The “What Ifs?” Of An Insomniac

I’m someone who feels my feelings. I don’t run from them. I name them and confront them and sit with them. I’ve learned to be with whatever comes up emotionally. I find that the feelings eventually dissipate if I take this inviting approach, rather than an evasive one.

I am also someone who tries to find the silver lining in any experience. “What’s the lesson here?” I often ask myself, so that there is at the very minimum, a bit of personal growth.

And yet, I wake up in the middle of the night these days with troubling questions that don’t yet have answers. “What if this…?” “What if that…?” (which is all about worrying about what might be).

I decided to list them all. Just let them spew. I named every worst case scenario that swirled through my brain. And then moved into the antidote to “What if…?” which is “Right here, right now…” (which is all about being with what is).

What if this pandemic goes on and on for months and months?

Right here, right now I am focused on today.

What if millions of Americans lose their lives?

Right here, right now I, my family, and my friends are healthy and safe.

What if millions of Americans lose the ability to earn a living wage?

Right here, right now I have a roof over my head, and food in my belly. 

What if our political, economic and social structures never recover from this crisis?

Right here, right now I am aware that this is a wonderful opportunity for positive resets. 

What if people continue to believe this isn’t serious or is a hoax or isn’t going to affect them, and the rate of contagion just continues to accelerate for ALL of us?

Right here, right now I am doing my part to stay home and stay safe, so that others may remain safe. 

What if it takes longer than we thought it might to develop an effective vaccine?

Right here, right now people all over the world are working on this challenge. Human genius and creativity are hard at work. 

What if a devastating hurricane touches ground this summer?

Right here, right now it is sunny and gorgeous out. 

What if a whole new cycle of this virus starts in the fall?

Right here, right now people are working on a vaccine to immunize all of us. 

What if the election is not held in November? What if it is and the outcome only promises more of the same?

Right here, right now, our elections are going ahead as planned. Democracy lives. 

What if reliable sources of information are shut down?

Right here, right now I am able to turn to all sorts of sources of information. 

What if there aren’t enough healthy medical professionals to take care of us?

Right here, right now our medical professionals are selflessly showing up to treat those in need. 

What if I get the virus?

Right here, right now I am healthy and feel fine. 

What if I need to be on a ventilator?

Right here, right now I can breathe with ease. I have medication, inhalers and my C-Pap machine to help when I need it. 

What if there isn’t one available at all, or isn’t available for me because preference is given to someone younger?

Right here, right now I live each day to the fullest. 

What if loved ones are hospitalized, I can’t get to them, and they die alone?

Right here, right now they are alive. I tell my loved ones I love them as often as possible. 

What if I die alone?

I am alive now. I tell my loved ones I love them as often as possible. 

If you are finding yourself mentally heading into a downward spiral of worry about what might be, try this exercise. List your “What ifs?” Leave some space between each one so that you can take the second step, which is to counter each “What if?” with a “Right here, right now…” Let us know how it goes in the comments!






  1. I can so relate to this. As much as I try to stay positive the pervading sense of doom and gloom gets to me from time to time. You named the question that bothers me most: “What if loved ones are hospitalized, I can’t get to them, and they die alone?”As you know my hubby has come close to dying many ties these past five years. I cannot stay with that question because it is much too painful to do so. We have been living a moment-to-moment existence so often over the years that I have learned to take it day by day (and sometimes minute by minute). But the idea of not being able to be with him (or any loved one) is crippling. So I have practiced the “right here, right now” way of being (for the most part) and it really helps. Bottom line all these questions are beyond our control and to keep asking them is to invite a break down in mental health just when we need to be strong.

    Thanks for this, Celenia. An awesome post, as per usual for you. ❤ Please stay as healthy as you possibly can and stay safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What I’m asking people to do here is not easy. Being with our feelings (including fear and anxiety) AND being positive is tricky! How does one hold BOTH? I think it’s about being with the FULL experience, which includes periods that are low and periods that are high. There is no emotional state that lasts FOREVER, and we are constantly cycling in and out of our different feeling states.
      With your husband’s health challenges, you just don’t know how things are going to play out. All you know is how you are spending this moment, and then this moment, and then the next one with him. You are being there for him in the ways that you CAN be. It is true that at some point in the future, you may not be able to be there for him in the way that you want to be. So be sure to communicate to him now that even when you are apart, you are loving him and wanting the very best care for him and praying for his safe return.
      It’s so important now (and actually always was) to let our loved ones know that we love them. To actually SAY it, whenever we have the opportunity.
      I am ending ALL my phone calls these days with, “I love you.” Because you just never know. This has always been true, but we’re living this truth more intensely these days.


      1. He is still here at home, safe and sound for the moment, anyway. The past few months have been iffy with me thinking, “here we go again, another hospital stay”, but so far so good. I do practice telling him frequently how much he means to me, as I do with all the people who mean a lot to me. life has taught me through the loss of many family members just how fragile life really is. I do my very best to NEVER take people for granted.

        thanks for your input and sage advice – it is always welcome. Take good care of you, my friend.


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