Anxiety: re-write the past or focus on future?


Hi Coaches,

I need your help regarding a situation that happened to me at work last week. I believe I may have made a medication error that has the potential to harm a patient. I did everything I could at the time to determine the appropriate course of action, spoke to everyone involved, and documented it all, but in hindsight, I think the final decision I made was not the most correct one. There is nothing I can do about it now (the medication has been given and the patient is gone), but I have been beating myself up about it for the last week and worrying about the patient’s safety. I keep spinning with anxiety-producing thoughts and worst-case scenarios. When it initially happened, I felt like I was having a panic attack for the first time, and I have since made an appointment with my own doctor to see if these symptoms are normal. But I haven’t been sleeping well and my heart has been racing. I spent hours crying yesterday at home for no reason and have been binge eating again for the first time in years to feel better. I am up 10 lbs in one week from this ordeal. I wish I could go back in time and fix the entire situation because I feel miserable and guilty about it. I was planning to report this as an error, but I talked to some colleagues of mine who believe it is best to forget it and move on. I am not sure if I am more worried about the patient, or the possibility of being sued/accused of trying to avoid it by not reporting it. I don’t want to live in fear forever.

My thoughts are creating feelings of anxiety, so I have been trying to re-tell this story based on the facts. Here are my models and I was hoping you could give me some feedback about where to go from here. Since an error may have occurred but the consequences are unknown, I am not sure if I should be focusing on changing the past by re-telling the story or if I should be more future-focused.

Unintentional:
C – Medication was given
T – That was a total mistake, the patient could be harmed.
F – Anxiety
A – Worry about it, binge eat to feel better, consider calling off work to avoid possible repercussions
R – ?

Intentional:
C – Medication was given
T – “I made the best decision I could at the time based on the my discussions with the team and the drug information.”
F – Neutral? Less guilty?
A – Go to work, avoid the urge to keep looking up information about it and justifying it
R – ?