Posted by: Chelsea Novak | April 4, 2003

Worry Wart

You all know by now that I have a tendency to overreact. I’m fantastic at worrying. It’s been a gift I’ve had since I could walk. As a child I would be unable to sleep sometimes because I was sure that we were all going to die from a huge nuclear holocaust, or a really big earthquake (it depended upon the day). Whenever my Dad would travel I would have stomach pains because I was so sure that his plane was going to be hijacked and he would be killed as an “example”. When he was in the South Pacific when I was 9 or 10, I actually had to see my doctor because the stomach pains were slowing me down so much.

I occasionally wonder about the merits of my parents choosing not to censor what I watched on TV (not like they could have stopped me from being with my beloved Television), but I now applaud their decision to do that. They were always willing to answer my questions about the things I saw on the news and to frequently haul out the National Geographic atlas and show me the map with the lines of fire on the globe, thereby assuring me that Kingston was one of the least likely places in the world to have a massive earthquake or a sudden explosion of volcanoes.

I’m good with the worry. The only wrinkles I have are worry lines from my often furrowed brow. Something a gentleman was ever so kind for pointing out to me the other night. Yes, that’s a brilliant way to impress a woman… point out that she’s got wrinkles, at 26. Drunk men are just the most charming, aren’t they? But I digress.

So with all this SARS stuff going on in Canada, namely Toronto, I’ve been a little bit on the over-reactionary side. Sending my mother all kinds of emails asking her exhaustive questions about what’s going on. While my parents still live in Kingston, my mother works at the hospital there. The hospital right beside the University, with piles upon piles of students from Toronto. Not to mention how many people travel back and forth between the two cities on a daily basis. As of yet have been no cases in the K. The hospital is doing entry screenings none the less — which my mother volunteered to do!!! Is she nuts? So I’m not as worried about my parents.

I am, however, pretty terrified about almost everyone else I love and care about living in the city that’s coming down with the Plague! My sister lives in China town and has a predisposition to respiratory problems. Dawn is sick, not with SARS, but I’m still worried about it. It doesn’t help that I can really only get information from it via the news (they’re always sooo objective). My mum would never make it out to be scary because she knows it would scare me and being my mother she’s spent a good part of her life making sure I’m not scared of things. So I have my very rational and knowledgeable mother telling me it’s going to be okay and I have the news reporting some good news and some bad news.

I think a lot of my anxiety about this is related to guilt. Shocking I know (Chelsea feeling guilt?). I feel guilty for not being there. I know there’s nothing I could do except become another body that’s potentially infected. I just feel really powerless. And I’m worried that someone I care about is going to get sick and maybe die and I’m not going to get to see them again. I know, I sound like I’m that 10 year old with stomach pains. Stating the totally obvious in a simplistic way. But being an adult doesn’t mean you don’t have those worries any more. It just means that you can’t let them slow you down.



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