I was ruminating about what to write about last night. I told my husband: "I'm supposed to blog about my favorite neurosis."
"You have to pick just one?" he said.
Sigh. Yes, my neuroses are many and varied. But I will choose just one to focus on...catastrophizing.
Catastrophizing is something of a classic neurosis. It goes beyong pessimism. It's not only expecting the absolute worst, it's anticipating the end of the world. In my imagination, a light left on can become a house fire that devours everything. The cat's hairballs are a symptom of serious digestive ills. Failure to check the transmission fluid levels on the car monthly can result in a breakdown. And on and on. What if..? What if..?
My imagination can turn a paper cut into MRSA and certain death. Sure, it's exhausting. There's a whole lot of stuff to keep track of in life. Mostly, I keep my shit together and life cruises along as it should. My brain will shift gears into worst case scenario mode once in awhile. Then, it's time to take a nap, do some yoga, and get over myself.
But I have managed to find the silver lining in an overactive imagination.
It helps me write.
What's the worst thing that can happen to my protagonist? My fingers fly across the keyboard as I imagine the worst of the worst. Dragons. Fire. Radiation sickness. Broken relationships. Ruined career. I keep flinging it at her, like a monkey with a cageful of poo. I can conjure destruction from serene nothing, and I'm sure gonna exploit that ability in a way that serves me.
Feel bad for my protagonist. I sure do.
But any weakness has a flip side strength. My neuroses, to be fair, occasionally distract me from everyday life. But I wouldn't trade them in for anything. They help me create a world with a chain reaction of bad events, to trip up my heroine and send her face-down in the mud. She always gets back up.
And I know that I would, too, if the sky ever fell in on me.