Fear and paranoia…run in the family

My uncle called me this morning at 5:47am. I only have a fuzzy recollection of the conversation, but it went mostly like this: Is Jess ok? I got a call just now from D’s phone and when I checked the message there was nothing but the sound of running water. Ok. Did you try calling her? Yes, but her phones don’t work. A little bit of panic creeps in…They don’t work or she’s just not picking up? She’s not answering. Whew.

He was genuinely concerned. He was thinking about driving down to her house to check up on her. I told him I’m sure D (Jess’s husband) just butt dialed his number while he was getting ready for work (though it did seem awful early to be getting ready for work). My uncle: No, I don’t think so. D never calls me. On the message…all it was…just the sound of…running water. Water, like from a faucet. He was so upset about that running water.

I told him that I thought she was fine. He asked when we’d last talked, I said we’d just texted a couple of days ago and she sounded totally fine. Ok, but if he doesn’t hear from her soon, he’s driving down there…then, How are you doing? I wanted to tell him I wanted to go back to sleep, but I told him I was fine instead.

After we got off the phone, it occurred to me that this jumping to the worst conclusion when something slightly awry occurs and strikes a chord of fear, or even just a twang of fear, must be a genetic thing in our family. Just a couple of weeks ago my sister texted me to say she thought someone was going to kill her. I’ve thought the same thing before in the same irrational way where the fear isn’t based on any real threat, just the imaginary one I’ve built up in my head. And I myself have done the same thing my uncle has done — a good friend of mine butt dialed me early, early one morning and left a message that was nothing but street noise and of course, I immediately thought she’d been kidnapped and raped. And I too called her immediately and got no answer.

All of these situations turned out just fine — just products of overactive imaginations. But it makes me start to wonder about the genetics of paranoia…

Leave a Reply