worry

The Worst That Can Happen: ADHD and Anxiety

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Have you ever heard that saying? That 90% of what we worry about doesn’t end up happening.

I had heard it and when I really thought about it, I agreed. It was comforting to consider.

This blog post is not about that. Today I want to share about the 10% of not great stuff that DOES happen. 

By now you may know that I’m a mom with adhd and I have a son who also has adhd. It can make for some #funtimes (no really).

My son was 20, driving and often out late. I had spent at least 4 years worrying about what could happen while he was out. Freaking myself out. Fretting over the possibilities and my utter lack of control. Then it happened, one of the things I feared most.

I have always had a low lying anxiety for most of my life. Always just a little bit nervous or worried about things that “could” happen. As a child it was things that may happen to me. As a mom it became things that may happen to my kids.

As my son moved into the driving stage I noticed my anxiety increase.

What if he broke down on the side of the road? What if he drove too fast and wrecked? What if he didn’t pay attention to the lights? What if he crashed and ended up in a ditch? (I think this one was passed down from my mom and my teenage days)

What if, what if, what if?

It was a very fearful place to be in. As parents we try to do all of the things, hours of practice driving, track the phone so we know if they’re almost home, pray, pray, pray.

One night I went to bed at my usual time of 9:30, while my husband stayed up until what is typically close to Midnight before he heads to bed. After being asleep for a few hours, I woke up at 2:15am and noticed the bed was empty. I thought to myself “that’s strange” and felt a little curious. Just a hint of nerves.

I got up and peered over the stair rail. No husband on the couch. Hmm, that’s strange. 

I went downstairs to look for him. No husband to be seen. I checked the counter for his phone. No phone. Hmm, this is strange.

I was half asleep, but starting to panic. Telling myself “don’t panic, don’t panic”.

I checked the key rack for hubby’s keys. No keys. I mean NO KEYS. My son’s were not there either. 

I decided to look out of the front window to check the driveway for my son’s car - no car in the driveway. My brain decided to freak out a little bit.  My heart did a tap dance in my chest.

I called my husband. No answer. I called my son. No answer. I’m in full blown panic attack now. I can feel my heart pounding and racing. I feel light headed.

My phone rings and it’s my husband calling. He says the words “I’m at the Emergency room. Jami’s been burned. It’s bad.” Then silence. My brain exploded. I think “no, no, no, please God”.

My son then gets on the phone and says “mom I’m ok. They’re putting stuff on my face and hands and sending me home.” This is the moment I will remember…my brain took over and got very logical. It thought “he’s coming home. That’s a good sign.” I felt relieved, and waited.

He came home about an hour later. Hands bandaged. Face covered in what looked like vaseline (the stuff they use on firefighters to help with the pain and keep the skin moist). I cried. Tears of joy that he was alive.

Don’t get me wrong. He was not fine, but was going to be ok.

He had experienced a flash burn to the face while cooking at a friends house and putting water on a grease fire. He ended up with 1st and 2nd degree burns to his face and hands.

We ended up seeing a burn specialist the next day in San Francisco where they gave us the incredibly good news that he should heal up just fine over the course of a year.

The part that I have noticed now, a full year later is this. 

I worried for 4 years ahead of time, about “the worst that could happen” and felt awful.

Then, what I could imagine as the “worst that could happen” actually happened. My son was burned, and I felt awful for 48 hours.

Go figure. It wasn’t fun. But to be honest both were uncomfortable. All of the worrying I did beforehand did not prevent the injury from occuring.

The worry and discomfort ahead of time lasted for 4 years and was optional. 

The actual thing that I was worried could happen, DID happen and the discomfort lasted 48 hours.

This is how it works. You can worry ahead of time and suffer, or you can experience the discomfort when and if something happens and leave the suffering ahead of time alone.

If you’d like to learn more about how to manage your mind and anxious feelings, book a free consultation and let’s talk. You can start feeling better today.

Ever Felt Like You’re Walking On Eggshells?

Day 13: Eggshells

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Have you ever felt like you’re walking on eggshells?

