Recently, I’ve been answering some very interesting questions on Quora, an information-exchange website. Many of the questions concern anxiety and worry.
Do you find that PTSD has lowered your worry quotient? We spend so much time in our heads, so it seems completely reasonable that a good portion of that time would be given over to worry. I know this is true for me.
A few things I’ve learned about worry:
- It doesn’t do any good and can actually do harm. Even though we know that, it’s just about impossible for some of us to stop worrying.
- People who are especially sensitive and empathetic tend to worry about the state of the entire world. Sometimes it feels like the wars shown on TV are going to come to your own hometown. Or you feel so sorry for the people involved that you just can’t put them out of your mind.
- People with vivid imaginations suffer more when they hear tragic news because they can imagine it happening and see it played out in their minds in vivid color.
I’m not sure if these things are happening to you, but they’re something to think about … a way of understanding why tragedies may bother you more than they bother other people. Also, we must take into account that people with PTSD are especially vulnerable to news about traumatic events because they know what trauma is like, and they wouldn’t wish it upon someone else for anything.
I did come across a few recommendations if you are a worrier:
- Don’t over-focus on TV, radio, and print news about the negative things in the world. People who watched the coverage of the 911 terror attack for several hours a day, and watched particularly tragic scenes over and over again, were more traumatized than many of the direct victims of the attack.
- Focus on what you can do to protest tragedies or contribute money toward cleanup, etc., instead of the magnitude and devastation.
- Work for change in your own environment, where you really can make a difference. Channel your concern into productive ways of helping others. You might help yourself in the process.
From a Christian perspective, when you feel yourself worrying, just say “Jesus” or “Help, Jesus.” This reminds you that God holds you in the palms of his hands, even when worry or more devastating challenges occur in your life.
One last thing … be thankful for your sensitivity. It’s what will make you an exceptional counselor, writer, artist, or speaker someday.