Thursday, November 7, 2013

Help for my worry wart friends

I'm exhausted this morning.

My beautiful girls are down with a sickness bug sweeping their school.

There is something strange about having to move round the house in the pre dawn hours. It is as if your own kitchen resents you flicking the electric light on. While I was wiping foreheads, and waiting for the girls to finally go to sleep, I thought about all the families in Portsmouth waiting for news of whether they still have a job at BAE.

A lovely lady I know is currently going through the emotionally draining and physically painful process of waiting for medical test results to come through. Another friend is doing the same for her husbands health checks. One of the kindest gentlemen I know at my writing group, is waiting to see if his wife's health will improve.

It's a strange thought, of how many people's lives are on hold because they are waiting for news, good and bad. It certainly puts waiting for feedback on a manuscript into perspective. 

I spoke to one of the ladies who attends my writers group last night who is a self confessed worrier. Her husband, thankfully, believes that he won't be affected by the redundancies. But with one child at university and two in college, she is worried. I tried to gently explain that in the years that I have known her she has been frequently worried by the possibility of her husband losing her job. 

In that same time period, my husband has been made redundant twice. It was horrible, stressful both emotionally and financially. But we got through it. I did not tell her that to dismiss her worries, but to try and illustrate the waste of worrying about something we can't change and don't have power over. Especially, when others around us are in the midst of dealing with the realities of bad news now.

The girls godfather, phoned last night worried and tearful about how he would cope when his parents died. Nothing dramatic has happened to their health problems, he is just noticing them ageing. So why worry about it now? It is souring the good times he could be enjoying in the present.

We all worry to some extent. But like any negative behaviour we need to think 'do we have to give in to it?'

Some of the people I love are at this moment fighting personal battles. All I can do is let them know that I will support them any way I can, and pray for them. If feels such a little thing. But it also makes me more determined to fight the depression, panic attacks and my other demons.

I have made a list of things that help me when negative behaviours creep into my life, in the hope it will help my worry wart friends;

Eating well - I tend to miss meal and over eat junk food


Helping others - the food bank and church are my favourites.



Distraction with something you find absorbing and pleasant. Eg, sitcoms, books on tape, old-time radio dramas on CD. 

When I catch myself in a spiral like this, I'll just tell myself, "I can't do anything about this now. I'm going to go do something I CAN do something about." Then I clean the house or something. It doesn't always help, but at least my house will be nice and clean to enjoy when I'm feeling better.

Knit. Preferably something complicated. It will occupy enough of your brain to keep you from a full out panic. 

Reminding myself that no matter what happens, I can handle it. Even my worse case scenario situations, many of which I know I can't avoid. Whatever my mind flashes on the most terrible thing, I stop, just take a deep breath and tell myself: Yes, that might happen, and I can survive it. Others have before me who were no smarter or luckier than I.


  1. I absolutely agree. To your list of helpful/hopeful things I would add:
    1. Cuddles - people are good but animals often let you do it for longer
    2. Walking the dogs - their happy enthusiasm is infectious and there is so much beauty to see all around us
    3. Singing loudly. Hard to feel down when belting out 70s disco hits and - here's the science bit - increases oxygen to the brain which is good for combating depression.

    Keep on keeping on!

  2. Charlotte a very inspiring caring piece of writing, thank you.
    Lynne S