Why I Need to Ignore the Churning Fear

I didn’t sleep well last night. Again. This is the 3rd night in a row I’ve been awake at 2 am. Last night I did not go back to sleep. I didn’t even doze.

And perhaps because I’m so utterly exhausted I’m struggling with things that are coming up. I am taking a writing retreat. Things aren’t supposed to be coming up. But they are.

Today I realized I lost something. It was something valuable, and it wasn’t even mine. It belongs to my daughter and I was responsible for it. I remember specifically having it in my hand Tuesday before I left my house. I haven’t thought about it again, until this morning. And now my stomach is churning with fear that I won’t find it.

As I was pulling into my parking space at the condo where I’m staying I kept thinking, “Stupid, stupid, stupid! How could I be so stupid!” I rushed upstairs hoping that there was a chance I’d stuck it in one of the bags I brought with me. Unfortunately, no, it wasn’t there. Immediately I thought, “What’s wrong with me!”

It’s gone. Hopefully not forever, but for now. I lack the energy to look for it and I haven’t even begun to work on the book today.

Speaking of the book, I made amazing progress on it yesterday. I felt inspired. Who wouldn’t be in this amazing place, where every time I look up I can see the ocean? I laid out the whole book, worked on transitions, completed a chapter that had still mostly been outline. I was confident in meeting my deadline, possibly completing ahead of schedule. I was brimming with a certainty that this book will be meaningful for those who read it.

Then today I had breakfast with a friend. He’s a really good friend who actually has experience as an author, so he knows about publishing. As we were talking about it and he was asking me questions about my plans I couldn’t help but think, “Why didn’t I think to ask his advice sooner? I have no idea what I’m doing. How can I think I can publish a book?” He meant well but again, my stomach churned with fear.

And then I stopped myself. These thoughts aren’t constructive. They are eating away at my self-confidence. Fear is threatening to take hold, and I need to stop it.

I know why my stomach is churning. It is not from rational thought. I’m tired and my unconscious mind has taken the reins. It’s celebrating the control it has regained. It enjoys making my stomach churn.

But I can stop it. Logical, rational thinking will put this to an end. The lost item will be recovered, or it won’t. It’s expensive but not irreplaceable. It is nowhere near as valuable as my self-esteem. And the book will be published. I might not have all the answers but I will figure it out, or I won’t. But either way I am putting it out there to the world. Regaining my certainty is more important than fear of failure.

Most importantly, I think I should take a nap…

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Churn

30 thoughts on “Why I Need to Ignore the Churning Fear”

  1. I have insomnia some nights too. I often beat myself up over something that can’t be helped. I do lose a lot of things including words. I’m reminded that it is what it is and it will be ok in the end πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I hate those sleepless nights – everything does seem way harder the next day and my mind spirals out of control. I hope you find the item and find peace with your progress after a nice deep sleep!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ❀️ “or something of equal value”…I hadn’t thought of that! I finally napped and had the most rejuvenating sleep I’ve had in a while… I woke up to the ocean outside the window. I’m back to believing all things are possible.

      And I can’t wait for you to read the book! 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  3. “It’s expensive but not irreplaceable. It is nowhere near as valuable as my self-esteem.” “Regaining my certainty is more important than fear of failure.” These are great lines. I also struggle with fear sometimes. It can be so inhibiting, and it is often so irrational! Its wonderful that you are able to step back and see what little mind tricks are going on to potentially hold you back, and to try to keep them at bay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 😁 yes! Fear is a sneaky imp…No matter how hard you try to shut him out he keeps trying to get back in. Being aware of it lets us choose how we react to it. It can be difficult to maintain the right perspective at times…Like when we’ve only had a few hours of restless sleep. πŸ˜‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. You have a lot going on in your mind, I find writing excites my brain and can lead to difficulty sleeping. And then, of course, things always seem worse. Hopefully the lost item will turn up somewhere soon.
    What sort of book are you writing? I’m assuming fiction…?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m sure it will too. It has to be in my house…I think. I’m sure I tucked it away someplace safe. That seems to be the way. My book is a lot like my blog (and I’ve actually used some of my blog posts in it). It’s a book about changing the way you think. It’s about how I’ve gotten to the point I am. It’s the book I wanted to read after my divorce but never exactly found. When it’s available I’ll post about it.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh my lovely, I do feel for you. Its never nice to loose something especially if it belongs to someone else
    When I was younger I had what must have been bordering on OCD with things, even certain cutlery or drinking glasses.
    That churning in your stomach, I would get that if I broke or lost one of ‘my things’. It was like a panic attack … it is a natural response, but inappropriate for the situation.
    The body reacting to shock or surprise. For me dread would follow and for months waves of sadness if I recalled it.
    My other half noticed this in me and foresaw how damaging it would be to my mental and emotional well-being if it continued. He gently but earnestly worked on this, saying such things as: In a house fire what would be the one thing you would rescue … of course I came to understand it would be my child myself and any other person inside or neighbouring!
    I realised while its okay to have favourite things,and to be sad if they got lost but my emotions should be invested in people. He helped me come up with ways to stop the churn as soon as possible.
    A large and prolonged adrenalin spike takes days to be filtered from your system. I would have had adrenal failure by now had he not taught me to save the fight fight for genuine danger.

    What worked for me was that when something was definitely broken or gone I used a line from a film called Little Big Man starring Dustin Hoffman. An old Indian Chief is talking to him about how they prepare for the battles that would come from the soldiers. The battle coming was General Custer and the Battle of Little Big Horn. The chief would hold his arms up to the sky with a big smile and say
    “It is a good day to die”
    I adopted this phrase and would say goodbye, thank you for bringing me pleasure.
    For lost things I now blame on wormholes. These sneaky wormholes sucked in that nice skirt, Its vanished, Hope its in a decent parallel universe one with other nice skirts and trousers.
    The wormholes drop them back most of the time. Sometime within a few minutes or hours but that skirt didn’t travel back for 3 years!

    I think the psychology is that I can blame the wormholes but as it was their natural phenomenon I didn’t get angry, looked logically or even just stopped looking and suddenly I would remember that bag in the car, for example.
    I continue to work on stilling the mind and body as the neurons in my brain have a propensity towards worry.
    When I was working at St Johns Ambulance they suggested a really good mindfulness app called Headspace (it was free to us volunteers but available to any one.

    The most important thing my mum ever gave to me was unconditional love and neither she or I or any wormhole has lost that!

    All the best t you xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for sharing your story! ❀️ it’s fantastic you had someone to help you acknowledge a way to improve your thinking to eases that sense of loss you’d have letting go of things. I know well that feeling you describe in the pit of your stomach.

      I have to admit that day I wrote my post was difficult. I have confessed to my daughter and taken responsibility for it. I have told her I will replace it as I was the one who was careless. If nothing else I do feel that I’ve set an example she will follow in the future. And that is a valuable lesson in itself.

      Liked by 1 person

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