Anxiety and hypervigilance are weird survival tools that help you get through situations where you don’t have much control. For example if you are a small child in the 1970s freaking out about every plane that goes overhead at night in case it might drop an atomic bomb, you can use your fantastic imagination to create scenarios where you don’t immediately die and are just far enough from the blast radius to survive, and your verbal and organizational skills help you become a useful, valued, neighborhood level leader despite your crippling allergies, nearsightedness, and being 9 years old.
My sister and I will probably never stop lightly making fun of our mom for telling us, when we were little, never to go to bed wearing our bathrobes, because the sash of the robe might somehow accidentally get around our necks and strangle us while we’re asleep. (She denies this but we remember it independently.) Despite laughing about it, I can’t really bring myself to go to bed wearing anything with a sash and I probably transmitted this hot nonsense to the next generation (even if jokingly).
This is just to explain my mental state as, too lazy to find the key to my mailbox lock, I stick my hand through the slot and fish around in its murky depths to try and grab the letters. EVERY TIME I imagine different disasters that could happen and they are like, ridiculous but often visceral. Scorpions! A rat! An exploding surprise!
So here we are. Things that COULD be inside my mailbox waiting to GET my hand, in order of horribleness (increasing):
– A large, hairy tarantula
– A rat (dead)
– A murky ball of pure magical evil that taints my very soul
– A nest of angry fire ants
– More Shen Yun flyers
– A rat (alive)
– A scorpion
– A small, mailbox-shaped, vat of acid
– A bomb
– Someone else’s chopped off body part, like an ear or a foot
– The gom jabbar, and I am not the Kwisatz Haderach
– The gom jabbar, and I AM the Kwitsatz Haderach
– A ghastly hand that shakes hands with me
I’m sure there is more but those are all the things that immediately spring to mind. Remind me again how this can be explained away as a “survival skill”?
On the more serious side, i think it IS useful to have all the possible disasters occur to you, as long as you have the power to realistically assess their likelihood and prevent them (if likelly) or dismiss the thought (if ridiculous)!
Please do suggest your own horrible options and their position in the chart, in comments.