My husband says worry is wasted energy, but I can’t help myself. I submit my case in point. I drove my brother to Shands Hospital in Gainesville for surgery on his leg. Everything went well. I finally got into my hotel room close to midnight. Once there, I called the hospital for one last check in. Dennis told me he was being moved to another room, but that he was okay.

After I got into bed and comfortable, my mind went crazy. I started wondering if I should call Dennis back and make sure they got his things out of the closet when they moved him. I chewed on this for a bit, but decided against it since there was nothing irreplaceable and I didn’t want to wake him if he’d managed to get to sleep. Whew, sleep now.

But no, wait a minute! They gave me two keys when I checked into the hotel and I could only find one after I got settled for bed. I never did find that other key despite searching all over the room. But it’s no big deal because there’s no room number on the key, it’s okay….

Oh no! The key I lost was inside that holder that has the room number on it and someone could find it and see the number and try to get in my room. Maybe I should get up and look for it again. Naw, I have the bolt and crossbar on the door, they can’t get in, I will look for it in the morning. It has to be here somewhere. Exhaustion sets in, fitful sleep ensues.

3:00 AM – I wake from a horrible nightmare where I’m fighting for my life. Where do I wake? I’m on the floor in a crouch, searching the room for intruders. After the adrenaline rush fades, I come to my senses and realize it was only a dream. No one is in the room. That’s also when I begin to feel the pain from where I hit my big toe on the chair near my bed when I flipped out of it liked a crazed ninja! Watch out people!

Finally, morning comes. I find the key in the console of my car. Mystery solved. Nothing to worry about, right? Au contraire, I will find something, never fear. I can’t seem to help myself. What about you? Do you worry? Do you lay in bed at night unable to sleep? Tossing and turning? Do share.

25 Replies to “Confessions of a Worry Wart”

  1. LOL! You actually flipped out of bed?

    I worry, but not that much. Larry is the worry wart in the family..

    Hope Dennis is doing well.


  2. Years ago WORRY was my middle name. I was a chronic worrier and subsequently tried to control everything around me. I now consider myself a “Recovering Control Freak” because worry and control still rear their ugly heads almost every day, but I’ve found tools to help me deal with them. I once read a marvelous book – and I believe the title is WORRY – that helped me understand WHY I worried about every little thing and how it essentially tipped me over to obsessive/compulsive. I used to HAVE to have something to worry about. I would cast about like some mental heat-seeking devise and lock onto a problem or issue which at least focused my mind onto ONE worry, instead of the numerous ones that were knocking on my soul. I’d be glad to chat off line about the tools that helped me go from worry wort to recovering control freak, any time you’d like, Jan. I wish you inner peace, Jan. Blessings.

    1. Aw, thanks Heather. You’re a sweetheart. Inner peace sounds good. Appreciate the well wishes and I always enjoy talking to you. You’re a bright light in the world. =)

  3. No wonder you had bad dreams! Drama all day, and drama all night! Having few Ninja attributes in the physical aspects, I now often realize I have a problem that is weighing and find alone time to think about it, sometimes the best ideas come during a warm shower! I look at the possibilities as you did, but don’t know how upset I am till the immediate crisis is over. Many things take time or energy that I know right away I don’t have.

    After analyzing and doing what I can, I consciously pray about it and let go till I can do something else about it if possible. I even plan a time on my calendar for follow ups for some things. I don’t walk the floor, though one can pray while doing that, eventually one must sit and think ahead. Distractions are always there in chores and people needing something.

    Sometimes there is no time to worry and contemplate because life comes at us too fast. It is a choice how we react. I prefer to stay calm and pick my battles. It is amazing that I have made it as well as I have through numerous bad choices. Inner peace comes from Faith for me, and preparing for the worst case scenario while hoping for the best. There is an intuitive guide that has always steered me away from the dark corner, or the road to complete devastation. Is that my Guardian Angel that gives me that uneasy feeling at the right time?

    I think the Serenity Prayer covers it pretty well as to how to approach too many cares in this world. My prayers are often for wisdom and strength in Jesus’Name.

  4. It’s so easy to worry, isn’t it? When I get overwhelmed and worried, I stop and mentally ask, “Does this go on my list, or on God’s list?” If it’s completely out of my control, I try to consciously leave it in His inbox and focus on the things in mine. 🙂

  5. OOOh, Connie, your comment is brilliant. It’s going in my journal tonight. Thanks for wise words! P.S. I love that so many people replied with “prayer.” That’s what I use too!

  6. Wow, Jan. Remind me never to sneak up on you while you’re sleeping! But as for worrying, I try to remember that worrying doesn’t take away tomorrow’s troubles, it takes away today’s peace.

