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Tips for trying not to obsess while awaiting medical test results

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Tips for trying not to obsess while awaiting test results

D.C.: I'm waiting for some test results to come back. I feel anxious and am dwelling on how I will handle it if the worst occurs. Many people probably go through this holding pattern at some point. How can one deal with it? I could use some rational perspective here, before my weekend is ruined!

Carolyn: If you do get bad news, what is it that you'll wish you had done before you got your bad news?

There are always limits to the forced-imagination answers — including, for example, the career-exploring "What job would you want if you won Powerball tomorrow?" (A: margarita taster). But they can help you focus.

If you'll wish you had traveled the world, then you're asking a bit too much of a weekend, but you can explore one of the mountains, waterways, amusements, historic sites or cities within a few hours' drive of Washington. If it's to spend time with people you love, then see who you can see on short notice, or just call to say hi. And so on.

None of this will stop you from worrying. It can give you purpose, though, which has a way of moving the clock.

And, hey, good luck.

Wife wants comedian husband to cut out jokes in the bedroom

No Laughing Matter: My husband is very funny — all the time — and 99 percent of the time I love him for it. He is also, always, a comedian in the bedroom, and well, sometimes I just want a little passion. I have told him this — which usually results in a Pepe Le Pew-type performance. I realize this is not much of a problem in the scheme of things, but I'm wondering how I can get a little hot and heavy lovin' every once in a while.

Carolyn: Well, ahem. If he's as insecure as he sounds, then it is much of a problem. Humor is the oldest intimacy-deflector there is: You never risk looking stupid if it's all just a joke, right?

That's why I don't think the problem is likely to change much. Maybe things will improve with time, either as you present him with a persuasive abundance of evidence that you love him, or just as he gets tired of maintaining the front — but your best chance will be if he feels safe with you.

So do say something, but not about sex. Confronting someone who's already insecure on the exact subject that represents almost everyone's greatest vulnerability is not a great idea.

Instead, describe the way his constant joking has you feeling like you're always at arm's length. Make it about loving him 100 percent, his humor 99 percent and the idea of sincerity a mere 1 percent.

Anonymous: Re: Defense mechanism: It's mine. The humor. I was once told, as far as defense mechanisms go, this one isn't all that bad. What are the potential dangers?

Carolyn: There are worse defenses, but any defense is going to keep you from getting close to people. Constant jokes send the message that you don't take anything/anyone seriously. At some point, you need to show real concern for someone, real gratitude for someone, real empathy for someone, and you can't do these with a joke.

That's the danger.

Tips for trying not to obsess while awaiting medical test results 07/06/09 [Last modified: Monday, July 6, 2009 6:16pm]
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