Worry: The detrimental effect

Feb 03, 2022
When I was a young teenager, a close friend once said to me “You don’t worry about anything!” I didn’t need to then but, I soon learned! Source: Getty

Worry, we all do it! We worry about our children; our grandchildren; our financial affairs; our looks; our health – the list is endless.

When I was a young teenager, a close friend once said to me “You don’t worry about anything!” I didn’t need to then but, I soon learned!!

Women are particularly adept at worrying, especially once they have children. I remember looking down at my first-born son, just days after he was born, and saying to myself “I am responsible for you every day of your life”! That was quite a realisation for me. I’ve been worrying ever since, even though they are both now in their 40’s, with partners and children of their own. If they hurt, I hurt. It goes with the territory of being a Mum, watching them grow, become adults (good or bad).

Men take a little while longer to “learn” to worry, it would seem. Again, though, when they have a wife and children to support and care for, the penny drops. That’s what it means to know that others are dependent on you!

Then, we fully understand what responsibility truly is. No longer just for ourselves, but for others. There are times, throughout our lives, when this weighs so heavily on our shoulders, that we think that we will drown. And, sadly some do! You only have to see the suicide statistics to realise this.

“Worry” goes hand in hand with stress, anxiety, depression. Again, the list is endless. But, in the scheme of things, what does worrying achieve? Absolutely nothing! It’s taken me sixty-seven years for me to realise this. I still worry, but not nearly so much as I used to. “Worrying”, for whatever reason, is detrimental to ourselves, our health, our sense of contentment. It makes us feel like crap!

My friend, Susan Gabriel-Clarke, having discussed this topic with her, gives her ‘take’ on this topic.

“I remember my mother’s worrying habit – I think it became additive, for it struck me that as soon as one worrying matter became resolved, she cast about in her mind to a ‘reserve of worries on hold’, then we’d get a phone call with her talking of her latest worry!

In her later years, my mother had a cerebral stroke and her memory rapidly failed her so she didn’t worry much anymore. And my father, he started worrying about her when she wandered off upstairs (they had a bed downstairs by then) then in his armchair with a view through the door of the staircase, he’d be continually watching out for her. He was more or less armchair bound by then because, following an angina attack after walking about half a mile up the road my father stopped going on walks as he worried, he would suffer another attack and as a result, his knees began to seize up. He’d also stopped driving because he’d had a near-miss with an on-coming car down a narrow country lane – so he relied on us to take him and my mother anywhere they needed to go. When he and my mother became too poorly to live on their own, I became their ‘carer’, and following my mother’s death six months after going to live with them, my father became rather a recluse, not wanting to go out, not even to go with me when I was going off to see a member of the family and each time before I left, he would ask me not to be late getting back. One time I remarked that he wasn’t to worry if I was late and he said, “But how will I know that you haven’t broken down and I’m here, unable to help you?”

And, that’s a bit how I feel being stuck here in France because of Covid-19, and being unable to be on hand to help my daughter and grand-daughter and now my great-grandson, not to mention my sisters, both of whom are not all that well – all of them are across the channel in England. Before the pandemic, all I had to do was drive 40 kilometres and drive the car onto a channel tunnel shuttle and after half an hour, I’d be getting off and driving about 45 miles to arrive on ‘family’ territory.
But it’s not just worrying about family members and family affairs, and having to sort everything out by emails, it’s also worrying about having to attend morning appointments. Then I worry that I’ll have difficulty getting up early enough to get everything done before leaving to keep the appointment, a dog walk was a must too. So, for nights before I’ve worried and not been able to sleep so have read and thus delayed the time, I got up in the morning…. and so, it goes on.

Fortunately, I’ve managed to arrange that my booster vaccine is at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, no worries there!”

In essence, as we become adults and have responsibilities, we ‘learn’ to worry. BUT now I try to put into practice, the words of the Serenity Prayer – “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; Courage to change the things I can, and the Wisdom to know the difference.”

I’m not always that good at it!!!

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