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?