When you live with tinnitus, or any other chronic illness, fear can infiltrate every aspect of your day.
It’s not irrational fear either. When our tinnitus can spike at any moment, it affects the decisions we make, it keeps us locked in houses, and prevents us from making plans.
Part of my philosophy of chronic illness is to fully understand the nature and extent of my limitations.
When you know exactly what you’re up against, you can reasonably predict how certain choices will affect you, and you can make decisions with open eyes. Or to put it another way, when you understand your limitations, fear doesn’t have to be the deciding factor in the choices you make.
How to Make Plans Without Fear:
So how can you apply this type of thinking. The next time someone invites you to participate in an activity that you enjoy, don’t just say no out of the fear that something could go wrong.
Instead, ask yourself the following questions:
1) Will I enjoy myself?
It’s a simple question, but it’s important to be honest with yourself. Because pushing yourself and taking a risk solely for someone else’s benefit may not be a good reason to participate.
2) What could go wrong?
Write down everything that could go wrong if you go and do the thing you want to do, including the worst-case scenario. This will give clarity to your fears.
3) How can I Prepare?
What can you do to ahead of time to minimize the risk and what steps can you take to prepare?
4) What can I bring with me to address potential problems?
This could include things like medications, supplies, or emergency equipment.
5) What will I do if things go wrong?
Plan out how you will get to safety and how you will recover afterward.
6) Knowing all this, is it worth it?
It may not always be worth it.
Accept the Possibility of Consequences in Advance:
If it’s worth the risk, make the decision to participate, fully accepting the potential consequences in advance. Then go and enjoy yourself as much as you possibly can.
If things do go wrong, you’ll be prepared. You’ll have a plan in place to deal with problems as they arise. You also won’t be nearly as disappointed as you might have been, because you will have already accepted the possibility of consequences.
It may not end up working out in your favor, but fear didn’t hold you back from living your life, and it just might go well the next time.
You can download my free Activity Planning Tool to help you get started here.
(It’s offered on my other blog, Mind Over Meniere’s, but this free tool works exactly the same for tinnitus sufferers.)
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