“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.” – Mark Twain
(Kind of neat I found a quote on this from Mark Twain after my escapades in Tahoe with him!)
As caregivers, and I’m sure as patients as well, when we hear cancer and for us, Multiple Myeloma, the worry shoots off the richter scale and stays there for a long time as we try to digest what it all means. Quite frankly, it can make us even sicker. Anxiety, Panic, “what will I do without them?”, our children, our home, our livelihood, our insurance, our savings, OUR LIFE! All of these things and I’m sure much more, come crashing in on us like the perverbal runaway freight train!
“Heavy thoughts bring on physical maladies; when the soul is oppressed so is the body.” – Martin Luther
How do we jump out of the way? How do we pull ourselves back from the brink and truly deal with the situation at hand? I will give you some tips and what I did, but I warn you, while I make it sound easy, and it is for me, it comes from years of practice and changing the way I think and process things in life on planet earth. The “middle class think”. The things we think are important. And they are, but not as important as some very basic things. The people we love. Jobs, houses, cars, vacations, success in the workplace, money, all of that is secondary to the people we love and who love us. If you agree, than take this post and work with it in your own life.
Now I admit fully, it is much harder to begin this journey in the middle of a crisis. But, it’s possible. Commitment and dedication is very important, like changing any habit in your life, changing the way you think is a process, in this case, of awareness.
“Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight.” – Benjamin Franklin
That was a pivotal moment for me. I don’t want to, but I can. Strangely, it freed me. The burdens went POOF, like a little wizard granting me peace and serenity. With that I was free to move heaven and earth to save Dave’s life. I was in a place where I would do everything possible without fear of ramifications in our life. I would give it my best shot and if he made it, we would rebuild. If he didn’t, I would know I did my best and find a way to rebuild without him. But I was going to put my game face on, square my shoulders, wipe away my tears and leave the Pity Party with my head held high and not look back!
So what did I do with all of those nasty little critters that find cracks in your mental armor late at night when you are most vulnerable? Well, I turned them around and restated them into an outcome that was what I wanted and positive in nature. I wrote them down and I tucked them away. My photo shows a basket – that will work. I used a glass bowl with a lid in a cupboard and magnets on my fridge. Sometimes even in a note program on my smart phone while sitting in an airport or infusion center. Point is, I wrote them, stated them, saved them. Whenever it happened, that’s what I did. I made a note and tucked it away.
An interesting thing began to happen. Each time I felt a sliver of freedom. A moment of victory. A burden lifted. The bad thought was obliterated by the positive thought and I was able to forget about it and move on to the more important things of the day. Once in a while I go through them and am amazed at how many of them have come to pass. Whether they did or not, wasn’t my focus. I was just trying to get those monkeys off my back! I seriously didn’t have enough brain cells to worry about all of that AND get Dave back to the living as unscathed as possible.
They say when you are in a chaotic situation, just grab one thing out of the tornado. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t have to have priority. Just grab it and handle it and reach up for another, repeat. For me, I let my heart and mind lead me. The negative worries were my chaos. When they presented, I faced them, HEAD ON! Little Bastards!
So give this a try in anything that fits. A job interview, a child struggling, your friend going through rough times, a doctor’s visit. Wish good things for them, yourself, your loved ones, write them down, trust in them, and tuck them in whatever container you would like to designate.
Turn that Basket of Worries into a Basket of Wishes.
And by the way, don’t forget you can wish BIG! Don’t be afraid. It’s just a wish. And I will tell you that I know for a fact, YOU DESERVE IT!
Dave was clued in, newly, to this process. He agreed to be my partner in it. He also agreed that anytime we heard a negative twist in a comment or expressed thought by the other we were to point it out and allow ourselves to change it. No judgement, no anger, no argument. Just a “Hey, that’s negative, you need to change that.” When I would sense Dave’s worry about upcoming tests I would ask, “So, what’s your postulate (wish) for your tests?” He would spit it out after working around his anxiety and I would write it down and tuck it away. “Good! I agree!”
The only downside is you will begin to hear negative postulates/wishes all around you. You’ll feel moments that you are compelled to enlighten. Sometimes it’s good to do it and sometimes you just have to take a deep breath and stay out of their fray. It takes will power, but until you are out of your own chaos, I recommend that you selfishly stay focused on your task at hand. Let someone else pick up those guys and give them the bread crumbs. Make a good wish for them in their troubles and let it go.