Is it possible to avoid worrying?

Someone asked me this morning whether I worry about Ash and the answer is of course 'yes' but the worries come in different forms.  Interestingly when we first got the diagnosis my worries were about the future, about us and about me.  That last is quite hard to admit because it's a very selfish point of view but Ash had always been my rock, my shoulder to lean on.  When things went wrong he was always there to give me a hug and say 'don't worry, it'll work out' and I still miss that but I also know now that I can deal with almost everything life throws at us and, although a shoulder to lean on would be nice, it's not totally necessary to my comfort.  So how, when and why do I worry?  I have a general sense of worry about Ash's well-being that is a permanent undercurrent to my life.  Is he happy? is he comfortable? is his mind at peace? then there is the worry about the practical daily living stuff; can I make sure he wears clean clothes? can I persuade him to let me trim his beard? has he taken the dog for a proper walk? how do I get the lawn mowed without it turning into a major issue? when am I going to fit the usual grocery shopping trip into the week's activities?  If any of those go slightly awry life becomes difficult for both of us.  There are also the big worries such as how will I deal with the moment when he has to stop driving?  what do I do when he wants to change the light on the side of the house? is he still safe with the hedge cutter/chain saw/log splitter and what will I do if and when he isn't? and then there are life's general worries about finances, long term care, declining health issues ....... so many things to worry about and even though I happily find quotes that tell me to live in the moment and that worrying about the future is a waste of time it doesn't always help.  I know that worrying about these things won't change anything but there are things I can put in place which help so I risk assess where necessary, I look for solutions to possible problems and, more often than not, those solutions enable me to avoid the problems; I try to cut out anything that will cause Ash stress and far more than I used to I plan, plan and plan again.   All of these help but I absolutely admit that those worries, however hard I try, are only pushed beneath the surface and they never, ever go away.  One of the main benefits of the planning and risk assessing however is the feeling it gives me of having some control over what's happening to us so, although the worries are always lurking in the background, they can be pushed away with the knowledge that they're not in charge, I am.

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Lesley said…
I got very upset on a course about emotional intelligence once (intended for us to deliver to pupils) when the trainer insisted that it was possible to create an emotional distance and stop worrying. I agreed that it can be a futile exercise and so not particularly helpful but I still cannot see how it can be that if you love someone and they are ill, suffering or in danger of any kind you can just step away from it and turn your back - you can't. There is worry and there is grief. Both of them only occur because of love (if you didn't care it wouldn't matter) and neither of them go away, you just have to learn to live with them.
Jane said…
I'd say those comments from the tutor would tell you a lot about his/her life. You're right, if you love someone you can't just switch off or step back, all you can do is try and keep the worry under control and do your best to minimise the risks so that it doesn't dominate your life.
Ann said…
Good grief, what planet does that trainer live on?

As Lesley implied, we worry because we care. It’s part of the human condition and, unless you are some kind of psychopath, I would say it’s nigh on impossible to ‘create an emotional distance and stop worrying’ .

The trick as Jane has said, is to ‘keep it under control’ that it doesn’t dominate your life. If worrying is dominating your life, I would suggest seeking professional help.
Lesley said…
This was a programme we were supposed to be passing on to 14 year-olds and the message was, basically, don't worry about things you have no control over. But I have taught many students whose parents have been suffering from cancer, just as one 'for instance', and I was furious that I was expected to tell them that they shouldn't worry - what we should have been doing was recognising their deep, deep fears and worries and accepting that they can't always concentrate fully at school when something like that is dominating their life.