As a Type A overachiever dealing with anxiety is a part of life. When life feels out of control I have to clean and organize my house, car, and yard from top to bottom merely for the sake of feeling in control of something. But in life you can’t control everything and earlier this summer my brother Bruce and sister-in-law Lauren inspired me in self control.
If you read my recap of my trip to Utah, you know that a pipe burst in their townhome they had moved into three weeks prior and flooded out their upstairs master bathroom and bedroom, went through the ceiling to flood their kitchen, dining room and garage.
My first reaction when we got home to a flooded house was sheer panic and I ran around like a mad woman trying to “take control” of an uncontrollable situation by clearing out wet boxes, moving and wiping down furniture, and taking my sister to Lowes to purchase a shop vac to begin water clean up. I HAD to achieve something to feel like I was getting the situation under control.
Bruce got out his paperwork and made the necessary phone calls to insurance companies while Lauren fed and changed baby Liam and began to walk around her flooded bedroom to pack up stuff to stay with her sister. Her brand new laptop had been soaked and it contained a ton of her pictures from the past few months (including newborn photos) and yet she was still cool and calm. I was in complete inner turmoil and it wasn’t even my place!
After getting a hold of the right people and told to wait for a clean up guy Bruce sat on the stairs and said “Man this sucks.” I asked him “Bruce! How are you two not freaking out right now? I’m freaking out!” to which he responded “Why? Freaking out isn’t going to change the situation so what’s the point?”
Ding! A little light bulb went off in my head- that is so true! How much mental anguish have I experienced over things I have no control over? I was inspired.
When I was recently in Vancouver and returned to my car to see the back window had been smashed in I felt the heat rush from my face down my neck and chest, my stomach ached, and my breath got short- panic attack ahoy! But I took a deep breath and kept saying over and over “Freaking out won’t change the situation. Freaking out won’t change the situation.”
And it really worked. I was stressed to say the least as I called Ryan, had Leilani start calling glass repair shops, and spent an hour on the phone with my insurance people but the anxiety never struck. I didn’t lose it, I didn’t freak out. In fact, once we determined all I could do was put plastic wrap on the window and deal with it when I was back home in Alberta I was able to shut off the part of my brain saying “You don’t have the money for this. You never should have come” and really enjoyed the rest of my weekend.
Even Ryan said he was surprised at how calm I was about the whole thing.
Does this mean my freak outs are over? Oh man, not even close! But repeating this to myself helped so much and I hope to keep this mantra in mind with future life challenges.
How do you deal when life feels out of control?