Ever since I was little, I guess I’ve always been a worrier.
I worry about how I look, about what I do, about what I say (and don’t say), even down to what I think.
I worry that I’m a bad friend, that I let people down. I worry about the day-to-day things I fail to do. I worry about money. I worry about my health. I worry about Matthew, about not being a great girlfriend. I worry about the past. I worry that I work too hard. I worry about the future. I worry about my weight. I worry about my friends. I worry about the present. I worry that I worry too much.
Does everyone do this?
I think so.
I’ve also noticed that I’ve gotten older, the worry has changed, and in a good way.
Just like with stress, I think worry can be constructive or destructive.
Eleven-year-old me was very good at the destructive kind of stress.
I lived for nine and a half months of the year in a dorm with seven other girls. Living like that is a little bit like animals living in a pack – you are always up in each others business and privacy is a thing rarer than gold. For a worry-wart like me, the intensity of being constantly surrounded and unable to step away was, at times, suffocating.
So I used to worry at night.
I would wait until all my dormmates were asleep, and then I would find a quiet spot (favourites included the top of the stairs, a windowsill along the corridor, a bathtub and the airing cupboard) and think and worry and mull over all the things going on in my little pre-teen mind. For hours and hours I would sit there, staring out into the inky blue-blackness of the Surrey skies, or muffled in the warm grey. And I would mentally beat myself up. For not being pretty enough, clever enough, kind enough, popular enough, lovable enough. The next day I’d sit in class with dark rings underneath my eyes, but no-one ever noticed my nocturnal disappearances to think and worry. Eleven to twelve year old girls sleep deeply, and I was never missed by the other girls in the dorm.
Now, when a worry attack hits, I think I’m better at dealing with it (most of the time).
Some worries I can’t do anything with – prices will rise, disasters will happen, people will leave, and sometimes, bad stuff happens. Such is the frailty of this world. These things are part of life, and there’s nothing I can do to control them. I can react to them, but my worrying and worrying won’t prevent them.
The others I can be constructive with – worries about my health make me more likely to go to the gym. I worry I swear too much…so I’m cutting down. Instead of worrying about being a bad friend / girlfriend / teacher / sister / daughter / person I try to be a better friend / girlfriend / teacher / sister / daughter /person.
And sometimes, it even works.
Just thinking out loud, blog friends.
Wishing you a worry-free week and beyond.