Trying to behave a certain way so that someone else feels a certain way?

It can be exhausting.

I was in a relationship once where I thought that I could manage my boyfriends emotions by being and acting a certain way.

I thought that if I could anticipate what he was thinking and feeling, I could tell what would make him upset and do the opposite, so that he could be his best self.

The problem was, I then wasn’t being my best self.

I was altering my natural behavior to accommodate his behavior.

It was unfair to both of us.

I was not being true to myself.

I was not allowing him to grow into his best self.

It didn’t last.

Here’s the thing. You and only you, are responsible for how you feel.

You cannot delegate how you feel to someone else.

If they don’t do what you want them to do, you’ll feel bad.

When you are responsible for your own feelings, no matter what someone else does, you will be fine.

You can feel fine.

No matter what they say or think about you, it all works out.

They can be wrong about you.

They can be confused.

You know who you are.

Curious how that works?

Let’s talk.

~Shaun

If You’re Going To Worry, Worry Hard

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Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
— Corrie Ten Boom

I am a worrier.

I worried as a kid. I worried as a teen. I worry as an adult.

Anxiety has always been the little sidecar to my adhd.

I’ve had panic attacks since the age of about 8. I didn’t know it at the time, my family called it “my reaction”, but my heart would race, my palms would sweat, I’d feel light headed and like I was gonna throw up.

This feeling would come on swiftly, without warning, and I would often leave school because of it.

I felt like something was wrong with me, like it made me weird and nerdy.

It felt like I was broken and not normal.

As I became an adult, I decided to stop letting worry make decisions for me. It would still show up, but I wouldn’t allow it to keep me from doing things that I wanted to do.

For 6 years I had a job where I was traveling twice a month, often flying coast to coast. While I loved seeing new places and meeting new people, the flights themselves terrified me. Each take off and landing I’d have my own little panic attack. I decided right then and there I could do hard things. This felt hard to me, but I wanted to show up. I wanted to do the job.

I allowed the feelings of discomfort knowing that eventually they would pass and I would get to the other side of the feelings. I noticed my palms sweating and my stomach flipping and said to myself “I choose this. Other people do this, so can I.”

More recently I have noticed that I had a belief that once I got my kids to the age of 18, my worries for and about them would magically stop. I would have done my “job” of raising them and I would no longer feel the responsibility that I felt when they were younger to keep them safe.

Ha! Yeah, just magically stop. That’s truly what I thought. Boy was I ever wrong about that!

What I’ve discovered is that once 18 came, it got worse. I still had the same concern for their safety, yet now they were doing much bigger things and I had absolutely zero control over it!

Take for example the two weeks that my daughter spent in Thailand last year. Ubering to hostels at midnight, having her phone pic pocketed on day two. I couldn’t control any of it. I spent those two weeks with an app notifying me every time she landed in a new Country. Alarms going off each time she should’ve checked into a new hostel. It was awful! (For me, she on the other hand had a fabulous time!)

Or take my son who is a rapper. Often out late nights at the recording studio. As a mom, when I haven’t heard from him for awhile, or I’m unable to reach him, I imagine the worse. Of course something horrible has happened and his car is in a ditch somewhere.

More often then not his cell phone battery has died and he makes it home just fine. Except that one time…

I will save THAT story for another post.

While I was at The Life Coach School’s coach training a few weeks ago, I was coached by some amazing fellow students. I decided to come up with a worry protocol.

Some people have a food protocol (to lose weight), others have a drinking protocol (to stop overdrinking), and I have a worry protocol (to stop over worrying!)

It’s simple. When I observe my mind worrying, I say to myself “oh look, there you go again trying to get us all worked up. In spite of what you’re feeling, I’m sure everything is fine. Worrying doesn’t solve anything.”

I then find a thought that I can believe about the current situation and save the worry for later. By later I mean exactly 9:30pm when an alarm goes off and I can #worryhard for exactly 5 min. Yep, that’s it.

I’ve decided to allow myself to worry for 5 minutes each day, and worry hard when I do. Then it’s time to move on.