Monday, July 23, 2012

July 23: Being a Worrier

I am a worrier.  I have been a worrier for most of my life.  I can take small, seemingly inconsequential aches and pains and turn them into testicular cancer or a deep vein thrombosis.  These worries aren't just passing obsessions.  I can hold on to them for days, until a new worry comes along to replace the old ones. 

To prove my point, let me give you an example.  A couple years ago, I fell into the habit of purchasing a 64 ounce cup of Diet Mountain Dew every morning before I went to work.  At the time, it only cost one dollar, and I couldn't pass up the deal.  Anyway, after a month or so of doing this, five days a week, I started experiencing pressure in my chest.  Strong pressure, as if an elephant was trying to climb up my throat.  Having a family history of heart disease (my grandpa died in his fifties of a heart attack, my brother had a heart attack in his forties) and being diabetic, I panicked.  I went to my normal physician, and he ordered all kinds of tests, including a stress test.

When all the results came back normal, my physician asked me if I'd had a change in diet or lifestyle recently.  It was then that I thought of my beloved Diet Mountain Dews.  When I told my doctor of my morning habit, he diagnosed me with something a little less life-threatening than coronary disease:  acid reflux.  I stopped purchasing the 64 ouncers, and my chest pains went away.

That's just one example of me making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Today has been an exercise in worry for me.  First, I have a dentist appointment this afternoon, which is enough to throw any person off the pier into shark-infested waters.  I generally don't get too wound up about dental cleanings, but I happened to forget my toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss this morning when I left the house.

Second, and more troublesome, my home phone number has been busy since early this morning.  I just tried dialing home again a minute ago, and it's still busy.  Now, a normal person would probably think, "Oh, the three-year-old knocked the phone off the hook," and stop worrying.  Or, "There's probably some kind of trouble in the phone lines."  I am not a normal person.  As the hours have mounted, I have gone through scenario after frightening scenario.  I am currently at this one:  some pedophile rapist snuck into my house early this morning and has been holding my wife and son at gunpoint all day.

There are many other more likely, less violent explanations out there.  At the moment, however, I am driving myself crazy with the pedophile rapist thing.  Every time the phone rings right now, I snatch it up, hoping it will be my wife.  Every five minutes, I dial my number, hoping I will hear it ringing.

Before I go to my dentist appointment, I will be making a stop at home, just to put my fears to rest.  I will probably discover that my demolitioner toddler has pulled the phone out of the wall, and I will breathe a huge sigh of relief.

Right now, Saint Marty is preparing for hostage negotiations.

Add a little hair, and this is me


  1. I am not alone! I am an obsessive worrier as well. My husband laughed at me fondly, at one point, when I declared that if my expectations of time and ability to communicate do not match up with the persons I need to communicate with, I start imagining all these horrible things that could potentially keep them from talking to me.

    It wouldn't perhaps be too bad, but my possibilities range all over the scale of sane, crazy, realistic, bizarre, unlikely... ah well. At least I'm not alone.

    1. Olivia,

      You are not alone. I have been like this since I was quite young. I worry all the time, about big and small things. This post does not exaggerate. When I finally spoke to my wife, the first thing I said was, "I'm so glad you're not dead."

      There should be some kind of support group for obsessive worriers.


      Saint Marty