How to Step into Uncertainty And Get Closer to What You Want
Life is full of uncertainty, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. If life were never uncertain, it would be boring. So why do we crave change and variety so much, yet become frightened when it actually happens? I’m currently taking Mastin Kipp’s “Discover the Wisdom of Your Fear” course, and it’s given me the chance to look at how I’m living my life and think about where I’m letting my fear of uncertainty paralyze me from moving forward.
Before I continue with this post, here’s a little back story about me: I was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) at the age of seven. As someone who’s spent most of their life dealing with GAD and has been through years of therapists and medications, this fear of uncertainty has been an ongoing battle for me. My life has been dominated by never-ending thoughts of fear, worry, and anxiety.
I want so badly to know what’s going to happen to me in the future so I can prepare myself to handle it. I run all of the possibilities through my head again and again until I become too anxious to do anything at all. I can’t even count how many opportunities I’ve missed because I decided it wasn’t worth the risk of facing the uncertainty of new experiences.
That’s why I haven’t been nearly as productive as I should be with my writing, this blog, figuring out my career, and even in my personal life. I make excuses, telling myself it’s okay because I have a disorder and have no control over it. For most of my life, I’ve let my anxiety disorder diagnosis define me. It’s only been in the past couple of years that I’ve been able to take a step back and ask, “Is it really this mysterious chemical imbalance in my head stopping me from living my life, or is it something I have control over, that I can change and work with?”
I’ve realized that it is something I can change and work with. Because every time I pull myself out of the cycle of fear and uncertainty and take a step forward, I feel incredible. I have this amazing sense of control and power over my life. And every time I let the fear stop me, I take a step back and miss out.
To be honest, I almost didn’t even write a blog entry this week. I told myself that no one really cares whether or not I write anything, and what the hell do I have to say, anyway? That’s the main thought that’s been stopping me from blogging and writing for the past few months. But then I thought, maybe if I stop worrying about what to write and just write what I’m feeling now, someone will connect with it. Maybe if I take control of my anxiety in this moment and channel it into something meaningful, I’ll be a little closer to living the life I want.
This entry is my step forward for today. What’s yours going to be?
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12 replies to “How to Step into Uncertainty And Get Closer to What You Want”
I had no idea you had an anxiety issue – because this blogging, writing, and all the other things you mentioned aren’t easy for anyone. So many times I’ve thought how it would just be easier to quit. Yet tonight I wrote out some notes for a new story idea, and one that’s not my usual genre (or anything in my usual mix, even). Don’t know if I’ll write it yet, or if I do, whether or not I’ll publish it. But it’s a start! Good job on YOUR start!
Exactly. We all go through these issues, and knowing that has made me feel a lot less alone. Congrats on making notes for a new story and taking a chance. Any progress is good progress!
Hey Alana, we all go through this to some extent or other. I have this phrase burned into my brain, “Face the fear and do it anyway!” That helps me get going which leads me to that special place of power you speak of; that place where we have taken control for ourselves. I wish you joy of your journey. 🙂
Thanks, Prudence! I wish you joy on your journey as well. Thanks for stopping by 🙂
I’m so glad that you’re writing and blogging again, Alana. I think your story is an important one to be told. So many of us, myself included, can relate to issues of anxiety and self-doubt. I’ve recently realized that I allow myself to get paralyzed by the fear of “what if?” far too often, and that I short-change myself by giving into it, instead of trying to power through. It’s all about taking baby steps forward, right? 😀
Thank you, Lena. My memoir deals with this stuff too, although fear has gotten the best of me, and I haven’t been able to work on it for a long time. I’d like to start again, though. It’s definitely all about the baby steps. 🙂
I have to say that I learn so much from you Alana. And I am drawn to your honest voice and respect your ability to reveal your imperfections. I applaud you for your determination and bravery!
I have never heard of GAD/Generalized Anxiety Disorder before, though Anxiety does run in my family. Fear is such a huge thing for most of us. Then to compile anxiety on top of it just fuels the fear. I admire you for pushing ahead, even though you aren’t sure what the future holds. I understand. I deal with those feelings too.
I’ll share a secret with you. Each time I post a blog I cringe with fear. I have my husband read each and every one to make sure it makes sense, or to help me find spelling or grammer mistakes before I hit the publish button. But I am determined to keep blogging regardless of my fear, even if it’s only once a week. Whew, I said it.
So hang in there Alana. I always enjoy your posts! 🙂
Thank you, Karen! And thanks for sharing your secret with me. I think it’s awesome that you push yourself through your fear, and also that you’re not afraid to ask for support from your husband.
GAD is sort of a weird, nebulous, encompassing diagnosis. I think people generally are referring to GAD when they say someone has “anxiety disorder.” I’ve had more specific diagnoses over the years too that you’ve probably heard of, but I didn’t want to get too involved in that in this particular post. In any event, perhaps it makes things a little more challenging because I have those feelings so often, but I understand that everyone experiences it.
I really appreciate the support! You’re awesome.
Alana, you are a brave soul to put yourself out there like this. I am a retired psychotherapist. I know exactly what GAD is. It is a difficult disorder to live with (not that any of them are easy). I have bipolar disorder so I know of what you speak re: blaming it on the chemical imbalance or taking charge of your life. It is a very tricky balance. Sometimes the disorder affects my behavior in ways I’m not proud of. At those times I have to remind myself that I don’t have complete control over my brain chemistry, but I can take responsibility for learning from those moments and doing better the next time. Hope you keep on keeping on, and when you start to falter, remeber the WANA’s are here to cheer you on.
Thank you, Kassandra. I appreciate you putting yourself out there as well, even if it’s just in a comment on my silly little blog. It’s a tough balance, knowing when to give yourself a break and understand it’s not always in your control, and taking responsibility for your actions no matter what. It’s particularly difficult in romantic relationships in my experience. Everything gets heightened.
I appreciate the support, from you and all the amazing WANA’s who have been cheering me on. 🙂
I know exactly what you mean I get anxious every time I’m on the bus, in a shop, anywhere there is a lot of people. I’m socially awkward and have small panic attacks. My step forward has been to dedicate myself to my weight loss and writing journey. For me those two things are what’s keeping me happy and not going back to a dark place. Thank you for your article it meant something to know that others are similar to me.
Thanks for the comment, Jordan! I’m glad you related to the post. Best of luck on your weight loss and writing journeys.