I used to think everyone had the same morbid fascination and obsession with death that I had. There was a time in my life when those obsessions started to take hold of me and turn into realities. I am grateful today to say that I was never successful in allowing my thoughts to win…or better yet, I am fortunate my actions always failed.
I have struggled on and off throughout my life with racing thoughts and an unhealthy and at times uncontrollable storytelling in my mind. Rather than staying in the present, the story leaps years, sometimes decades, into the future, telling me I’m not going to make it.
Sometimes just listening to those thoughts and thinking about everyone in my life that I would be separated from brings tears to my eyes. My children. My wife. My mother. My brother. The list goes on and on.
I’ve recently been discussing my diagnosis with those around me that I feel close with. The response has almost been universally the same — you don’t seem like you could possibly have that diagnosis and if anything ever happened to you, I would really miss you.
That final thought is something I feel everyone needs to hear in their lifetime, whether diagnosed or not. I need to hear it because of my predisposition to think about the end of my life. I share this today to contrast these negative thoughts with the reality of my life. I’m a loving, engaging and supportive father of two. I’m a committed and supportive husband. I’m a successful entrepreneur who has thrived despite a significant hospitalization and multiple crises over the past 6 years. I’m financially independent and require no financial assistance from my family.
I share this cathartically to remind myself to be grateful for everything I have, not what I don’t. My morbid fascination thrives on repeating a story that doesn’t exist. Could it? I’m sure it could; however, I have put in place all the proper tools and support systems I need in order to be greater than my illness.
I am living proof that thoughts are just that: thoughts. They only have as much power as you choose to give them. Sometimes I find myself living in my thoughts, and that’s ok — as long as I am able to differentiate these thoughts from reality. I’m taking a hard look at reality and realize how grateful I am for everything I have in my life…the positive and the negative.