Sunday, November 17, 2013

I was once scared of a toaster

Once upon a time, I was scared of a toaster.

My fear was that if I left the toaster plugged in, there was a chance that the toaster could start on its own, that this strange-but-true-automatic-starting toaster would catch on fire, that the toaster would start a conflagration, that the entire house would burn down. Therefore, I always checked, double checked, and rechecked that the toaster was unplugged. I might put the toaster in my car when I went shopping just to ensure it wasn't plugged in. My mind buzzed with the possibilities, however unlikely, and a simple household appliance caused me much misery. For nervous people, this probably doesn't sound too bizarre, as anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders often lead us to do some pretty strange things in retrospect.

Recovery helped me through these feelings. I learned to become a realist. Dr. Low taught me that anticipation is often worse than realization and, especially, that feelings are not facts. I spotted my reaction as distressing but not dangerous. I decided I would no longer unplug the toaster, thereby "doing the thing I feared and hated to do," as we say in Recovery language.

Over time the urge to unplug the toaster decreased and, when I felt the need to check it, I relied on my Recovery training. In fact, the other day I noticed that my roommate had unplugged the toaster, and I promptly plugged it back in. At this moment I realized how much progress I have made since I started this blog in 2008 and my Recovery training and 2009, and for that I'm giving myself a hearty endorsement.


therapy for depression New York said...

This is really interesting. Some people may really think that this is strange and simply an exaggeration but they just could not understand the “need” to do something. Anyway, thank you for sharing this post. I do hope that several readers will be inspired by this and also help them overcome their anxiety and fears.

Chantilliscious said...

I love this because at the end of the day, anxiety is stemmed from irrational fears.

Brian said...

It sounds like a case of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). You can have psychological OCD which is when thoughts run over and over and over in your head, and also behavioural, which is when you check thing or do a behaviour over and over. Sounds like behavioural OCD to me in regards to the toaster.

What I like to do is ask myself, what is the absolute worst thing that could happen if I left the toaster plugged in and what are the chances of that really happening? In most case, we delete the reality of the situation because we are only allowing ourselves to see a drastic outcome.

Natalia said...
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Good Anxiety said...

I can relate to you. I believe 99% of my fear didn't really happened. I was scared of silly things before.