Wednesday, April 17, 2013

It's Hard not to Worry

We all have things we worry about.  Sometimes the things we worry about seem perfectly reasonable, such as whether a biopsy will prove malignant, taxes will be owed,  or a guilty verdict will be rendered at a trial.  Other times, worries are more far-flung and statistically unlikely, such as the safety of flying on an airplane or riding the subway.  Professionally, we can worry about being sued, audited, fined, sanctioned, or even criminally sentenced in some regions.  It's not at all unusual for people to worry about their children and to do many things to keep them safe, including securing their car seats, having them vaccinated (or not), or buying certain foods they believe to be healthier.  We all have our "things" to worry about and we don't universally agree on how much time, expense, effort, and mental energy we should be expending on preventing bad consequences.  For one person, it seems perfectly reasonable to live a life without ever boarding an airplane, no matter how much that limits them; for another, that seems absurd.

Lately, our collective sense of what to worry about is facing challenges.  Is it safe to go to a movie? To listen to a politician talk at the local supermarket? To send a child to kindergarten?  To watch a race on a beautiful April day?  Certainty would be nice, but there is none, and while it probably doesn't help to worry about those things over which we have no control, such worries do seem to be built into our wiring, if not in one way, then perhaps in another.  Does worrying protect us?  Some people don't worry at all, and for others there is a superstitious quality, as if to announce that if one worries, then it won't happen.  Other people seem jinxed: their worries come true, proving they were right to be afraid.

When awful things happen, they damage us all.  They bring us just a little closer to our fears and  remind us that no worry is all that unreasonable. They blanket us in poisonWith time, most people heal; they move on and often emerge even stronger.  The journey can be both bumpy and senseless.

Our hearts go out to all those who were harmed by the events in Boston this week.   


Joel Hassman, MD said...

It is a bit eerie and bizarre for someone to do what was done in Boston and not have come forward by now.

The Dark Knight Rises was a good movie, because of the premise that Bain was creating by giving the public false hope to further try to crush the city completely.

People have to pay attention to deeds, not words, in those around us we turn to for leadership and support. It is easy to focus on "what if" that only heightens the anxiety process, but we need to refocus on "what is". And right now, the "what is" has to be better, by our leaders as a start.

How many people who read and comment here take a daily walk around your neighborhood and pay attention to how your neighbors are doing? you can't do that through the internet.

By the way, hope your colleague reads the last comment at the last post regarding the jailing of a french psychiatrist. That should be a post for a blog like this!!!

Dinah said...

Clink already wrote about this.

Joel Hassman, MD said...

Thanks for the link, read it and disagree, politicians are lawyers and will use precedence to find scapegoats when they can't punish the criminals further for public satisfaction.

But, as Dennis Miller would finish his HBO show back in the 1990s, "I could be wrong".

Sarebear said...

My middle name is worry. For example, this week I've been really worried after seeing rather more blood, and not diluted either, coming from somewhere it shouldn't. My anxieties get so out of hand I was quickly worrying about kidney transplants and such. Yeah, I worry too much (I was already seeking a urologist anyway, kidney pain etc just adds even more reason). I think your post is talking more understandable worries.

Salt Lake has the first marathon to happen since Boston's, but it's not likely at all that anything would happen here. Still, they're talking it up all over, which keeps it constantly in our ears, so I'm keeping the radio off.

These and other worries, like those also mentioned in your post . . . I've gotten a bit better (long ways to go) since last August at eventually stopping and working through, wait, the stuff I'm worrying about, is there any part of it I can do anything about? Which parts, and how much is reasonable? Which parts can't I control, or take precautions, and once I've figured out what I can do something about and what I can't, I CBT-wise remind myself about the things I'm doing about what I can, and that the things I can't do anything about, are out of my control (well, I could be a hermit I guess, and I am, rather, but I've been pushing out of that mold and don't intend to stop, even if it hasn't been alot of pushing. It's a start.)

CBT helps me alot with this kind of thing. I'm still annoyed I got s o ridiculous about the kidney thing but that won't accomplish anything. Learning to let go is part of me learning how to manage anxieties, like the ones you mentioned, as well.

Not that your post was about me, but these are the things I thought about after reading your post.

EastCoaster said...

Any thoughts on how to manage the boredom of the downtimes during intense situations"

We are all stuck inside in the Boston area. My town is not locked down, but the towns next to me are, and the MBTA is down.

This is boring as hell.

Dinah said...

My sympathies for the stress. Bored? Start a blog, of course.