Tuesday, 3 May 2016

The Life of the Over-Anxious Types



Some people get ‘too worried’ about too many things. The list of things which gets such over-anxious folks, well, over-anxious, seems endless to others. Even if there are just 957 items (and counting) on the ‘List of Worries’, those around such palpitating folks prefer saying ‘you have to worry about EVERYTHING?’ It isn’t everything we worry about, but truth be told we do worry about a lot!

We? Okay then. Time to own up, confess and also confide. I am the over-anxious kind, but because there is comfort in numbers, let me use ‘we’ instead.

We like the usualness of the everyday. We are low-maintenance that way. A routine sans ‘interruptions’ is good for our hearts’ health. Interruptions? They come in all sizes, and the XS ones are present even in the normal day-to-day. For instance, those to do with timing. Waking up 10 minutes after the alarm sends us into a tizzy. No, we are not sure we are late but we worry that we can be because 10 minutes of usual get-the-house-folk-ready time has been lost. We berate ourselves, beat the coffee harder, bathe like standing on live coals and generally go scurrying about the house like rats. Worrying rats! ‘We are all going to be late!’ While we do that, those around us go about, or certainly seem to go about, at a shamefully languid pace, staring at the rampaging monster frothing at the mouth. ‘Can’t you do your potty fast? You are late!’ Needless to mention, by the time the bye-byes happen, usually still at the O’clock, even the sweat droplets on the nose are fatigued from the work-out. They simply want to drip away. 

This worry to do with keeping time extends to bus depots, railway platforms and airport terminals too. On an average, we reach our places of departure an hour in advance; that is after spinning like a crazy top while preparing for the trips. All lists crossed out two times over. Our bags packed for WW III. Our pockets worried full of peanuts in case a dinosaur blocks our car en route. And anxiety tucked in the top pocket, with the tickets. By the time it’s departure time, we have moved ourselves so much we don’t even realize the train is moving. And then ‘Do you think it will be raining there? We haven’t kept an umbrella!’ That's a size M for the rest of the journey.   

Then there are the Size L interruptions. Like exams! As teenagers the gut takes the kick. As adults, Lomotil becomes your best buddy. Anxiety for scoring well makes your hands shake, your hand-writing drunk and your examiner impatient, and thus often plummeting your scores. (Not for me though. I was always above average!) Vicious circle. Invoke your favourite gods, chew your nails, wear your lucky shirt, do what you may. With eyes stuck on the clock and mind on the consequences, you lose all control on your nerves. And bladder, if it’s Physics, Class XII, Board. Similar to your wedding day, cold feet included!

But some of us have not felt The Anxiety till our kids fall ill. Sneezes to infections, flu to grazed knees, weird worst-case scenarios drawn from Google or Biology books make traumatic appearances in our over-anxious eyes. Perhaps, this is why I confide today …

My son got the tummy bug a week back and has been languishing at home, with no appetite for food or fun. His parents have been doing what is needed, but it is his mother who has been doing more than what is needed. Or in other words, what is generally considered 'not needed'. I have been poring over poop and pee, pressing his tummy to generate reactions, putting each morsel in his mouth with shaky hands (Will it stay? Why won’t it? WHEN WILL IT?), touching his forehead every 30 minutes and making lists of questions to ask the doctor on the next visit. Obviously, my over-anxious behavior is generating reactions. My son’s response to ‘How do you feel?’ has gone from ‘I feel fine’ to ‘Fine!!’ My husband with his well of patience has, as usual, asked me to not worry for ‘how will it help?’ about 899 times and is now metamorphosed into his quiet helpless presence around me, passing ORS, indulging the kid with Battle Ship, sending SMSes from office and generally  trying to be helpful.

But what helps an over-anxious person? Can something?  

