Mankind’s greatest fear is that of the unknown. However, the unknown encompasses every aspect of our daily lives. There are problems that we cannot pinpoint. We are unsure of how someone might react to our next statement. Situations are constantly out of our control. “What if” runs rampant through our thoughts. This concept of “the unknown” drives some into oblivion in the form of a nervous breakdown.
Recently, I have been dealing with my own unknowns regarding my physical health. I shared briefly in a previous entry titled “The Mind-Body Connection” about my ongoing two-year battle with fibromyalgia (Feel free to check that out here: https://caringcounselor.blog/2017/07/21/the-mind-body-connection/). For the record, I say fibromyalgia because doctors have been unable to diagnose anything specifc, so I am using it as an umbrella term for my fibromyalgia-like symptoms. This is important to note for later on. During the month of October, two major flare ups occurred with severe pain and fatigue, which has never occurred before. I Normally, the episodes are spaced two to three months apart. My spirits were broken. I changed my diet, exercise routine, self-care habits, and workload to accommodate for my physical condition. It still did not seem like enough at this point.
At my last counseling session, my physical health was the focal point of discussion. After hammering out the topic for over forty-five minutes, my therapist was able to finally pull out the core of my struggle. I lost sight of what I was fighting. I was fighting an unknown in my life. No clear diagnosis had been identified. Therefore, I had no set solution for my situation. Add in that I was feeling the best I had in years over the two years prior to this most recent episode definitely hit me hard. It felt like I finally had it under my control. This is where I realized again that there are constant unknowns in life that need to be dealt with. Here is how I made sense of it.
- Acknowledge what is under your control. Regardless of the situation, you are always in control of some aspect. It could be as simple as your mentality, reaction to the situation, or setting a goal for yourself. For instance, with my health, I am still in control of how much more effort I want to put forth, my attitude towards the situation, who I reach out to for help, and how I cope with the situation.
- Understanding that some things are out of your control. Unfortunately, this is the truth. There will be times in life where external factors takes over, and where we need to go with the flow.
- Seeing the reality of the situation. I can never emphasize this enough. This goes hand-in-hand with the above bullet. Acceptance does not equal approval. You do not have to like what is happening or happened around you. However, seeing it objectively and utilizing a logical approach can make it easier to manage.
- Developing a solution or goals. Even if you are unable to identify the specific issue, begin to develop a way to get yourself out of this situation. Make a plan and stick to it. Take the energy you are using to worry about the unknown, and use it for something productive.
- Accepting the fact that some things will remain unknown. Some individuals will go absolutely crazy trying to find answers that may never get. The fact is we might never have the answers we are searching for. On the other hand, it actually might be better not to have all the answers. The truth sometimes hurts more than not knowing.
On the flip side, keep in mind that having unknowns in life is not always a bad thing either. It adds a dose of mystery of life and keeps things interesting. It also provides us with motivation, as we continue with life’s journey not knowing is around the next corner.
-The Caring Counselor