Worry Time

By life has been full of terrible misfortunes, most of which never happened”
Michael de Montaigne

I have always been something of a worrier.  I was okay with that and sometimes found it useful as I’d make extra effort to rehearse something in advance or think through what might go wrong.

But now I have a chronic migraine I don’t really have the luxury of spending time checking everything twice (at least) when my energy is so limited.  The second problem is that chronic illness has been very wearing emotionally and I’m now much more prone to tipping into anxiety, and that can be paralysing.  The final problem is that there are more things to worry about.  In the past, walking across a busy room didn’t take a moment’s thought.  I didn’t use to worry about whether I’d want to be sick when choosing a seat in the cinema.  Now all those things have become a source of doubt and worry.

The upshot is I don’t want to waste my time, physical or mental energy on worrying about trivial things.  And if I do have a legitimate concern I’d rather tackle it in a more useful way than worrying.

A counsellor I saw in the summer introduced me to the strategy of postponed worry.  During the day all your worries get noted down, then at the allotted time you work your way through them using the worry tree to decide how to deal with them. Then you set your timer for 10 or 15 minutes and worry as much as you like. When the time is up you go back to noting down worries again ready for the next day’s worry session. It seemed mad but it was pretty effective.