Pre- or Post? How do you worry?

Posted on March 19, 2012

There’s been a lot of talk on the interwebs of late about anxiety. I’m looking forward to reading Kerri Sackville‘s forthcoming book (out May) about the subject because if it’s as funny as her Facebook status updates on the subject we’re in for a treat.

I don’t think I suffer from anxiety (I’ve done some overthinking about it so I can state that with some confidence). I am, however, an old-fashioned worry wart. For me, there is nothing too far in the future that I cannot worry about. When The Builder and I were discussing the subject of having children, I was very keen to get on with it. We were in our early thirties and I had some concerns. My biggest? I didn’t want to be paying for university out of my superannuation. His response? Could we think about the next five years rather than trying to work out whether we’ll be able to afford a Winnebago and a BA.

I think there are two types of worry warts. Those who worry before. And those who worry afterwards. I’m in the first camp. I will go over and over and over a decision, turning it inside out, lying awake at night with ‘what ifs’ and ‘why nots?’. Once the decision is made, however, I never look back. No regrets. It is what it is. One must get on with it.

If I could bottle the energy that I’ve expended over the years worrying about stuff that’s never happened, I could sell power back to the grid.

I’m not sure what it would be like to be a person who worried afterwards. Do they actually exist or have I just made them up to make my blog post flow? Maybe you can tell me.

Are you a worry wart? Do you worry in advance, or jump first and worry afterwards?

[image: I think I need this, from sayingimages.com, for my wall.]


  1. Microbeer

    My ex, on the other hand, if you could bottle up his worry, you’d have enough to sink a battleship a day. If he had nothing to worry about, he’d begin to wory that thngs would go wrong and upset the applecart… i agree with him in this point.
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  2. Rhonda

    I worry both times. I do suffer from anxiety though. Mostly over things I cannot control. I worry that I made the wrong decision all of the time. I also agonize over the decision making process.

  3. Lipgloss Mumma

    Both I think. I always get stressed about upcoming things that I’m unsure of or not looking forward to. Then afterwards I tend to worry about what happened. Especially if it was a social function, I worry about how I was perceived or came across. Silly I know, but I’m getting better…slowly.

  4. Alison P

    Full of typos sorry!

    I need an editor!

  5. Alison P

    It hink I’m a before and fter worrier. And possibly during.

  6. Meggsie

    I worry a lot about my youngest child. He is a worrier. Dammit!

    I remember when I was at school my mother gave me a copy of a Peanuts cartoon. I think it was Lucy who said ‘I worried so much about this test. I worried and worried and worried. I got an A. I wasted a perfectly good worry’. That’s me

  7. Mama of 2 boys

    Oh dear, I’m afraid I might be a little of column A, little of column B. I think I just, worry. And the silly thing is it does no good to worry in the pre or the post, because as I’ve so often been told, worrying does nothing to help a situation. If only I could practice this good advice.

  8. sarah braaksma

    I worry about the future all.. the.. time.. damn anxiety!

  9. Cate Bolt

    I think anxiety and worrying are too different things. I am an axious/nervous person but not a worrier. I make methodical assessments, make a decision and that’s it. It is what it is. As long as no one is dying, there’s nothing to worry about. I think people think they have far more control over their destiny than they actually do. This is why they worry. I think that if you accept that all things that happen, happen for a reason, you can accept almost any outcome.
    Worrying to me is pointless. If you can change something for the better, then do it. If you can’t – why worry?

    Probably seems like an overly simplistic point of view but I’m an overly simplistic person.

  10. River

    I’m not much of a worrier, either before or after the fact. I do the best I can and if things go awry, well, I’ll just change tack and go with the flow. Things generally work out just fine.
    My ex, on the other hand, if you could bottle up his worry, you’d have enough to sink a battleship a day. If he had nothing to worry about, he’d begin to wory that thngs would go wrong and upset the applecart…

  11. Kim H

    Yep, big time worry wart here. I’m with you, Al, it’s all about worrying before hand;) I have suffered anxiety – not to an extreme level but enough to have my heart checked for fear of a tremor or some such issue. I don’t get that so much now but I definitely still worry waaaay too much.

  12. Mum on the Run

    Um, sadly I worry both pre & post!!
    Usually the nature of the worries are different. The stuff I worried about before becomes inconsequential and I have a whole new set of worries for the after.
    Then I give myself a slap – and move onto the next worrisome thing on the agenda.
    🙂 x

  13. Toni

    Sorry for throwing you off your groove but I have feet planted firmly in both camps. I worry about everything, esp when it comes to my kids.
    Some days I wish I could take off my own head and just rest a while.

  14. ClaireyHewitt

    I am certainly a post worry type. I am too busy worrying about the next thing to be worried about what has just happened.

  15. Deb

    I don’t get overly anxious, but I am a worrier – if that makes sense. Naturally I only worry about the little things NOT the big things, which is a worry in itself!

  16. noelani nadine

    oh, i am totally a worry bug. and just like you, i worry beforehand. i like things in order and i like being prepared for everything that is to come.

  17. Maxabella

    Oh I do all the worrying AFTER the fact. I made snap decisions that I worry zip about, based on pure fantasy and longing and later think ‘did I make too hasty a decision? Too emotional?’ x

  18. Tales of a Tai Tai

    Like Emily, I’m both. I worry before the decision and then worry after, worrying that I’ll regret the decision. It’s exhausting. I don’t do it all the time and sometimes not at all but I definitely have my moments. I think a lot of this comes from having so much choice! Great post Al! x

  19. Emily

    I’m both. It’s as fun as it sounds. But I probably worry more beforehand than afterwards. I imagine all sorts of scenarios, and have found that it is (hardly ever) never as bad as you can imagine.

  20. Lisa H

    I worry all the time. I worry that I’ve said the wrong thing to my children, my mother, the guy who makes my cappucino…so perhaps I’m the kind of person who worries AFTER the event. But then, is that worry or guilt? I don’t know. I live in a constant state of angst about any and everything most of the time. I know it’s getting really bad when I can sleep AND have diarrhea. Too much information? I think so…now I’ll worry and agonise over this comment. Lisa x

  21. Alison

    I think we worry about the future and regret the past – what we should or should not have done. But my mum is a worrier-queen and worries about both past and future. Fortunately that seems to have been a recessive gene that passed me by.

  22. therhythmmethod

    Anxiety is something that runs in my family, and at times I’ve suffered from it. That said, I’ve probably down-scaled my worries to worry-wart size (as opposed to terminal tumour sized) and like you, now I tend to only worry about big things, like ‘should we buy that block of land’, or ‘is it time for a bigger car?’ etc. Once the decision is done and dusted though, I don’t look back.
    There are people who post-worry: they are so busy looking back, sometimes they can’t see what’s immediately in front of them. I have a few relatives in this camp, and it’s prohibitive, to say the least.
    Great post. 🙂

  23. Kelly Exeter

    I can’t process the concept of worrying AFTER the fact so I think you’ve made that up Al!!

    But I am the world’s giant worry wart. Not only could I worry for Australia (and I do) I have a contingency plan for every potentially dangerous situation, like say, riding down a hill on my bike. I will continually scan ahead looking for where I can safely throw myself off said bike should the brakes suddenly fail!

    I blame books. Books have introduced me to a whole world of danger that I would otherwise never have known about.

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