Intolerance of Uncertainty

I am a planner, a list-maker, and a worrier.

I hate the feeling of a missed opportunity and of wasted time. If there is a free hour in my day, I need to have something to do – even if it is only to relax and read my book. I need to feel prepared.

Consequently, when I’m stressed or anxious, say about ‘the future’ for example, I try to alleviate these worries by making a plan. But I find it difficult when things don’t turn out the way I’d thought they would. Something tells me that making a plan doesn’t always help, instead it just seems to postpone my anxiety.

I know that in life I can’t have it all on my own terms, but I find that hard to accept sometimes. I read somewhere recently that the best way to combat this is to try and increase your tolerance of uncertainty. To face our fears, but to start off small. We can’t tackle a problem if we are constantly running away from them.

We can make lists and plans but how often do they succeed? Doubt and worry are a constant in life, in both mine and yours. The search for certainty is nearly always futile; uncertainty is a part of life.



13 Comments Add yours

  1. Once again, another great piece of writing. I too, when I’m anxious about something, like to have a plan in my mind of how I’m going to get things done. If the plan doesn’t work out or something happens that I didn’t expect, it just causes me to get more anxious. My mom has said in the past that life takes unexpected turns and everything (which by the way, her saying this just adds more stress and makes me feel pathetic), but sometimes it’s okay to plan things out. You’re right though, we do have to try to realize that even if things don’t go exactly as we planned, we have to try to remain calm and get through it.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you, that really means a lot! I get that too, I wish my stress could be controlled by an on/off switch, but it’s not. Even when someone gives me such great advice it takes time for the anxiety to subside. That’s one of the things I’m really trying to work on for the new year, staying calm. I hope you’re well and that you enjoyed Christmas?

      1. I did, I hope you did as well!

        Oh, if only there was a switch to turn off anxiety!

      2. M_McKeen says:

        Yes thanks, it always goes too quickly though! aha that would be too easy! Sometimes in life it feels better when you know you’ve had to work incredibly hard in order to get to where you now stand!

  2. First of all, your blog title is fantastic. The metaphor of the pebble in your shoe is a brilliant way to characterize anxiety! At least I think that’s how you intended it, correct me if I’m wrong. I am another one who tends to try to plan the future, and it never turns out how I planned it anyway. I try to live in the present moment, but I find, somehow, it helps to have a vision of where I’m going. We’re on the search to find the balance, I guess.

    1. M_McKeen says:

      Thank you so much, when I first started blogging I wanted a title that explained why I was writing. I found that The Pebble In My Shoe was perfect, though you might not believe your timing, because I was actually thinking of changing it today! I wanted to capture probably the most important lesson that I’ve learned over the last couple of years. I want to encourage myself and others to speak out about how we truly feel more often, and so I was thinking of changing it to In Silence We Suffer. What do you think? And I think that’s exactly right, we’re all searching for balance, but in a lot of cases even when we’ve found it, we don’t realise until we lose it again! Don’t get me wrong, I do like to plan ahead, and it can make me feel more comfortable, and less anxious, but at the moment I don’t really know where I’m going, I’m just drifting along, which kinda scares me sometimes. Anyway thanks again for taking the time to comment, let me know what you think of the possible new title? Have a great New Year! 🙂

      1. Sorry it took me a couple days to get back to you!! Been busier than I’d like the last few days :P…but anyway, on to the good stuff! Isn’t it amazing how hard it is to name your blog?!! Very funny that you’re having this dilemna now, and funny that I commented on loving your title so much! Ultimately I think 1) it’s up to you and your heart BUT 2) it depends on the type of tone you’re going for. In Silence We Suffer certainly has a ring to it, in a kind of hard rock band kind of way. Do you think your content will be geared toward more on focusing on the negative aspects of anxiety? Or do you want to leave room for if not “positivity,” then humor or lightness? “The Pebble In My Shoe” conveys a sense of humor and lightness that I personally find so refreshing where mental health blogging is concerned. It’s clever, memorable…all the things I want in a title. I’m actually thinking of changing mine too. I’m going to post a poll soon about what people think I should change it to, I’d love your feedback as well! And hey, “drifting along” is perfectly ok. All the more reason to leave some wiggle room in your title for all different types of content.

      2. M_McKeen says:

        No worries, I hope it’s all sorted now? I’m afraid I’ve already changed it. :/ Here’s the post I wrote on it.

        haha I hadn’t thought about it like that, but you’re right, In Silence We Suffer does sound a bit like a rock band!! No I don’t think my content will change much from recent months. Rather than focusing on the negative aspects of anxiety, my aim is still to encourage people to confide in someone they trust. To get that secret, that burden, that’s been weighing them down off their chest.

        When I started blogging I was writing posts on all manner of topics. Anxiety and depression, books, sports, poems, love. Hence why I went for a name like The Pebble In My Shoe that could be used to describe all of them, but as I blogged more and more I found a single community that I felt at home in. I wanted to make a difference in the lives of others as well as myself by late 2015 when I was blogging about anxiety, stress and depression. Changing my name felt to me like a bit of a commitment to keeping this positivity going.

        And of course, I’ll keep an eye out! What are you thinking of changing it to?

      3. Sounds good and well thought out! This is what has struck me about the WordPress community–the fact that we can confide in each other what we often can’t confide in our day to day lives. It’s inspiring. So I understand that the other half of “In Silence We Suffer” might be “in speaking out we are free”?

      4. M_McKeen says:

        That’s also one of the major things I’ve come to learn too. This is the place to confide, we don’t find judgement here. I’m so pleased that I started blogging, ive spoken to some wonderful people who are really trying to change what they don’t like in their lives! Yes that’s the idea, though I’m still working on a proper byline 🙂

      5. When it comes to working on the proper byline, I think you’re in good company! We’re all discovering how to get our message across as we go.

  3. and this doesn’t mean that you can’t focus on the sad parts and the suffering as part of your content, because that’s certainly part of the illness. But, I guess a title that leaves room for both is good.

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