I know I’m guilty of getting bogged down in worries about things I can’t necessarily change. These worries can be as wide ranging as who will be the next president to whether or not we’re at a point in our careers where we feel happy. The point is, there are always going to be things we can’t control.
Many times we try to exert control over these things by being forceful or by stepping out of our comfort zone to do things we wouldn’t normally do. That’s not good. There have been numerous times that I’ve been in a situation where I’m paranoid that someone has done or said something negative about me. I’m worried they are conspiring against me or laughing about me, and in times like these, although I do my best to exit them as soon as possible, I have felt compelled to fight or to exert some kind of superfluous control over the situation.
I’ll think about these circumstances for hours, afterward thinking “I should have done this” or “I should have done that.” I feel inadequate and weak for leaving the situation instead of fighting, but I never think about what would have happened had I decided to fight or be forceful. Chances are, it wouldn’t have been good for me.
The thing about all of this is that we have to be conscious about the things we can control, and the things we can’t control. We have to know that sometimes the consequences aren’t something we can do anything about without causing undue harm to ourselves or someone we care about.
Having lived with schizophrenia for 10 years now, I’m well aware of the fact that I can’t always control my symptoms; sometimes it will be a beautiful altogether lovely day and then I’ll be sitting at dinner and hear somebody laugh and automatically I’ll start to panic. Over the past 10 years, I’ve become very adept at avoiding my triggers, so I limit my time amongst crowds, amongst people that don’t look like good people, or amongst situations where something could potentially cause me paranoia, and because of that I’ve been able to maintain some semblance of control.
Sometimes crazy things happen, though, and in those situation I use the tools I’ve acquired to help me through. The main point is that there will always be instances where the things we want to happen won’t happen, and things may get out of hand. In those instances, you have to be able to move with grace and strength and handle them the best way you know how.
We all have tools we use. Sometimes they’re the wrong tools, but life is about learning how to handle those situations and every instance is a learning experience. Essentially, we all have moments of panic or loss of control, but being able to put a lid on what happens or altogether limiting our exposure to the things that could potentially happen is a good tool to have.