Having a vivid imagination is both a blessing and a curse. If you are in a creative business, it will work to your advantage and people will think your ability to come up with new, out-of-the-box ideas is pure genius! But when that same imagination takes hold during everyday life, you may be judged differently. Being a creative person who has had my share of unfounded nerves and the occasional panic attack, I know how bad it feels to have others say things like, “You worry too much!” or “It’s nothing! What’s your problem?” What’s my problem? My problem is that I see impending doom more vividly than you do friend!
Here are ten ordinary things that make nervous people more nervous – see if you can relate to any! (For the record, they will also make the same nervous people laugh, when their nerves aren’t running the show.)
1. Threat of Snow
Meteorologists must love the control they have over nervous people, knowing that the second they stand in front of that map and say, “We may have snow…” hundreds of people panic and head to the nearest store for milk, toilet paper and comfort food. While they are often wrong, a nervous person knows, “They might be right!”
2. Traffic Jams
Some people can sit in traffic every day with no problem, they know it’s a fact of life. Traffic jams instantly make me hungry, thirsty, worry that I will be late and need to pee. If I’m in a traffic jam in hot weather, I also worry that my car will overheat and I’ll die of exposure.
3. Public Speaking
While many people get antsy at the thought of speaking to a large group, nervous people can break out into a sweat talking to their book club. Will every intelligent thought escape their brain the second they open their mouth or will what comes out make sense? My palms are sweating just thinking about it.
4. What to Wear to a Party
Parties are supposed to be fun. But the second a nervous person is invited to something she or he hasn’t been to before, the stress begins. “What should I wear? What will others wear? What if I’m too dressed up or too casual? Do I bring a hostess gift? If so, what?” The fear of standing out for doing the wrong thing takes hold like a death grip, often until the event is over.
5. An Unexplained Rash
Rashes happen. But when a rash appears on a nervous person or their child, their mind jumps to the worst case scenario. They add to the panic but doing research on the internet and proceed to diagnose a rare and often fatal disease. Does some anti-itch cream usually clear it up? Yes. But that doesn’t stop their wild imagination from wreaking havoc before the cream takes effect!
Like parties, having people over for dinner is supposed to be fun. But I can tell you from experience there can be a lot of pre-party panic. What should I cook and if I try something new, will it be good? How much food do I need? What kind of drinks? And the most stressful of all, for me at least, is trying to time everything to be done at the same time so everything can be hot and ready together. Let’s just say that Martha Stewart, I am not!
7. Noises on an Airplane
Airplanes are mechanical things. There are flaps, and gears and doors and wheels – things will make noise. But on most flights I take I end up telling someone with white-knuckles that the noises are not the plane about to break apart, it’s just the landing gear door opening and the wheels coming out so we can land safely.
When I hear a siren, I get an immediate adrenaline rush and check to make sure I’m not speeding. My gut reaction, and that of many other nervous people, is to think the siren is about THEM. The average person calmly pulls to the side of the road and let’s whatever emergency vehicle is in a hurry pass. No paranoia, adrenaline rush or unfounded guilt – lucky them!
9. A Gas Tank Below Half-Full
I have friends who drive until the gas light comes on and they still don’t worry. They just remark that, “Oh, I need gas soon…” SOON? You needed it about 100 miles ago! I was brought up to hit the panic button if the gas went below a half a tank. I guess my parents thought we might take a wrong turn and end up in the middle of nowhere without a gas station within 100 miles, so better safe than sorry.
People seem to be deathly afraid of bees or not at all – there is very little in between. Even most intellectually know that a bee will die if they sting you – so they aren’t flying around looking for people to sting – they still run, scream and flail at the sight or sound of a bee. That makes the bee panic and see them as a threat and the thing they dread most happens; they get stung.
Featured photo credit: Maxwell GS via flickr.com