“Stop Worrying” vs “Don’t Worry”

People who are close (friends, family, significant others) to someone with anxiety are often told not to say “stop worrying” to someone having a panic attack, as it can make it worse.

Someone with anxiety can actually start panicking over the fact that their panic attack is over something trivial, because the implication of “stop worrying” is that the worry is over something trivial.

And this is especially true for depression & anxiety together: people like me can run the gambit of negative emotions. We can even recognize that we are panicking over something stupid or nothing at all and that just feeds into the downward spiral of negative emotions.

Because of this it can be hard for to vocalize what I need/want, and with the anxiety I can actually be afraid to ask for help.

Sometimes, though, what I really want is for someone to tell me “don’t worry.”
This may seem contradictory to the advice given above, but there is a subtle difference.

I don’t want or need someone to tell me to stop being upset. What I need is someone to tell me not to worry about everything else.

When I have a panic attack, or a bad depression day, or a day like today where I have both; I feel guilty that I’m not able to do what I’m supposed to.
Poor EJ has spent most of the day in his room playing games and watching videos on his iPad because I literally do not have what it takes to play with him, especially when all he wants to do is go play in the neighbor’s yard in the hopes that they will come outside to play with him.

All I want is for someone occasionally to say “don’t worry about everything else. Go take a shower or a nap or have a Netfilx binge session while wrapped up in blankies. Don’t worry about EJ or dinner or laundry. Just worry about you and whatever it is that triggered you”

But I don’t feel like I can actually ASK someone to do that for me. And more than that, I want to feel like Hubby or anyone cares enough to do something like that for me without me asking.

Instead I end up feeling hurt when Hubby clearly knows I’m having a bad day and doesn’t even offer (and is upset when I ask) to call out at work. Then when he asks why I’m upset it’s too late for him to call out and I usually say something stupid/hurtful or dismissive “well there is nothing you can do now so you might as well go to work” and he storms off angry or hurt.

I’ve become aware that I say a lot of hurtful things to Hubby when I’m upset, so I’ve taken to not saying anything,  but that doesn’t seem to be solving anything, because either way I feel like he is either oblivious to my needs and feelings or only sort of cares at best.

Like, I appreciate that he skipped his last class to come home when I sent him a text saying I was falling apart. But coming home and instructing the toddler that has literally been crawling all over me all morning to give me hugs and kisses is not helping. Neither is making me a sandwich then sitting on Facebook for an hour while EJ plays with his trucks. I could have handled that by myself. What I needed was to know I could take my time and do what I need to get myself functioning again without having to worry that as soon as he leaves for work EJ will throw a fit, or try to do gymnastics off the couch and that the rest of the day was going to fall apart during the 8 hours he was at work, as well as be assured that I wasn’t going to run out of spoons, so I could conserve some to ensure I had enough for tomorrow’s interview.

EJ had literally not stopped fussing all afternoon. He didn’t take a nap. The few time I did let him out of his room he was a terror and ended up in time out, which resulted in more fussing. He finally passed out at 7 pm and I know that is too early and he’ll wake up at some stupid hour and be awake until some godawful hour in the morning.  But at this point I don’t have enough spoons to care, let alone enough to wake him up and deal with a tired and crabby toddler that wants nothing more than to sleep.

So that on top of being a complete emotional mess has left me with no spoons and I fear not enough spoons to do the interview tomorrow.

So I called and canceled my interview. I was hoping that I was calling just after the HR lady left so I could leave a message and she would call to reschedule tomorrow when I was hopefully in a clearer mental state. Instead I caught her just as she was leaving and since I didn’t have a day to reschedule to she removed me from the applicant pool.

So I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.

For as emotional as I was worrying about the interview, I was equally emotional about canceling it.

But with the state I’ve been in today there was no way I was going to have a successful interview tomorrow so I probably wasn’t going to get the job either way.

So we will see what life has in store for me for the future.

But right now I’m all right.

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5 thoughts on ““Stop Worrying” vs “Don’t Worry”

  1. aww sad to hear you had to cancel your interview 😦 You’ll get another chance somewhere else when the time is right. I absolutely understand how you feel with your Hubby. I’m exactly the same with my SO. I get mad for such little things because I’m stressed out and he never notices and all he does is play video games on his computer so even when he’s home I feel so stressed because I feel like I’m the only one properly taking care of our baby, which makes it that much harder to go to work. Before I was working, my SO would go out on Friday nights to play Magic:The Gathering (card game) with his friends and sometimes I would get so mad because I felt like I was the one that should have some time off since I’d been with the baby alone all day, but then I would feel guilty for not wanting him to go because I didn’t want to take away his social life, and then I would spend the whole evening mad at him because he didn’t decide to stay and give me a break. Sadly, I still haven’t changed. I get mad at my SO for such small things, but they are things I feel I shouldn’t have to ask him to do. I feel like he should just understand that he needs to do them. And wow I’m going to stop here because I’m writting a novel haha!

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  2. I’m sorry to hear that. I hope my previous comment didn’t make things worse for you. It does sounds like you need more support. This is none of my business but have you considered counseling? I had some a few years ago when I really wasn’t coping and it changed my life. My work, at the time, paid for it but we also have charities in the UK who provide support.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Don’t worry! Your comment was fine and I appreciated your thoughts.

      I have looked into counseling, but unfortunately it is out of out price range right now (as is medication). We don’t currently have insurance, and despite our financial situation we just barely make too much to qualify for government provided insurance. That was part of the appeal of this job, I would qualify for employer-provided insurance.
      Sadly unlike the UK there are not many depression based charities that help people like me, they all seem to concentrate on suicidal depressives.

      That is something I want to do in becoming a Psychiatrist, I want to create a charity to help all depressed people get the help they need.

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  3. It sounds as though you’ve made a prudent decision. I know it’s hard for someone on the outside to understand this condition (though my wife has been pretty supportive so far), and I hope I haven’t said anything insensitive or unhelpful in my rambling comments. I actually come here looking for kinship and guidance, so the last thing I want to be is “that guy.”

    Anyway, I hope you get it under control enuf to feel some peace. Not sure what else to say.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please don’t worry! You have been nothing but supportive and encouraging. I too appreciate your kinship. You haven’t been “that guy” at all!

      You are actually part of what inspired me to take my thoughts about going back to school for psych seriously.

      Hubby is incredibly patient, and tries to be understanding, but I can tell it wears on him, not to mention confuses him sometimes. He really is a wonderful husband, despite my complaints.

      I’ll be going for a run tonight, hopefully that will help me some.

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