Thursday, April 28, 2016

Can Ignorance Be Bliss?

The Unknown
Why is the unknown so scary?  And why does it seem even scarier to those of us with OCD?  We question all sorts of things:

  • What if I did something that will hurt someone?
  • What if I made God angry?
  • What if I'm not clean enough to feed the baby and she gets sick?
  • What if I didn't lock the front door and someone breaks in during the night?
  • What if, what if, what if???

"In Defense of Ignorance"
Coloring page when I was anxiousI had a high-anxiety morning, so I spent part of the afternoon relaxing as a way to cope.  During the kids' naps, I got out one of my adult coloring books and turned on an episode of "This American Life" from NPR.  The most recent episode was titled "In Defense of Ignorance."  Defending the thought that sometimes ignorance really is bliss.  That not knowing something could be better for a person.

There were three stories.

  1. A Chinese family chose not to share with their matriarch that she was diagnosed with terminal cancer.  
  2. Multiple studies have been done showing that people who performed poorly on certain tests generally thought that they had done much better than they actually had - they didn't know what they didn't know.  
  3. Interviews with people who have been diagnosed with HSAM - Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory (which, according to the podcast, can be closely related to OCD).

Accepting that we don't have all of the answers holds merit.  It's okay not to know everything - after all, isn't that what faith is?

Note to Self
Dear Self,

It's time to stop fretting.  You will never have everything figured out, so you might as well stop trying.  Let this be the way that you trust God.  STOP TRYING SO HARD.  It isn't working.  Accept the anxiety and move on (because focusing on it, even with the intent of getting rid of it, makes it worse - as you well know).  Let the thoughts come and go.  Stop giving them power by focusing on them.

Because living in fear of the unknown doesn't change the fact that it's still the unknown.  It just means you're living in fear.


How do you trust God instead of fearing the unknown?  I would love to hear your thoughts!