2020 is surely going to go down as the year of the conspiracy theory.
From 5G giving us all radiation poisoning.
To Bill Gates wanting to microchip us all so he can track our every move.
(He’s going to be well disappointed he bothered doing it to me.
l can just see him now, scratching his genius head, wondering why the only places I go are Co-op and the McDonald drive-thru.
Because I am always hungry, Mr Gates. Because breastfeeding.)
How about the theory that the virus was invented to get rid of cash so we will all have to do everything online?
None of them make sense to me.
I abhor conspiracy theories, on a personal level.
l really do.
What a waste of a life that is, I’ve thought to myself, watching people live in fear of imaginary stories.
I'm not a conspiracy theorist, obviously.
Or rather, I thought I wasn’t.
Until I read the quote above and had the HUGE epiphany that, actually, I’ve been one for years.
Definitely for two decades.
And I am never going to let anxiety do that to me, ever again.
l used to believe that if I didn’t adhere to an extremely strict diet, I was going to die of cancer, and very soon.
This was despite being young and from a massive family with no cancer on either side.
Over the years, that anxiety morphed into conspiracy theories that my family were going to die in horrible accidents like I saw on the news.
l found the best way to keep that conspiracy theory at a manageable level (that is, to the point where my anxiety still allowed me to function) was to stop watching the nightly news, and to pay attention to the fact that all of my relatives were still very much in one piece.
Then my husband tried to kill himself.
And things got complicated.
All of a sudden, it wasn’t just my mind making up these crazy conspiracy theories to make my anxiety feel at home and welcome.
I had actual evidence.
Imagine Bill Gates confessing to an ardent anti vaxxer, "yeah we just stick whatever we have around the house into syringes, mainly for LOLS. Hands up. You got me banged to rights, Anne Brown, YouTuber and blogger from Brighton."
Let me tell you, neither Anne Brown or I want our conspiracy theories to be right.
We need them to be imaginary.
Otherwise our thought cycle and corresponding behaviour which is so uncomfortable, yet comforting in its familiarity, becomes seriously disrupted.
When Clarke tried to kill himself, I didn’t have time for my living in my own head anymore.
Now I had tangible evidence the world was a scary uncertain place and a family member was in danger and might die.
I had an actual real-life problem to deal with, that needed all my attention.
And here’s what l learned about actual problems, as opposed to the anxiety driven conspiracy theories I spent decades telling myself:
They are finite. The real-life problem gets dealt with and has an actual conclusion.
Reality always has closure.
And that’s how I know whether what I fear is real, or a simply a fake news story my anxiety is feeding me:
If there is no solution to the problem, then the problem is not real.
We alone cannot solve our own issues.
Oftentimes it takes professional assistance from many different sectors.
Medical. Financial. Educational.
There’s a huge difference between us not having experience of the solution, and the solution not existing.
My anxiety often tries to spin me the fake news that Clarke is currently suicidal.
Yet it can never give me the evidence to back it up.
And now, after my epiphany, I know it’s nothing more than a conspiracy.
I refuse to live my life under its threats anymore.
It's over. I’m done.
That one quote has at long last let all the therapy I’ve had on the subject, click into place.
l finally have the sort of power over it, that it has had over me all this time.
The tables have turned.
l am the one who decides what makes Headline news now.
And I like it.