If it is a man they call him a birch-rod ‘disciplinarian’ and if it’s a woman on the go she’s got to be a reactive ‘menopausal’! Our worrying and worried persons are seen as child-like, predictable and unreasonable and our often shed tears common and thus needing no one’s hankerchiefs. All our worries are either unfounded or balderdash. Our very presence itself is believed to add to the grim (to us!) situation rather than take away from it. Even the doctors must be whispering under their breaths ‘Here she comes again!’ readying their best placating methods for the child’s mother’s child-within.

We over-anxious kinds sound like awful people to be around. Don’t we?

But you know, it is equally awful to be this kind too. Pretty painfully awful. Taxing! That too to be punctual, or concerned! Oh, helplessness!! To not be able to control your disorderly heartbeat even if it’s about bringing the house to order in the mornings. To not be able to not sweat when the ticket screams a departure time. To keep the hands from shaking while entering the exam halls. To not be able to fully-freely enjoy your own weddings, parties, farewells and book launches because ‘what if…?’ To not panic when the kid pukes. To not cry when he does it again...Yes, EVERYTHING! GRR!   

What helps an over-anxious person not feed on worry? Can something? 

Hm. No one’s answered that satisfactorily yet. But of course, if you’ve read this and you worry for my BP, you’re welcome to gift me a weekend at the spa in the hills or fly me for a solo beach holiday. 

(Um, what time exactly does the flight leave and which Terminal, please? Just asking. I guess.)




29 comments:

  1. Haha! But, Sakshi, it's okay...you are not alone, as you know, so just take in a deep breath and do what I do...make a list of things that will leave me all the more worried! :-) I am a worrier, an over-anxious person to such an extent, you might read the word tattooed on my wrinkled brow! But, I have come to live with it, accepted the fact that I will definitely find something to worry about in a situation, even if there isn't anything...to worry about! I have also begun practicing mindfulness and concentrate on my breathing in a situation that makes me over-anxious. It helps to some extent, but I guess, worrying has become such an integral part of our lives that we wouldn't be able to survive if we wouldn't worry! So, just chill, sistaah! I mean, sister (Psst..I was worried you might not get what I meant!) And, now I am anxious about your reaction! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We both survive on worry? Great minds meet! :D
      Feel not anxious about my reaction. We will cancel each others' worries out. ;)
      Thanks so much, Shilpa!

      Delete
  2. That's me! Yes, I still wake up dreaming that it's my math exam and I have to go to the loo because I forgot to take Lomotil. Haha...And since my sonny, though an adult is under a bout of viral, I have counted the number of times he's coughed. God, life is terrible for us anxious types. What if?
    There is surely comfort in numbers, glad to know I'm not alone.

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    Replies
    1. I too get exam dreams, where I am late.
      We have a lot in common, Alka. I keep discovering more and more. You being a part of the 'numbers' is certainly comforting.

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  3. Jeez, I got all worried after reading this! I guess my worries are quite trivial in comparison. Anyway, I hope you are able to cope with your over-anxious personality. I suppose repeated assurance from someone close makes it better? I hope it does. :)

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    1. Relax! Breathe in-breathe out. Think of something pretty. There. Better? :D
      I'm enjoying myself looking at those around me, for me. So it's all good. ;)

      Delete
  4. I think becoming a mom has made me very cautious esp on the kid's front. His single cough or sneeze makes me anxious.
    Gyaani's say...be detached but, then even our mom's have not got there...we have miles to go then :P

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    1. I can't be detached. I fully confess to all the gyaanis that that is not me!
      I have miles to go too. :P

      Delete
  5. Confession: I am the over anxious type for every little thing and freak out for nothing. First exams and the list goes on...money, job and completing arduous and mundane task. When I am late for something, I hit paralysis and my legs get numb. How I wish I could beat the stress in life. Guess, it's in my genes and most of the time I am not able to cope, hands shaking and frantic heart beat. I relate so much to this post.

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  6. I guess over-anxiousness and worrying are gifts of mommyhood. I hope N has recovered well. As for me, the one that thing that makes me worried and panicky these days is a call at an unexpected hour from my parents. I know I go overboard with my thinking. But I am really unable to help it. I can completely understand your situations, Saks...Take care!

