The “What If” Demons

It was the week before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse… or so I thought.  But then a little demon came knocking.

Yesterday I had to take a sick day – I was feeling so rotten I had to cancel my clients (this is only the 2nd time I’ve ever had to do this in 4 years). I was coughing, fevering, shivering – a proper nasty bug.

But that wasn’t the demon. The demon was in my head. 8 years ago, the week before Christmas, I got the virus that triggered my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/M.E. The virus that I just didn’t recover from, not just for days or weeks, but for months and years.

And that little demon in my head said “What if….what if this is happening all over again, what if this bug will trigger a relapse?”

But thankfully I know how to deal with these demons. This is something I help my clients with everyday. So it was time to snuggle up on the sofa and practice what I preach.

Rules of Engagement with the “What If” Demons:

Rule Number 1: Do not engage with them (yes, I know that’s a contradiction but play along with me here!).

The minute we engage with the “What If Demons” we give them fuel, fuel that makes them bigger and stronger and before you know it they’ve taken over.

So, no fuel – do not feed your demons. That means batting away those thoughts, stamping on them, deleting them, finding something else to focus on that stops them (there are lots of ways of doing this that I teach my clients – some of them quite fun!)

Rule Number 2: Engage with them (oh dear, I’ve done it again haven’t I!)

But I’m talking about a very specific way of engaging with them here. The What If Demon’s can only survive if there is no evidence to stop their What If story telling. So smother them with every tiny bit of evidence you’ve got to prove this is not the same situation, that this is not history repeating itself.

For me that meant looking at what was different to last time.

Last time I was exhausted beyond belief. My stress and anxiety levels were through the roof. I wasn’t listening to my body, instead I continued to push it harder, trying to swim and run myself through the exhaustion. I thought I had a fairly healthy diet but mostly because I bought stuff from Holland & Barrett, and I knew zero about mental health and how it impacts on physical health.

This time it’s different. Far from being exhausted, before this bug hit me, I felt energised. Stress and anxiety really don’t feature in my life any more. I know my body really well and I listen to what it tells me, I stop and rest when I need to and give it the nutrients it needs. I understand nutrition really well and make sure I always feed my mind and my body with everything it needs to function at it’s best. I am in charge of my own time now so I manage it in a way that allows my body the rest it needs and I understand how the demons work so I can stop them taking hold.

Presenting my What If Demon’s with this evidence sent them scurrying away pretty quickly and allowed me to get back to the Netflix box set that was about all my mind was capable of processing yesterday!

And today I’m starting to feel a bit better, not so feverish, enough energy to tick a few non-physical things off the list that helps me feel a bit better still. So again, I am reminded of how this is so very different to that time 8 years ago.

I share this story with you not for sympathy but to help you with any pesky What If Demons that might come knocking for you. Remember the rules of engagement and send them packing so that you can enjoy the life you deserve.

About the Author: Caroline Prout is based in our Thrapston clinic in rural East Northamptonshire.  Caroline chose to retrain as a hypnotherapist after her own anxiety led to physical health problems and a diagnosis of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.  “One of the things that helped me the most in my recovery was understanding how our brains work and why that can have such a huge impact on our wellbeing, both physical and mental and this is something I now share with all my clients”.  Using her own experiences and training Caroline specialises in helping people overcome anxiety and chronic conditions such as CFS, Fibromyalgia and other auto-immune conditions.

Get in touch with Caroline to find out how hypnotherapy could help you to overcome chronic illnesses.  Caroline offers a FREE initial consultation and online appointment options.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are based across the UK in Peterborough, Northamptonshire, Cambridgeshire, Leicestershire, Devon and Kent.

Inspired to Change Hypnotherapists are all recognised by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, the UK’s leading not-for-profit hypnotherapy professional association.

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