  7. I am a true worrier. Just ask my three girls. 🙂 Even though they’re grown and either off to college for finished with undergrad, we still touch base about every other day– via text, call, FB message or email. Just so I know they’re doing okay.

    Like many others have said, it’s hard to turn it off. But I’m finding more and more as I get older that if I rely on my faith, my worry and stress eases.

    I love what Connie said: Does this go on my list or God’s list?

    A good friend (Hi Heather, this is me waving ~~~~~ ) once sent me a message that I printed out and posted near my desk at work during a particularly trying time. It read:

    Pris, don’t worry about anything. I got this. Love, God

    What a powerful powerful message.

    1. It is a powerful message, Pris. But one of my writer friends took a different twist on my blog post (waving at you, Martha!). She suggested that as writers our imaginations tend to go wild and that’s why we’re always asking, “What if?” No wonder I go over all those different scenarios in my mind. She said instead of letting it use me, I should use it to be a better writer! Fun take.

  8. Wow, Jan! When you said “I take it to a new level” I thought you meant dealing with it! Boy was I wrong!
    But, seriously, I’m no better. My imagination runs away with my brain whenever I release the leash. What if this. What if that.
    Of course, that should make us all better writers, right?
    So don’t let it use you; use it instead.

  9. Jan, I’m right there with you (except I don’t do the ninja moves, which is great considering how I can hurt myself walking across the room, LOL)

    I have a chronic illness that takes away a lot of my energy, and I know that I don’t have the energy to spare worrying. And yet I still do. Thanks for the reminder that worrying doesn’t accomplish anything. It’s sooooo hard to let it go. We writers can imagine a bad outcome to a rainbow. It’s just in our makeup. I like the idea of trying to use the worry to be a better writer. I’ll try to remember that.

    Take care!

    1. Hi Cheryel, so sorry to hear of your illness. My daughter has chronic pain from a back energy, so I know what you mean. I hope that you can translate some of that worry into pages. That’s what I hope to do. And I look forward to finally meeting you at an FCRW meeting very soon. =)

  10. Oddly enough, my worst nightmares come when I’m starting a new book project. I never understood this, until Heather Ashby suggested reading ‘The War of Art’. Now I understand–worries and nightmares are curtesy of Mr. Resistance!

    Anyway, Jan, I loved your post. And I’m looking forward to the next conference where we room together. Sleep-walking commandos unite!

    1. Wow, Ruth. That’s really interesting. I want to get that book myself as I have quite a bit of resistance going on here, too. =) Luckily, when we roomed together my inner ninja did not come out to play. LOL! That was seriously so crazy and that’s why I had to share it.

  11. Oh Jan I share your pain. I was nicknamed “Worry Wart” by my best friend in the 1st grade! How sad is that? I was just a kid! It’s a horrible thing, and I think it’s hereditary. All my immediate family worries, and then there’s my husband and family that don’t. It’s just not fair. My husband says just don’t do it. I wish it was as easy as that! So I sympathize with you, and if you figure out the cure, please let me know!

    1. Thanks for sharing my pain, Lorna. I think it’s everything in moderation. While I envy people who never worry, it’s not in my DNA, so I have to learn to deal. Love all the suggestions people have left here. Sometimes what my husband labels worry is legitimate concern about issues that need to be addressed. But I freely admit that I need to worry less and I’m working on it. =) I’m trying to let things go that I have no control over, or are not my responsibility, and give those to God.

  12. Jan, Great post. As you can tell by all the comments, you are not alone my friend. I am a worrier too. Most of my worrying tends to be on the safety side of things, hence my nickname among family as “Safety Patrol”. I find myself reminding my kids to “be careful” all the time. Really, what are they going to do? Not be careful? I’ve been known to walk through a store and point out ways they could/should improve safety. LOL God is in control. another phrase I’ve heard that I love is: Let go, and let God. It makes me happy just to read it. 🙂

    1. Oh Carla, I am the same. And I do come by it honestly. My Grandpa Mac used to pace when he was worried. All the comments here have been from women writers, but I don’t think it’s only a female affliction. My grandfather was a minister and had a deep faith, yet he was still a worrier. Control is an illusion, life is fragile, and tomorrow is not guaranteed. I learned this at a young age when my father died in a car accident. Maybe that’s part of why I’m a worrier. And maybe why my Grandpa was too. He lost his first wife to a brain aneurysm. And I know you’ve experienced loss as well. I do know I’d rather spend time enjoying life than worrying, so I’m going to do my best! Hugs.

  13. Remind me never to room with you at another convention. I don’t want my head bashed in by super sekrit ninja writer. To think I thought I had cornered the market in stress and worry and drama.

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