What’s the Worst That Could Happen?

Portrait of Orsolya Hernold

I am delighted to be hosting my first guest post this week by Orsolya Hernold. 

 


Orsolya is a coach and trainer who lives in Budapest, Hungary with her partner and their two young children.  She has been journaling for over 20 years and was fortunate enough to have mentors guide her through some powerful writing lessons.  Orsolya belives that journaling has enabled her to lead a more c
onscious life and helped her with her own personal development. 

 Orsolya journal


Recently, Orsolya began her own company, orzola.org, which highlights the many therapeutic benefits of writing therapy and journaling in general.  Her website offers free guided journaling courses that focus on one specific area of someone’s life at a time.  These courses have high quality journals to accompany them.  The wonderful Jade over at The Parenting Jungle has just reviewed one of Orsolya’s journals.  If you would like to know more about how it works in practice head over to have a read.

 

What is the worst that can happen?

 

I got my first glasses when I was thirteen. After ten years, I changed to contact lenses. Altogether I had some sort of eye-aid for twenty years. I was forever dissatisfied with this state, as I could not accept my disability and my dependence on “equipment.” I longed for clear sight. I tried eye exercises: there was some improvement, but it was not enough for me. So I decided to have surgery a couple of years ago. I went to the clinic beforehand and got very detailed information about the procedure and the risks, leaving with confidence and satisfaction about my decision.

Then, a friend posed me the question: what if I lose my sight due to a medical malpractice? Full stop. Pause. Ahh, well, yeah, what? In my optimism, that was not a possible outcome I would consider. I have a family and my plans for my future definitely involved me seeing things. But what if? What if the worst happens? I posed this question, played along, and let my fears and worries arise–for me to watch them and find my way of handling them. Writing, as always, was my tool in finding the appropriate answers for all upcoming questions and doubts.

In the end, I got to like this question because it helped fears and worries bubble up to the surface. Writing them out took away the strength and power they could have used against my decision by hindering my actions from behind the scenes.

This writing exercise made me aware of other situations where the fears and worries I create by assuming the worst start to influence my behavior: they silence me in meetings where I’d rather speak up, they prevent me from taking a decision that serves my wellbeing, or they push me to be the horrid worry-driven mom.

I tackle all of my fears with the same approach, too. The easiest thing to do was to apply this same question, ‘what is the worst that can happen,’ to my fears of failure. By writing them down, fears and worries are out on the table on my sheet of paper or my screen. I can then at least consider them, maybe even discard them, let alone outwit them.

How about trying this writing exercise yourself? I am sure you have issues in your life–small or huge–where this question can be applied. Choose one and ask:

  • What is the worst that can happen?
  • Am I sure? Is there a more horrifying scenario I can imagine? Let those wild images out in the open!
  • What happens to me in this case?
  • What survival tactics can I use to prepare, in case either scenario manifests?
  • What fears and worries surface that surprise me?
  • What fears and worries are familiar? Do they still apply to my life or are they outdated, have no relevance whatsoever?

 

The surgery and the recovery all went well, and I got rid of my glasses–hopefully for a long time. On my list of what I am grateful for, my clear sight makes the top 5. I chose the operation by not letting myself get paralyzed by my fear of a life without sight. The fear was still present–but I had my answers for it.

 

 

I found this post fascinating as I am a huge worrier, some would say a catastrophiser, and often force myself to suppress my fears and worries rather than dealing with them head on.  Unfortunately, my fears can have quite an impact on my life and this post has really made me question how I deal with them.  There are many situations in the past when if I had asked myself the simple question that Orsolya poses to herself, ‘What is the worst that could happen?’ then I may have found myself laughing at my concerns, or rationalising them and being able to move past them.  Orsolya has inspired me and I am going to try writing about a fear when one next stops me from doing what I would like and see how I get on.

 

If you would like to try one of Orsolya’s journals for yourself then head over to her online store.  To find out more about Orsolya and her online courses then visit her website http://orzola.org

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Fear of flying: Can I overcome it?

BA plane taking off in blue sky

I love travelling! Hubby and I spent a year in our mid twenties travelling Oceania and North America. I hope that J shares our love for adventure, discovery and new experiences. What’s the problem I hear you ask? Just the teensy weeny issue that I am terrified of flying! I am not exaggerating. I’ve heard of plenty of people who dislike flying or get bored. I am literally so terrified that I have a: find any alternative; avoid at all costs; full on anxiety and for at least a week beforehand style fear.