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    1. Oh, I know what you mean. I think most of our worries stem from deep-seated love and concern (even the kind for keeping time. It's the love for keeping time, then. :P)
      Cheer up, Reks. And thanks, N is better. Love.

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  7. anxiety is an issue when you lead unpredictable life or when you don't have clarity in day to day life.the more clarity you have in life,the better you will plan things and will avoid unnecessary issues.you can avoid stomach bug by maintaining specific diet and hygiene level.this too is related to scientifically how good are you which is another aspect of clarity and whether do ya have knowledge of medicine to treat stomach bug or to understand how one's body works.so clarity in every aspect of life will provide anxious free life.

    to say in one line,a person will be anxiety-free or stress-free when he/she is not scared of death(his/her death or dear one's death) .a person won't be scared of death when he/she has exposure or clarity in every aspect of life so that they can do their best to fulfil their responsibilities. affection is about using human intellect to maximum extent to keep people safe and happy, its not like the more you worry the more you have affection.its not a rational thing.

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    1. So much wisdom and sense and a few tips too.
      Thank you!

      Delete
  8. Aha! I knew it :) I mean, that I wasn't alone. There definitely is strength in numbers - and as the comments say, there are more of us.
    My wife says that I was a born to be over-anxious - especially when it comes to travel. But yes, I think I worry way too much. But strangely, I find comfort in that. In fact, I tend to be more unsettled if I'm not anxious about certain things.
    Hehe...I think I'm just wired differently.
    Hope N feels better soon.

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    1. There are many of us, Sid. So glad to know (for my sake more than yours) that we are together in this. :D
      If I'm not anxious I feel like I am 'losing it'. :P
      Thanks for coming by!

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  9. When I read the title on FB I had to read it coz I am one of them. Every close friend knows that and luckily I have all the opposite super cool people who try to calm my over anxious mind. But I guess I inherited this trait from my mom.
    Loved the post.

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    1. It's all in the genes. I say that too when I want to feel it's not my fault. ;)
      Loved that you loved this! Many thanks!

      Delete
  10. I envy myself and the carefree life I led before becoming a MOM. I guess Mom means anxiety :-/

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    1. Hmm. Can't disagree with you on that!
      Thanks for reading me!

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  11. Fantastic post! I could feel a part of me talking back to me while reading your post :-D

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  12. Hi,

    Congratulations! Your blog post was featured in the Tangy Tuesday Picks edition on May 10, 2016 at Blogadda.

    Please find it here:
    http://blog.blogadda.com/2016/05/10/tangy-tuesday-picks-indian-blog-writers

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well, a big Hi5 on that one.. I have always been the worrying kind..Most of the times its not required though..and I know that, yet, I can't help myself..The software is programmed that way.. ;)

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    1. It is only required, a lot of times, to satisfy our own worrying selves. If we aren't worried, we get worried that something is wrong with us. And it's best to believe that something is wrong with the world instead. :P
      Thank you, Agnibanya, and it was great meeting you!

      Delete
  14. Amusing! Of course I would have NEVER thought of you as a worrier had you not written a post about it! 😜

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    1. I would graciously take that as a compliment, even though I know it's a fake one. :P
      Thanks for reading, Rickie.

      Delete
  15. Haha! i like how you categorized the things you worry about by their sizes. My wife can be a big worrier most of the time. She worries about finances, her looks, sometimes how the people look at us and almost anything along the way that it bothers me. The only things i worry about is when my kids go sick, or when suddenly i lose a job (those are the ones i consider scary). What's important is that though we perceive these risks or hazards we shouldn't let them ruin our day. What we should do is prepare for them and make a contingency plan to deal with them in case they happen. Right? I had a great time reading your post. And well since i am at it, may i invite you to read one of my blogs at grabmyessay scam if you'd like. :)

    Cheers!

    ReplyDelete

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