My anxiety has decreased so much over the last year of my life. I have learned not to think about worst case scenarios and instead try to live in the moment. Instead of future traveling and thinking about all the bad things that could happen, I have become really good at focusing on the here and now. What is in my control?
I try to tell myself - it isn't worth getting myself all worked up about illness and accidents, because those things may never actually happen. When you become a mom, it feels as if part of your heart is forever walking around outside of you. And that worry is hard to control. I have always said that having three children out in the world is agony - you are constantly feeling exposed and vulnerable. You have to learn to be in the moment everyday with these kids, and instead of constantly worrying about what might happen to them I need to focus on what they are going through right now. What do they need here, today? It doesn't benefit anyone to worry about where they will be next week, one year or ten years from now.
For so long, I spent many years practically looking for danger. Expecting it. Because that was what I was taught to do by two parents that also worried everyday of my childhood. I thought the world was designed to hurt me, because that is what I was told. To fear everything.
As an adult, I always used to expect to get hit by the second arrow, because I was taught that the world will always be sending daggers in my direction. That was how my mindset was from childhood. So, I turned to alcohol to make me feel better usually. To soften the blow of the second arrow. To get me through the days.
Over the last year, I stopped expecting the second arrow. I stopped worrying. My anxiety has decreased. I have started being more mindful. More in the moment. But last weekend, my foundation was rocked.
Last Sunday, Evan and Brayden got in a car accident. This is and always will be one of my worst fears. And it came true. I got a call from Evan on the side of the highway at 7:30 at night. He was calm and reassuring that everything was okay though - that it was somewhat minor. They were rear ended by a large vehicle, when they stopped for another accident in front of them. After waiting for a while and dealing with the police and emergency vehicles that were already present for the other accident, they were on their way. It was going to be fine and they would be home soon, Evan said. Brayden was scared and texting me from Evan's phone on the side of the road, but he seemed okay. I sat patiently by the fire, waiting for them to get home at 8:00/8:30 on Sunday evening. Minutes ticked by. And it seemed to be taking too long. Then another call came through from Evan. He was standing in a snowbank on the side of the road again.
After they left the accident, when driving home, the car was making a strange noise. The fender was smashed in, but it seemed drivable. They were going slowly in the right hand lane when another car flashed their lights and put their window down next to them and yelled that their car was on fire. Evan immediately pulled the car over again and Brayden dove into the snowbank and took off running down the side of I-95, assuming the car was going to blow up. After calling 911 and getting the car inspected by the firemen down the road at the other accident, they eventually got the car towed. Eventually, they got a ride from a police car back home.
Within a few days, we realized that Brayden suffered a concussion. That night he seemed okay, but it became quite clear that he was not fine within the next day or so. He has been home all week and is doing better each day, but I fear the emotional trauma may be worse on him.
For all my life, receiving a phone call that my family has been in an accident has always been my biggest fear. This was a scary moment for our family, and it could have been so much worse. I don't know if I have learned anything from this, or if I just want to say that I am glad I was sober that Sunday night. In the past, I would have been drunk by 8pm. After receiving the call that they were in an accident, the old me would have turned to her wine. I would have not have been able to handle the stress in the moment. My nerves would have been shot and I would have needed alcohol to get me through it... Instead, I meditated. I breathed through the chaos on my mind. And I was present for them when they got home later that night.
I don't have the same mindset of always thinking the world is out to get me. I don't allow myself to live in a perpetual state of worry or planning for the worst case scenario. I try to be in the moment and enjoy my children, but sometimes big things happen that shake my foundation. And I am just really happy to be sober when they do.