"Angus pulled into the driveway of his home with the usual trepidation gnawing at his stomach. He could never pinpoint the exact cause of his apprehension. Was it due to anxiety over what mood Cassy may be in? Or what family disaster he, as the resident white knight, may be forced to ride in and deal with? Or was his nervousness caused by worrying about whether Cassy may have used her intuition to discern his unfaithfulness. He was not even remotely confident of being able to effectively refute any accusations she may throw at him. He shook his head to clear the fog of discomfiting thoughts, then climbed out of the car and made slowly for the front door.
‘Hi daddy,’ said a little creature which attached itself to Angus’ leg as soon as he opened the door.
Lovesick chapter 9
Anxiety can accurately be described as a gnawing feeling. This persistent, biting and chewing of apprehension is a step up from butterflies, and is often caused by a form of paranoia. Whether grounded in reality or not, a fearfulness with regards to coming events can cause the stomach to churn and the head to pound. At its worst anxiety can be debilitating. At best it is uncomfortable and disconcerting: a joy stealer.
Jesus asked his disciples a rhetorical question: “Who of you by worrying can add a single day to his life?” Positive thinking gurus like Eckhart Tolle, tell us that worrying is caused by not living in the moment. Live in the present and you will have no anxiety about the future. In 1988, Bobby McFerrin told us all: “Don’t worry, be happy,” and Guy Sebastian did it again in 2011 with his hit song. Easy to say, hard to do.
There are some things we can do to ameliorate anxiety, or in some cases avoid it altogether. In Lovesick, part of Angus’ discomfiture and consequent reticence about returning home after work was caused by his own misbehaviour.
If your anxiety stems from guilt, cease your wrongdoing and confess it. If you are worrying about things because you fear the unknown, embrace your fear as natural to some extent, but don’t let it stop you from doing things. Learn to recognize when your fear is a rational warning of danger, and when it is simply a fear of not being in control. You can’t control everything in your life. You are not the master of your own destiny. Change your thinking and change your behaviour. Get professional help if you need it, or talk to friends and family. Share your burdens and they will grow lighter. The gnawing in your stomach will end.
And if all else fails…don’t worry, be happy!