As I was driving into work this morning I noticed one of my warning indicator lights flashing. It has actually been doing that for several months now, and although it indicates my tires are low on air, I have mostly ignored it. I have inflated the tires a few times and after a while the light comes back on. I know I should take it to the dealer to get it checked out, but that seems like way too much effort for something I believe is not really accurate.
Hmm, that sounds familiar. I started thinking about all of the other little warning indicators in my life that I tend to ignore. I am a mental health advocate and believe in taking care of one’s health in general, yet I am the first one to ignore the little signals that my body sends me when I need to address an issue that makes me uncomfortable. Yes, I can be an outright hypocrite about the very topic I blog about, burying my head under water when it comes to my own self awareness.
One of these indicators is my propensity to become a hypochondriac when I am under stress. Every little ache, pain, or bodily sensation becomes cause for concern. Just as the smouldering flames of my distorted thinking start to turn into more rational thinking, I jump onto the internet searching for a diagnosis to fit my constellation of symptoms. This self-absorbed phenomenon is usually at its worst towards the end of winter, when my wine and chocolate consumption cannot replenish my serotonin or vitamin D levels fast enough. Focusing on my ailments becomes a form of distraction when I am faced with the more complex emotions that arise when I am stressed about work, school, family situations, or lack of sunshine.
Fortunately, I am able to notice my rumination earlier now by paying attention to the indicator light a little sooner. Usually the warning signs come in the form of a friend’s raised eye brows when I am in the midst of telling them about the probability that I will no longer be with them because of the tumor in my lungs. When even my doctor gives me a puzzled look and wonders what I’m doing in his office, I realize I just might be over-reacting and need to return to my moratorium on internet surfing for medical explanations to the normal wear and tear on my body. If that doesn’t do it, then going back to counseling is a good way to sift through the log jam of emotions that tend to pile up.
I’m not denying that at my age I do indeed have a few minor ailments. Just this past week I passed a kidney stone (for real). Of course there will be eye rolling when I relay this story, because like the little boy who cried wolf, my credibility is at an all time low.
My season of prognosticating the worst case scenario is drawing to a close this year, and with this blog post I will have a whole new audience to convince next year when my mind sets out on the path of misinterpretation once more.
Until then, I’ll keep rolling down the tracks like the little engine that could, hopefully a little wiser this time.