Tag Archives: Worry

Adventures in Anxiety

22 May

Responsibility. Money. The future. Relationships.

If you’re anything like me, you’re considering opening another tab to look at cute pictures of sweater-wearing kittens now, because those words just made you nervous. And if you weren’t considering the kittens then, you are now. Who could blame you, though?

Anyway, you’re in good company.

Anxiety. It’s been around so long, most of us greet him like an old friend (albeit one of those friends that makes you screen your calls and want to hide in a closet when he’s around). I usually deal with my anxiety with what I have dubbed the “Calvin and Hobbes” method.

It involves pretending I don’t have to deal with anything, and retreating into my own mind.

This isn’t a very efficient method, but hey, it…

Hm.

I actually have zero validation for that method. But I think you get the picture. Anxiety makes cowards and madmen of all its unlucky victims. 

Anxiety always starts for me because I’m thinking too hard – but never about the right things. And it doesn’t help that it always seems to happen at bedtime, when my mind is already going haywire. The voices in my head (maybe I should not admit to having those) start coming up with all sorts of great ideas at night.

“Hey! You know what would be fun to think about? What other people think about you!”

“No.”

“Remember that one stupid thing you did two and half years ago?”

“Shut up.”

“Well, I remember. And so does everyone else.”

“I don’t want to think about it, Brain!”

“I bet everyone else is. Hey, I have an idea! Let’s think about every stupid thing you’ve ever done ever!”

“BRAIN WAT R U DOING STAHP”

“Are you thinking in memes? That’s pretty sad.”

“I know. Sorry.”

I just admitted that I sometimes think in internet memes. My mind will never let me live this one down. Of course, it’s been wreaking havoc on me for quite a while. Why would it stop now?

Years ago, my brain decided fourteen-year-old girls were the scariest beings imaginable. I’m not sure why the age of fourteen stood out to me in particular, but it did. I remember going to youth group, seeing the clique of fourteen-year-olds giggling in a corner and hoping beyond hope that they didn’t notice I was existing so close to them. This fear lasted until I was well into fourteen years old myself, and finally realized that maybe – just maybe – this was one of those irrational fears, like fear of welcome mats, doorknobs, or realtors.

Not long after this I became aware of my phone anxiety. This one made about as much sense as dodging female junior highers did. Talking on the phone made me twitchy, unhappy, and altogether the most awkward person you could ever talk to on the telephone.

I’m better now, I promise. Not great, but better. However, I still feel that if I can’t look someone in the face when we’re talking, I feel like I’m missing out on most of the conversation.

Mostly, though, I become anxious because it’s just my nature.

I’m selfish. I want everything to be comfortable and low-stress and low-responsibility and I will stress out and run away if my environment does not promise those things. However, what I’ve found out is that the world into which I must soon launch myself does not promise that. And I’m gonna have a hard time running away from the entire world. At least unless my fantasy back-up plan kicks in and I can just run away with the

“The Doctor isn’t real, you know.”

“SHUT UP BRAIN, YOU’VE GONE TOO FAR.”

I probably shouldn’t have finished that sentence anyway. I’ll just leave it there.

All this to say,

“Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life?” Luke 12:25

In all my years of worrying as hard as I can, I have never worried away a problem. You can take my word for it. Because, chances are, running away from the world and its responsibilities may not actually get you anywhere worth going.

Unless, of course, you have a really fabulous back-up plan.

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