It does help to know that, but it isn't that simple in my case. If I were having standard, old-fashioned cataract surgery, that would surely be enough to hold my fears at bay. But today there are choices. Today there are at least three kinds of hi-tech "premium" lens implants available to increase post-surgical range of vision, perhaps to that of a healthy young eye.
My choice is the Crystalens. Some people never need glasses, even for reading, after these lenses settle in. Most need over-the-counter reading glasses for prolonged reading. I can deal with that. I already have umpty pairs of special glasses positioned around the house for specific needs.
I've done my homework in selecting both lens and surgeon. So why the anxiety? I wonder, will they work perfectly? Will I need further treatment for my minor astigmatism? Will I be happy with my choice? This latter question is a biggie. The basic surgery is covered by Medicare. The premium lenses are extra. I'll have a tidy sum invested in these new lenses. I expect to be looking through them for another thirty years or more, and this is an irreversible decision.
Over the last few weeks, I've filled a dozen journal pages as I worked through this decision. Now I'm at the howling stage, anticipating the final step: "That doctor is going to slice open my eye! She's going to suck out my real lens and put in a plastic one! What if it doesn't work? What if I HATE it and want my old eyes back?
I WANT MY MOMMY!
I'm going to have to settle for a picture of my mommy. But it helps to write it, in huge letters, filling half a page. Just saying it helps. I can write, and drop tears on the page, and I feel better.
Yes, journaling definitely helps control current levels of anxiety. It helps by simply letting the feelings out in a safe and honored place. On the page they feel real. They have substance. They are transferred from my heart to the page, without danger of being lost or dismissed. It isn't just fears that go there. I write all the solid reasons why everything is going to be okay. I've written them so often I'm staring to believe them.
I have found a great way to face my fear down — on the page!
Write now: think of something you are feeling anxious about. Take ten or fifteen minutes and write about it in your journal. Let it all hang out. Scream and yell on the page. Feel sorry for yourself. Call names. Cuss if you want. Then give yourself a pep talk. If you don't have a journal, or you want to be sure nobody finds this, use plain paper and shred it.