What I Can & Can't Control

[Content note: This post talks about food].


The COVID-19 crisis is making me feel anxious and out-of-control. As a result, I am trying to control more things and fussing over tasks that I normally would be more relaxed about. I have become more preoccupied about cleaning and hygiene, as well as health.


Of course, being meticulous about washing my hands and making sure I am eating healthily are very important right now. However, as someone who always eats healthily and maintains good personal hygiene and a clean home anyway, I don't need to worry about these things as much as I am right now.


As a special needs teacher, I'm a key worker which means that I am still travelling to work everyday during lockdown. Using public transport and interacting closely with children and other staff means I am more at risk of contracting the virus (and passing it on) than if I were staying at home. I feel really anxious.


The list below a reminder of things that I can control and the things I can't.


I need to remember to focus my energy on controlling what I can control and making sure things are as relaxed as I can make them.

I will need to accept the things that I cannot control which, as DBT taught me, is a process that I will have to practise every single day. Acceptance is a repeated action, not something that happens by wishing.


Things I can control:

- How I spend my time.

- Washing my hands.

- What I talk to others about.

- How much time I spend on my phone and social media.

- How much news I read.

- What I watch on TV.

- What others say or do.

- Whether people reply to my texts.

- How much time I rest.

- How much time I spend ruminating and worrying on repeat.

- Staying at home (when I am not at work).


Things I can't control

- NHS staffing.

- The shortage of ventilators.

- The global spread of the virus.

- People becoming seriously ill and dying.

- People I care about becoming seriously ill.

- Food stock in shops.

- Whether doctors have the necessary PPE.

- My doctor friends contracting a severe form of the virus due to repeated exposure.

- The economic impact of the virus.

- Job security.



If this post resonates with you, then you might find it helpful to learn about the DBT skill radical acceptance.

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​© Talking About BPD

Rosie Cappuccino 2020

Please note that this site is not a substitute for professional medical/mental health advice.

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