A Note From Allen: Trusting the Positive
Like just about anyone, I have a fair amount of stress in my life. The economy, the pressures of work, family issues, a near-constant barrage of information (much of it alarming) from around the globe—all of this can get to you. We at DBSA hear that a lot: it is hard for most people to cope with all that is happening in the world around them, let alone if they deal with depression or bipolar disorder.
Amidst all this stress, I get worried. Even after 20 years of dealing with a mood disorder in careful (and most often successful) partnership with my doctors, my loved ones, and my community, I worry. What if all of this stress breaks me down? What if the great mood I have been in for six weeks is, maybe, a little “too good” and the precursor to a crash? What if I relapse? What if…what if…what if?
I suspect a lot of us who live with depressive illnesses deal with these “what ifs.” I have been thinking about that a lot lately—how do I (and how can all of us) begin to let go of these what ifs and trust our recovery? I do not know the answer, not entirely, not yet—this is obviously a big issue!—but I have come up with this:
We need to start trusting the positive, and our own abilities, more than we trust the negative, and the often-scary world around us.
Easy to say, but how do we do it? Well, I am learning as I go...and I would certainly welcome suggestions, too. But here is what I have come up with so far: when I find myself anticipating the worst (“Oh, gosh, that meeting is going to be awful and people are going to question me and be hard on me,” or “Well, I have been planning this big event for six months and I bet it will rain and no one will show up and it will all have been for naught,” and other such negative self-talk, I try to flip it. What could go right, what could go well? How do I prepare for, anticipate, and create the best outcome possible?
Now, many of us (myself included) have had years and years—it can seem like a lifetime—of just the opposite...planning for how to deflect and deal with the bad stuff. Indeed, I have felt (and I imagine that I am not alone) that positive things do not generally happen for me. But I try now to think, “Well, even if those positive outcomes have never happened before, so what? Maybe they will now. That is my plan. That is my option. I am going to choose it.”
Maybe that would work for you. Or maybe you have a different thought about how to deal with the what ifs—I would welcome your ideas.
Join me; try it. Let’s anticipate the best this month. Let’s trust the positive more than we trust the negative. Let’s believe in recovery...all the way. I hope it goes well for you. I believe it will; I trust that.
With positive energy,