I have turned worrying into an art form. It comes as naturally to me as breathing. I am a world class champion of worrying. I can take a small problem and turn it into a big worry in three seconds flat! Few people can match my skill level.
This is not something to be proud of. It’s frustrating and it is a constant demonstration of a lack of faith. Worry for me, is so second nature that I didn’t even know how good at it I was…until recently.
We took our dogs for a walk in the forest this weekend and came home with a minor tick infestation. The dogs were due for their flea and tick medication for the month pretty soon anyway, so I gave it to them a bit early. We groomed them and I vacuumed all the rugs and washed all the dog beds. Within a few days, things were under control.
But during the infestation (if you can really call it that), if you listened to me, you might have thought the world was coming to an end. We were all most certainly going to die of Lyme Disease and I was in quite the state of heightened anxiety.
In the middle of this particular episode of anxiety, my husband lovingly pointed out that perhaps I had bigger things to think about….oh say….like my Sarcoidosis. He suggested that the tick issue would resolve and life would go on but Sarcoidosis is something that I have to live with every day and we don’t know what it will ultimately do to me.
I found this an interesting point of view to be sure! After all, how odd is it that I don’t worry about my disease yet, I can fret over my dogs having some ticks on them that their medication and our grooming efforts will most certainly take care?
This got me thinking about the way I think. I went to the worst case scenario with my dogs tick problem…that we are all going to die of Lyme Disease. Yet when I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis, I remained calm and took it one step at at time. I’ve remained calm about it ever since.
So it begs the question, why do I sweat the small stuff if I can handle the big things with quiet determination? I have never over thought my disease. I have never questioned it. I don’t even expect the worst from it. I am able to live with it, one day at a time. But, throw me off my routine with ticks or some other ultimately manageable problem, and I become a killjoy.
Perhaps what is happening is misplaced anxiety. Maybe I am not facing my disease with as much grace as I had hoped. Maybe my real fears, fears about the big stuff, manifest themselves through my brooding over small things. Whatever the case, as I look at my life, this is most definitely a pattern. Give me a real crisis and I’m cool under pressure, throw me off my game with an inconvenience, and it’s game over because terrible things are sure to happen.
My pattern of worry, albeit useless, is an interesting defense against life’s uncertainties. Worry gives me the illusion of control. If I worry, then I can prepare myself for ensuing disaster. Right?
Of course not!
On an intellectual level I know worry is a waste of time. Sadly, since this weekend’s revelation, I also recognize that worry is my “go to” move. It’s the first place my mind takes me and I don’t just worry a little. I see the world coming to an end. And, I only do it when my life is mildly inconvenienced, not when I am diagnosed with a life altering disease. This seems pretty insane to me. The good news is now that I am aware of it, I can change it. I have no idea where to start but guess what…
I’m NOT going to worry about it!