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What If Disorder...

As a psychologist I am trained to diagnose mental disorders. I realize that we all have some tendencies towards different disorders. We may be prone to negative thinking and seeing the glass half empty, yet not clinically depressed. We may be prone to anger, yet not meet the criteria for intermittent explosive disorder. We could find some behaviors we display from time to time of most any disorder we pick.

I find that most of us suffer at some time in our life from what I call the “What if Disorder”. It is characterized by excessive anxiety and tension brought on by contemplating painful life events that would be experienced if some dreaded event happened. Many creative and imaginative thinkers are more prone to “What if” thinking.

What if my spouse cheats on me? What if that pain is actually cancer? What if I don’t learn that new computer program at work? What if I can’t pay my bills in a few months? What if I flunk out of school? What if I am never happy? What if I don’t find a mate? The list of “What ifs” is endless.

The prevalence of the “What if” disorder keeps my private practice full. This doesn’t imply that I take the pain it causes lightly. In fact, I have suffered much distress from the “What if” syndrome myself. I periodically need to ingest promises from the Bible to help counteract my “What if” thinking.

As I encourage my clients, I know that what I suggest applies to me too. Most of what we worry about never happens and if it did, we could and would survive. In turn, the Lord’s sweet Spirit comforts our hurts. Even if we died, we have the opportunity to live forever in glory if we so choose Jesus. Lastly, “What if” I decide to believe what the Word tells me: I am loved, destined to Heaven, forgiven, and protected by a loving God. What a great "What if!"


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