Thursday, December 1, 2016

i've always been pretty good at imagining the worst. at freaking myself out. at believing pretty outrageous lies. at going from 0-worst case scenario real quick. i was thinking about this today as i was driving and trying to think of examples. one of the oldest examples i thought of was one night i went upstairs to my room and swore on my little life that there was someone in my room throwing things around. somehow a burglar had entered through my second story window (or better yet, the attic) and was just in my room throwing toys around. i had gone upstairs and seen a shadow of something bouncing around but nothing was making noise. i went downstairs and told my dad that someone was in my room. clearly my dad knew better than i did and sent Sam upstairs with me to show me that clearly I was wrong. well, i was. turns out the thing i saw bouncing around was a balloon i had tied to my desk chair and it was bouncing around due to my ceiling fan being on. clearly not a man throwing toys around. a balloon. but i was 100% convinced. i wasn't scared, just very confident in my assessment of the situation.

fast forward probably 20 years later and i'm still like this. i can immediately think of the worst case scenerio and live in that. i don't even really get scared from it, i just am very sure of what i think is happening. in brazil often i would lay in bed and hear gunshots and fireworks (which sound VERY similar ok) and literally convince myself almost every night that i was going to die. that they were going to hop over the probably 30 foot gate with broken glass and razor wire and come straight for my little house and kill me. sometimes i'd be scared but most of the time i'd just say well, ok this is it. i couldn't call anyone or tell anyone but nearly every night i was convinced that this situation was going to unfold.

i get so sure of myself in these moments. i'm stubborn and adamant that these worst case things are bound to happen because i just convince myself of them. brandon often tells me i have to chill before i give myself a heart attack.

my senior year of college i remember sitting in my dorm room i shared with chelsea and i was unpacking medical supplies. it was a sunday night and my parents called me like they usually did. i can't remember if it was my mom or dad that told me my sister megan had cancer. i sat on top of those cardboard boxes in shock and disbelief. for some reason after that the rest of the fall and winter i was terrified to drive. i constantly thought i was going to die. these thoughts weren't suicidal, i didn't want to die i just could constantly envision all the ways i could. getting hit, hitting a guardrail, merging into another car, etc. gruesome thoughts. i was convinced every time i got in the car that something bad was going to happen. i listened to sodom south georgia by iron and wine a lot that fall because jon myer played sat open mic night and i remember sitting on the curb outside the coffee shop and being so paralyzed with fear. fear that my sister would die. fear that i would die. a few weeks later chelsea invited me on a date. she covered a table in the coffee shop upstairs with a sheet and had sparkling grape juice for me. we caught up on life and i told her all these things. i hadn't told anyone else and i was having a hard time processing them. i confess, i don't remember what she said but she's good at asking questions and being tough and loving and knowing my heart well. she's always been there to remind me i'm not alone in anything and i'm so grateful.

somehow the fear to drive subsided for over a year. i lived in colorado and almost drove off mountains all the time and was never scared. then back in boiling springs in the spring of 2013 i was driving home from work and had a panic attack while driving. the fear returned. the same thoughts ran through my head every day while i drove. what if this happened, what if this happened, what would i do if this happened. again, i never had any desire to act on these thoughts my mind would just constantly race from the time i turned my key in the ignition to when i got out of the car. i had to tell people about the panic attack and the things i had been panicking about and i think the fear went away.

it returned a little this week and i'm not sure why. i think partially its because my car has had 99 problems and they all bad and i had a tire blow out recently and now i'm scared constantly that my car is just going to explode.

i don't have any neat way to wrap this up. i pray a lot in these fears. i laid in my bed every night in brazil asking jesus to keep me safe from the people with guns and from snakes and tarantulas and scorpions. i pray while i drive that these thoughts get out of my head. and i trust that they will. maybe they will come back. but that's just where i am in life right now.

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