The Anxiety Monster

"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear.” Matthew 6:25 NRSV

The Anxiety Monster
The Anxiety Monster | Source
The Anxiety Monster
The Anxiety Monster | Source

Don't Worry Baby

I worry. A lot. About everything. I worry about my family, my friends, my kids, my pets, my health, money…everything. Sometimes it feels impossible not to. I have always been a worrier. From the time I was a kid I would make myself sick about things I had no control over. I fretted about burglars coming in at night and fire destroying our home. I was petrified of being kidnapped and wouldn't stay over at friend’s houses because I thought I would never see my mom again.

I can look back at these things as an adult and see the craziness, see the possible anxiety disorder growing. I can see where it might have come from, too. To put it bluntly, I blame my mother.

She never wanted me to worry that much, I’m sure. She just did so inadvertently. By trying to keep me safe and teach me to be responsible, she fostered and nurtured my own personal list of irrational fears. She warned me from the time I could walk to the bus stop by myself about strangers trying to lure kids into their vehicles. When I hit junior high, she drilled me every time we got into the car about what I was supposed to do if she were to pass out while driving down the highway. I can’t count the times I was told never to tell someone you hate them because those could be the last words you ever say to them or not to go to bed angry at anyone because that person might not wake up the next morning. How I didn't end up on a therapists chair by high school, I'll never know...

Yeah, what they said...

Mama tried...

Her heart was in the right place. She just wanted to raise a good kid, a safe kid, a polite kid. Needless to say, I’m raising my kids differently. Not that I don't want them to be all of those things, too, I just don’t use scare tactics to get them there. I can’t imagine my children ever having to live with the anxieties I had as a child and still harbor as an adult. (although I'm not as afraid of being lured into a van with a puppy...) I still have difficulties moving past some of my fears but I’m working on it and, with God’s help, I’m moving past them. I refuse to let them control my life any more.

Of course, my mom’s words of wisdom weren't all anxiety provoking. She did manage to sneak a few lessons in there that didn't give me nightmares. She taught me that politeness and kindness go a long way. Everyone deserves a smile and a nice word. Love is an amazing gift and the best things in life are free. Despite it all, I do believe I am a better person because of her and I do feel very blessed with the mother I was given.

I don’t want to sound like my mom wasn't a great mom. She was, she still is in fact. I can count on her for anything. It's just that, in my adult years, I have realized that she perpetuated most of my childhood anxieties….

Of course now, most of my fears center more around my kids. Will I be here to see them grow up, will they be here to see me grow old, am I parenting them right, giving them everything they need? Sometimes it seems I spend the majority of my time worrying about someone or something. But at least now I know have to ask for God’s help in seeing me through my fears and I have to talk about what bothers me instead of holding it all in all the time.

Sharing my insecurities and worry has been one of the hardest things I've had to do. I'm not a sharer, not really. Or at least I wasn't. But that is changing and helping more than I could have imagined. Talking about what's bothering me is like taking off a weighted vest I'd been carrying around. I can breathe again.

He makes it sound so simple...

Where to go from here?

    Maybe it is impossible to live without some kind of fear or worry or concern. Maybe that’s what keeps us alive, keeps us from killing ourselves or walking into dangerous situations. But it definitely holds us back, too. The key, I suppose is just finding the happy medium, the middle ground. And that’s kind of what we’re all doing isn’t it? We’re all just trying to be…happy.

An Update

As I said earlier in this hub, I realized that beating, or at least taming, the anxiety I was battling couldn't be done alone. I started talking more about my issues with my husband and even my mom. I let close friends be the confidants they wanted to be and felt a relief. But the biggest transformation came when I realized that I could not do it without God. When something bothered me, I chose to pray about it instead of fret about it. It wasn't easy, especially at first. Trusting God doesn't happen over night. That's why He tests us all the time. If we learn to turn over the little things to Him, it becomes easier to trust Him during the big things.

It has taken a few years, about two and a half to be specific, but my life has changed immensely. Worry no longer rules my life. I was unhappy. I lived life scared and unsure and happiness seemed like an unreachable goal. I still worry, I'm sure I always will but letting go has become far easier than I ever could have imagined. I trust God and in return, he has rewarded me. There will be tests, there will be trials but He will get me through. When I find myself getting pulled down, I turn to Him and He never lets me down. Some things I do not understand. I'm not always supposed to but I remind myself that He has a plan for me and my family and my job is to have faith.

The Anxiety Monster
The Anxiety Monster | Source

"No testing has overtaken you that is not common to everyone. God is faithful and He will not let you be tested beyond your strength, but with the testing, He will provide a way out so that you may be able to endure it."


-1 Corinthians 10.13 NRSV

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Don't worry, tell me what you think... 12 comments

No_Clue profile image

No_Clue 5 years ago

Superb hub! I was told once that worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair...keeps you busy but gets you nowhere! I so identify!


