Living In The Land Of What-If

I have a problem with worrying. I jump at lightning-speed to the worst case scenario and I let it consume me. It is a quality that drives my boyfriend insane, mostly because he is either the person I am always worried about or he has to listen to me worrying about others. It drives me insane, too.

Just last week, I realized that I really need a reality check. Worrying is wasted energy and completely draining. My boyfriend was out at the drop zone, skydiving, as he does every weekend. (I have learned it is actually a semi-safe activity, although totally insane). I was out having lunch with my parents when he sent me a text telling me it was beautiful out and he was having a blast. An hour or so later, I was trying to decide if I wanted to drive out and watch his last jump or if he was about to head home, in which case I would meet him there. I called him and he didn’t answer, which is normal because he doesn’t jump out of the airplane with his phone in his pocket. I give him about 30 minutes and call again. No answer. If he was in the air during my first call, then he should have landed by now. At this point, I can feel the worry slowly creeping up on me like dark clouds before raindrops.

I decide to drive home and continued to call and text him. As I get closer to home and start thinking about how long it has been since I have heard from him, my worrying starts to get extreme. I am calling every few minutes, sending texts and trying to calmly talk myself off the ledge as I wait for him to call me. As the minutes pass, I start reminding myself that if anything happened to him, my name is on his emergency call list, I would have been called. I chant “no call is a good call” in my mind. I have to literally sit on my hand so that I don’t call the drop zone like a crazy person and ask if there have been any accidents. I start to envision myself pacing back and forth in my living room, as darkness sets around my house, still not hearing from him. Tears well up in my eyes as I imagine life without him, what I would do if, in fact, something was wrong. I start thinking about all of our best moments and try to remember what words were spoken before we left each other earlier that day. I try to remember what shirt he was wearing.

When my phone rings and I see it is his name, I actually burst out in tears. After seeing all of the texts and calls he immediately knows I am worked up and says he is sorry he didn’t call. He explains that he was watching the jump videos with his friends after landing, his phone was still in his backpack from before the jump and he is headed home now. I curse myself for worrying to the point of almost getting physically ill. I also curse myself when I think about him and how he has to arrange his life around my worries.

Worrying doesn’t just consume the person worrying. It consumes everyone around them because they constantly have to tell that person everything is going to be alright. It is frustrating and irritating. My friends and family don’t want to spend their time comforting me about a bad situation that probably won’t ever happen.  I would like my brain to quiet down and act rationally so that I don’t need them to.

The sad part is, I do this with everything. If my boss looks at me wrong, I worry he wants to replace me. If my family goes to the doctor, I worry I could lose them. I worry about my friends having their hearts broken, my boyfriend losing a business venture. I worry about my mother’s health and my father’s patience. I worry about losing valuable jewelry; I worry about talking too much or saying the wrong thing. I worry about decisions long after they are made. I worry about the roads I have taken in life; I worry if they are right. I worry that my future could be cold and full of regret, I worry that I won’t be this happy forever. I worry constantly, and for what? Just to cause me sleepless nights and anxiety?

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If you are in any type of relationship with a worrier, go easy on them. They worry out of love and they don’t do it intentionally. Worriers despise worrying. For me, I know that I am being irrational, I know that when I am worrying, I am exhausting to be around. The anxiety just consumes me and I get lost in the land of “what-if.” If you love a worrier, try to find it in your heart to be patient with them. Be kind in your explanation of why worrying is a waste, be gentle with them.

Worrying will take over your life if you let it. Don’t let it, darlings. Last week was a bit of a relapse, but for the most part, I think I am getting better. When I feel the panic set in, I talk to myself. I remind myself that I am getting closer to the edge of anxiety and I make myself take some steps back. I tell myself that if anything bad were to happen, I can fully and completely lose my shit, but I have to wait for something bad to actually happen. I think about all of the energy I am wasting anticipating an event that hasn’t happened and I think about how I could be enjoying the beauty of life that is happening.  I think about my boyfriend, the hours he has spent talking with me and my worries and I want to do better by him. I want to live in the land of what is and not “what-if.”

Rachel
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