Friday, October 14, 2011
Sharing the Worry
One habit Richard and I got into when I was at my worst was to share the worry. Some days I was so laden with worry -- What if I can't get an appointment with the one specialist who can cure me? What if I have to wait three months to see her? What if she winds up letting me down too? What if the new meds undo whatever slim good the old meds were providing? What if I'm in too much pain to make it to my niece's graduation celebration next year? What if... what if... what if...???
A wise person once said to me, "Don't worry twice." Don't pre-worry about a set of circumstances that live in the future. Good advice....but...
Sometimes worrying was the most energetic I could be. Worrying kept me tethered to the possibility of some other reality, one in which I didn't suffer, in which I didn't have to watch Richard flail, helpless to make me better.
Sometimes worrying was the only lifeline I could muster. You know what I mean?
But sometime worrying became too encompassing, too heavy. It flattened me.
Those were the times when Richard would step in and ask me if he could carry some of my worry load. "What can you let go of, even for an hour?" he would ask. There was always something. I pretended to put it on the table, and he pretended to pick it up. Sometimes, you are what you pretend to be, and this little scenario would often make me feel a bit lighter. On more enlightened days, I would realize that if I could let go of one worry, why not two, five, all of them. As long as Richard was safeguarding them for me and could return them upon request, I could let them go.
What do you do with your worries - as ill or as well partner? Do you protect your partner from them? Do you share them? Do they overwhelm you quietly? Do you release them?