Friday, January 11, 2013

Worried Sick

Some things are so ancient that we forget why and how they came about. One of these things, I think, must be the concept of being "worried sick."

When you're "worried sick" about something, or more than one thing, you lose your appetite. In the worst cases, you just can't eat at all. I've experienced a great deal of this over the past six months, and it is now moving into a new year with the pangs still firmly in place.

Could there be a reason, known to the bored gods but not the busy one, why people worry themselves sick?

Imagine that the tribe has fallen upon hard times, and there's not enough food for your children. Perhaps you're insecure because your loved ones are dying, or being killed, or deserting. It makes sense, in this situation, for you to shut down your own metabolism so that your offspring will have more resources at their disposal.

This is psychologically-based, of course. Logic would dictate that you remain powerful by eating and exercising and getting lots of sleep ... the better to help your tribe. But self-sacrifice is also logical. It's logical and admired.

Many religions have periods of fasting and feasting. When times are bad, the fasts last longer and the feasts are cancelled or scaled back. I've polled the bored gods, and they say that they are every bit as impressed by people who fast and deprive themselves as they are by people who chow down and throw big parties.

People who don't worry themselves sick will tell you that such worry shortens your life. Yes, I imagine that it does. But in the Old Days, you would have been more willing to get out of the way for the next generation, if the going was tough. At least that's how I look at it.

This cheerful little essay has no uplifting message or happy zinger at the end of it. I know I shouldn't worry myself sick. I just wish I knew how to put the brakes on it. Maybe you can suggest a good bored deity for such issues?


Debra She Who Seeks said...

I'd appeal to a fat, happy, laughing Buddha. Rub his tummy for luck and trust in the Universe.

Anonymous said...

two things I've heard can help:
1)make progress on something, get something significant done, and
2)Spiritual growth.
I have a theory about modern depression: Thom Hartmann says that primates undergo periods of depression because the symptoms: wanting to separate yourself from the group, sleeplessness, hypervigilance -- are perfect for a "lookout", so each primate takes his or her turn being lookout, and raising the alarm when a predator enters the territory. but it was a short term, and then someone else took it on and the depression lifted. My theory is that in modern society we have lost connection with the community enough that whatever community encounter lifted the depression for our ancestors, isn't available to us.

Sarita Rucker said...

Have you talked to a doctor?

In terms of deities, Brighid is the one I tend to turn to when healing is needed.

Good luck. I've lost about 20 pounds in the last year due to health problems, including depression. It's not fun I know. :(

3Jane said...

On the other hand, I read that depression instinct is linked to self-protection of baby animals. If you're looking for your parents and they're nowhere to be found, it "makes sense" to give up, hide in the nest, not venture out to eat and not play or make noises. In that way no predator will find you, but when your parents come back, they will probably bring food and safety.

Katie @ Horrific Knits said...

Beiwe. One of her roles is to calm the madness that comes from the darkness- in other words, what my doctors call SAD on my chart. She's tied to butter and reindeer as well- fat and protein, both of which would be necessary for long, cold winters.


Freya who's motto is if you can't lay em slay em works for me

Anonymous said...

The vulture retches it up a notch by going bulimic when afraid, but the idea of worry evokes a more anxious and fretting image than the single sign of hunger loss.

Mood has a strong effect on hunger, because of the vagus nerve, so, perhaps, Asklepios. Logic dictates eating well up until doing so jeopardizes the collective, but if the worry is a question of ethics, then, perhaps Confucius (if you can get an appointment), or default back to Asklepios based on the neurological research on altruistic behavior.

Recognition of a situation is good. Planning what to do about it is good. Worry is never necessary, and is maladaptive in most any case, so I think that a why "for" it might indicate a darker deity, perhaps, Maya.