anxiety · back to the future · police · police life · police mom · police wife · survive · thin blue line · time travel

Time Travel

police box

I am a time traveler.  Not the Dr. Who-Marty McFly-Phil Connors-Terminator-Bill & Ted-Dr. Spock kind.  I don’t have a time-skipping phone booth or a DeLorean or a TARDIS.  I’ve never piloted the Starship Enterprise.  I’ve never been beamed-up.   Even so, I have earned a significant number of reward miles through my time travels.

Time travel — the “concept of movement” between certain points in time.  Movement takes place between different points in space typically using a device known as a “time machine.”  Time travelers can go forward in time or backward in time.  I don’t know how it happens and I don’t understand black holes, parallel universes, third dimensions.  I don’t really understand gravity.  Or fax machines for that matter.  But, I am certain I am a time traveler.

When I am time traveling, my mind goes into over-drive and I find myself being jet-propelled into the future.  I can see what’s going to happen and the picture is in living color. The solid rocket boosters of my mind thrust me straight into orbit where I envision what is going to happen soon.  The future becomes so real to me that I almost forget about the present.

I don’t think I am the only time traveler here.  If you are the wife, mother, sister, or the significant other person in a police officer’s life, you are probably a time traveler, too.   Matt Addie, The Anxiety Master, describes how almost all anxious feelings come when we “time travel.”  He says, “Being able to remember the past and plan the future are two abilities that are absolutely fundamental to life as a human being. We would be utterly lost without them. Remembering makes learning possible and being able to plan for the future makes our dreams and aspirations possible. The combination of both can lead to some of our most incredible achievements.  Both memory and planning, however, can be distorted by mood. And when anxiety is running the show, it can feel like being on board a time machine with no-one at the controls. You can be dragged back in time to relive old, painful events over and over again – re-experiencing all the pain and hurt that goes with it, as though it was happening right now. And perhaps more so, you can propelled forward in time to all sorts of possible futures, many of which may be your own worst case scenarios driven by endless “What if … ?” questions…”

Yes, I admit it.  I am a bonafide time traveler and my preferred direction of travel is forward.  My trips go something like this…..

He’s late and I haven’t heard from him.  WHOOSH!  I jump into my time machine and zoom forward.  “What if something has happened to him?”  “What if he has been hurt in a car accident?”  “What if he has been shot?”

My friend calls and says, “Did you see the news?”  ZIP!  I’m buckled up and bound for the future.  “What if he was there?”  “What if he’s been ambushed?” “What am I going to do?”  “How will I tell the kids?”

Sometimes, I’m just lying in bed alone when I fire up my rocket and blast off.  “What if he is killed?”  “How will I make it?”  “How will they tell me?”  “What will I do?”  “What if he is hurt?”  “What if he can’t work?”

All my anxiety about police work comes when I time travel into the future.  Every. Last. Bit. Of. It comes from trying to envision what MIGHT happen in the future.  This whole time travel concept of Addie’s is about learning to take the controls of your time machine and pilot yourself right back to the present.  Anticipation of the future is in no way reality.  Time travelers need to learn to lessen the emotional impact the trip has on you.  It’s about learning how to control what occupies your mind and your attention and not letting anxious thoughts steal the joy from your life.     

Read more about How to Reduce Anxiety Caused by Mental Time Travel at

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