THE BLOG
01/26/2015 10:56 am ET Updated Mar 28, 2015

Of Course I'm Anxious: 20 Reasons Why

Joerg Steffens via Getty Images

Several years ago, I had a minor health issue while my doctor was on vacation, so I went to see the MD who was covering for him.

Months later, I went back to my regular GP, and I happened to see the note that the fill-in doctor wrote on my file:

"Patient is an anxious, middle-aged woman."

WHAT????

Well, okay.

I am middle-aged (but I don't look it).

But ANXIOUS????

No way, Jose.

Well, okay.

Maybe I USED to be.

It's actually rather amazing that I am as relaxed as I am, considering the stuff I worried about as a kid.

Thanks to Mom and Grandma, mostly, I had all kinds of phobias.
  • I knew that if I stuck my toe in the lake 29 minutes after I ate, I would surely get a cramp and die.
  • I knew that if I played with a stick, I would poke my eye out.
  • If I took a bath in a thunderstorm, I would be electrocuted.
  • If I sat on the ground in winter, I would get a cold in my kidneys.
  • If I crossed my eyes, they would freeze that way.
  • If I rode a boy's bike, I would never have a baby. (That one actually came true. But I don't think they were necessarily correlated.)
And thanks to my sisters and the other older kids in the neighborhood:
  • If I stepped on a nail, I would get lockjaw, and the doctors would have to knock my teeth out to feed me.
  • If I got bit by a darning needle dragonfly, it would sew my mouth shut.
  • If I ate a watermelon seed, it would grow in my stomach until my body exploded.
  • Ghosts are everywhere.
Thanks to the nuns at my elementary school:
  • If I forgot my hat on confession day, I would burn in purgatory.
  • If I forgot my homework, I would burn in purgatory.
  • If I skipped Mass on Sunday, I would burn in hell.
  • And it would all happen really soon, because any day now the communists were coming to kill all the Catholics.
And thanks to the movies, I knew:
  • That birds could pluck your eyes out.
  • Most dogs were rabid.
  • King Kong could reach through your bedroom window and grab you.
  • Any mud puddle might be quicksand.
  • If I climbed a tree, I would fall out and be paralyzed.
  • My parents were likely to die at any moment, and I would be sent to live with someone really mean.
ANXIOUS?

It is a miracle I can even leave the house.


**Read more from Nancy at her blog, Not Quite Old.