Fearing The Future

By Brigitte Shipman | March 25, 2021. | Autism, Mother Guide, Fear

Fear is one of the biggest energy suckers that we battle with each day as a mother guide. I introduced this topic in my last blog The 3 Big Energy Suckers. Fear is ongoing as we dare to peek into our child’s future, once we receive the diagnosis of autism.

I know that when I began to move forward with my son's new projected future back in 1996, I only felt fear of it. I didn’t want my son to suffer and to be living alone without me one day. I feared he would be living a life under someone else's care that didn’t love him or want him. What would happen to my son when I am gone?

I frequently told myself, “you cannot die until Joseph's future is taken care of.” That thought was matter-of-fact thinking. I really didn’t have emotion attached to this way of thinking. It just was, and then I moved on to my next task of the day.

I believe looking back to that time, it was a numbing way to deal with my fear. The truth is, I had no control of whether our future would work out as I planned it. I literally was doing what I could with what I had to survive. I carried the fear with me each and every day.

Carrying my fear felt like a bag of rocks tied to my back, but I expected myself to live as if I wasn’t weighed down. I got used to dragging fear around with me. I didn’t pay any attention to it or how each day slowly began to cause my body to become weaker. I was exhausted and had no idea. Sure, I was tired, but so was every other mom, I believed.

As Joseph got older, I knew that one day he would be able to live independently. I wasn't sure of when, but I could see he would. This was positive, but I felt a huge regret. I wished that I could have known that he would be able to care for himself when he was first diagnosed. I was so focused on therapies and finding ways to reach him that I missed the precious moments along the way.

Yes, it’s understandable that I would be spending my energy on finding ways to help my son, but what if I could have done this without the huge energy sucker called fear? If I would have had the tools to manage my fear, perhaps I would have been a bit more present.

Fear is a part of the autism journey. When I think about what fear means, it gives insight to why any mother guide would carry it around each day. Webster’s dictionary defines fear as this unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain or a threat.

Each rock in my heavy bag I carried represented pain and threat to Joseph’s future. All the comments I heard, read, and researched seemed to define what his future was to be. They were painful because they threatened my son’s future.

Fear for me was a collection of thoughts that I had about what might or might not be in our future. I was living as if fear was in control of our lives. I was running from thoughts of the future that did not yet exist. I didn’t understand that I could shift my fearful thoughts and get rid of the weight that I carried around for so long.

Calming fear is a practice. It is a practice because it is an emotion that often comes from thoughts we believe. I feared that Joseph would not speak and be able to ask for help. I feared that Joseph would not be able to find success in mainstream education. I feared that Joseph would not be able to find a job or keep it. I feared that Joseph would not find love. These are just a few of the fears that I carried with me for the past few decades. I am happy to report that each fearful thought did not come true.

When I work with other mother guides, I ask them to take a deep breath as we begin to look fear in the eye.

Daily practice to shift your fearful thoughts:

  • Sit with your fear.
  • Write down the fears you have for your child’s future.
  • Now circle the fear that is the biggest energy sucker for you today.
  • Rewrite your fear to make it a positive belief. For example, Joseph will not be able to find a job and keep it, would be rewritten to, Joseph will find a job and keep it.
  • As this fear comes up in your thoughts, replace it with the positive thought.
  • Notice your energy shift from fear to calming energy.
  • Repeat this practice as many times as you need.

Remember that fear is an emotion that brings up thoughts which turn into beliefs. They do not guarantee your future. You can get rid of each rock you are carrying around by shifting your energy. It works, so I hope you use this practice to feel a bit lighter.

Moving forward, I do want to take a moment and let you know that I have forgiven myself for my collection of regrets which I will discuss in more depth in the upcoming blogs.

For today, enjoy your energy shift and your beautiful child.

Autism Guide Brigitte Shipman Coach

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