To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

Now that is a good analogy! I will have to remember that one. Thanks for the compliment and thanks for stopping by no clue! :)


DoorMattnomore 5 years ago

My Mother was the same, so many things can "get you" out there. She was a hypochondriac as well. Every time she saw a movie with an illness in it, she was sure someone in our family was now dying of it. But I think beyond that, some people are just wired to worry more. I saw signs of anxiety in my oldest when she was very young. I had not even begun to teach her about strangers or anything like that. She was terrified of getting her hands dirty or stepping on grass. So if you are the type to sort of naturally worry, then get stuck with a mom who drills fear into you on top of it, it can be a hard thing to unlearn. Congrats on seeing it and not continuing it with your own kids.


To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

Doormattnomore-frst off, I love your name. I can relate to that very well :) And thank u so much for the comment. I agree with you-some people are just wired that way. My oldest son also displays signs of being a worrier so it has been tough to try to counteract that. Thank you for stopping by!


soumyasrajan 5 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

Hi! To Start Again

Nice article. Very nice one. I think surely you love your mom very much. Actually you may feel it is because of your mom but from the way you describe (and also DoorMattnomore describes) she worried just like you. She worried not about her but about you too if "she were to pass out while driving down the highway".

May be some of these things are just in genes, they just come with you. Time being in professional Science, Psychology etc. there is no clear method to study such type of phenomena. Though I think in ancient times when people did not distinguish so much Science, Technology, Philosophy, spiritualism etc. they did study such aspects. Some of it still survives. Even today those who are really in Science, research etc. feel the same.

I think you are not so much puzzled about your worrying nature as you are about thinking that this is some thing very special to you. But once you learn that it is not so uncommon phenomena perhaps it may help. May be via this article and comments you may see that.

It looks like your mom was a very nice person, she taught you to be polite (perhaps also to be happy ). I think you have also grown into being a nice person. I think another thing which might help is to learn to be detached, rather than trying not to worry. After all worrying and not worrying or any thing you do are more like a game. Once you learn that you may also develop a detachment automatically, since already any way you must be generally nice to every one (such behavior of being nice and not get into useless competitiveness also helps in detachment). Such a detachment also brings good behavior and an eternal happiness (I am from India so I prefer Sanskrit word Ananda - that describes it better - a kind of bliss). Once you develop such detachment (and ananda) even worrying you may see more as a game and just enjoy it. All the good luck.

By the way doesn't the quote by Matthew with which you started say exactly what I was trying to convey above?


To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

soumyasrajan-thank you for such a wonderful comment! My mother is a wonderful person and I do love her very much. I hoped to convey in the hub that, while I do feel she perpetuated some of my own worry, I also know that she helped mold me into the person I am today. I owe her a lot. :) Detatchment is definitely something I could learn to employ. Being able to step back and look at situations from the outside, not being so affected by them is something I am working on. Not everything is such a big deal! That verse from Matthew is one that I return to a lot. I need to remind myself of it many times a day. Thanks so much for the kind words!!


JLClose profile image

JLClose 5 years ago from OreGONE

Aw man, isn't it tough being a mom? I have the same feelings toward my own mother. She did a great job raising me and teaching me to be kind and loving and giving. But she was also a worrier, and unfortunately I have followed in her footsteps in that aspect as well.


To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

JL-Oh my goodness, yes! Motherhood is one of the toughest jobs on the planet! Its hard not to worry when you have kids but I think sometimes we get caught up in it all and can't get to that point where we rationalize it and move past some of those fears. Instead we hold onto them. Thanks for reading! :)


Motown2Chitown 5 years ago

You know, it's funny, but I can tell you that almost every day, I'll say or do something and recognize that I have, in fact, become my mother. I used to dread that. Now, I embrace it. My mother was a flawed, colorful, personality-plus type messy lady, and gave me a gazillion idiosyncrasies and insecurities and other such things. BUT, she loved me and did the best she could with the tools and knowledge she had available at the time. That, in the end, is what matters most. I, too, am a worrier. I worry about absolutely everything absolutely all the time. But, the one thing I learned from my mom about worry is that life will go on around you whether you worry about it or not, and your worry won't add (and may subtract in all honesty) minutes to your existence.

Once, when I was talking to my mom about a particularly worrisome experience, she very firmly asked me, "Are you praying about it?" I replied, in a snit of course, "Yes, mother, I am."

"Well," she said, "if you're going to pray don't worry. And, if you're going to worry, don't pray. And, trust me, darling, the Lord would much rather hear you pray."


To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 5 years ago Author

"if you're going to pray don't worry. And, if you're going to worry, don't pray. And, trust me, darling, the Lord would much rather hear you pray."

This is the best statement I have heard in a very long time. Thank you for giving me this so that I can say it to myself when I need to hear it!! Your mother is indeed a very wise woman :)


Isaac White profile image

Isaac White 3 years ago from Welcome to my beautiful world, where magic is no longer a myth.

To Start again,

well read, Incredible work on how you explained your personal struggle. I can't say i know exactly how you feel but, i have an idea. sometimes i get scared of my own shadow. hehe.. well anyways. voted up.

I. White


To Start Again profile image

To Start Again 3 years ago Author

Thank you, I. White :)

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