“’Cause when you worry your face will frown, and that will bring everybody down. So, don’t worry be happy…” -Bobby McFerrin
I will be the first to admit that the chorus of this tune brings a smile to my face every time I hear it! A simple ditty, yet so genuine and true, brings back childhood memories of me and my first-grade class dancing in a school program. Those unworldly years for me were sadly full of fear and uncertainty, but the minute that song came on, all my attention became focused on how fun and energetic the vibe was when I heard it. Still, to this day, if the song unexpectedly plays on the radio, I find myself with a child-like grin, giggling, singing, and dancing.
The lyrics to this point of my life almost seem to be a perfect layout to my existence. Three years ago, I was diagnosed with PTSD from years of abuse in my life. The abuse began in early childhood and carried on into my adulthood. Since trauma really wasn’t something that was focused on until recently, I was unaware that I grew up this way. I spent many years wondering what was wrong with me, why I couldn’t connect with others, and why no matter how hard I tried, I could never seem to find contentment.
Obviously, everyone knows that you can’t repair certain things in your life if you aren’t aware of them being damaged in the first place. So, I kept on worrying about things, and my problems got larger. I freaked out about the littlest things. My mind became an endless whirlwind of the what-ifs. What if they don’t like me? What if I make a fool out of myself? Then, it became so extreme I started becoming almost OCD and phobic about things that kept me from living a normal and productive life. This drove me to so many self-destructive behaviors that I began a downward spiral that led me close to death.
I’d like to say that was my ultimate wake-up call and I became a model citizen with no more issues, but it really was just a tip of the iceberg. I’m still working on my problems, but I can honestly say that I’ve gotten better about certain things. I face my fears now, even if I do it with tears in my eyes. I am recovering one day at a time, one moment at a time, and battling each anxiety one struggle at a time.
Recently, I ended up homeless, and for a short time, before a good friend of my husband’s let us shack up in his towable trailer, I confronted one of the biggest horrors of my life. We were living in our car, hanging out at the library all day trying to find work (which we’re still struggling to find) and showering at and sleeping outside a truck stop. However, I decided this wasn’t going to change the optimism I have been working so hard for. In fact, it actually has helped me build character. I seem to see things so much more clearly than I ever have. I started noticing those who had it worse than I do. I watched other homeless people sleep in the park with just a sleeping bag and the clothes on their backs. This made me grateful for what I do have.
At the beginning of his catchy jingle, Bobby says, “In every life, we have some trouble, but when you worry you make it double.” He seemed to know the simple truth of life. You can’t shine in someone else’s life without first making yourself content. How do you do that? Don’t worry! I know it seems easier said than done, but do you really think that focusing all your energy on something you have no control over is worth your time? I know for me it wasn’t. I hope one-day others recognize that all the successful people out there in this world had struggles themselves. Life isn’t easy for anyone. Every day is a combat into uncertainty. The best way we can face this endeavor is to just not worry about the little things that we can’t control.
Copyright © 2017 [Carrie Pottberg]. All Rights Reserved.