Friday, June 18, 2010

worrying about worrying...when enough is enough

I worry.

A lot. I first became aware of this tendency when I was a teenager, waiting for my Mum to collect me from the front of the school one afternoon. All of the other kids had been collected, and still…I waited. In the time it took between the last kid jumping in her Mum’s car and my Mum pulling up to the curb (all of three minutes, at a guess), I thought through every possible traumatic reason as to why my Mum was late. This generally ranged from ‘she’s crashed the car and died’ to ‘my little brother has fallen out of a tree and died’. Whatever the reason I conjured, it included death and tragedy. I had a happy childhood - there was no tragedy, just fear of it.

I’m glad that I’m conscious of this worry. I know that it’s unhealthy, but have not yet mastered a helpful mechanism to put it to bed. These days my worries don’t generally involved death on daily basis – even this worry wart has managed to mellow a tad since those impressionable teenage years. Now, I worry about a host of other things: happiness (and the potential loss of); love (and the potential loss of); health (again…another loss…); and family (yep…you get my drift)…oh and there’s work and professional ability – but hey, right about now I wouldn’t mind if that was lost! (anyone got a new job for me?)

I sometimes fear that my constant worrying thoughts will bring about this worry into actual reality. For example my worrying about the state of my relationship will cause my relationship to fall apart because of all the extra stress I'm putting on it. It’s a nasty vicious circle.

At one of my close friend’s weddings this year, whilst I was busy playing bridesmaid, my partner went for drinks with my folks until the reception started. While there, my folks spoke to LB about what they would do if one of them became ill and they had to sell off the family’s farm – talking about how no matter what they’d make things work. Dad mentioned to LB that this wasn’t the kind of conversation they’d have with me – as they know me, ‘Beth would just worry’.

It got me thinking. When I think about my friends, and the fantastic qualities they have and the reasons I feel grateful to call them ‘friend’, I never think of personality traits like ‘she worries too much, she’s too anxious, she’s too negative’. I really hope my worrying is not a stand out feature of mine. I’m sure (well, I know) LB becomes increasingly frustrated with this habit of mine. I hope this isn't the image I present to the world. That would be a worry :P

Perhaps it’s time to speak to a pro – work out some mechanisms to banish the worry – and live happily ever after. Imagine if this worry is causing me a stomach ulcer? (there I go again…)

This month’s edition of Notebook has an article on ‘breaking the worry cycle’. A starting point, at least.

images via we ♥ it


Ali said...

i know what u mean beth.... im constantly worrying!!

Adalita said...

Beth I too am a worry wart, I did the same as you and still worry about people when they aren't home on time. Even to the point of ringing them. I have stopped biting my nails now I worry that I'll bite my nails.

I'm over worrying!

Beth said...

thank goodness I'm not alone!

Adalita that's funny about the nails!! I keep telling myself 'worrying is not helpful, worrying is not helpful, find a solution for the problem or quit with the worry'...but that might help once I've identified the worry - but how do I stop the worrying from entering my mind to begin with?

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