“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if you can. But train yourself not to worry: Worry never fixes anything.” — American novelist Ernest Hemingway (July 21, 1899 – July 2, 1961).
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”— American author and motivational speaker Leo Buscaglia (March 31, 1924 – June 12, 1998).
“Worrying means you suffer twice.” — The character Newt Scamander, from the fantasy novel “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them” — penned by British author and philanthropist J.K. Rowling.
Well then, leading off with three famous quotes on worrying means there’s probably no worry about where this week’s ramblings are headed… so no worries.
The day has passed around you. You exist within it in the physical sense only. Because otherwise you’re not really there, or anywhere for that matter. No, you are trapped in a hell of your own mental making.
You long and struggle through to survive the afternoon and make it to the sweet sanctuary the darkness of night will bring. For it promises a potential of reprieve via unconsciousness. Where thought cannot find you but in dreams.
And maybe you do sleep, or rather pass out from emotional exhaustion. But your troubled mind only allots the bare minimum. All too soon your eyes acclimate to this present darkness and focus on the ceiling above. As your mind prattles endlessly on with thoughts becoming more insane by the hour.
Conversations are replayed over and over. Looking for some hint of solution in context and articulation. New conversations are created. Accompanied by fabricated scenarios. In a desperate ploy of creating the right thing to say, along with the right thing to do, to resolve the issue. Each one thought out, played out, and repeated with variations of potential, guessed or assumed responses.
Perhaps the television will soothe you to slumber. Or at least drown out the prevailing, constant mental onslaught. And still, you rise in the dead of night. A drink? A cigarette? Some fresh air? These may earn you a moments reprieve, but alas, only a moment. You wish for an eternity of endless night. For a saving grace might be found in the darkness all round.
Come the dawn it all begins and continues anew. Only now your exhaustion and general distress has increased, leaving your defenses weakened against the looping onslaught of contemplation. Yet still you must go through the process of the day-to-day again — wash, rinse, repeat. You’re still living your life, but there’s no joy in it. Pacing about, not wanting to sit still but afraid to move. Barely eating, never sleeping and nothing seems fun anymore.
You’ve subliminally convinced yourself that if you’re not constantly thinking about it then it means you don’t care and you feel guilty. As your snowball continues down a bottomless hill, you try to slow its descent. You try to talk to family, friends or whomever might lend an ear. They will comfort you. They will console you. However, people will tire of your broken-record mentality. They can only ride on someone else’s merry-go-round so many times before they, too, no longer enjoy the carnival either.
In the end it will be you who brings it to an end. But for God’s sake you just want it to end! End it all… no you just need to stop what’s running through your mind, not the whole machine.
So, what are YOU going to do about it?
Well, you don’t have to face it alone and there’s no shame in talking to a therapist if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Or maybe try talking it over with a higher power? Prayer does work (yes that’s weird coming from me) but it can help. Sometimes just getting it out aloud is a relieving sensation.
For a quick fix try the 3-3-3 anxiety rule. Look around you and name three things you see. Then, name three sounds you hear (this part can be challenging, depending on time and location, but searching for sound does redirect your focus). Finally, move three parts of your body. It’s weird, but it works.
Lastly, try writing your woes down. Writing can be a great escape — this week’s column has done wonders for me.
I welcome almost all questions, comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hope to hear from ya, until then try and stay focused! See ya.