SCRIPTING: RESPONDING TO THE “WHAT IF…”

Part of dealing with PTSD is trying to work through what I call the “what ifs.” We have a tendency to want to remain in our comfort zone and not try new things because, “what if” something unexpected happens? What if someone yells at me? What if I try something new and get hurt? What if…

You can play the “what if” game in your mind and let it control your life, or you can learn to practice “scripting.” What is scripting? Well, it means taking a good look at what your excuses are and playing them out in your mind, then coming up with a way you can respond to the situation.

For example, if you’re not using public transportation and you say to yourself, “what if I trip on the bus and break my ankle?” then you would allow yourself to realistically look at that scenario and think it through. Ok, what if that really happens: you step on the bus and as you’re moving to the back, you misstep and stumble and break an ankle. Now what? Well, it’s pretty likely you’d have at least two choices. The first one would be to have the bus driver let you limp back off the bus (if you could) and you could go get help. The second choice would be to tell the driver your ankle is broken and ask to be taken to the hospital.

I can’t guarantee the bus driver would take you to the hospital, but I do believe he or she would take you back to the bus station and make arrangements to transport you to the hospital for treatment.

What else might you do? Perhaps, if you have a cell phone on you, you might call for help and have a friend pick you up when you reach your destination and take you to the hospital.

The thing is, you can play the “what if” game in your head all day and let it limit what you do and prevent you from finding any joy in life, or you can begin looking at the reasons you’re not doing what you want and begin to script a way you can manage your fears.  Scripting is a good way to look at your fears and determine if they are valid, then plan a way of handling them so you can get on with your life.

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