 

As a child I was fortunate enough to experience flying but I don’t recollect a fear of flying then. As a bookworm I actually rather enjoyed it. When else can you spend hours reading with no interruptions as a child? The first time I remember being uncomfortable was the only flight I have ever taken alone. But even then I wasn’t too bad on subsequePlane landing, city background behindnt flights. I even managed an almost direct flight from London to Sydney without any more than a stomach clench when we hit turbulence over the Himalayan mountains. There was a seed of fear but it was to get much, much worse.

 

 

 

I believe that the real phobia of flying kicked in whilst I was in Australia. 6 months into a year long trip we found ourselves living in Perth, Western Australia for 3 months. I had suffered panic attacks after my dad passed away but had been coping reasonably well with only a few ‘episodes’ in Australia, however, here there was an increase in frequency of attacks.

 

We left Perth and travelled up the Western coast of Australia and then through the Northern Territory. These very isolated regions with low population densities only made things worse. I had panic attack after panic attack.  I became convinced that I was going to have a heart attack and die before the flying doctors could get to me. I even researched how long they took to get to patients and how many heart attack patients they saved. If you have never suffered from a panic attack then it must be very difficult for you to understand, in fact you may now be thinking that I am crazy and plan never to read my blog again. Before you do this though, I would recommend reading the description of panic attacks so accurately written by the lovely Occupation M(other). This will hopefully help you to appreciate what was happening to me and why I felt this way.

 

6 weeks after leaving Perth we had a flight booked from Alice Springs to Cairns. This was the first time the phobia showed real signs. I begged hubby to drive instead days before the flight, I monitored the planes flying across our campsite, I imagined what a mess my mum would be in, having only lost her husband 2 years previous, when we crashed and died and never made it home.

 

By the time we got on the plane I was a pile of nerves. I remember as though it was yesterday being terrified that we weren’t going to be flying across water; I remember the sharp turn as we approached the Cairns airport; I remember the slightly bumpy descent; I remember the relief I felt as we landed. My phobia was well and truly in place.

looking out of a plane window, land below and part of the engine and wing of the plane

 

To make things worse we were now on the other side of the world from home and we had 6 more flights before we would be safely back on English soil. Then to add salt to the wound, there was the liquid plot a couple of weeks later when suddenly all liquids were banned and queues at airports were crazy. The final nail went in when another 3 weeks later we flew from Sydney to Christchurch. As we approached Christchurch I could see mountain tops out of the window, then suddenly we ‘dropped’. To me at the time I thought we were going to crash. I just about made it into the toilets in arrivals before I burst into tears. My phobia was now well and truly ingrained.

 

 

inside of a plane, seats and aisle

 

Since having J, the fear seems to have escalated. Before my recent holiday to Spain the anxiety was almost at breaking point. I could feel a fully blown panic attack brewing and I haven’t had one for years (thanks to 2 bouts of counselling). So what to do? I turned to my blogging friends for help. I am so lucky to be a part of #tribalchat a wonderful blogging community set up by the fabulous Katie at Mummy in a Tutu. It turns out that several of them are also terrified of flying and recommended a visit to the GP to get something to help, but I had 2 problems. I had a 17 month old to look after so couldn’t risk falling asleep and I was flying in 2 days and it was now a Sunday…

 

Luckily, my wonderful fellow Tribsters were not deterred and instead sent me off to buy Rescue Remedy. Now here I must admit that I was highly sceptical. I am open to alternative therapies but Rescue Remedy has always left me dubious. However, I bought the spray and the pastilles. I tried them the day before and much to my surprise they actually worked! I felt relaxed and happy whenever flying was mentioned. The knot in my stomach had gone.

 

The following morning, I was dubious again. It was all well and good thRescue remedy packagingat they worked yesterday, but today was a whole different kettle of fish! I was actually having to fly. I sprayed and sucked… it wasn’t working… I was still feeling nervous. I took another 2 sprays on the tongue and then suddenly I could feel it working. I had hope.

