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  • Writer's pictureJen Chappell

When you always, always, assume the worst case scenario

My 8 year old son got the flu this week.

Not the quick, easy “oh I think I have a virus, maybe it’s the flu” flu, but the actual flu the doctors warn about. The flu where he had an 104 degree temperature for days that couldn’t be brought down no matter what I tried.

In the grand scheme of things, I understand tons of people get the flu and it’s relatively easy to get over without complications.

But in my world, in my mind, I was never sure that would be the case.

See I’m pretty rational these days (totally sarcastic) and I was pretty convinced he would be one of the few “statistics” of healthy children that developed a respiratory issue from the flu and died.

I’ve seen one of my children die, so why wouldn’t it happen to another ?

Yes reading that now I realize how ridiculous it sounds.

But you have to understand, this is the world I live in now.

The world where you have lived through your worst case scenario.

The world where you were the statistic.

The world where what happened to you happens to less than 1%.

The world where you were told time and time again that everything was fine, until it wasn’t.

See my life changed when my baby died. It wasn’t supposed to happen and it did.

So you can’t tell me there is a small chance of something happening and expect me to believe it won’t happen to me.

I went to counseling for this. I thought I was over it.

But, I realized something tonight.

Today was the 8th day my son was sick. The 8th day he couldn’t get off the couch. But all of the sudden, he had a breakthrough. Right before dinner, he asked me for a snack and sat at the table with me and cracked two jokes.

When I saw him smile I was suddenly filled with relief. I felt my shoulders relax. My chest got lighter.

I didn’t even realize I was carrying it for 8 days straight.

Carrying tension, carrying fear. Carrying stress. Holding my breath for 8 days, making sure I was doing everything I could so I didn’t become the worst case scenario again.

The knots in my stomach slowly started to go away (the knots I didn’t even know I had).

I also realized I have to do better. I can’t constantly live in the worst case scenario mode.

I quickly remembered a simple trick my counselor taught me and thought I would share with all of you. Free of charge haha.

Obviously I need to start using it again.

Whenever you have a worst case scenario thought, realize it, and immediately combat it with 5 truths.

For example.

My husband isn’t home from work yet.

Worst case scenario thought- he got in a car accident and he’s dead on the side of the road.

A couple truths to combat it -

-It’s not likely that he’s dead on the side of the road

-Even if he did get in a car accident, it’s not likely he’s actually dead

-He probably got stuck with a customer

- My husband is a good driver

-I could always call him just to check

Practicing that actually calms you down and brings light to the fact that we are only thinking in worst case scenarios.

My counselor called it “reprogramming your brain”

I also give myself grace, because I realize that living through such a traumatic loss does change you to the core. I have to fight through these fears, but also give myself grace knowing that I was changed and I have to forever deal with the effects of that as best I can.

So hang in there mommas. Mommas who have lived through the worst case scenario and have to keep on living every day after.

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