As a top-notch worrier, the niggly things I waste time thinking about are many and varied. From being scared of flying (I’m a control freak so naturally assume I could probably pilot a plane better than, erm, a Pilot) to fretting about the wrinkles that have suddenly appeared all over my face (probably from all my plane-related worries). Yep, I spend much longer than I should on negative thoughts, and my fears seem to have multiplied exponentially since I became a parent, if this is possible.
For one, I have a crazy fear of dying and leaving my kids mother-less. Even writing it down in black and white is enough to make me feel upset: I can’t bear the thought of not being on the planet to help them grow up.
There’s something about motherhood and the subsequent responsibility of loving your offspring more than life itself that makes you incredibly aware of your own mortality, and from chats with my mum friends I know I’m not the only one to fret about this. My fears range from silly irrational thoughts I have in the middle of the night when I should be sleeping – who would wash the children’s school uniforms and keep track of after-school snack requirements (Yoyos for Elfie, Raisins for Hux) if I wasn’t around? – to the big worries I had around my recent operation.
Seriously, I’ve never known anything like it. I was terrified, absolutely terrified, of my General Anaesthetic.
My rational mind knew that people happily survive anaesthetics every day, but the moment my surgeon handed me a leaflet saying that one in 13,000 people die on the operating table I was frozen in fear. The nurse stroked my hand and explained this takes into account all demographics – the old and very ill who will skew the figures, as well as otherwise healthy young(ish) people like me – and it really wasn’t anything to be concerned about. But I couldn’t help but have these worries play on my mind when I got home that evening.
Two weeks later I woke up from my anaesthetic feeling sick and sore but blissfully alive, and with a new appreciation for my health and my life. I used the relief I felt to propel myself to sort out a few things I’d neglected recently: I arranged the life insurance I’d been putting off and had a very long think about all the things I wanted to achieve in 2018. I wondered if my being afraid of dying early was the root of my often-felt imposter syndrome, thinking of all the times it has held me back from doing things I could have been really successful at.
I’m not alone in living a life punctuated by fears. Recent research by AXA PPP Healthcare has shown that as a population we have a number of worries keeping us awake at night: only yesterday was I tossing and turning with crazy work worries running through my head. I know spending brain energy on these thoughts is a waste of time, and yet I can’t seem to help myself.
This year, AXA PPP Healthcare want to help you Own Your Fears. They believe that, rather than be a negative force on our lives, our fears should be seen in a positive light and we should use them to harness our future and push on in positivity. Too often the media portrays our fears as being something needed to be fought or combatted, whereas really they should be tools to help us grow and become stronger.
I really want to embrace this process to help me take 2018 by the horns, executing plans and dreams I’ve had for the last few years, bulldozing my worries and leaving my dark thoughts where they belong: in the past. To do this I’m going to consult experts and AXA PPP services to work through why I feel so scared sometimes, utilising their knowledge and expertise to equip myself with the tools I need to live a happier, less fearful life.
I’ll be checking in on my progress here every month, giving you an update of how we can conquer what keeps us awake at night together. I can’t wait to get cracking!
What do you fear? Do you fancy joining in and living our best 2018?
Thank you to AXA PPP for working with MTT!