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I Freak Myself Out

I assumed I must be crazy, which I think is the default for any of us who go through something and keep it to ourselves.

So, because Joe Bunting prompted me to write something vulnerable, I decided to go full-bore and announce a thing that might make you think I’m nuts.

I assumed I must be crazy - which is the default assumption when we go through things and keep them to ourselves Click To Tweet

Here’s what happens: when there is a possibility of anything happening (which is all the time because life), my brain spins a wild and horrifying tale of what might go wrong.

  • Have to leave the house? It might burn down and kill our cats because they won’t be able to get out and they’d suffer and it would be horrible and I can hear their panicked meows and feel their growing fear as they cry for us to come rescue them but we were too late and they died waiting for us and we were too late.
  • Husband’s changing the oil? The jack might break and the car could crush him and I wouldn’t know because I’m upstairs and I’d be futzing around in the kitchen making him something yummy because I love him and finally wondering where he is but by the time I come down his blood is cold on the pavement and it’s too late I’m too late there’s nothing I can do but scream.
  • I went to the restroom in a public place? Flesh-eating bacteria might just eat my face. (It’s okay to laugh at that one. I saw an episode of America’s Next Top Model once where some girl got that on her face for NO REASON, and it has haunted me ever since.)

Okay, so, see, I do NOT actually live in fear of these things happening. I travel and drive and pee in public restrooms all the time (TMI? TMI!), and all without second thoughts of flesh-eating bacteria or smooshed spouses.

I’m sitting in the cafeteria of a HOSPITAL right now (my husband is undergoing Stuff), and I’m not freaking out or wiping things down or imagining the hyperbaric chamber exploding (except right then, but it doesn’t count).

But there are weird times when fear grabs me. Last night was a great example (and the reason for this post). Now, see if you can follow the logic-fail of the situation:


  1. We have two cats, one of whom is young and incredibly clumsy.
  2. She was downstairs.
  3. I heard a noise downstairs.
  4. I promptly envisioned thugs with guns, and when my husband graciously offered to go down and check it out, I THEN envisioned him getting killed because he had a flashlight so they’d see him coming and I would end up weeping over his body and begging the bad guys to kill me too because horrible bad brain bad horrible.
  5. Finale: it was the cat in the bathroom, nothing happened, and we went to sleep.

You see? For a few moments there, I was gripped with completely illogical fear, all based on a wild story my brain spun. It lasted seconds. They were horrible seconds, but only seconds.

Now, to be fair, I do this storytelling with good things, too – but I find that disturbs people a little less.

I have just discovered my husband thinks like this, too.

I had no idea until this very afternoon. I assumed he didn’t because hey, I must be crazy, which I think is the default for any of us who go through something and keep it to ourselves.

Spoiler alert: I’m not crazy, and you might not be, either.

So what about you?

Seriously. Do you feel this way? I know I’m not crazy – there’s no obsession, no impact at all on life because these are just horrific daymares – but it helped me A LOT to realize I wasn’t alone.

Feel free to comment or ask questions. Tell me if how you feel.

Also, don’t forget to thank Joe for coming up with this idea in the first place. Now that I know I’m not the only one, I feel a whole lot better.

By Ruthanne Reid

Ruthanne Reid is one of those pesky fanfiction authors who made good, and thus eschews most labels. Except for being a Generation X-er (or maybe Xennial, according to some guyโ€™s webpage), a musician who loves music but also carries a ton of baggage about it, a self-taught graphic artist who designs her own covers, a spoonie who wrestles Fibromyalgia not unlike yon Hercules and the Nemean lion, a Christian who hesitates to use the word because too many of them are crazy but Jesus is pretty great, a rabid shipper whoโ€™s too smart to lay out precisely which ships because of the wars, and an avid reader when she isnโ€™t busy caretaking for some pretty ill folks.

You know. Unlabelable.

Currently a resident of Long Island City and a loving mommy to one current cat and numerous future ones, Ruthanne is happily married to a fellow geek who loves good stories and great games as much as she does. Between the two of them, they own a lot of things that need to be plugged in.

8 replies on “I Freak Myself Out”

Interestingly I was just talking about this with my friend/boss! I work at a day care and it makes me nervous to have kids walking through or standing in the kitchen when I’m cooking because I am afraid of something completely impossible or irrational happening; like I’m afraid I might pick up a hot pot of pasta and dump it on them or that knives might levitate off the counter and fly at them. Obviously I have no intention or desire to do something like that on purpose (and as far as I know I am not telekinetic!), but I still can sort of mentally envision it happening without any control over the “daymare” as you put it. I guess it stems from a natural concern about having kids in spaces where sharp or hot objects are in use, however many safety-precautions (many of which are even state-mandated) are in place and then my imagination takes that concern and runs. Honestly, it’s kind of nice to know I’m not the only one! I mentioned this concern to my boss who is very comfortable having kids around because she is a child-care pro and could basically do anything with an infant in arms and she wasn’t as worried about those things as me. I might also still be in that “but kids are really fragile and horrible things could happen!” phase that people without kids have, I’m told.

Wow, thanks for sharing! I really love that we’re not alone in this kind of craziness. Flying knives is definitely a concern! I’ve had fears of accidentally stabbing my husband while cooking… somehow. ๐Ÿ˜€

Thanks so much for sharing! Every time we speak this stuff, it loses some of its power.

If you’re nuts, I am too. And my mother. Both of us routinely picture horrible scenarios happening. I feel like it’s a way of self-preparation, or even feeling better about life because it’s not actually happening.

One has to wonder if it’s “nuts” when all of us do it! Thanks for sharing, Sara. It’s crazy that it seems like it doesn’t actually prepare us at all – just makes us too wired to handle things when it’s down-time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Been there, done that! Thanks for letting me know you feel the same.

So glad to know I’m not alone. Every time we travel, I always imagine what might happen if the plane/car crashes, how will the kids find out, what will they do, how long will the dog be left at the kennel before someone realizes where he is…. I’ve heard it said that women worry about things that might happen, while men worry about things that have happened (happening again). I also remind myself that worrying is letting my imagination take me where I don’t want to go. Thanks for the assurance I’m not crazy. ๐Ÿ™‚

You’re definitely not! Thank you for sharing your thoughts. ๐Ÿ™‚ This whole experience just reinforces the truth that if we share our fears and sorrows, they lose power over us.

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