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     Volume 8 Issue 92 | October 30, 2009 |

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Straight Talk

Don't Worry Be Happy

Nadia Kabir Barb

It appears that I have developed a super power, or so my beloved family frequently tell me. Like Spiderman and Superman, I too have acquired a name within the confines of my home --- “Worry Woman!” I am accused by all and sundry of having an inordinate capacity to worry about anything and everything under the sun. If money were to be made by just worrying then I would be rivalling Bill Gates just about now. What I have also been told is that one of the only good things resulting from my power is that it has a calming effect on those around me. The fact that I agonise over everything means that they feel they no longer need to, as I seem to, do a good job for everyone concerned! Thankfully I have not got to the stage where my nearest and dearest have gifted me with a brightly coloured spandex outfit with a “WW” emblazoned on the front!

In my defence, I think that living in a post 9/11 world with a recession looming over us and parenting three children (two of them teenagers) I can hardly be blamed for my anxiety plus I have an over active imagination. Every time I pick up a newspaper or listen to the news I am bombarded by images of violence, death, destruction, conflict and the like. Then there are so many horror stories pertaining to child abuse, teenage pregnancies, knife and gun crimes --- it is enough to want to pack your bags and move to an uninhabited island somewhere.

I am sure that there are many of you out there who are worriers just like me and we have all played the “what if” game at some time or another. Apart from the worries about the external world, there are the emotional worries that we carry around with us on a daily basis. “What if I don't do well in my exams”, “What if I miss my train”, “What if I lose my job”, “What if my kids don't listen”, “What if she or he doesn't love me”...Worrying is second nature to us. I am not saying it is a good thing to worry unnecessarily but to a certain extent it has become part and parcel of day to day living and I for one am a compulsive worrier. I truly admire those people who have the ability to view life with a shrug and a smile and do not find themselves in a constant tizzy about every little thing but sadly I am not among those fortunate few. I have even contemplated taking up meditation or getting my friend to teach me the Qigong breathing exercises which are supposed to allow one to 'enter a state of quietness or perfect relaxation'.

However, there are times when my ability to fret gets the better of me. For example, a few weeks ago I had to take my son into hospital for minor surgery on his foot. Not wanting to activate my panic sensors, he had decided not to alert me to the fact that he could hardly walk without limping and it was only when I saw his foot that I become aware of the extent of the problem. As he was going to be given a local anaesthetic I was allowed to be in the room with him and I offered my hand for my son to squeeze if the pain was unbearable. I watched as they gave him the injection in his foot and although my son did not make a sound and told me to “stop worrying” when I asked him, the pressure on my hand was indication enough that the needle jabbing him was not particularly pleasant. I then watched as they carried out the procedure (in hindsight probably not such a good idea). Throughout of course, I was trying to envisage how excruciating it must be for him and whether he would be in pain afterwards, then my worrying extended to whether he would be able to go on his school camping trip with his bandaged toe, whether he would remember to take the medication provided or what would happen if it got infected during the so called trip, etc. Just as they were finishing up I found myself feeling slightly light headed and queasy. So I excused myself from the room and went outside hoping to be discreet and not embarrassing my son by fainting. I returned almost immediately as I thought passing out inside the room instead of in full view of other people might be the better of the two options. I mumbled some feeble excuse about having to sit down as I was feeling slightly dizzy. To my dismay and utter mortification, the doctor took one look at me and asked my son to sit on the chair and insisted that I lie down in his place. Despite my protests, I was not allowed to leave until my dizziness subsided. Once I had regained my composure, I made my escape with my son in tow! At the time I could really have done with the power to become invisible or have the ability to erase or modify memories.

I wish I knew how to stop worrying as much as I do but I have yet to come up with the answer. However, in the meantime if you wish to pass on your worries over to me I could make you a good deal, 'threes worries for the price of two' --- credit cards accepted...

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