Drowning In Your Thoughts
Have you ever found your self spinning with the news from a recent doctor visit or test result? The doctor tells you your husband’s cancer has spread and you mind begins to spin…
I don’t know how will we get through this!
He might have to quite work…
I’m so exhausted already…
I don’t know what to tell the kids...
It can become hard to see beyond all these thoughts and sometimes it feels like your drowning in them.
I have felt this way many times. Often I couldn’t stop the mental spin and would wake in the middle of the night in a swirl of anxiety and worry.
Separate Out The Facts
It is so easy to get bogged down by all the thoughts and emotions that come up surrounding cancer. One technique I learned through coaching and have found particularly helpful when I feel like I’m drowning in my fear and confusion is to separate out the facts from everything else.
One I did this, I would quickly notice that there are very few facts and a lot of assumptions and judgments. What is swirling in my head keeping me up at night is everything I’m making those facts mean.
Recognizing this can provide a lot of relief because it allows you to gain some perspective. There is what the doctor said, then there is all our worry, anxiety, and fears about what he said. The second part is optional! Its similar to reading a medical result for a complete stranger – with out the emotion tied to it, its easier to make decisions and see things for what they really are.
Make A List
When you find yourself consumed with crazy thoughts and emotions about the latest news from the doctor, sit down and separate the facts from your judgement of them.
First write down everything in your head. All the thoughts you’ve been ruminating over.
Then, make a list with two columns. On the left, list all the things that are facts. On the right list everything else.
How do you identify the facts? Think of how a medical report is written – dry, factual language. Tumor is 3 cm in size…. Cancer metastasized in left lung… You get the idea. See my post about circumstances to learn more.
Judgement Are Optional!
Most likely you will have only one or two facts and A LOT of judgement. Judgments are just thoughts and you don’t have to think them. You may not be able to stop thinking them easily, but sometimes just recognizing they are optional can be freeing. Our brains naturally go to the worst case scenario. It’s what our brains do and it doesn’t mean anything.
Awareness Is Freeing
This process can bring you awareness, and that is first step to freeing yourself from the clutches of a mind running wild.
If you want to read more, check out my other blogs on how to build your resiliency in the face of cancer.