, I know everyone says this, and when you are anxious and/or depressed, the last thing you might want to do is get up and move, but – you have to. You have to get up and do anything physical. Stretch, do a few yoga poses, walk to your mailbox 4 times and back. Do anything that gets a little blood flow going. You’d be surprised how little it takes to kick up some endorphins and improve your mental state within minutes. Again, check with your doctor before starting any new diet or exercise program.  ID-10083133
Fourth, we must know, deep down, and really own this thought, and believe it thoroughly, and I say we because you, the reader and I, the writer both need to get this: We are NOT God. We are not any kind of superior being the wields the power of fate, or destiny or has control over the actions of others in any way. To really believe we can is pure folly.Why do we think that way? Well, we probably didn’t come to this conclusion in the first place out of arrogance (as some who don’t understand us might think). We developed it over time, through countless hours of worry, guilt and the refusal to accept the unknown. This is an important point, because it is going to be uncomfortable at first, to realize that you really have no control over others, whether you lock your brain on them or not.  However, once you really get this, and know there’s nothing you can do about it, it becomes a new freedom. You don’t have to worry, because it’s simply out of your control.  One of my favorite Authors, Douglas Adams calls it an SEP. This is short for someone else’s problem.  I like it. Not everyone’s path is my problem. Not every scenario that might suck is my problem. Only the ones that actually arise, that I myself can actually fix are my problems. And they are much fewer than our minds like to trick us in to believing. This new way of thinking is lighter, easier and much more realistic.