So after a wonderful trip down Dr. Seuss’s memory lane, a couple days later my back goes out on me, of course. Really? Come on! I have running to do, work to do, did I mention running to do? I found myself not running, having to re-schedule patients, laid up on my own treatment table, quite uncomfortably taking a bit of residence in my very own special “waiting place.” I could feel my sticky mental stuckiness begin to crowd my mind with ‘What if’s!’
I’m sure we have all met these mental ‘critters’ before. They come in all different shapes and sizes, affecting everyone differently. Mine are a tricky lot, because my mind treats my little special ‘What ifs’ no differently than if they were unquestionable, UNDENIABLE truths about my unpleasant situation, even though they are completely fictional and have no basis in what actually took place. My ‘What if’s’ craft stories, completely believable to me (after all I created them, and I wouldn’t lie to myself… would I?). They come gift wrapped in pretty mental visual imagery that I create, strung tightly with my own self-doubts and fears. “What if I’m not able to train anymore?” Or another slippery ‘What if’er,’ “What if I lose all of my fitness and can’t run my race in a few weeks?”
Now what tools from my mental-emotional tool box could I tinker with that would send these ‘What if’ pests running back to the creepy, crawlyish recesses of my mind? (Because, after all, they’re always there… waaay in the back… just waiting to come out any time a whiff of my self-doubt or distress hits their little nostrils.) I pull out my first and foremostish important tool for when the ‘What ifs’ are visiting —
I ask myself how I am feeling and try to figure out why.
“I am frustrated and upset because my back is zinging me, and my mobility is that of the Tinman (un-oiled).”
Ohhh! ‘What’s ifs’ dislike this very much! It adds perspective to my current situation, bringing about self-awareness, and throws a big ol’ spot light right on them! My ‘What ifs’ are quite comfortable keeping me in in the dark about why they might be there so they can run their fictional fearful story on my mind’s reel. Next step…
I ask myself what do I want?
“I want to feel better and have thoughts that help me think and feel differently about my situation!”
I can almost hear the ‘What if’s’ screaming in unison, “Oh, no, not that!” I can feel these mental bottom-feeders hanging onto my brain with their fears, fictional stories, and poor assumptions begin to unwillingly lose their grip on my thoughts. They know what’s coming… I’m about to “bring my mind to court,” and that is the last thing they want! Just the facts, ma’am (or mister).
I begin to explore the TRUTHS I already know of my situation… sometimes I just need to remind myself.
“I’ve had this pain before and it usually only lasts a few days.”
“STOP IT!” Scream the ‘What if’s.’
“I can swim when my back goes out, and it actually helps to relieve the pain and keeps me fit.”
“La la lalala!” ‘What ifs’ holding their ears cringing.
“This is a temporary situation, and some time off will only add some much needed recovery after a very successful 50 mile race only a couple months ago.”
“AAAAAHHHHH!!!!” scream my ‘What ifs’ as they fall away and back into the recesses of my brain… at least until the next time.