 

As we settled into our seat I also used my hypnobirthing techniques (it has been 17 months but they are so ingrained that I can call up my happy beach in a second). I felt relaxed. My heart wasn’t hammering in my chest; I wasn’t hyperventilating. The airplane started up the runway. I closed my eyes and focused harder counting down from 5-1. It was working!! I felt relaxed. Then J decided he wasn’t so sure about the flight and I had mummy duties to perform that I was fit for. I was able to comfort and reassure my little man because I was calm myself.

 

I was so relieved that it worked. It made the whole flying experience much more bearable. For the first time in 9 years I didn’t have tears of relief upon landing because I was relaxed. To my fellow Tribesters – I cannot thank you enough! To all of you who suffer without help seek out some as it really made a huge difference for me. And to Rescue Remedy – thank you so much!

Diary of an imperfect mum
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Bluebell Woods: A sensory walk

Bluebells in the woods

I’ve always wanted to see bluebells in all their glory, but have always managed to miss them so this year I was determined to see them.  My mum is a member of the National Trust and there is a property about an hour from her home that has a bluebell woodland walk, so we intended to visit.  I however, didn’t really want to pay and was sure we could find somewhere to see bluebells for free, so I Googled best bluebell spots and it turned out there was one very close to the NT property.  This was definitely the right decision to make!

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The sanctity of bathtime

baby in a towel

There was a point in my life where I didn’t think I would ever get to do bathtime and bedtime with my own child.  It became the ultimate expression of being a parent.  I realised that bathtime and bedtime with a baby is sacred.  Something that only parents usually experience.  So when I found out that I was pregnant this was one of the things I most looked forward to.

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Motherhood fails – Changing a baby

J in a nappy playing with blocks

Changing a baby… how hard can it be?  Well it turns out extremely tricky!

 

When J was a newborn he despised being naked and would scream so that the whole street could hear him if you so much as suggested that his sleepsuit was about to come off.  This meant nappy changes were Newborn J sleepingstressful as we hurried with all those damn poppers!  Seriously, they are like bed poppers!  They just don’t want to be done up and then whenever you are trying to do them quickly they manage to move around and get paired with the wrong one – it is all their fault I promise!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once J was able to sit up he didn’t like to be lying down… EVER!  So I soon learnt to do a nappy up 1 handed… whilst balancing him on the nappy changing table.  I know… I didn’t have to still use the changing table, but I bought it so I am going to use it (I’m kind of stubborn like that!)

J sitting up

Then when J was able to walk he often liked to try to walk off the table, or twist round to grab a book from the bookcase. Now I was trying to hold him on whilst still changing him 1 handed and stood up.  He certainly didn’t want to be dressed or changed at any point.  There were far more interesting things to do now that he could move independently.  No time for nappy changes!J in a nappy playing with blocks

 

 

 

My worst personal experience occurred last November.  J could walk already and of course we were out in public.  I had decided to take J to the library before one of his nursery settle sessions.  This was not a good idea!  I was rather frazzled and feeling guilty about having to take him to the nursery where he would inevitably scream the place down for the hour that I was gone, so I had tried to distract my guilt by keeping us busy in the build up… J chose this moment to fill his nappy in a monumental fashion!

 

As his trousers changed colour to reflect that the contents was spreading, I hurriedly rushed him to the toilets where, thankfully, there was a changing table.  Juggling my bag whilst holding a squirming baby who wanted to stand up and trying to pull the changing table down should have encouraged me to think twice and sensibly make a run for it, but I couldn’t.  I had to change him.

 

Wrestling J onto the table and holding him one handed, I managed to pull the wipes and a new nappy out of my bag.  J was still squirming and started to cry, loudly.  As it turned out it had gone everywhere and a complete change of clothes was needed.  Of course getting naked in a cold public toilet was not acceptable to J and the loud crying turned to angry crying which quickly escalated to “this woman is torturing me” ear piercing screams.  I became more frazzled and frustrated and could feel my face turning red and the sweat beads building up on my forehead.  Finally winning the battle to change, clean and redress J, I had to hold him while stuffing everything back into my bag.

 

As I opened the door, there was a group of about 8 or 9 people stood staring at me.  They were clearly waiting for me to exit the room so that they could pass judgement.  I was mortified and rather angry.  Clearly none of them were parents!  Otherwise they would have given me looks of sympathy and offered me a cup of tea, or something rather stronger.

J running away from the camera in a nappy

 

Life with Baby Kicks
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