I was standing in the toy aisle of Target in tears. I felt derailed and out of control. I grabbed my phone and called my mother hoping she could help.
“What’s the matter? What’s wrong?”
“I can’t pick a toy for my son.”
I know this seems like an odd reason for tears, but sometimes bringing myself to make simple decisions brings on an anxiety that overwhelms me.
This particular anxiety is called decidophobia. (Omg yes it’s a real thing!)
According to Common Phobias, Decidophobia is the fear of making decisions.
People tend to make fun of people who struggle to make up their minds about simple things, but there’s more that people don’t see.
What decidophobia is like in my brain
When I have to make a decision, I analyze all of the possible outcomes and have to see 20 steps ahead. Even with something as simple as a toy or dinner, my brain has to map out what could possibly happen. Hence why it takes me hours to make a decision that is otherwise simple for others.
All of the thinking cripples me- especially in the aisle of any store.
Roots… where does decidophobia stem from?
In my case, decidophobia is stemming from some major bad decisions that I still suffer for today. I have some minor ones in my past, but the worst of them all is my marriage. I still can’t believe how blind and shortsighted I was when it came to picking a husband. I had such sincere hopes for that relationship.
What’s worse, the people around me don’t ever let me live it down. So called friends tend to remind me constantly that they told me so and I shouldn’t have done it and they saw this coming. I have to live with the consequences of that horrible decision and that reminder causes me to regret that decision and to live in this perpetual hate for myself.
I hate myself
for being so stupid and so gullible and not paying attention to what was right in front of me. The regret eats at me and cripples me when I have to make a decision.
Will this be another life-altering devastating decision because I didn’t think this all the way through? I need to think everything through!
The truth is… I don’t trust myself.
My mom put no confidence in me as a kid. If I went out, she automatically assumed the worst and I was punished when I got home, even though she had no proof. This went on my entire teen years and it caused me to believe that I couldn’t make good decisions. That feeling led me to question my own judgment which of course led to several poor decisions in my life. It also made me overly critical of myself, so I do a lot of overthinking with everything in my life.
A combination of emotional trauma and bad decisions make it impossible to make simple decisions.
Fast forward to Target.
My mom helps me to put some things back that I didn’t need. My bank account was grateful. I had to think… how can I actively overcome my decidophobia?
I haven’t brought this up to my therapist yet… but when I do, I promise I’ll update this post with whatever she says.
For now, I need to learn how to trust myself more. I start by celebrating the GREAT decisions I’ve made in my past like committing to my education and completing my bachelor’s in creative writing. I also made the decision to stay at my job where I know I’m needed. I made the decision to stay in my city even though I’ve wanted to move for years. The more I think about the things that went RIGHT in my life, I find that I can trust myself to make a decision.
I know, at the end of the day, that the decision I make will be in the best interest of my children and I. I also am really careful not to move without God’s approval. If I pray on something and don’t hear an answer, then I don’t move forward on that idea. If things suddenly start to fall into place for that idea, then I know God is providing me with the necessary support to make it happen.
I also celebrate little things. If I can decide on what to eat before getting home, it’s huge and I celebrate (usually with something chocolate). I remind myself that I am capable and continue to make simple decisions throughout the day.
I pray when the time comes to make major decisions, God will grant me the wisdom and courage and go forward boldly knowing He has my back.
I would love to hear about your experiences with decidophobia! Please share!