Do you remember the story of Chicken Little (or Henny Penny in some cultures)? Not the movie, but the book. An acorn falls on Chicken Little’s head and he is convinced that the sky is falling. He goes as far as making a journey to see the king to warn him of this impending disaster.
The meteorologists predicted a week ago that we were going to be the beneficiaries of a significant snow storm. 10, 20, and even 30 centimetres (almost a foot) of snow was anticipated in some regions. I woke up the next morning, fully anticipating to see a blanket of fresh-fallen snow on the ground below, and there was…nothing! Just a light dusting of snow. No need for snow plows. To be fair, some other areas farther afield did get some snow.
Many times we anticipate the worst, and it never happens.
Catastrophizing. Have you ever catastrophized? It is an irrational thought that we have in believing something is far worse than it actually is. There are two forms: we can make a catastrophe out of our current situation, or we can imagine making a catastrophe out of a future situation. Example: I am late getting to work. I immediately believe I will lose my job and my paycheque, and therefore I will lose my house and my car. By the time I get to work I’m in a panic. Meanwhile, my manager welcomes me and is glad I’m at work, or suggests I leave a little earlier for work next time.
If you are prone to catastrophizing, next time ask yourself some questions. Is the situation realistic? Is it really likely to happen? Is there anything you can do to mitigate the situation? For example, perhaps you can call ahead to work to say you’ll be a few minutes late.
For me, catastrophizing is a symptom of depression. I imagine my nearest and dearest in a fatal accident, and the scenario includes a funeral. When I start thinking that way, I know I’m depressed. Just knowing that takes away the heavy emotion generated by these irrational thoughts – I do recognize these thoughts to be irrational.
Next time the sky is falling, look for the acorn.
I journal endlessly. Whatever thought strikes my mind, I write it down. It could be the most inane and boring thought going, but I write it down. It clears my head. Sometimes what I write has tremendous satisfaction, and I am sure I will use it in my writing someway or other.
What is the benefit of journalling? To get down on paper (or equivalent) whatever it is I am feeling. Can I express the happiness, the joy I am feeling? Or can I likewise expresses the angst, the upset, the anger or despair I am feeling? If I write it – or express it -am I less likely to have the thought explode in an undesirable way?
I believe that by expressing all of our feelings – happy, negative, or whatever – we can settle into our lives a little bit better. Writing is but one means. Drawing a picture of how one feels can evoke emotion. A person who is a composer may express her feelings through music. I have been impressed by those who complete pictures through adult colouring books.
Creativity takes so many different forms…what appeals to you? Do you have a means of creatively expressing how you feel?
I mentioned that journalling clears my head. What clears yours?
Leave me a comment,
I have a book in the works, A Ledger of Tears. This title is taken from Psalm 56:8: “You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, Each tear entered in Your ledger, each ache written in Your book. (MSG)
I am shopping for publishers and agents. The brief synopsis of the book is this:
Catharine Roberts, a strong, independent, yet sensitive woman, is tormented by memories of her past. She comes to Jonathan Webster, a compassionate and insightful Christian therapist, for help to untangle the knots that bind her.
Jonathan helps Catharine to resolve the conflicts and to understand the dissonance she experiences in her relationships with her birth family. We discover that on top of everything Catharine has had to bear, she has Bipolar Disorder. Her trauma – and her disorder- spill over into her adult life, and we follow her experiences through good times and bad. Catharine is steeped in scripture, and readily shares the passages that have meant the most to her during harrowing times.
Much as Jonathan likes and respects Catharine, the sanctity of the client/therapist relationship must not be broken. Is there a budding relationship?
So, dear friend, this is a tidbit of what A Ledger of Tears is all about. What follows? Tears of Joy!
I have processed a great deal through journalling. Perhaps you have found that journalling your path has been helpful. I strongly recommend it, for it brings clarity, and often helps resolve issues that are rattling around inside our brains 🙂
As I write this, we are enjoying above-average temperatures in Wellington County, and indeed over most of eastern Canada and northeastern United States. Above-average means above 0°. This is a reprieve from the bitterly cold temperatures we have had over Christmas and the New Year, where we had wind-chill factors in the minus 20’s.
Reprieves are good. Reprieves are necessary. A reprieve comes in many forms. For the prisoner on death-row, a reprieve means a stay of execution. For the patient who suffers the debilitating effects of a disease, it could mean the remission of the disease. It could mean a coffee with a friend, and a chance to chat and pour your out heart about what life has handed you and how you feel about it. It could mean buying a single rose for yourself, to put in a vase where you can often admire its beauty. Many forms.
I have Bipolar Disorder, and am sometimes caught in a depression that seems so deep, I will never crawl out of it. I have understanding friends, as well as an awesome daughter, who cheer me on and keep in touch with me even though I feel I am a pariah. I have faith in a living, loving God. When I am in the deepest despair, I know He cares for me. If I lose hope, my daughter, friends and Pastor lift me up in prayer and, miraculously, I feel better again. This sometimes happens because, no doubt as a result of prayer, daily devotionals seem to directly address my situation, and the scriptures they contain give me courage to keep on going. I have had a reprieve.
Are you needing a reprieve? Do you need a safe place to spill out what you’re going through? Leave me a comment.