Sunday, October 13, 2019

Clearing the nests


She inherited my noisy, hyperactive thought cycles, with their constant manufacturing of catastrophic outcomes, and oh how I wish I could have spared her that. You will survive it, I tell her. I am Exhibit A—proof that we go on.

We smile and function in the world at large, few ever guessing at the brooding thoughts branching inside us, choking our breath sometimes, making us shake, yet somehow, the terrible things we are capable of imagining almost never come to be. (I went back and added the word "almost" in that sentence, wary of challenging the fates.)

I remember a woman saying years ago that you can't stop disquieting thoughts from showing up. Like birds they alight before our peripheral vision can detect their flight. But if we can't always prevent their arrival, this woman said, we can keep them from building nests in our heads.

11 comments:

  1. It always helps me, when I wake up in the middle of the night and start overthinking dark thoughts, that thoughts -- especially thoughts of events that have yet to occur or simply MIGHT occur -- are only imagination. They're not real! And in the daylight they never seem as threatening.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Such a hard row to hoe for sure but yes you are a survivor! I love that we can keep them from building nests in our heads, love that!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is very true but when my real anxiety switch gets flipped on, there is nothing I can tell myself that will make those thoughts go away or even lose power. It's like my mind is fighting with my mind and whatever it is that's causing the anxiety is a powerful thing that my rational mind cannot overcome. But when it comes to the usual "the sky is falling" stuff, I can and do refocus. Or, ride it out. Whatever it takes.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I do the same thing and it really helps to do something for others to get out of my head. Hugs to you both.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I'm sorry both of you suffer this problem. It's hard, isn't it, when our children inherit something from us that we wish they could have been spared. Or if they end up with something completely different that's just as bad, or worse. I've wished so many times that I could take on my daughter's illness and let her live unencumbered by health problems for a change. And no, we can't stop the thoughts from arriving. But we can name them and recognize that they are only thoughts, not realities. That is something.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love the idea of not letting those bad thought birds build nests in our heads. I'll remember that when they show up a million times a day with twigs in their beaks, and I'll shoo them away. I'll also think of you and smile.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I relate to what you say, sometimes worried thinking takes over. Also, especially since becoming a widow, I present a sunny exterior to the world but am feeling broken. When these worries present I right away think and repeat as needed "I am not in control. God is in control. I am not alone", which gives me some comfort. Blessings to you.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I used to watch Oprah, and she had a show about being afraid, and how she would ask herself "well what is the worst thing that could happen?" And she would explore it, look at it, think about it and sort of live with it. I do that. My husband thinks I over react to stuff that hasn't happened, I call it going to defcon1 and being done with it. And... I go through life being pleasantly surprised.
    You and your daughter are just so dang photogenic.

    ReplyDelete
  9. this is my sister! always stressing out about something. if there is nothing real happening for her to stress about she makes stuff up in her head to stress about! it drives me nuts. it's like borrowing trouble.

    back in the 80s I was in a women's group with a facilitator where we would talk about things that we were facing. a couple of the women were always going on about the depressing or sad or stressful or angry thoughts and I would tell them that they don't have to be the victim of their minds, that they could just refuse to think those things, the not letting them make nests, that they could say 'go away I don't want to think about they right now'. you have to be active, rejecting that which makes you unhappy but eventually you will develop new thought habits. they all scoffed at me. about a year later, maybe less I don't remember exactly as it was a long time ago, one of these women had had an epiphany. she didn't have to entertain those thoughts that made her so unhappy! I just kept my silence.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Somebody once told me, be the thinker, not the thought. It helps.

    ReplyDelete
  11. My brain is full of negative thoughts at the moment. Not a good or healthy way to be.

    ReplyDelete