Everything Changes In a Second…
Updated: Oct 15, 2020
As a longtime sufferer of anxiety, I know that anxiety brings with it the need to control. And that need carries a propensity to plan ahead, which leads to constant worrying about what the future may hold. We lay awake at night fretting about tomorrow – what if this happens; what if that goes wrong; what if; what if…But one thing that I have learned throughout my struggles is that there is very little we have control over – even at times, our bodies or our minds.
The best thing a therapist has ever told me when dealing with my anxiety is that everything in life is fluid. Nothing is stagnant. What “is” today will quite likely be different tomorrow. Everything changes in a second. People change. Thoughts change. Our bodies grow older. Children are born. People die. The sun shines. The wind blows. The rain falls.
My life changed profoundly in just one second several years ago as my daughter fell to the ground on the soccer field at her first tournament of the season. What we thought was heat stroke turned out to be a pseudo-seizure and so began our journey with her mental illness.
For a person who had gone through a lifetime of planning every move, my life – her life – was now uncertain. From that moment forward, we began years of ups and downs; of anxiety and depression; of hospitals and rehabs; of residential and outpatient treatment; therapists, psychiatrists. My happy, healthy teenager had become a girl who suffered from severe mental illness. Everything had changed in a second…
On the flip side, I have learned that as quickly as the clouds move in, the sun can begin to shine again. My daughter has worked hard to learn how to cope with her anxiety. We have found an awesome psychiatrist and a good therapist whom she likes and talks to weekly. She now has her GED, no longer attends high school but works and takes college classes at the same time. She has found the strength within herself to vocalize her needs, surround herself with positivity, avoid the things bring her down and to chase the things that bring her joy.
We often say that the only thing we can control is ourselves but that is not true. We cannot always control our thoughts and feelings. We cannot always control our bodies, how they react to certain conditions and what illnesses they are exposed to. And it is not always so simple to say that we control our actions. For those who suffer from dissociative disorders, they cannot control how their body reacts.
And as my, now young adult, daughter continues to battle her severe anxiety, I had been able to teach her the one thing that I did not learn until I was much older than her – that everything changes in a second. Worry and fret cannot change the future. Que sera sera. Whatever will be, will be. And the things that we think are important at one moment become trivial in the next.
My hopes and dreams for my daughter have changed drastically since her mental illness has shown its face. At one time I had dreams that she attend high school, play sports, join clubs, attend dances and proms and have many, many friends. My hopes were that she would continue to have stellar grades, excel in academics and get a scholarship to a good college.
Now my only desire is that she is happy most days, that she finds joys in what she is doing and that she is surrounded by people who love her and understand her struggles – who support her and hold her up when she is falling down. I don’t care if she attends high school or goes to a prom. It does not matter to me if she gets a scholarship or even attends college. I wish for her peace and serenity. And I wish for her to discover the things that make her life worth living – whatever they may be at this moment.
So live life in the moment. Find joy and peace in your life. Don’t look past this experience, this time. For everything will change, even if ever so slightly, in the next second. And this moment will never be again.