I started going through “The Worry Cure” by Dr. Robert Leahy in the last post. So far I like it, but it certainly hasn’t cured my worry. Then again, I’m still only in part one of this book. In this post, I’m going to write down what my worry profile is, according to the results of the five tests I took in the book. They are actually very accurate and it’s good to know what is going on in my mind, because most of the time I didn’t even think about any of this consciously. But now I need to know how to solve it!
According to the book, I am a chronic worrier with a very high score on the Penn State Worry Questionaire. That means that I am above average even for a chronic worrier. That’s not good, but I’m not surprised either. I’ve been worrying my entire life. But not anymore. I’m tired of worrying. I’m tired of being unhappy because of my circumstances (but that’s a topic for another post). What score do you think you’d get?
The two things I worry about the most (according to the Worry Domains Questionaire) are finances and “aimless future.” Finances have been a concern my entire life, so I’m not surprised about that either. But “aimless future” was an interesting one. Apparently, I worry a lot about not living up to my full potential, not being the woman God created me to be. And once this was pointed out to me, I began to realize that it was very true. Look, I don’t want to be on earth to make money, pay bills, and die. That seems…pointless, doesn’t it? I know I’m on earth for a bigger purpose than that! And I don’t want to live a useless life. That’s why I decided to look up volunteering opportunities in our community. I’ll let you guys know how that goes in a later post. What kind of stuff do you worry about?
He also has a questionnaire that determines how you feel about worry called the Metacognitions Questionnaire. See, some people think that worry is a good and productive thing. And maybe small amounts of worry that actually lead to productive results are a good thing, but not for someone who is a chronic worrier like me. For us, the worry is debilitating, not motivating. Anyway, this questionnaire showed that I fear that my worry is uncontrollable and dangerous to my health, and I need to control my worry. That is exactly right because that’s what I feel every single day. How do you feel about your worry?
There is also an intolerance for uncertainty questionnaire that I did pretty poorly on. Apparently, I really hate uncertainty in life and it is one of the main things that causes me to worry. This is very bad for me and anyone like me because unfortunately, uncertainty is one of the few certainties in life. We are guaranteed to have uncertainties from our birth to our death. We never know what today, let alone the future, may bring. That is why God wants us to focus on today and enjoy our lives because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. And that’s something I really need to work on with the Lord’s help. Are you okay with uncertainty, or do you think you need help in that area like me?
Finally, I filled out the “My Personal Belief” questionnaire which I guess determines a few of your personality disorders based on the way you answer the questions. If you’re interested in your scores, you can click here and take the survey for yourself. My highest scores are “dependent”, “compulsive”, and “borderline.” Let me explain a bit about each one, in case you’re interested like I was (I had no idea what any of them really meant).
According to Psych Central, a dependent personality disorder has these symptoms:
- Has difficulty making everyday decisions without an excessive amount of advice and reassurance from others
- Needs others to assume responsibility for most major areas of his or her life
- Has difficulty expressing disagreement with others because of fear of loss of support or approval
- Has difficulty initiating projects or doing things on his or her own (because of a lack of self-confidence in judgment or abilities rather than a lack of motivation or energy)
- Goes to excessive lengths to obtain nurturance and support from others, to the point of volunteering to do things that are unpleasant
- Feels uncomfortable or helpless when alone because of exaggerated fears of being unable to care for himself or herself
- Urgently seeks another relationship as a source of care and support when a close relationship ends
- Is unrealistically preoccupied with fears of being left to take care of himself or herself
⇒While I don’t think these all apply to me right now, many did when I was younger and a few still apply to me today. I am afraid of being alone and I don’t think I could take care of myself. I know many people feel that way until forced into a position where they have no choice but to take care of themselves. But I think that might be why I went straight from my parents’ home to my husband’s, because I really, really didn’t want to live on my own. I don’t like making decisions because I’m afraid of making the wrong one. I would prefer for someone else to take responsibility for my life (like my parents or my husband), although I know my life choices are up to me and not other people. I don’t like always like disagreeing with the people closest to me because I’m afraid of making them angry and losing them, although I’m getting better at this one. There are a few other areas I struggle with, but those are the most important ones from the list.
