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Museum of Me: The UN Exhibit

You may have noticed that I did not set up a new exhibit for the Museum of Me this month. (Okay, you probably didn’t but bear with me with this introduction, it’s a plot device.) I considered it. A lot. But the topic for this month is what I will be doing five years from now.

Ooooh boy does that trigger my anxiety. I feel pressure in my chest and shortness of breath and overwhelming apprehension when I consider the answer to that question. Not because I am afraid of the future. But because I am afraid that thinking something good will happen will actually trigger the opposite to happen. Tempting fate and all that.

Turns out there is a name for this lovely little reaction. It’s called anticipatory anxiety and it’s the fear or worry that something bad will happen in the future. Something out of our control. It’s basically anxiety about anxiety and people with this type of reaction are constantly scanning for reactions, mining for data, and anticipating the worse. Have you heard of the Sunday Scaries? That’s anticipatory anxiety. And that’s why, thinking about 5 years from now isn’t fun for me, but rather fills me with dread.

It’s me. Hi. I’m the problem it’s me.

So I’m taking a pass on this month’s exhibit in honor of my mental health. And I thought, rather than just skip it, that I’d share why just in case this is something you deal with, too.

This Post Has 9 Comments

  1. Oh, do I get it, Carole. I’m really happy you chose NOT to wade into this prompt. It’s always wise to do what’s best for YOU. XO

  2. You are not alone, for sure. OTOH, there’s a world of fantastic possibilities too. I’m going to focus on those for you. Just in case focusing on good things encourages them to happen because we’re receptive to that possibility.

  3. Well done exhibit, Carole! You taught me something I was not even aware of! I am so glad that you sort of skipped this month! XO

  4. It’s always best not to do something that brings on anxiety (and I bet you haven’t even had a visit from the blogging police)!

  5. Well I learned something new and I’m another one who is happy you decided to skip the exhibit this month. I don’t consider myself to be a typically anxious person…but I do think I have a little bit of anticipatory anxiety going on at times.

  6. A former cute & fun but very Type-A boyfriend gave me a very practical housewarming gift when I moved into one of my first apartments — hammer, nails, screwdriver, pliers (it was GREAT!) — but the accompanying card had a graphic with calendars, dates, lines & pushpins all over the place and something about a 5- or 10-year plan. Lordy NO!! I can barely think a year ahead on any given day! haha.

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