Posted by: Judy | July 7, 2015

Schema 7…

7. VULNERABILITY TO HARM OR ILLNESS – Exaggerated fear that imminent catastrophe will strike at any time and that one will be unable to prevent it. Yes. Considering my history, is it exaggerated?

Actually, this isn’t wholly unreasonable. Accidents happen. They can occur at any time, including when you’re doing everything right. That’s why they’re called “accidents” not “on purposes.”

The problem comes in living every moment of life like something bad is going to happen. Can it happen? Yes. However, worrying about it won’t prevent it.

Difficulties are what life is all about. Really. Life was never intended to be about avoiding problems. We were created to face the battles.

I appreciate better the analogy of being a ship. Ships were not built to stay safely in the harbor. They are built to set sail and tackle calm seas and storms.

In the case of the Titanic, the builders were insanely over confident. They didn’t prepare for possible problems.

I know catastrophe strikes. I have torn ligaments, a herniated disc, touchy digestive tract, etc, that prove physically bad things happen. Not to mention the CPTSD. I’ve lost jobs, not from being fired but from changes in situations. I had a computer blown up during an electrical storm. Bad things happen. Horrible things happen.

I’m not proud of the fact that I’ve often allowed my fears of yet another catastrophe occurring dictate how I live my life. I still can’t go to bed if there’s a thunderstorm, even if I unplug my computer.

However, I only worry about that problem during an actual storm.

I work out, doing physical therapy, to increase my chances of another physical “pileup” not happening. The last week or so my knee has started buckling again. I worked through the possibilities and realized that I had been sitting with my feet up. It’s too much stress on my knee. Until the knee fully recovers, if I need to put my feet up, I’ll simply need to lie down. This is a bit of conundrum because if I lie down I’ll probably sleep. Maybe I need the sleep. Maybe this is an opportunity for me to learn about taking better care of myself.

Eating and sleeping better also helps me improve my health. No longer taking public transportation has almost completely cut colds from my life. Instead of five or six times a year, I might have a cold once a year. Maybe.

Don’t know how to improve the job catastrophe. I do what I’m able. I could worry about it every day, all day, but it won’t make it better.

This is another practice thing. I have to practice not imagining the worst, awfulizing/catastrophizing.

For the record, sometimes it’s important to awfulize/catastrophize, to think through the worst case scenarios in order to prepare for them. Prepare for the worst; pray for the best and hopefully end up pleasantly surprised.

Something that does help is gratitude. It’s difficult to awfulize and express gratitude at the same time…not impossible, of course, but sooner or later you have to choose where to train your focus: All that can go wrong or all that has gone right.

I’m working on learning to take better care of myself.

I’m working on learning to be more grateful.



  1. I think that is a healthy take on this one (improve on taking care of ourselves), it is a tough one for me. Some of my physical ailments were related to emotional distress and some were not. The anxiety of what will happen occurs before an FOO visit and it builds up to stress which then sometimes it manifests itself physically and then after the visit as well. Some of the scenarios I go through have a common theme and I try to group them so it reduces the anxiety. I like this and will have to try this for the upcoming visit: “focus: All that can go wrong or all that has gone right.”

    • When stepping into a lion’s cage, it’s important to be prepared for the worst. The problem is that we’ve come to see the whole world as a lion’s cage. I think we can learn to put on the safety gear, carry the whip and chair, and see ourselves coming out very much alive.

  2. If you’re falling asleep the second you lie down, you probably do need more sleep 😉

    I do a lot of semi-conscious contingency planning. I’m an optimist (lord know how that happened given my history), but one way to help from being disappointed is to not have backed myself into a concern of absolute expectations. However, hand in hand with considering possible outcomes is awfulizing (love that word) so that I can be prepared. I like Your lion’s cage analogy.

    A side note on public germs: I’m religious about using the gym’s disinfectant spray on the treadmill before I even use it because I’m pretty sure the last couple illness I caught were when I didn’t do this. It was really stupid of me the last time I didn’t do it (in a rush) because I knew better and *voila* sick a few days later. Yuck.

    • With public transportation, I’d hear someone sneeze and cough and know I’d be sick before long. Nothing I could do to stop it; funny since I work for a doctor and don’t come down sick. I’m a bit OCD about washing my hands. 🙄

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