I used to hate not knowing exactly what would happen in my life. I have always been in control and when I’m out of control, it sends my head spiraling for something to grasp onto. This explains a lot about how I am in school, relationships, and just as a person. It’s why I’m not the typical American college student who seems to thrive while drunk and at parties with a bunch of strangers.
I think a lot of people with anxiety tend to find themselves in a similar trap. Life is constantly unpredictable and for someone who has tried to calculate every one of their moves since day one, it can be extremely intimidating. Sometimes, it can even be painful.
But I’m slowly starting to enjoy the whole “not knowing” thing. Just when it seems that my life is pretty routine and won’t change anytime soon, it does. When I think I’ll be doing one thing on a weekend, my plans can completely change. And let me tell you, the unexpected has been the best part of my life recently.
Relinquishing control can seem impossible when your body attacks you anytime you do. Everybody experiences different forms of anxiety that are provoked by different things, but I think the bottom line is that not having any control over an aspect of life can force some minds to attack themselves. For me, often I can’t even pinpoint why I’m feeling that way but when I really analyze it, it usually comes down to the unknown taking over and my brain just not being able to handle it.
Every single day as I’m growing and maturing I find that the world balance continues to embody my key to getting through. Falling to any extreme will always have its downsides. Being able to find a balance in anything isn’t just a valuable skill to me, it’s necessary for my survival.
It’s a way of keeping you grounded; when I didn’t get into the Leadership school here at the University of Richmond I immediately looked to find a balance. I saw myself slipping towards the unhealthy reaction of “I hate this program!” or “I’m not good enough;” so, I took a step back from my world, found a balance between my strong emotions and my rational ones, and immediately felt better. I even began to consider other options and have become really excited about a completely different major possibility. (Click here to read the article I wrote about it)
That’s just one example of being forced to relinquish control but finding peace and balance within the unknown. I find myself choosing to relinquish control every now and then, too; it’s almost like I’m doing exposure therapy.
Actually, not even almost like: my therapist at UofR’s Counseling and Psychological Services have been trying to work on this method to reduce the anxiety I have in certain situations. It’s all about pinpointing what situations cause you anxiety, trying to understand why, and then coming up with strategies to take little exposure steps in order to get your mind and body more comfortable with the things that make you the most uncomfortable. It’s been extremely helpful for something in my life that has often seemed incapable of improvement.
But if there’s anything I’ve learned so far in life it’s that: A) You can always improve yourself and B) there always is a balance that is worth finding.
Don't know if this GIF fully makes sense in context
but I had to include my girl Buffy.
I’ll never be able to fully rid myself of the constant desire for control or predictability. It’s part of my personality. But, being able to find ways to embrace the other end of the spectrum and balancing the scales a bit, I can be happy with whatever gets thrown my way. That lack of control almost feels like it gives me more control, a better kind of control. I get to control how I go through my life, not how life is gonna go through me. It’s a really comforting feeling.