Eskenazi psychiatrist: Get used to being comfortable with the unknown

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The nation is in a volatile state.

With so much going on in terms of the coronavirus, the economy and the charged political climate, it’s a time when people have to be comfortable with the unknown.

Data supports that people are primed to hope for the best but expect the worst. The current state of the nation and world is affecting nearly everyone. So, how do people pull themselves back from predicting pain, suffering and disaster?

News 8 spoke with Dr. Heather Fretwell, psychiatrist at Eskenazi Health. She says, while easier said than done, try the “stop” technique. 

“My sessions with folks we often talk about the stop technique,” she said. “So, we have to wait at ‘I don’t know’ instead of saying ‘I don’t know what’s going to happen, but it could be disaster, terribleness’ … kind of worst-outcome projecting. And, this is where the phrase ‘turning a molehill into a mountain’ comes from in terms of if you experience a stimulus, we build it into our minds into a much bigger thing.”

Fretwell says to avoid writing the story before it is written. People tend to think worst-case scenario. That is fine in small doses. But when it gets to the point where there is no pause from worry or stress, health is negatively affected. Chemicals are released from the brain that run through the veins and affect physical, emotional and mental health. It’s as if people affected are in a constant state of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. 

PTSD is linked to alcoholism, depression and twice the risk of having a heart attack.

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