I heard what had become the dreaded flap of the letterbox and there it was, hanging out. A pristine white envelope sporting the blue NHS logo. My Brain scan results. My stomach sunk with apprehension. I sat down then ripped it open. There were 3 sentences, heavy with medical jargon. It took a few goes to translate the words but it looks like all sinister cranial issues are clear. Phew! A relief. Well, that’s one less thing to worry about for now. I hope. Although you can never tell with these things. The last bit reads ‘’these findings are reassuring’’. When you have a tendency to read into things and with something as important as your health you want words to be absolute concrete. If I am clear of all sinister conditions then why can’t it read ‘’these findings mean you are clear of all sinister conditions’’? Maybe that’s because I’m not…and so begins the over thinking which brings me to this week’s blog…
Being unwell makes the simple things that bit harder. Our bodies are constantly battling illness and this alone is tiring. Our emotions are heightened and we can become more sensitive and protective of ourselves. For me, a simple thing like meeting with friends used to bring excitement but also some minor trepidations like what will I wear? and who will be there? But gone are the days when these were my biggest concerns. Add in… where are we going? how long is the travel time? who will drive me? will there be a place I can rest? will there be some food for my diet? will I be able to peel away if it gets too much? And I’m soon looking for excuses not to join in. These are of course all sensible things to consider, but I’m aware of over thinking it and backing out of what could be a welcome relief from the mundane walls of my house.
In psychology everything we do can be for a reason and the simple act of ‘thinking’ can be pertinent (great word) to how we act. You see it stems from cavemen times when we needed to make judgements to risk assess situations to survive in the wilds and compete with each other for a mate. Of course, we don’t need to act in such a way now but our brains still continue to make judgements, only to some it has made for very dysfunctional thinking. Especially if you’re sick, this element in our minds causes more stress very easily and then probably a flare up of symptoms too.
I try to notice when I’m over thinking things. A real quandary has me asking a few questions. Am I going off actual facts or have I imagined something that may not come true? Am I being realistic? Am I doing what is right for me right now? Is my worry in my control? My mind can run and run and churn over all sorts of non-existent scenarios. The best thing I do, to stop this relentless act, is distract myself with something I enjoy like a good Sitcom or otherwise I annoy the dog. Poor Kita often bears the brunt of my over thinkingness. I hope she knows she helps. If my thoughts come back, then it’s time to write things down. Write answers to my questions. If there is something in my control then write what I can do and when I can do it. Once it’s written I can refer back to it and it’s literally a weight off my mind. This is my way to offload and also get back perspective. Talking to someone about your worry is also a good thing. Even thinking what would they do? or say? are good too.
So, with our thoughts its ok to listen to them but don’t let them override the good feelings we have with the little enjoyment we get. I’ve realised I’m to read my hospital letter and accept it for the way it is written. It is out of my control and I must not imagine any horrors that could be upon me.