Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Always a Worrier

I have always been a worrier. When I look back now, I often worried about silly things, but at the time they seemed real and important.

When I was 2, I worried about leaving my old house and moving to my new house, leaving behind my familiar neighborhood and my backyard sandbox.

When I was 5, I worried about spending the night with friends because I occasionally wet the bed.

When I was 6 and in kindergarten, I worried about remembering the details of various fairy tales that we acted out.

From the time I started school, I worried about making good grades. I don’t know why because I always did.

When I was 13, I worried about being singled out in school for being a smart nerd. I so wanted to be just like everybody else. I also worried about not being able to do all the things on the President’s Physical Fitness Test. I never could and I didn’t fail PE!

When I was 15, I worried about being in a musical competition that my mother wanted me enter. I finally said no, and that was the end of that.

It seemed like I was from time to time worried about getting into exclusive groups – Keyettes in high school, math camp at FSU, college, and Chi Omega sorority in college. I eventually got into all of them and worrying about it didn’t help at all.

In my mid-20s, I worried about finding someone to love permanently. David came into my life and that worry was solved.

I have always worried about falling down because of the way I walk. The first time I remember falling was when I was 15 in junior high school. I walked out of the cafeteria and tripped over a small metal thing sticking up out of the concrete. I have tripped a few more times since then, the worst of these being in Norway when we were on vacation. I had my arms full and couldn’t break my fall and ended up breaking a tooth.

When my first efforts and getting pregnant weren’t successful, I worried about every being able to have children.

When I worked in the International Division of the Census Bureau, I worried about having to leave my family to go on long trips. I loved those trips, but hated being away, especially when my children were young.

From time to time, I have had typical parental worries when my children didn’t come home on time or when they had health issues. I still worry about Daniel’s OCD and Rachel’s eating disorder problems which are sporadic.

As my parents got older, I worried because I was so far away and couldn’t be there for them. When they were sick and dying, I never could just stay and take care of them because I had my own family to take care of.

For as long as I can remember, I have worried about drowning. I didn’t learn to swim as a child, partly because my mother was deathly afraid of the water and transmitted her fear to me. I can sort of swim now, but when I am in water over my head, I still don’t trust myself.

Until recently, I didn’t worry much about my relationship with other people. People in general acted like they liked me, but it was never a great concern until recently. I now seem to worry about having close friends and people I can talk to about anything and everything. I ask myself why this would be a concern now when it never was in the past. From a young age I had to be somewhat self-reliant because I had no siblings to share things with. So I just kept everything to myself and that was OK. But it’s no longer OK and I very much want these friends.

In the last few years, I have begun to worry about dying. I have had 4 small melanomas removed and half my thyroid removed with papillary cancer. The thought that there is some form of cancer lurking in my body is a constant concern. I see doctors regularly to reassure me that all is well, but they are just human and may not be able to really tell.

This sounds like a long worry list. Interestingly enough, many of the things that other people worry about – infidelity of a spouse, mounting debts, children on drugs, trouble at work, even getting older – are not in my list at all. In actuality, none of this worry has ever driven me into deep depression or caused me to ever really disrupt my life. I can truthfully say that it truly never accomplished a thing. But it is still an inherent part of me that I can’t deny.

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