A neurotic shares her crutches

November 3, 2013
Yes, they're mine.

Yes, they’re mine. Guatemalan worry people.

It seems like I went through life without a care in the world until my mother died in 1999, and when she did, her neuroses left her body and entered mine with a great big whooosh!  Yes, that’s right. She was a big worrier and then, overnight, I became a big worrier.

Like anyone who’s been raised Catholic, any time I feel anxiety I am big on invoking all the saints I possibly can. The other day I saw that St. Anthony was the patron saint of stomach problems and I thought my husband was going to choke to death laughing when I asked if he thought we should hang a small picture of Anthony in the bathroom.

And then, amulets. My mother favored the St. Jude medal, perfect for hopeless cases.  Some people pray to the Virgin Mary and others to various specific saints.  The thing about intercessory prayer is that it seems like you’re doing something, even if it doesn’t work. And I’ve seen studies both ways: it works, it doesn’t work.

For India, though, I’ve been using these teensy worry dolls. Share your worries with them, then put them under your pillow so they can do the worrying for you and you can sleep.  They’re traditionally used by kids, but that hasn’t stopped me.

So today, I’m asking what tools YOU use when you’re really worried about something. Do you have amulets or medals? Do you pray in any way? Or do you think it’s all hogwash?  This inquiring neurotic needs to know!

18 comments on “A neurotic shares her crutches
  1. PatU says:

    I’ll have the one on the left, please.

  2. PatU says:

    Crap! I must be dyslexic! I meant the right, of course!

  3. smaddy says:

    I give my worries up to God directly. I do it when I’m stressed, ill or plagued with a problem. I pray silently and through the written word in my prayer journal. It helps…believe me, it helps.

  4. I do everything. Pray, plan, strategize, talk it over, turn it over, and remember what my rather wise ex-husband used to say: “If you’ve got control over a situation, there’s no point in worrying, because you’ve got control over it. If you’ve got NO control over a situation, then there’s no point in worrying, because you’ve got no control over it.” A great reminder of the absurdity of worrying, helpful for those of us prone to mental gymnastics.

    And then there’s the ever-popular: “Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.”

    And sometimes nothing works! Ah, humans.

    • admin says:

      What I find so interesting is that you, a former therapist, rely on the wise words of your ex and not, say, Freud. Or someone like that. I adore you.

  5. I could use a worry doll or two. My mother passed in 1998 and it often haunts me as well. I pray, but also exercise and try to get good sleep to help with my anxiety.

    • admin says:

      If your spiritual beliefs are not in conflict with new-age concepts and believe it’s possible to talk to the other side, email me at ccassara (at) aol and I’ve got a suggestion that helped me.

  6. I started drawing. Zentangle helps me go into a state of Zen (I kid you not) and suddenly my worries vanish. If I am stressing about a topic we are discussing, I pick up my pen… and calm down. So far as trinkets.. I bought an empty tin at the airport in Abq that is called a dream box. You are supposed to put your dreams and wishes in them every night. I do that. I don’t pray anymore. I don’t “believe” anymore. Hey, I thought St. Anthony was the patron saint of lost things. Or animals. …. (I am ex-catholic).

  7. I pray, take long hot baths in epsom salts, read, take long walks, and when none of that works I take a Xanax.

  8. WORRY: Paying interest on a loan you may never even need to take out!

  9. Frances D says:

    I chant and meditate.
    I so identify with you – when my Dad passed on I suddenly began doing things “his, way.” Scary but true; we do become our parents.

  10. Jessica says:

    Interesting post, I was not aware of worry dolls until now, but if it works I say run with it! The key for me was always diversion, diversion, diversion. The more I would focus on being grateful for what I had and less on myself and my symptoms the better off I would be. It isn’t always easy, but it was what helped me come out the other side. Thanks for sharing!

2 Pings/Trackbacks for "A neurotic shares her crutches"
  1. Handling fears on a third world trip says:

    […] You might remember a post I did about neuroses and talismans a couple weeks before leaving for India. You know, the one with the Guatemalan worry dolls? HERE. […]

  2. […] You might remember a post I did about neuroses and talismans a couple weeks before leaving for India. You know, the one with the Guatemalan worry dolls? HERE. […]

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