Are you a 'what if' person?

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Date Joined Nov 2008
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   Posted 4/18/2009 6:55 AM (GMT -7)   
I have always, for ever and ever, been a 'what if' person.  I would like to nip this in the bud.  When I get in the car to drive myself somewhere, I starting thinking 'what if' I get a Meneire's attack and run off the road...or fall over in the store and crack my skull open..." I have had this disorder for more than thirty years and have only had to call someone to get me three times and it always gives me enough warning to pull the car over.
What if I get into Walmart and my legs seize up and I can't push the cart through the store? 
We had dinner and played bridge with friends last night.  She called me and said they were having Lamb Curry.  I know I can't eat that...salt and loaded with MSG.  So on the drive there I kept thinking...'What if there is nothing I can eat and I am once again embarrassed by acting like an ingrate and I don't like anything?   In fact, she showed me the packaging for everything she cooked and yes...the curry packages first ingredient was MSG.  Then she poured Oyster Sauce on the asparagus and 2nd ingredient on the bottle was MSG.  Anyway, I ate Italian bread, salad and rice.  It was fine and no one made a big deal about me not eating from the huge pot of lamb, carrots, potaotes, onions etc bobbing up in down in curried gravy.  I wasted my time spending even a moment worrying about something so stupid.  Then, while playing bridge, I kept thinking 'what if my 18 year old dog falls over and flops around on the floor until we get home?"  This has happened before.
Poor hubby wanted to go fishing the other day and I had a really bad Meniere's attack and was confined to a chair.  He didn't his own suggestion...because what if I had to go to the bathroom and fainted???
What if..what if...what if...It's such a waste of time and energy.  Let me have it with all you've got!  I need a nice verbal lashing.  I'm too old to spend the rest of my life anticipating!

fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Post Edited (vestabula) : 4/18/2009 8:08:49 AM (GMT-6)

getting by
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Date Joined Sep 2007
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   Posted 4/18/2009 7:41 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Donna,

I use to be a worryer like you. But since fibromyalgia, I quit worrying, because I don't know if I am going to be able to get out of bed the next day. I learned to take life one day at a time and anticipate the best.

Worrying causes a lot of stress, which in turn makes our fibro and depression worse. My mom use to say 'why worry when you can pray'. I didn't think much of it at the time, but do now.

I hope that you can get over your fears. And what if something happens, you will deal with it when the time comes. Please try to let go of this. It is not a fun way to live. I also take abilify, it controls my obsessive thinking. You might want to give that a try. As you can see, my obsessive thinking was bad, or else they wouldn't have given me medication for it. It is like a ton of weight lifted off of my shoulders.

Best wishes for you to have a lovely day. What if this is the greatest day in your life? Have a good one my friend.

Hugs, Karen
  Moderator-Depression and fibromyalgia
fibromyalgia, Chronic fatigue, depression,allergies

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   Posted 4/18/2009 7:50 AM (GMT -7)   

How about "what if" nothing were to happen and I stayed home for no good reason? We don't know what the future holds.  You need to live life like there is no tomorrow.  You can plan ahead for things but we don't have control over many things in our lives.

Today I had a "what if" moment.  My daughter and I planned on going to Sarasota for the day.  I usually walk my dog in the morning and that's when she has her bowel movement.  So I decided to get up extra early so I could walk her before I left because "what if" she had to go and soiled my carpeting?  So I DID get up early and did start to walk her and she lost her footing on the edge of the sidewalk and hurt her leg.  She was holding her leg way up and it was shaking and she was whimpering.  I wasn't sure if she had broken anything so I carried her home, called my daughter, and we took her to the vet.  It was a dislocated shoulder and she is on pain meds now.  The point is, if I hadn't been concerned about her soiling the carpeting, I'd be in Sarasota Jungle Gardens right now!  We are going tomorrow and I will NOT walk Sabra first.  If she messes the carpeting, oh, well. 

No more "what ifs"!  I will stop thinking about every little thing that COULD happen.  99% of the time, nothing happens.  I will enjoy my life.


