The Email:

I have Borderline Personality Disorder. I have a lot of trouble coping with stress, people and life in general. Now, there's all this stuff going on in the world. The threat of war, terrorism is on the rise, and well, I am just a wreck. I don't know what to do.

AJ's Response:

You are right, these are very troubled times in human history. A fact that we all have to face, deal and cope with somehow.

For me it all starts with the Serenity Prayer. Specifically, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change". That said, however, we should not be hestiant to do what we can as individuals to put forward our beliefs, concerns and convictions.

Each individual has choices to make. We are not ultimately the ones who can decide whether or not war happens or change or effect what terrorists are destined to do but we can march in peace rallies we can write to our government officials and make our views known. If every single person would do their own little part we may then have some "power" to effect change and peace.

While world events can easily leave us feeling like victims, or triggered back to feeling this way it is up to each of us to empower ourselves in our everyday lives by just doing the best we can and focusing on that over which we have control. We have control over our choices. Make a choice not to dwell on the "what-if's". Instead focus on what you have to do in your day.

In whatever way you experience and practice your spiritual beliefs, observe those and put your best wishes for our world out there to the universe. Faith can move mountains.

Take a deep breath. Surrender to that which you cannot control. Don't lose precious time today or any other day worrying about what is going to happen when you can't control that. Control what you can in your own life. Stick to your routine. Seize the day each and every day.

Our world is troubled. Danger is everywhere. The news is sensationalizing the already huge and sensational. It is all one-sided. It is "doom and gloom" and full of "what-if" scenarios. Realize that there is still much that is positive and wonderful going on in our troubled world. The world has undergone many very difficult and explosive times in the past.

Bring your day down to your life and what you can and can't do. Start there. Make use of relaxation tapes, don't focus on the news. Be mindful of any precautions and so forth but then get on with your own life. Separate your world from the world at large.

There are many good books on anxiety in general. But I would like to add here that what you feel, anxiety and fear and stress is not "abnormal" in this day and age at all and is shared by many many people.

Each of us just has to get on with the business of living our lives. If you cannot re-focus and gain some time from feeling very stressed you'd be wise to contact a professional for help in dealing with your stress.

These are indeed stresseful times for all of us, however, so don't feel alone.

This response is © A.J. Mahari, February 2003

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