Do You Think You Will Live a Full Life?

What to do when you irrationally believe your life will be short.

Lisa Martens


Now I want to listen to The Killers. Photo credit:

If the future is real, Jonny, you’ve got to heal

This is a quote that stopped my heart the first time I heard the song “Uncle Jonny” by The Killers.

Unlike the Jonny of the song, I was not a cocaine addict. Then why exactly did this line speak to me?

Because I have always felt, on some level, that the future was not real. That my life would be cut short.

And so I lived my life in panic mode. I didn’t bring an umbrella with me anywhere, in case I had to run. I didn’t go grocery shopping once a week because I didn’t have the foresight to plan — Instead, I was constantly shelling out coins for street food and eating while standing. I was always rushing, and I could never seem to plan a vacation, a career, or even a day. Procrastinate, drink, panic, load up on caffeine and panic to get the job done.



The song scared me. Did other people believe in their futures? Did they really (lol) have career paths? Goals? Check their credit scores?

Did I have to believe in my future? Did I have to heal?

This sense of foreshortened future is a symptom of PTSD.

Not that I knew that at the time. I saw myself as a survivor.

And I was. But I was too used to surviving . . . I had no clue how to thrive. I could handle an emergency situation and channel that adrenaline and sweat and panic into a solution. And that felt good in its own way . . . but I had no foresight to prevent the catastrophe.

My bank charged the same monthly fee on the same day every month. Still, my account would be overdrawn, and I would panic to fix the situation before the overdraft fee kicked in.

I knew I had to eat and get dressed, but I couldn’t be bothered to go grocery shopping, or even clean my clothes. There were times I would buy new underwear just so I wouldn’t have to wash them. A waste of money, sure, and completely preventable if I had just washed my damn clothes.



Lisa Martens

A remote working Latina. Storytelling is a calling. Read, support, and more here: