Worry Wart Extraordinaire

A few weeks ago I mentioned to my psych that I had been getting up in the middle of the night to do a brain dump in a notebook because my brain was just overflowing.  It was like a light bulb went off in her head.  There was a flurry of paper and I had to fill out a couple of questionnaires to determine just how much of an issue worry and the intolerance of change is for me.


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I scored moderately high for worry and extremely high for intolerance of change.  There was a third one that I had to fill out but it had a pretty complicated scoring system so I won’t find out what the score is for that until my next appointment at the end of this week.

While it was interesting to see the difference in the scores between worry and intolerance, it came as no surprise to me that I have an extremely high intolerance for change.  Even Paul laughed when I told him that I had to fill out a questionnaire to discover something he could see easily.

You see having things change is quite possibly one of my biggest stress inducers.  Control freak is probably a bit of an understatement…however there is a catch.  My core belief also stops me from acting out on the intolerance of change, my need to avoid rejection trumps my need to have control.

All this means that the bulk of when I worry while playing over scenarios in my mind, happens at night, when there is no one else around, when I am trying to sleep.  The thing that I have found interesting since writing down the things that are bothering me is that I’ve noticed a pattern of the same thought processes happening over and over again each night.

There is a pattern of berating myself over everything that I said throughout the day.  I analyse everything I have said, looking for ways that I failed, that I looked stupid and said the wrong thing.  I go over and over the conversations, looking at ways that I could have changed it.  Of course none of this is helpful.  It turns my mind into knots of worry, and makes sleep elusive.

The other pattern emerging is that the need to control comes out in the hours when I am trying to sleep.  I go over my plans for the next few days, impatient that I have to wait to carry out things that I see as important.  I lay in bed going over the details, working out the things that could possibly go wrong.  I try to fish out every minute detail.  Of course this leads to further stress when things don’t go the way that I envisioned.

The brain dump has been really helpful for me to just get it all out of my brain.  I haven’t done any work on the actual thoughts but it’s the act of writing them down so far that has helped to make room for my mind to relax enough to sleep.  The worry is still there, but at least I have it written down so that it’s acknowledged rather than allowed to stew in my mind.

Do you worry a lot?  What things have you done to help yourself reduce the amount of worrying.

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17 thoughts on “Worry Wart Extraordinaire

  1. Jess - Peachy Keen Mumma

    Yes, I do! Or did. I worry less now that I am on zoloft for my Post Natal Anxiety. I’m actually worried how I will sleep once I go off the medication, which may be in the next couple months because my son is starting to sleep better at night. I sleep pretty well now that I’m on those meds. Pre-baby, discovering my triggers for anxiety was really helpful for me. They are exhaustion, sickness, and stress. I really feel for you because I know what you’re going through. Oddly I do that self – berating thing, where you can’t sleep and think of all the stupid you said, when I have had too much beer. Weird huh. I’m sure there’s a good brain reason.

  2. Lydia C. Lee

    I am a worrier, but more that I see the negative possibilites in situations…they rarely occur but that’s what I think of first and worry about…I try to keep it in check, but reminding myself of the statistics…(stop laughing)…

  3. Kathy

    Sorry to hear about your brain dumps – on the positive side, you are learning lots from them by the sound of it and this awareness can only be good. I do wake and worry, not all the time, and if I find my thoughts racing I try to turn them into a blog post, or at least get them down on paper in a way that I sort of try to learn as I go.

  4. Carla

    Yes I’m a worrier too. Though lots better than I used to be. I think I’ve just learnt to let it go a little and not get caught up in my own thoughts. Journalling helped me xx

  5. Jodi Gibson (JF Gibson Writer)

    Glad to hear the brain dumps are helping. It’s tough when our worries become so big they blur our thinking. I’m not a big worrier, of course things here and there do stress me out, but mostly I can deal with it. I think blogging and writing helps me immensely.

  6. Bec @ The Plumbette

    Aw Tegan, worrying at night is the worst and the thing about worrying is it is tiring and takes your mind away from what it should be doing – resting while you sleep!
    I do worry from time to time and I think we all do it at some point. Some worry more than others. For me, when I’m worried, I pray and try and not give it too much energy.

