Sunday, April 20, 2008
I have my last class before finals tonight. I can't believe this semester is over! I succeed in ways I simply didn't realize I could. I am going into finals with potential A's in both classes, though I'm much too close to a B in Anatomy & Physiology than I'd like approaching the final. Good Karmic thoughts, please.

I just finished my last Psych paper and it's a reflection of last week's race. I'm still tweaking it, but wanted to post something before I left. I have to go to my parents house to shower because the hot water tank is broken. I'm a wimp and can't do a cold shower. Anyway, here's the paper...they are short by rule, not by my choice.

My mother used to tell me that I wasn’t happy unless I had something to worry about. I worry about things I can control and many things that I can’t. Often times the worry generated with things I can not control causes more anxiety than worrying about things I can. It’s a slippery slope of stress and anxiety and often ends up with me a nervous wreck over something I simply can not do anything about.

This past weekend I worried my way through one of the most stressful and anxiety producing events of my life. It was the culmination of months of worrying. My husband, barely nine months after undergoing open heart surgery, teamed up with a friend to run a marathon. Each of them would run half of it, 13.1 miles. He had trained for this race for months and all along, I have worried. I worried about the weather, worried about the distance, worried about his heart, worried about awful things like funerals and living as a widow. I worried about everything and anything associated with the race. The doctors told him he could do it, but because I didn’t feel like he should do it, I was completely overwhelmed with anxiety in a way I have rarely been. This race was more stressful for me than watching him recover from surgery. The only thing I’ve ever experienced that was more stressful was waiting during surgery itself. After surgery there were things I could do, things to keep me busy, things to make me feel like I was helping. Worrying about this race was futile, I knew he was going to run it whether I wanted him to or not, but I could not stop worrying.

On race day I experienced many of the physiological symptoms associated with stress and anxiety: muscle tension, headache, heart pounding. The feeling of panic associated with my inability to control anything related to this race was overwhelming. Once he started his half of the race, I was at such a heightened state that I could barely breathe. Then, he rounded the corner and we saw each other. He was running at a comfortable pace and had this huge smile on his face, he was actually enjoying himself! He told me he felt good and promised to take it easy the rest of the way. This race was not about how long it took, but just crossing the finish line. My friend, my daughter, and I drove up every few miles and stopped to wait for him and cheer like crazy. Every single time we saw him, he looked better, in spite of the 27 degree weather, rain/sleet/snow mix, and 25 mph winds. Consequently, I felt less and less anxious. At the finish line, our smiles could have lit up the city.

Stress, anxiety, and worrying have been a part of my life for a very long time. I know that my worrying about this race did nothing to help R, in fact, it likely hindered him as he had to worry about my worrying. I suppose that being aware of that is at least a good place to start trying to worry less.

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Blogger Mrs. Chili said...

It's a GOOD paper, Honey!

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