Fake it till you make it

August 16, 2012 in Uncategorized

You may remember

That a few weeks ago I went to the dentist

For the first time in over five years

I couldn’t fit in the chair before

And even when I was able to

I was scared to face up to the damage

That 5 years of no dental care may have done

I struggle with anxiety

And by that I mean

Full blown panic attack level anxiety

This doesn’t happen to me all the time anymore

But in certain situations

It’s something I have to manage and deal with

It started when my ex-husband left

And as I watched the door shut, I turned around

To face 4 babies staring at me

For answers

For security

It was in that moment, anxiety and panic surged through me for the first time

On a level I had never experienced

I thought I was having a heart attack

And as the days went on, the panic took hold of me

It threatened to control my life

In the years following my divorce, I’ve learned a lot about anxiety and panic

About ways to control it

Or live through it when it comes

And it no longer owns me

But as silly as it sounds

This trip to the dentist

The big day to have my root canal

To begin repairing the damage

THAT was enough to throw me backwards in time

Back to a time in my life when anxiety owned me

Where it determined my steps

Where on a day I had planned to do something

A panic attack would debilitate me to the point that I had to cancel my plans

And pray my way through what felt like a never ending heart attack

It started about 7 pm….the night before I was scheduled to go to the dentist

The anxiety started creeping in

And then it got louder

My heart felt like it would jump out of my chest

I couldn’t breathe

I felt the urge to escape

For hours this went on

While I tried desperately to live through it

Finally I tried to go to sleep

Only to be woken up repeatedly with the sensation of choking

As if someone had their hands around my throat and was strangling me

This used to happen to me quite often in the past

It would make me afraid to go to sleep at night

And here I am again

I began to accept the fact that I wasn’t going to make it to the dentist the next morning

I would have to call and cancel

Until I could handle it

Until I could get the anxiety under control

Until I was not scared anymore

I had already found a dentist who does sedation

I was already in the right place for being a patient that needs help with anxiety

But it didn’t matter

Panic and Anxiety were winning the battle

And I was throwing in the towel

The only way to make the anxiety stop was to give up

To give myself an ‘out’

And just cancel

Yesterday morning I woke up and I felt a bit calmer

Although I knew, anxiety and panic might be waiting for me right around the corner

As I layed in the bed contemplating my phone call to the dentist to cancel

My son, CJ, woke up and stumbled in my room to say “Good Morning

Knowing I was nervous about my appointment, he said “Hey Mama….you’re gonna do fine today

I said to him “I’m going to cancel it.  I’ll go another time

Why“, he asked

Well CJ….Mama just can’t do it today.  I’m too anxious

I know…I know…..what a great example, right?

Trust me—I have my moments where I feel like a great Mom

But there are times when I can’t muster it up

And I’m just me

You see behind the curtain

Like the Wizard of Oz who was revealed

To be a fake

Smoke and mirrors

That’s how I feel often at times

Like it’s all a big act

This whole idea that I can somehow be the Mom they need

When there I am…having a 7 hour panic attack over the dentist

CJ jumped in the bed with me and said

“Don’t cancel Mama…..BE BRAVE

And I said “How am I supposed to be brave when I’m NOT? How can I be brave when I don’t FEEL brave?

And you know what he said?

He said

PRETEND

Yep…that’s it

PRETEND

As soon as he said that, I suddenly had a memory flash through my mind

A memory of my mother

She used to always tell me

Holly….you don’t have to feel brave…you just have to fake it till you make it

When my husband left me and I didn’t think I could handle it

When I had to go to court and watch a judge throw a hammer down to tell me my divorce was final

When I had to drive on the highway for the first time after being in a marriage where I wasn’t allowed to drive very often

When I had to tackle moments where I was scared and full of anxiety

Mom told me

Fake it till you make it

Or she would say

Act as if

Or as CJ would say

PRETEND

It’s hard to believe that pretending and faking your way through things

Could be sometimes the best option

But it is

I have done this more times than I can count to get through situations

But it took my son reminding me of this strategy

For me to remember it

Fake it till you make it

Act As If

Pretend

And when you do

Something interesting happens

YOU MAKE IT

And suddenly

You’re NOT faking it anymore

Your courage becomes real!

When I had my weight loss surgery

I was anxious

But I acted as if I wasn’t

Because I knew if I stayed in this recliner

And let the fear control me

I’d be another 100 pounds heavier by now

When I had to go outside and start walking

In public

At over 400 pounds

I was full of anxiety

Afraid what the neighbors would think of me

So I acted as if it didn’t bother me

And eventually

It really didn’t bother me anymore!

When I walked into Crossfit last month

I was scared

I was full of anxiety

I did not believe I belonged there

So I faked it

I acted as if I wasn’t bothered by those feelings

I did it anyway

So yesterday morning

I got out of bed

And took on the role

Of someone not scared of the dentist!

An acting job for the ages!

And not too long after that

My root canal was over with

My tooth was saved

And I was back home—-victorious!

