Let us do our best to seize the day and enjoy what we can even though the emotional demons often try to build a campsite in our brain. Cliches remind of us how we only have this moment and that tomorrow is not promised to us. Emotional stress would often lead me to thinking that “it’s too late” to pursue goals or too late to tell that person how much you mean to them. In a way, I had to tell my brain that now is better than never. This seems like an obvious, but we can often add anxiety and regret to a situation that already was filled with anxiety and regret. Fuel to the fire. It took me several years, but I finally “Learned” that I would never get it all figured out in this lifetime. Of course I knew that there is always more to learn, but the Obsessive Compulsive Manager in my brain constantly tried to fix or figure out what I was thinking or faced with. I eventually told my brain that it was “under new management” and that I was gonna have to be okay with not fixing this stuff. Most of this garbage didn’t need to be fixed anyway, it just felt that way. Exposure Response Prevention became a helpful tool.
As Dr. Phil says: “life is managed, not cured.” The emotional demons that we wrestle with obviously fall under this category. Often we look for the all or nothing answer. Either we have this stuff beat or we don’t. Either we are getting better or getting worse. Again, a lot of the relief is in the gray areas. We can make huge strides in life, then a tough moment or difficult day happens, and it feels like we ran a 5k in the wrong direction. Let’s give ourselves a break and a reminder of the strength it takes to live with this exhausting circus in our head.
I was walking my dog recently and came across a snake that had already passed away. I have often told my friends and family that I would rather play patty cake with a grizzly bear than hold a non-poisinous snake. Even though I know this is irrational, my brain tells me otherwise. I have a true fear of snakes. I reminded myself that this stuff is “managed” and sometimes the snake will try to rear it’s head. I knew from experience that further exposure was needed. My exposure in the moment was to walk near the snake and purposely spend some extra time looking at it’s lifeless body. Just like OCD, we can often know the things in our mind are irrational, but feeling like we have to perform another compulsion, or use avoidance, this is an extremely powerful feeling. Telling myself that the snake was not alive, using logic, that wasn’t going to be enough in that moment. My brain acted like the snake had asked to take a nap in my hand. The anxiety was still there, so I purposely spent more time looking at the snake. It was difficult, but doable. It’s not always easy, but we are often way stronger than we realize. Letting ourselves experience this uncomfortable feeling, and “learning” that we can tolerate this, it’s all part of it. I guess it’s part of being “under new management. ” 🙂
“It’s the rattlesnake I fear.” Live, Rattlesnake