Forum Moderator/ Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia, Crohn's Disease, Ostomy, Diabetes, Autoimmune Inner Ear Disease, Osteoporosis
God does not give us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.    2 Timothy 1:7

Post Edited (Sherrine) : 4/18/2009 9:11:14 AM (GMT-6)

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Date Joined Apr 2008
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   Posted 4/18/2009 8:59 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi Sweetie,
I have alot of "what if" moments.  Ever since I had my 3rd stroke and it was bad this time I think what if it happens again and this time I don't make it.  I have spent the last 6 weeks or so fearing every time I was upset that was going to the moment my life was over.  I remember one day when it got to be too much for me.  I started crying really hard and then I remember I been upset the day before the stroke and had been crying hard,i tried to stop crying I just knew that it was going to bring on another stroke and I tried I really did try but in the end I just couldnt do it and I ended up crying a river and guess what?  I didnt fall over dead.  Nothing happened at all exept for feeling alot better.  I decided that I was never going to know when or if that stroke hit me and why was I worrying so much?  Instead I took that day and started living again.  Now I have bad days not being able to use my right side much and God knows this having my speach act up is hard,I have so many days where I cant get out a sentence to save my life and I think darn it! was the point of being here? but there is so much more to life.  All the moments with my grandkids, I wouldnt trade those days for anything and they know mostly what I'm trying to say and if they cant they tell me gramma it's ok we still love ya.  Just live your life every day like its the last moment and when you have those "what if"s" throw those to the side of the road and do what ever you want whatevers going to happen is going to happen and you deal with it.  Have a great day my friend and live it to the fullest.  Hey look at me, I'm typing agian! ok some days suck but I'm typing now lol and I never thought that would happen again........
Hug to you,
Mom of one gramma to 4 lover to One
Had another stroke 2/09 and it took my speach for the most part and dont know when it will coming back. Caused serious stroke symptoms on right side of body.
Fibromyalgia,IBS,Stroke x2,endometriosis,Diabetes type 2,neuropathic pain,nerve damage due to tailbone removel,nerve damage due to fractured back,deppresion,high blood pressure,severe nausea,atrophy,chronic pain,nerve damage due to botched bladder surgery,torn hip joint,hypoglycymic
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Regular Member

Date Joined Dec 2008
Total Posts : 478
   Posted 4/18/2009 9:55 AM (GMT -7)   
Dear Karen,

Wow, that was so well written!!! I have thought about your struggle many times and am just thrilled you wrote. What a perfect topic for you to reply to and give us ALL food for thought.

Keep up the valiant fight, people care so much about you.


Regular Member

Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 263
   Posted 4/18/2009 10:05 AM (GMT -7)   
Hiya Vest...

In therapy we have a term for the "what ifs" syndrome...we call it "catastrophic thinking". Which is not to say you're crazy or need help - not at all. But rather that it is pretty NORMAL. Normal or not, however, it can be the first step toward obsessive-compulsive-disorder, so it's best if we can all keep it in check. The best way to do that is when you find yourself saying "what if", follow it immediately with 'STOP!'

In other words, do not allow yourself to engage in it at all. Even if you have to say "STOP" to yourself fifty times, it's WAY BETTER than saying "what if" to yourself...and playing out the scenario.

Although I said such anxiety is "normal", truly emotionally healthy people (of which there are few) would have very little occasion to use the word combo "what if".

All the best to you!
I have Fibromyalgia, and nothing else!
I take Lyrica 225 mg/day and Tramadol (150mg time-released) and amytriptilene 7.5mg

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Date Joined Jun 2006
Total Posts : 1156
   Posted 4/18/2009 10:13 AM (GMT -7)   

It is great to hear from you. I can tell you have gotten better.


I need to give the another perspective. Yes you are engaging in catastrophic thinking but, you are a writer which can make it worse.

Some writers can make a story out of a sheet of toilet paper. Humorous writers have close relationships with life's challenges. It is what makes us, you and I, able to get ideas communicated hilariously. I only included myself in the last sentence so that you know I can understand a bit about how you think.

I think the idea is to make up the story in one's head but, give it a neutral or happy ending. See if this works and then let me know so I can try it out. lol

Living for the moment is difficult for a person whose mind composes stories.

That is my 2 cents, no solution just thoughts.


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Date Joined Jan 2009
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   Posted 4/18/2009 3:58 PM (GMT -7)   

I'll admit I'm a what iffer too. But the fmily has some good points.
I'm gonna try a little harder not to be a what iffer. How bout you?

:) What if we can do it!!!!

