Those Germans, they’ve got a word for everything. Reisefieber (pronounced “ri-zé-fee-ba”) means “travel nerves” or, quite literally, “travel fever” and that’s exactly what I’m feeling right now. Tomorrow I head off to Japan for a two week holiday and, although I’ve been there several times before, I still can’t help but feel nervous. See, I’m a worrier. I worry about absolutely everything. Am I going to get sick? Will I forget to take something? Will the pilot be drunk and try to fly the plane into the sun resulting in a gigantic firey death for everyone on board? You get the picture.
A few years ago I went to see a phycologist who specialised in cognitive behavioural therapy as I was suffering from acute insomnia. I couldn’t sleep at night because I couldn’t stop worrying about not being able to sleep at night (clever huh?). I clearly remember my first visit to him. I marched into the room, sat down in front of him and, after being asked what the problem was, declared “I have trouble sleeping!”. He looked me straight in the eye, raised his $200 an hour eyebrow, and replied “So what?”. It was the best money I ever spent.
Last year I tried to go for another stint of CBT with someone else (my previous saviour had moved on, probably looking for something a little more fulfilling than curing middle class young men of insomnia) to try and resolve my travel issues. Maybe these worries are just too deeply seated but unfortunately we never managed to make much progress. What became abundantly clear though was that I have what’s referred to as “catastrophic thoughts”. No matter what, I will always, without fail, imagine the absolute worst case scenario possible. My brain is a wonderful thing.
In times like this, I’m comforted by a famous quote:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”
- Winston Churchill
It’s a great quote and helps to put things in perspective. Most of my worries are either actually very insignificant or things that haven’t even happened yet. A worry is just a thought, it doesn’t exist in itself after all. I, personally, need to learn to control my thoughts and rationalise them, looking at them logically and not letting my emotions take over. Basically, I need to become a Vulcan.
So what’s the moral of this story? I guess it’s “don’t worry about things that haven’t happened yet”. Or something like that
Anyone else a worrier?