I’m a worrier from way back. As someone who provides treatment for anxiety disorders, I know very well the difference between rational and irrational worries. I can tell you with 100% certainty that my worries are irrational. The following is a list of actual anxious thoughts I have entertained in the last few weeks. I want to be very clear that I did not just have these thoughts wander leisurely through my mind. They took root, registered as actual problems, and caused me distress that I had to employ various coping strategies to overcome.
(This list is for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to be used as a diagnostic tool for any mental health disorders I might presently have.)
- What if I die before I finish the book I’m reading? Or before I get a chance to read all the books I own? Or the ones that are on my Amazon.com Wish List? Will there be books in the afterlife? If not, I’m not sure I want to go there.
- I removed one of those little spider egg-nest things from the inside of our mailbox yesterday, believing that I was doing a good deed in protecting our mail person from certain death by spider bite. Once the box was cleared of all webbing and eggs, I stepped back to admire my work. That’s when I saw the mother spider, hanging out on the inside edge of the door, obviously grieving. The entire film “Charlotte’s Web” played through my mind and I was overcome with guilt. I didn’t know if it would be better to put the momma spider out of her misery as she obviously had nothing left to live for or walk away before committing another senseless act of murder.
- I hope my mother-in-law knows how much I appreciate the beautiful perennials she planted next to my driveway in 2006 that I have never, not even once, watered or weeded.
- I think I talked too much during our morning walk yesterday. My walking partner won’t want to walk with me anymore if I monopolize all of the airtime. Then I’ll gain 456 pounds and have to go shopping for new clothes again. (See The Crying Witch and the Wardrobe)
- I hope I don’t get fired because my boss read my blog and now thinks me to be an IDIOT. I’m not sure why I capitalized that word. Maybe I am an idiot?
- I took my child for her first school physical and upon our arrival, found that there was a small hole in her knit shorts. My thoughts very quickly progressed from, “Oh dear, there’s a little hole in her shorts.” to “Holy crap. The doctor will see it. She’ll assume I’m an unfit parent, call DCFS, and my kid will be in foster care by high tea. Oh, geez, I didn’t trim her fingernails either. They’re gonna take her away for sure.”
- What if the used filing cabinet I just purchased and brought into my home holds the larvae of some mutant man-eating super bug that will grow bigger and bigger and bigger and eat us as we sleep? Before I can finish the book I’m reading. And all the other ones. See item number one, above.
To conclude, I know that there are far more important worries in this world and feel very fortunate to have the time and mind-space for so many non-concerns. I like to think these trivial anxieties are just practice so that I’ll be ready if life gives me something real to worry about. But for now…Who can I ask to pluck my eyebrows if I’m ever in a coma?