I’ve been like a passenger on an airplane waving his arms furiously in an attempt to keep the craft in the air.
If I allow worry to set up camp in my brain, I’m guaranteed there is going to be a rough ride ahead. This emotion paralyses my thinking. It saps me of the energy I need to deal with whatever problem I’m facing. It can mean even small difficulties can appear overwhelming and impossible. Worry is a sneaky character because it can arrive in my life like an old friend. It can put on a show of reasonableness to hide the reality that it is trying to destroy me.
The Real Face of Worry
I’ve always been a worrier. For most of my life, I saw it as a good thing because of the crazy idea that it might somehow prevent bad things from happening – after all, things never turn out as we expect them too, so expecting them to be bad is a sensible precaution. Sort of like a sacrificial ritual I performed for the gods in charge of my faith – even though I didn’t believe in these gods. As far as I was concerned, being positive was asking for trouble – it was just tempting faith. All of this was complete nonsense of course but worry and rationality aren’t comfortable bedfellows.
I paid a heavy price for allowing worry to take over my life including;
• Panic attacks
• Long periods of insomnia
• Stomach troubles
• Weeks of feeling depressed
• Poor choices based on fear
• Periods of being suicidal
• Loss of friendships because I was too busy worrying to maintain them
• Loss of opportunities
• Alcohol addiction
Worry has come close to destroying me on a number of occasions. The last big encounter was a year ago when it almost drove me into a deep depression. I managed to pull away from the brink, and it gave me a new determination to overcome this foe that has the power to destroy me.
Things We Can Do to Bring Worry under Control
I’m getting much better at dealing with worry. It is still a work in progress, but I’m reasonably confident that worry will never ensnare me to the same extent it has in the past. I still have lots of reasons to be worried in my life, my financial situation remains precarious, but I mostly avoid falling into this trap. When I do start to worry, I can now convince myself to step back from the edge. Here are a few of the things that have helped me deal with this shitty emotion;
• I realized that all I can do is to try my best – everything else is out of my hands and worrying isn’t going to change that.
• A major cause of my anxiety has been expectations about the way things should be – my impossible dreams. I’m trying hard to let go of these expectations and just take life as it comes.
• One of the biggest mistakes I made when trying to cope with worry last year was to try to ignore it. I put on a show of positive thinking, but the worry just kept on increasing until it hit critical mass.
• There is no point worrying about worrying.
• The key to overcoming worry has been learning to let go. It is scary to hand over control of my life, but it was an illusion to ever believe I had this control in the first place. I’ve been like a passenger on an airplane waving his arms furiously in an attempt to keep the craft in the air.
• In recent posts, I’ve discussed my habit of taking life too seriously. It seems my intense nature is closely related to my levels of worry, and it is something I want to change. I’ll probably always be a bit intense, but if I can just lighten up a little bit it would be a great help.