Q. Sometimes I feel like I'm about to fall off the edge. What do you do when you feel that way?

A. Fortunately, research has shown that the world is round. That has always been of great comfort to me, so I never feel as if I'm about "to fall off the edge." Having said that, if you are talking about a sense of overwhelm or acute anxiety, most people have experienced that at least once in a lifetime. My response is to ask myself if I am in actual, valid danger at that moment. If I am, my next question is whether there is anything I can do about the situation. If yes, I take action. If no, I implement the Serenity Prayer and keep on brainstorming.

When there is no actual danger and the overwhelm or anxiety is due to unrealistic expectations (my own and/or those of others) or imagined fears (often learned in childhood), I ask myself several questions, take action based on my answers, and change the way I am thinking. Sample questions include:

  • Has my life gotten out of balance?
  • Have I failed to implement and maintain bona fide boundaries?
  • Have I underestimated what it would take to complete an activity?
  • Is there light at the end of the tunnel or has this state become chronic?

If your answers to those questions do not suffice, it may be helpful to consult with your physician or counselor. There are times when medications are needed to help a person get back on track and to assist with balancing his/her brain chemicals.