Waiting for bad news quickly becomes a way of life. I’m referring to real bad news, not “I’m sorry but we can’t fit you in for that hair appointment” bad news. “Your father has cancer” bad news.
Although there is no way of knowing, until they actually tell you, and there is no way of influencing the news, we still allow it to consume our thoughts, minds, days and indeed lives. Counterproductive as it is, we somehow cannot switch this off.
Doing it unknowingly is one thing, the way most would do it, but even when we recognise the behaviour it is exceedingly difficult to break. We run scenarios through our minds over and over, “catastrophising” till the final scene, only to rewind and start all over again. Why is that? Is this an answerable question or is it more likely we cannot behave any other way, and if we did, it would mean we are somehow mentally or emotionally deranged?
Stoicism is fast becoming unpopular. They encourage nay obligate us to show our feelings, speak our minds and offer no apologies for it. Well, I for one think there is still a place for stoicism, at the very least, in measured doses. If all of us gave in to the pressures of emotionally stressful situations all the time we’d end up with a cacophony of pissing, whining, and gnashing of teeth. This would inevitably cause butthurt somewhere else because spilling your guts – although required – is only acceptable when it’s “accepted.” That’s no way to live.
The pressure of the wait is probably worse than the news itself. Partly because we have to deal with the fear of the unknown and partly because we are selfish, we just want it over and done with so we know what to do next. It’s the control we crave. It’s scary. It’s OK to admit that. It’s not a way of life unless you allow it to be.