  7. Dani @ Sand Has No Home

    I pretty much adhere to the tenet of your note to self. I remind myself that worrying is a useless endeavour, and try to turn myself onto thinking about possible solutions instead. In theory, anyway. It helps that I get really annoyed with my husband if he says something like “I worry about us having enough money in the future”, and I’m like, well, that’s kind of pointless, it doesn’t change anything, it just makes you feel worse.

    It is all easier said than done.

    Glad that you have found something that helps with the overfill. I hate that mind ticking over thing at the end of the day when you are trying to sleep 🙂

  8. EssentiallyJess

    Wow you and I seem to stress over the same things. I’m the first one to spend hours picking apart all the wrong things I have done in a day. I’m getting better at it now, but It’s been a challenge to change my thinking.
    I also get frustrated when things don’t go how I want them to. Which is pretty much never.
    I do hope that you can work through this to not only get some more sleep, but to start feeling better about yourself. You’re worth that. xx

  9. Emma Fahy Davis

    I am definitely a worrier, and can relate to the late night (early hours of the morning) worry sessions – and then I finally get to sleep and wake up with a thumping headache cursing myself for staying up so bloody late!
    I hope your psych can offer some helpful strategies for you xx

  10. Carly

    I tend to worry most at night time when in bed, i worry about the silliest of things but in the middle of the night they seem like the biggest things…I remind myself that come morning I always tend to feel differently and realise that maybe there’s no need to worry about that situation as much as I thought…mostly my worries are kid or animal related! #IBOT

  11. Aroha @ Colours of Sunset

    I worry about anything and everything. I worry about why I worry so much. My biggest fear is losing my son. Even him running ahead of me leaving school freaks me out because I worry I will lose him. It is so exhausting. 🙁 Maybe I should try writing everything down…..I’d need a big notebook. x Aroha

  12. Renee at Mummy, Wife, Me

    Tegan, truth be told, if I did the worry test my results would most likely be off the charts. I worry about anything and everything. I always have. I hear myself do it and I hate it. I hate listening to me ramble my worries out to my husband. Surely he must get sick of hearing it because my worries are really nothing at all. Last night I slept maybe three hours because I’m worried about Problogger. Sigh. I like your quote above. It sounds like something my husband would say.

  13. Kylie Purtell - A Study in Contradictions

    I am a bandit for lying in bed thinking about shit when I should be sleeping. I have suffered insomnia on and off my entire life and it gets so much worse when I am having bouts of anxiety, the thoughts just keep tumbling around and around, and I start to go over everything that happened that day and trying to figure out what I did wrong, and then I feel guilty because I am potentially ruining my girls and I’m a terrible wife and daughter and sister and round and round until I eventually have to give myself the biggest mental head slap and arse kick and almost force myself to go to sleep! It’s more exhausting than the actual day was sometimes but I am getting better at being able to force myself to switch off the negative and anxious thoughts. My tactic? I replay episodes of the TV show Alias in my head with me as the main character. I’m usually asleep before I get through a whol episode ( and then have random dreams as a result!)

  14. Twitchy Sharon

    My kids and I are all bad with change and new scenarios. It’s inherent. I didn’t demonstrate it to them, to the best of my knowledge. I try to conduct myself and say things in such a way as to encourage them and reduce stress but it can still be really hard going at times.

    I’m really glad you have an outlet for this. Keep going 🙂 #teamIBOT

  15. Lisa

    oh Tegan, so much energy worrying about what if? I used to be a worry wort, then I met my husband who put me to shame. I thought if two of us worry, we will be so negative together so I gave up worrying! (I have over simplified this but I really think I saw how useless worrying was when I saw it reflected in my hubby) Hang in there Tegan, I think a brain dump every now and again can be useful!

  16. Vicki @ Knocked Up and Abroad

    I go through stages of worrying. It’s always exhausting and not that productive. I can only think it must be exhausting for you in the middle of the night stewing over things! I’m glad you’ve found a way of releasing the worries and putting them into your notebook. I think that’s something more people should adopt so that they can move forward and get some sleep!


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