My Mother is a very anxious person. While she might tell you that she is the voice of optimism, she is clearly the voice of doom. My Mother will imagine every worst case scenario for every single thing one may encounter. When one tells my Mother something they are going to do, her first words will undoubtedly be “Why would you want to do that- don’t you know X could happen?” or “Oh no don’t do that. You’re stupid.” The follows ups would usually be “that’s dangerous” or “can’t you go shopping instead?” For certain things, like when my sister says they’re going camping, it would be “I don’t know where you got this outside with nature bullshit. I didn’t raise you like that.” FYI, she has also told me “I don’t know why you like spicy foods. No one else in the family likes spicy food”, as my personal choice to order things on the spicy side is somehow a knock to my lineage, but that’s a whole other branch on the tree that needs to be shaken up…
But anyway…My Mother and anxiety are one and the same.
So recently, when my Mother refused to find a primary doctor closer to her house because of her anxiety, I simply said:
“Get over it.”
My Mother’s pithy response was “I can’t. I’ve been anxious my whole life.”
To which I replied:
“If you’ve been something your whole life, and it’s something that can be seen as a negative, you’re using it as an excuse for not wanting to change, grow, or move on. While it might be a nice soundbite to blame everything on your anxiety…you can’t use it as a get out of jail free card when faced with adversity. It’s become your crutch.”
If you have a negative habit or reaction, at some point you must face it head on. You must find a way to deal with it so it doesn’t hamper or mar you life. My Mother’s refusal to even try to find a more convenient Doctor could effect her health, sooner rather than later. And she’s facing this hurdle later in life, when admittedly it’s more difficult to change life long habits, because she’s always been afraid to face her biggest fears, and scared to look at the things that rattle around in her head.
Sometimes we need to take a good, long look in the mirror, and work on the things that are controlling our lives. While my Mother might not be able to get rid of anxiety, she can find a better way of coping with it than denial.
If something is getting in the way of being your best you, of living your best life, do something to change it, or amend it, or whatever, But don’t use it as an excuse. That won’t get you anywhere.