Medline Plus explains about obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (OCPD) and how you can determine if you or someone you love may have it.
A person with OCPD is preoccupied with:
People with either OCPD or OCD are high achievers and feel a sense of urgency about their actions. They may become very upset if other people interfere with their rigid routines. They may not be able to express their anger directly. People with OCPD have feelings that they consider more appropriate, like anxiety or frustration.
A person with OCPD has symptoms of perfectionism that usually begin by early adulthood. This perfectionism may interfere with the person’s ability to complete tasks, because their standards are so rigid. They may withdraw emotionally when they are not able to control a situation. This can interfere with their ability to solve problems and form close relationships.
Other signs of OCPD include:
- Over-devotion to work
- Not being able to throw things away, even when the objects have no value
- Lack of flexibility
- Lack of generosity
- Not wanting to allow other people to do things
- Not willing to show affection
- Preoccupation with details, rules, and lists
⇒I can definitely relate to a lot of these. I’ve grown and matured over the years so many of these things aren’t as bad as they once were, but I still struggle with some of them. For example, I don’t like being angry or expressing my anger. Instead of voicing what is upsetting me, I shut down and become frustrated, anxious, and withdrawn. My husband is helping me to learn how to vocalize my feelings but it is a real struggle. I also have a need to follow rules of all kinds and feel awful if I break one, even if that one wasn’t important or won’t affect my future. I really love my routines and have gotten ridiculously angry in the past when someone would disrupt them. There are a few other things that I see in myself, while some I don’t. But it’s enough to make me think that I have a form of OCPD at least.
Finally, the National Institute of Mental Health explains the symptoms of the rather serious borderline personality disorder.
People with borderline personality disorder may experience extreme mood swings and can display uncertainty about who they are. As a result, their interests and values can change rapidly.
Other symptoms include:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
- A pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation)
- Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self
- Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating
- Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting
- Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days
- Chronic feelings of emptiness
- Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger
- Having stress-related paranoid thoughts
- Having severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality
Seemingly ordinary events may trigger symptoms. For example, people with borderline personality disorder may feel angry and distressed over minor separations—such as vacations, business trips, or sudden changes of plans—from people to whom they feel close. Studies show that people with this disorder may see anger in an emotionally neutral face and have a stronger reaction to words with negative meanings than people who do not have the disorder.
⇒Thank God I don’t have all the symptoms of this disorder, but I do have a few (none of the violent or self-harming ones). My interests change constantly because I get bored easily, although my values pretty much stay the same. I’ve always struggled with anger-management and tend to get angry about things that are irrational (and no, not just during my “period”). I definitely have mood swings throughout the day although they aren’t violent. But I can go from being really happy and at peace one moment and irrationally angry the next with no provocation (something my husband points out almost daily). I have not always had the best view of myself. I struggled with seeing myself as fat (I was almost anorexic in weight) for years no matter what anyone said to me. And I definitely have chronic feelings of emptiness. In fact, it bothers me that I rarely feel real joy or peace in my life and I have no idea why I don’t feel as passionately as many people do. In fact, most of the time I just feel apathetic (showing or feeling no interest, enthusiasm, or concern). That is why it is so important to me to find my joy and peace in the Lord and not in my circumstances, but even then I rarely feel anything. I don’t know why, but it is something that the Holy Spirit and I need to discover and work on.
Anyway, this is just a look into my psyche. Maybe you can see yourself in some of these descriptions. And I’m not just “labeling” things and saying, “Well, that’s just the way I am” and then allowing myself to continue on living that way or drugging myself to get rid of the symptoms. But I think that it’s important to know what is really going on in your head, otherwise, how can you let the Lord change it? Because these disorders are NOT part of the personality that God created for me (or you). They are part of the sin nature and need to be eradicated. I’m going to see what Dr. Leahy says further in his book, but I know that real change comes only from the Lord, not from man or science.
If you see yourself in any of this, have questions, comments or a story of your own to share, please post in the comments! I’d love to hear from you!