What if?



That question, one which many will identify with, underpins large tracts of my existence. Living to 60 years of age should have diminished these fears, but it doesn’t!

The condition associated with that question is not the preserve of Bipolar, and even to the uninitiated, is clearly associated with anxiety, but it certainly sits alongside Bipolar as one of the key ‘symptoms’.

When I’m Dysthymic, I can take one small issue and extrapolate it to the end of the world being just around the corner. Bizarrely, but perhaps not, I de-stress by reminding myself that suicide could be the route out if my world falls apart as badly as I imagine at those dark times. How weird eh? But maybe it’s not: part of de-stressing is stopping those moments of self analysis and self loathing, and telling myself – it’s just Bipolar. I’m just wired differently.

I have to tell myself there is only so much I can do, so few things I can really influence, and that my past is my past. In this regard it’s hard to find a better mantra than the serenity prayer:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

And of course isn’t it funny that invariably the ‘what if?’ question is usually negatively focussed. Only rarely – certainly rarely if you have Bipolar – do we view the question in positive terms; like what if I get that promotion, or what if I win the lottery. Too often it’s what if my boss fires me for that mistake, and what if I can’t get another job, and what if we’ve no money and my wife leaves me, and so on.

Goodness, I have done that soooo many times since my late teens, and here I am still standing. So many times I’ve jumped ship for fear of sinking, only to look back and see it sail off without problem.  Or where the ‘what if’ is applied to relationships, leading too often with a predilection to ‘get your retaliation in first’ before the ‘what if’ moment occurs.

I know at my age that I’m likely to carry on like this, but one thing is for sure, I won’t ever stop trying to get over the tendency to worry over imagined events.

What lead to this small epiphany today? Well because I’m very anxious right now I awoke today to find bright red patches on my tongue. Within seconds I was imagining cancer and a painful death!!. Turns out I have the descriptive ‘geographic tongue’ – a condition that is nothing to worry about. I asked the Doctor what might cause it and guess what?? – STRESS!!!

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