“I can’t come to work today, I dropped my bowl of cereal”…
This sentence sounds utterly ridiculous, and is not ordinarily a good enough reason to call in sick to work.
Just clean up the cereal, get yourself another bowl. But what if that was the last of the milk and now you can’t have any breakfast. And because you can’t have any breakfast you’re going to be irritable and not have as much energy. Which might cause you to snap at someone, which in turn could lead to an argument and due to your irritability being heightened you accidentally grab a knife and stab someone… Okay, a little bit far fetched, but, possible.
You see, that bowl of cereal was just the last bowl of cereal in a long line of breakfast mishaps. Maybe you could have had toast, but you’re out of bread… and now you spent several minutes tidying up the mess and you’re going to be late. Something snaps inside you and suddenly you’re overwhelmed with uncontrollable sobs.
Because the lack of bread reminds you that your life isn’t perfect and you’re too stupid to even remember to buy bread!
However, this incident doesn’t even particularly need the domino effect mishaps to follow. I have the smallest of irrelevant things happen to me, only for it to feel like the end of the world!
I dropped the toothpaste, broke a plate, let a door accidentally slam, knocked a glass over…
And suddenly the world has come crashing down around me, even when it hasn’t.
I am sure this is a common occurrence for people who deal with the difficulties of anxiety every day. You make mountains out of molehills. And it’s not on purpose, you’re just wired that way. But it makes you look slightly erratic and unhinged!
Because I am constantly right on the edge of flipping my lid, I am very wound up, so a single thing makes me panic. Am I being too noisy? Am I being too quiet? What was that noise? Have I left the oven on? Did I close all of the windows?
So, because this is where my brain is at ALL.OF.THE.TIME, it makes it very easy for me to fall off the edge and into irrationality.
It might only actually be a bowl of cereal that you’ve dropped but to that person in particular it might literally be the end of their world, the straw that breaks the camels back. The reason they cannot make it into work today. Which might sound stupid to you, but it makes a whole world of sense to me.
All that is necessary to break the spell of inertia and frustration is this: act as if it were impossible to fail. – Dorothea Brande