It’s funny how something as small as a tooth

Can win a war with my mind

And it almost did

Putting off that appointment

Would have only meant more pain for me in the long run

Because the pain from my tooth was so great

It was interfering with my life

That tooth needed to be dealt with

Putting it off because I was scared

Would only further exacerbate the problem

That’s how it is in life

We’re sometimes in pain from some circumstance

Whether it’s emotional or physical

And yet we let our fears stand in the way

Of dealing with it

Even when we know that putting it off

Will just make the pain worse

So I did what CJ told me to do

And I faked it

I pretended

And the next time I go

My courage won’t be so fake

Because the more you ‘act as if‘ you are  something…..

The more you become that ‘something

This is true of everything we do in this journey

The more you ‘act as if‘ you are the type of person to get up in the morning and exercise

The more you ‘pretend‘ that you don’t hate it

The more you become exactly what you have pretended to be

The more you ‘act as if‘ you prefer healthy eating choices over a Big Mac

The more you pretend that is what you would rather have

The more often you will find yourself gravitating towards it

This is why it’s so important for us to choose our actions wisely

Because without realizing it

What we do….becomes who we are

We act afraid…we become afraid

We act courageous….we become courageous

So fake it till you make it!

You just may find

That one day

You’re not faking it anymore

Because it’s real

It’s YOU

Brave, courageous, victorious

 

‘As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” Proverbs 3:27

Ladies Love Cool James

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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

Trish August 16, 2012 at 1:57 pm

So very true. Currently on several levels I too am faking it… Until the day I make it.
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Kelliann August 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm

You have very very smart kids… and they much have gotten that from their mamma.
Congrats on “pretending”
Soon you won’t have to pretend anything anymore.
🙂
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jou August 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm

You are so brave – So proud of you! Your son has a lot of wisdom – way to go mom!!

Keep focused!

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Anna August 16, 2012 at 2:44 pm

This post is soo helpful to me!!! I have dealt with debilitating anxiety and it sometimes creeps in, unexpected and unwanted. Thank you!!!!

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Linda Kuil August 16, 2012 at 2:55 pm

If you had put it off, the anxiety would have built up and the panic attack would have lasted longer. Then it might have been encroaching on other aspects of your life, like going to the grocery store. My son suffers from anxiety and I tell him he has to force himself to do things so that he can see that it wasn’t a big deal, that he survived, and maybe that will be one less thing that causes him anxiety.

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Staci August 16, 2012 at 3:37 pm

Hooray for a saved tooth (boo at the bill – haha). So glad your little MAN gave you the words of wisdom you needed. 🙂
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm

You’re right about the bill Staci!!! I think the pain of the bill hurt more than the tooth!! hahaha

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Kim August 16, 2012 at 6:08 pm

HOORAY! Bravery is being scared and doing it anyway. You did it!
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annamarie August 16, 2012 at 6:37 pm

Amazing of how we take things and expode with it yet the children have may it so simple. What a smart son you have.

Just love the post….words to hold onto.

Like they say “our actions are always followed by our thoughts”
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Caron August 16, 2012 at 8:37 pm

I panic at the thought of going to the dentist too but it sure would be nice to keep these old teeth and not have to go to dentures. Ugh. Good job!
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Lori August 16, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Congratulations!

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Joy August 17, 2012 at 12:33 am

It sounds like you have a very smart son! I have suffered with panic attacks since I was 13 years old (I am now 32). I can really relate what to what you are going through. I have had a seven hour panic attack as well and it really does suck and it feels at the moment so scarey. It’s very true you have to “pretend” to be brave until you can make!
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suzanne August 17, 2012 at 1:49 am

What wonderfully wise children you have.
One of my life motto’s is “Fake it till you make it”
I always think of that when I’m starting a workout and all my muscles are stiff and I’d much rather sit on the couch. I just keep going, keep faking it and eventually I realize I actually am enjoying it.
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Nikki Mohamed August 17, 2012 at 3:14 am

I’m faking that whole enjoyment of raising teenagers thing. I’m not sure I’ve got anyone convinced yet but I’m faking away….*sigh*
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Merrily August 17, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Wow! I need to PRETEND more often. I too suffer from anxiety. While I’m not scared to go to the dentist, I suffer from extreme anxiety at going to the mailbox, or answering the phone from an unknown caller, and at times, even checking my email. I know it sounds bizarre, but lately it’s become so extreme, I wait a whole week to go out to the mailbox. Fear of a surprise bill (which happened last week–IRS bill–ouch) or a disturbing letter. Not sure why I fear bad news so much, but your post helped. THANKS!!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down August 18, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I totally relate to the mailbox!! I’m glad I’m not the only one!!!

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Chandra August 21, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Ha! I have said this to myself and others often. Fake it till you make it!

My pastor said a few weeks ago that both heroes and cowards have fear, the difference is that a coward runs and a hero does not.

You are a hero.

XOXO
Chandra
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Kim Gibson September 4, 2012 at 3:52 pm

I needed to read this today. You are such an inspiration. Thank you!
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