Worry Dolls

I am a worrier. It’s evident in my daily life today and it was evident in the video footage of me as a child. It’s my fourth birthday. The dining room of my home has been decorated in glitter and tulle. Little girls surround me in a circle of sweetness, handing me gifts and giggling in two’s and three’s. Pan in on the leotard-clad princess in the middle of the circle now. There is a look of sheer panic on her face.

I remember it well. I was worried about the possibility of opening a gift and not liking it. Would I be able to do a good fake? Would the offending gifter catch on and get her feelings hurt? Even more importantly, was I actually worth all this attention? Did anyone even like me? And so began a journey of worry, one that has yet to end.

Now that I am (quite solidly!) in my twenties, I’ve learned to conceal the worry. I think of my relationship with my anxiety much like the proverb about the duck–calm on the surface, paddling like the dickens below. I am quick to conceal anxious thoughts with a huge smile and a self-confident remark. And, in the big picture I actually am quite a happy and confident person. But often, beneath the surface there lurks a sense of doom. What if…? What if…?

Luckily, Pookie serves as a constant source of positive energy and support. She’s also helped me to create a little trick for easing the worry. We call it the Worst Case Scenario Game. You look at the issue you’re frightened/concerned/stressing out about. Then you play out in your mind (or aloud, with a friend, over a cocktail) the absolute worst thing that could happen as a result of this situation.

Step by step, you make a comprehensive plan of how to deal with that worst possible outcome. Now, you have control. Once you’ve assessed the situation this way and gained control, you will find you’re not as worried as you were before. And, my little worry dolls, it’s almost never as bad as the worst case scenario, so you might just find you have very little to worry about after all.

She's been making things better since the days when I used to dye my hair to look like her...