Fibormyalgia, 4x Lyme Disease Survivor, Depression, Anxiety Disorder, Dyslexia, 2 Lumbar Disk Herniations, Allergies, Bi-lateral Carpal Tunnel, Psoriasis. 
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"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss, you'll land among the stars" - author unknown

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Date Joined Nov 2008
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   Posted 4/18/2009 4:25 PM (GMT -7)   
*reluctantly raises hand*

Another "what iffer" here, sad to say. I am constantly fretting and worrying and practically wringing my hands. It's awful. I know it's an upbringing thing for me-my father is the world's biggest worry worth. I grew up hearing "don't do that-you'll hurt sure you want to try that? you might hurt yourself...oh, no what if {insert disaster here} happens..." etc. etc. etc. And then when bad things DID happen (because bad things do happen) my father's response was always an overly dramatic "I KNEW this would happen!!!" I am happy to say I'm not as bad as my father, but I am still a fretter. I agree that people have given some good's hard to put them to work in your own life, though. The one thing I use to help me through "what if" moments is a saying my grandpa loved dearly-"In a hundred years, none of this will matter". I also remind myself that even if something does happen, I am strong and capable and will get through it. I've gotten through so much already!

There's a couple of great quotes about this, too-"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" of course, and then one that I am not exactly sure of the wording...something like "I have been through many terrible things in my life, most of which never actually happened"..I think Mark Twain said it? I tried to look it up to figure it out exactly, but had no luck. Maybe someone here knows it word for word..It's a great quote!
love and hugs

fibromyalgia, ibs, gerd, anxiety

We either make ourselves happy or miserable. The amount of work is the same.~Carlos Castaneda

I wish you all the joy that you can wish.~William Shakespeare

Housework, if you do it right, will kill you.~Erma Bombeck

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Date Joined Nov 2008
Total Posts : 2859
   Posted 4/18/2009 4:37 PM (GMT -7)   

thank you guys for your input.  Karen...I am so proud of you...your determination and will to 'get on with it' is an ispiration to us all.  You're typing is fabulous!  Much love to you.

Donnaeil...I agree with you that having thoughts rolling around in your head all day then getting them down on paper can add to the problem...especially if you are satarical writer like I am.  Many writers are filled with angst.  I went to a seminar once and the list of writers who have anxiety issues was endless.  Lawrence Block described his life as being a deep, dark hole of despair.  Stephen King... He said how can I effectively write about the monster under the bed unless I have experienced the fear myself.  I have the autobiography of Charles Schultz...his family begged him for years to go on anti depressants but he said they stiffled his creative process.  Yes...they certainly do.

Patti...I'm with you girl...No More 'what ifs' for us!  You go first!

I appreciate all your comments.  I really have to get in control of this....and I plan to.

Huggies and a small pile of Pampers to go with them...


fibro, menieres disease, RLS, anxiety disorder, disc compression, scoliosis, spinal stenosis TMJ  Meds: Lexapro and valium

Post Edited (vestabula) : 4/18/2009 6:04:10 PM (GMT-6)

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Date Joined Apr 2008
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   Posted 4/18/2009 7:26 PM (GMT -7)   
Karen, your writing is great! I am proud of you.

I used to be almost paralyzed by the "what ifs". I would try to stop the thoughts but they would start to overwhelm me. I have a very vivid imagination and can "feel" my thoughts. Now, instead of trying to stop them, I start imagining the absolute worst outcome, then I keep going into the absurd. Once I get to the absurd, it loses its power and I can function again.

Danielle, I was trying to remember that exact quote. I think you are pretty close with the wording.

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Date Joined Aug 2007
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   Posted 4/19/2009 7:36 AM (GMT -7)   
I think I have come a long ways with the "what if" thinking in the past few years. When my anxiety was at it's worse I was terrible at "what iffing". When I have an event coming up that I have to be there for I still do the "what iffing" when it comes to fibro since we never know from one day to the next how we are going to be feeling. Before GD had the baby I did a lot of "what iffing" cause I was afraid she would go into labor in the middle of the night and I wouldn't be at my best cause I was tired or she would have a long labor and I wouldn't have the energy to be with her the whole time. As it turned out all my "what iffing" was for nothing since they started labor in the morning and he was here by 1:30 in the afternoon and we were home by 5:00.
If I sat here and thought about the future I would drive myself crazy with the economy the way it is and loss of money we have suffered so I don't let myself go there, it's one day at a time. I don't have the energy to spend my time worrying so I put it all in God's hands.
Karen it was so nice to read your post and I'm so glad you have come so far.
luv and hugs
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