Saturday, October 30, 2010

Cystic Fibrosis: Feeding My Worry "Addiction" Since 2008

**Written by Mandi (I know, it's not Monday)

Many of you that know me, know that I’m a huge worrywart. I’ll worry about anything. I worry even if it’s irrational and I know I shouldn’t. “You can’t worry about everything!” you’re thinking? Wrong. Hm, what’s the best example. Oh, I’ve got one. I worry about the crabgrass and if we’ll be able to get rid of it. Does that help you get the picture? Part of it may be because I like to keep my mind busy. I don’t like sitting around doing nothing, and somehow “worrying” feels like I’m doing something. The second part of it, I’m afraid, is just my nature. Somehow I convince myself that if I think about something, and worry about something enough, I can outthink it. Makes total sense and is rational, right? (Insert eye roll and fart noise with mouth).

Unfortunately, having CF as a part of our lives gives me something to worry about. I think many of us do this. CF provides an easy thing to worry about for those of us prone to worrying. When I’m not caught in the middle of worrying, I’m able to think about it rationally and realize that my worries are irrational! Most of my worry spurs from reading or hearing about other people. It seems like every day I am reading about a CFer being listed for a transplant, dying, or getting sick. Each story begins to get my mind spinning. Some stories rattle me so deep to my core that I find myself getting choked up, and the only thing that will calm me is walking over to Ronnie and just hugging him. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it happens enough that Ronnie knows the drill. He knows why I’ve randomly shown up on his lap, tears in my eyes, holding onto him so tight he could pop. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said, “You’re not going anywhere, right?” To which he responds, “Right.” “Promise?” “Yup!” - like he, or any of us, can actually promise that.

The point is, I worry, yet I know my worrying doesn’t do anyone any good. So the question is then, how do we stop it? How do we help our rational brain teach our irrational brain how to think? I see this all the time in others in the community. We tend to focus so much on the negative - fueling our worry, concern, and flat out fear. Yet we let the encouraging, wonderful stories go in one ear and out the other. I’m pretty sure these days, the negative and the positive stories could go head to head. I read daily about new meds, people kickin’ butt with CF, and most importantly, I watch my husband faithfully do his treatments and exercise. But somehow, I haven’t learned how to focus on that quite yet.

So what’s the cure to all this worry? I think there’s a couple things. The first is time. Time to get more comfortable with Ronnie’s CF. Time to see everything that comes along with CF, the good and the bad, so I can watch Ronnie remain triumphant through each hurdle. Time to realize that Ronnie’s story is different than all 70,000 other stories out there. I wish I could speed up this solution, but I can’t. So I, like you, just wait, as each day turns into weeks, months and years. And I have noticed, that over the past 2 years, this solution is working. So I just sit tight, and look forward to the tomorrows - filled with less unknowns and more experience. The second solution I feel is trust. We all have something different that we put our faith and trust in. For me, it’s a trust in God. Trust that God has the plan already figured out. A plan that is in my best interest and a plan that is in Ronnie’s best interest. I need to better learn that my thinking and rethinking about scenarios and fretting over the what-ifs isn’t going to change God’s plan. I need to actually allow God to have the control I try to take by worrying. This, of course, is easier said than done. But the minute I turn my life and my fears fully over to Him, is the minute I’ll no longer be worried about what the future holds.

I know I'm not the only one that does this. So let's hear it. What gets you worrying? Have you found things that help you when you find yourself caught up in those fears and emotions? Have you found things that help you avoid worrying? Let me hear it.