Sunday, September 28, 2008

Addiction to Fear

Last night I lay awake from 2am until 6am. In the first hour I was running an inventory of all the bad things that could go wrong in my relationship: he will do this or that; he will say this or that; he could get sick, die, leave me, love someone else. With each one I complete the thought with my possible response: I will say this or that; I will do this or that and always, always: I will feel terrible.

Now what is interesting is that I don’t need any of those things to happen to actually feel terrible. No, efficient gal that I am, I have already made myself feel terrible just by running through the scenarios and previewing or rehearsing the outcomes. The effect: I feel like shit.

It’s not new behavior. I have done this most of my life. I suspect I started this as a kid but then it was just background music. The sound track to a scared kid’s life. It was, I suppose, to be a kind of inoculation. If I can imagine it then I can be prepared for it maybe? But it took on a life of its own. Now it’s a habit.

It is an addiction too I realize because it actually produces a physical effect. I release adrenaline and cortisol into my body. Hence awake in the wee hours. That also is not new. I have been able to make myself crazy with rage or grief or terror with scenarios that never occurred. I produce the emotion and the physical effect.

You can imagine how good this is for the relationship.

But last night awake in bed and then in the living room I was able to see this from a slight angle. Maybe I was just tired enough to watch myself do this and I asked myself: If I spend 90% of my thinking time creating scenarios to scare myself what would I instead think or feel if I could reduce that by say 60%? I’m not sure I can stop this addiction to fear or this habit of shooting up my own adrenaline using only my mind but if I could interrupt it and reduce it what would that produce?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Stay strong! Try yoga and meditation. Firstly it is good that you recognize the situation. Next is to calmly and logically talk yourself out of it.

Am no expert. Simply maybe having similar problems as you list here.