Waiting for the next tragedy

The other day, Starlet told me he’s just waiting for something terrible to happen to him. He said things have been going well for way too long, and that’s not how his life works.

I can relate. I grew up in an abusive house, got a brain tumor, lost my dad, had to drop out of school to raise my siblings, lost my dream job to schizophrenia, and became homeless, all within a very short period of time. I’ve been in recovery for six years, and I’m still on edge thinking about how everything could go wrong.

I told him the feeling fades over time, but I don’t think it ever goes away. He said that wasn’t reassuring. But I think it would be worse to lie to him.

Does anyone else feel this way? How do you cope?


My life is full of ups and down, never fails to go down at times, learned nothing is forever, hard times ahead and i know its coming


It seems like he’s facing depression, but your son is only 13 though.

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I feel that way too. I’m due for something else to go wrong. I’ve been lucky for so long, and now I feel like I’m just going to have an episode and lose it all. Things go wrong and that is part of life. It’s just a little harder for some of us.

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I feel for you both, and everyone else dealing with this.

My anxiety makes me feel similarly. I’m just now getting a handle on how to stop that and the best advice I have right now (which isn’t saying much) is to be as present as you can for a little bit each day, preferably when you have time to really reflect on your situation. I keep hammering it into my head that things are good NOW and I am capable of handling whatever is ahead - I’ve made it this far, after all.


I feel like this all the time.

I’m constantly bracing for the next crisis.

When things are too stable, too long, I start to get anxiety,

Like my luck just has to be running out.

I wish I knew a better way to cope.

I hope this feeling passes for your son.


If it makes you feel any better I lost my dream job too. And my apartment. And the orchestra I was a lead chair in. And my partner left me. But remember we rebuilt our lives and there is beauty in that. We can do it again.


i live that way, but you know that. My life is running from fire to fire. Anytime things are good i wonder what is hiding around the corner to knock me down.

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I sometimes feel that way, especially when my mental health is suspiciously good.

What helps me is being able to tell someone when I’m having these thoughts and why, and then have them tell me that of course I deserve to be happy and that I should just enjoy it while it lasts

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I had several very stressful events happen to me in a short amount of time, and I became hypervigilant, as if it was my responsibility to “catch” the next bad thing before it happens.

The truth is that there are things that I can control, and there are things that I cannot control. I have limitations, so I have to accept uncertainty; and uncertainty is neither good or bad. I have to focus on what’s going on right now; what can I do to improve this moment.

What’s been revealed to me is that all of my anticipatory anxiety on things that I have no control over is useless and harmful to me–and it’s worse than the damn event happening.


It sounds like it’s the feeling of impending doom. I get it often. It is a symptoms of PTSD.


This is me. My childhood and early adulthood were so horrible that I can’t quite believe that I deserve or will get to keep what I have now. I half expect to wake up one morning, discover that it was a dream and not real and that my life is still one big heap of suck, y’know? It’s almost like PTSD in a way.


I can empathize 100% with Starlet. I expect things to take a turn after they have been too well for a good stretch. Being sza a lot of things can take a digger. Having PTSD I worry about running into my abuser. I have more money now but what about when my car needs repairs. My dad and mom and grandparents aren’t going to be around forever. Oliver is my friend but he gets fed too much. Like @anon17132524 said there are things we can control and things we can’t. We can easily spend time worrying about the future but the present is going to be gone in an instant.

My solution. I enjoy the small things while I can and these things are just for me. I love a good cigar once in a while. I like to try new foods. I go birdwatching. I love to read. I practice gratitude for the small things I have. I avoid the news. I do my best to sleep well.

I can tell you I’ve burned people like my mom and grandparents out by constantly asking for reassurance. But they have just about as much to gain or lose as I do despite our vastly different financial and moral concerns.

Has Starlet opened up on some of his dreams or ambitions or hopes? You are obviously doing something right because now he is afraid of losing you and Mr. Star. Does Starlet read? Look into the philosophy of the Stoics. Too much time in front of the TV? Maybe plant a flower.



I’m sorry Starlet has these feelings…I don’t anticipate tragedies but I am somewhat always nervous way back in my mind of things going awry…I have no advice…I think you did the right thing telling him the truth about it never going away…poor thing.


I’ve had one thing after another bad happen to me my whole life since I was a little kid plus I’m a screw up so…
It just happens to some people.
Your boy probably is used to being treated badly. Do you know how long you’ll be able to keep him?


@ThePickinSkunk he talks a lot about wanting to become an engineer, but when he is learning something new he gets easily frustrated and says he might as well just drop out. He does stick with it anyways, and figures it out. He’s not much of a TV person, and he loves nonfiction books. We are trying to introduce him to novels, but he really prefers technical manuals. ADHD all the way with that kid and his hyperfixations.

@Loke I don’t want to jinx it, but we have been labeled his preadoptive home and we have a court date coming up where the judge will hopefully change his case goal from reunification to adoption. There are some concerns that the judge will drag it out for a long time.


How have you been feeling throughout all this with the pending adoption and a few concerns about Starlet?


An engineer? That’s wonderful. Would he like Lego Technics? Almost endless creativity.

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There are colleges that are geared to kids with ADHD. My daughter’s psychiatrist gave me a list but I don’t have it anymore but you can probably google it. I don’t know if it was the adhd but my daughter really struggled in school

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Two things:

Blessing counting, try to list as many good things you still have

Reminding myself it could be worse, reframing it as “he may of had a heart attack, but he isn’t dead, that’s a wonderful start”

Beyond that, It just something that comes from within.

I remember a belief that the world is purely as you perceive it, perceive a paradise, and it’s real.

I think that goes into working on shaping your minds initial reactions, as some therapy tactics do


He loves legos, but prefers computer-based building games. Lots of Minecraft and puzzle games. And jigsaw puzzles.

I don’t have any reservations at all. I’ve known he was my kid since the first hour talking to him. I’m not a big believer in fate, or everything happening for a reason, but like, maybe now I am a little bit? Because the chance of this all happening by coincidence is so low.

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