What If It All Goes Wrong?

I had a e-convo with someone a few months back about playing the “What If” game with her son.  He’s a young aspie (isn’t that redundant?), and had recently been throwing out the “what if this happens, then what if this . . .” lines.

I said something then, but I don’t remember what exactly.  All I do know is that I have had a new thought regarding that train of obsessive thinking.

It’s not so much that you need to focus on stopping the obsessive thinking, because really that’s impossible.  Rather, you need to teach your child/husband/friend/client that if whatever they are worrying about does happen, then they as a person can still get through it no matter what.

I think that those of us who play that game, in addition to worrying more about the possible thens and not the current here and nows, are ultimately at the core, just unsure of ourselves.

What if X happens?  Then I’ll handle it.  But what if Y happens?  Then I’ll handle it.  I’ll get through it.  I’ll figure something out.  I’ll ask for help.  True, shitty things may happen, but then again, they may not.  Either way, the person worrying about XYZ needs to know that they have your confidence in them to be able to handle different situations.

Likewise, especially in the case of those who are younger/less experienced, one thing that can help them is to actually show them what it’s like to be in that situation.  I mean, some things are hard to demonstrate (like gravity suddenly turning off – one of my personal ongoing What Ifs), but some things are workable.  What if you have a car wreck?  Well, always let people know where you’re going if you’re out by yourself; always have your cell charged; call 911; learn CPR . . . don’t hang around things that are full of gas when they’re on fire.

It helps me to know that at least I can recognize the situation that I’m in, even if I have no personal experience therein.

Really, if you die, then you die.  I can’t help you there.  You’ll figure it out, if there is anything left to figure out.

If something happens, have faith in yourself that you can muddle through somehow.  If you think about it, things happen all the time and we get through them.

What if it happens?  Then it does.  And someday you can look back on it and think, “boy, I’m glad that’s not me anymore;” or “that was scary, but I got through it.”  I’m okay.

You can do it.  You do it all the time and don’t even realize it.

You’ll figure something out.  And if you don’t, ask for help.  There are options.  They might not be fun, but then again, what’s life without a few stories to tell friends/family later in life?

I try not to worry as much about things in the future.  When they come up, something will happen, I’ll be there, and then I won’t.  I’ll be somewhere else.  And so it goes.

Before you know it, there’ll you be.


~ by lastcrazyhorn on September 9, 2008.

8 Responses to “What If It All Goes Wrong?”

  1. “He’s a young aspie (isn’t that redundant?)”


    — Phil, 52 and counting

  2. Not in age, but in spirit.

  3. Very interesting perspective. Those what if questions, as you’ve indicated, make great teachable moments sometimes.

  4. My husband always gives me crap about being the “glass half empty” kind of person. But I believe that always expecting the worst in a situation gives you room for the mental adjustment that we can get through things…esp. if it turns out better than worst case scenario. So I don’t have a problem with this at all. Good outlook!

  5. Ninety percent of what we worry about never happens. I used to try to get by on that expression. I used to be a world class worrier. Honest to God, the only way I can get through it is medication.

    Now, instead of what if, I think, “who gives a ….”

    Although…I think this is very good advice for my son.

  6. ?? My cat stepped on the keyboard and the page disappeared… so if this shows up twice, ignore one of me…

    ANYWAY what I was saying… *glares at cat* (who is still not figuring out that there’s ANOTHER way to get to the other side)

    Thanks for this; great insight. We always joke with our kid that he could be an emergency/disaster planner. He what-ifs everything and comes up with some really wild, nearly impossible scenarios… but they’re just “possible” enough that if one denied that it could happen and didn’t put a plan in place (if one were an emergency planner), it still *might* come back to haunt you.

    I don’t think I’ll mention the idea of gravity turning off to him…

  7. I think I’m that “someone.” Hey, I thought I was “friend!” 😉

    Anyway, this is a great post. I love it. I’ve kind of been doing what you talked about here, and you know what? The “what if” questions still happen all the time, but I’ve noticed peppered in there with them are some positive ones. Such as, “What if we play this game and you deal me cards that are already in the right order?” And I tell him he’ll win without even having to play.

    So I figure we’re making a little bit of progess. I don’t know if his what if questions are more about worring about specific events in the future or more about just wanting to know what’s coming down the pike, but either way, the end result is the same – he can get through it, no matter what.


  8. Thanks- I just had one of those incidents with my son this morning (he HAS to get to the bus stop ridiculously early or he freaks out), and I think this is going to be a really helpful perspective for me to encourage him to think about. Just what I needed.

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