I am a chronic worrier. Uncertainty terrifies me. Throughout my life I have asked a lot of questions – many of which begin with the frenzied words, “What if….?” I have also received a lot of answers. Many of which end with, “Don’t worry. It will be okay.”
But how can any of us know if it will be okay?
The best response I ever got to one of my perennial “What if…?” questions came from my father. I was in middle school, petrified of an upcoming math test. As always, I was over-earnest, perfectionistic, and catastrophic – collapsing into sobs as I stared uncomprehendingly at the book of equations. I was inexperienced enough to believe that failing a math test would mean the end of the world.
“Look here,” Dad finally said. “Whatever happens during the test today, somehow or other, we’ll get you through it.”
And, somehow or other, we did.
But, somehow or other, I get through it. I’m shored up by the people who understand my Asperger’s and my anxiety, who listen nonjudgmentally and accept me as I am. I am learning to turn to such people for support – something that has been very hard for me, as my instinct is to try to figure it all out on my own. I am learning to forego my quest for certainty and search instead for a compassionate listening ear.
“We’ll get you through it,” my father said. Not, “You’ll get through it,” but “We will.” When I truly understand that I am not alone, I feel more emboldened to face the future – come what may.