When you just can’t stop worrying

English: Sheep Worrying Just don't do it!

A real downside of worry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have a problem.  This problem wakes me up at 3am.  It enters my dreams, and not in a good way, where I would actually get a little divine guidance on how to solve it.  Not like an angelic mentor, but more like a bad teacher, who nags and belittles me but doesn’t help me solve my problem.  I am having trouble not worrying.

I see this in my patients all the time.  Most of them are going through fertility treatment, and they worry that they will never become pregnant, or become mothers, or even make eggs.  They worry that they will have to do treatment next month too, and the month after that and how will they afford it?  They worry about having one glass of wine at their sister’s wedding, or eating lunch meat once they get pregnant.  They don’t seem to worry about the biggest risk they face, getting pregnant with more than one baby, but that is a whole other post.  But isn’t that what worry is like?  We spend so much energy on fantastic scenarios but completely ignore the more likely risks, or the even more likely success.

We have to remember, all worry is fantasy.

Every scenario you can imagine about your situation is not going to happen, with one exception.  And that one exception probably won’t be the worst one either.  The uncertainty kills us though.  Which scenario will come true?

Worry doesn’t accomplish anything.

Worry doesn’t even give you some good ideas on your problem’s solution.  Worry is the opposite of inspiration, and actually seems to block all useful thought and creativity.

You can worry all day, but you can only spend a little time each day solving your problem.

The infertility patient is a perfect example of this as well.  She is busy with her treatments.  She takes her medication.  She comes to her ultrasound and blood test appointments.  She is then told what to do next with her treatment plan.  On her busiest days, she devotes about 1.5 hours to her fertility, and a lot of that is driving and sitting in the waiting room.  The rest of her day is hers, but much of that is taken up with preoccupation.  With worry.  She goes online.  Another patient is talking about her treatment, or her diet, or her clinic.  She worries that what she’s doing isn’t good enough.  She worries that she will never be a parent.

We all have to remember, once we’ve done what we can for the day, our job is finished for now.  The rest of the day is ours.  We need to reassure ourselves that we sent that payment, or took our medication, or made that phone call, or completed that form.  And now we have to wait for the next chance to do something, which may not come until next month (if it involves a payment).  We need to do what we can, remind ourselves that it’s the best we can do for now, and then live.

Live the rest of the day for yourself

I’m not promoting selfishness here.  But really look at that sunset.  Take your camera or your dog or your husband for a walk in the beautiful weather.  Spend the afternoon planting flowers, or reading a book.  Dive into your work.  Sing.  Stretch.  Plan a treat or an adventure.  Live.  Be too occupied with life to worry, rather than being too preoccupied with worry to live.

 

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About womanmdsguide

My name is Dr. Kristen Cain and I'm an infertility doctor with a passion for women's wellness and having the time to live life to its fullest. I write about women's health issues and time management secrets for young professional women because a good life means having the health and time to enjoy it!
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4 Responses to When you just can’t stop worrying

  1. Lynne Spreen says:

    Oh, God, if only. For a long time I was in the habit, as I lay in bed awaiting sleep, of ticking off five good things that happened that day. Sometimes I couldn’t get started until I got really small: “I’m happy I brushed my teeth.” Okay, kidding. But small. “I’m happy WWIII didn’t start today.” And once I started with the really small stuff, I would remember the bigger things. “I enjoyed laughing with my friend about that movie / book.” “My new dinner recipe turned out good.” I think it is therapeutic and I have gotten away from that practice, but your post reminds me. Like 95% of women, I’m a poodle. My mind runs back and forth, yapping in hysteria over all the things I’m worried about. But as my shrink used to say, the future is a fantasy. Make it a good one.

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