An Open Letter to Anxiety and Worry

Dear Anxiety and Worry,

First, let me start of by saying that I know you are not the same thing. You are my old friends, and I have long been able to distinguish one from the other. It’s just that in my life, and in many other people’s I am sure, you enjoy a long running rivalry and play endless games of rock, paper, scissors in my beat-up brain. To save time and effort, I am writing to you both at the same time.

Secondly, I want you to know that I don’t disrespect or dislike you. Worry, I know your visits ensure that we remain caring and considerate people whose actions take into consideration the consequences for others. You allow us to show love and compassion. And Anxiety, I am well aware that your adrenaline inducing behaviour saved our ancestors from being eaten alive. For the fight or flight instinct, I thank you. It is just you have overstayed your welcome. I am no longer in danger of being eaten by a woolly mammoth. Yes, please keep making sure I look when I cross the road. No, do not continue to insist that I check the tap five times before I leave the house to avoid causing biblical scale flooding.

My main complaint, though, is with your inconsistency. Yes, you are fickle. Last night I had terrible dreams and woke to a racing heart and a stomach of nerves. You were preparing me for a bad day. I know you had good intentions. I am sure you just wanted to make sure I made good choices, checked things properly and didn’t come to any harm. But, Mr Anxiety, you have no follow through. You get me all stressed out and ready to fight, then ensure a complete inability to concentrate, to focus and to solve the problems you’re setting me up for. You only do half a job. I thought you were meant to help me sense the woolly mammoth, then get me to either hit it over the head with a club or run like mad. Right now, I’m left staring, terrified, at the beast with no idea what to do about it.

Another issue I have with you is your flakiness. You never make appointments, never show up consistently and never apologise. You drop by when you feel like it and expect us just to drop everything and catch up on your news. Well sorry, but it can’t be like that any more. From now on, you are only welcome in times of real danger. You are welcome just before a test, as long as you bring just the right amount of adrenaline to get us through. Oh, and flowers.

I think I have made myself clear. Expect to be ignored, dismissed and rejected from now on.

And finally, dearest Anxiety, it’s not that you don’t have a place in my life, it’s just that you need to occupy that space which is yours and stop demanding so much of me.

Yours Faithfully.
A. Worrier


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