SCIENCE SAYS: I May Be Neurotic But At Least It Probably Won't Kill Me

There’s a reason why every time I have a panic attack I am sure my heart is going to explode -- because there is research that indicates someday, it totally will.
Publish date:
December 31, 2012

One of the great things about worrying almost constantly is that you always have something to do, you know, with that spare time we all have piled up in abundance, the time normally reserved for felting life-sized replicas of our loved ones and crafting elaborate macaroni-based love aides.

When I say, “one of the great things” I mean probably the only thing. Unless you count uh, dying early -- in which case, Happy New Year, I have bought you a dictionary and also, can I hug you? Because I feel like maybe I should hug you.

Traditionally there is nothing good about being ye olde tyme neurotic. Even paranoiacs have perks. They get that quote, “Just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t all out to get me.” Neurotics don’t even get that. We just get pictures of Woody Allen and a constant sensation of unease.

We do have that story with the chicken who is all, “THE SKY IS FALLING, MOTHERFUCKERS”. But I’ll be real -- I say if you polled eight out of ten people, they would not remember how that story ends. They’d just remember that the chicken won’t shut up about Armageddon and seriously who needs that, right? Although "Armageddon" was a pretty good movie. Not a good as "Deep Impact," but that is neither here nor there.

I’m good at being neurotic. When some woman at the airport jokes in a tight voice about her fear of flying, I can stay silent with nothing to prove because I’m the bitch who insists on tapping the plane three times before I enter it. I am the best at agita.

If my day has gone well, I’ll still stare at the ceiling at night, a lead knot in my stomach sure that the glad tidings of the waking hours have all been but portents spelling out my doom. If a dude seems to smell what I am cooking, I can’t twirl in an adorable swirl of skirts before falling into his arms for a spell of coitus. Instead I stare at him askance, trying to picture him brandishing a chainsaw with a penchant for nomming on human-lady organs.

It shouldn’t be a surprise that being neurotic isn’t good for you. If being neurotic had any positives, the entire community of worry-warts and control freaks would crumble in upon itself, combusting into a cloud of well-being. In the past, neurotics have been assigned such health gems as “more prone to substance abuse” and “higher rates of inflammation,” which tend to fall into category “great,” subsection “duh.” There’s a reason why every time I have a panic attack I am sure my heart is going to explode -- because there is research that indicates someday -- it totally will. La la la, quick writing break because I have scared the ass out of myself.

Now it turns out that that neuroses I’ve been cultivating for nigh on a lifetime might actually be slightly less deadly than I believed. Hold onto your butts, guys -- because "conscientious" -- those who are organized, who plan ahead, who are always on time -- those type of neurotics have low levels of Interleuken. Which is science-talk for “less likely to have a chronic illness or suffer from inflammation.”

If that was still not clear enough for you, basically what this all means is that I’m the goddamn Highlander and I have within the blood of kings, along with a deeply rooted desire to sword fight* with Clancy Brown. (But who doesn’t, right?)

As far as I’m concerned, this is great news for everybody. Neurotics who fall into this category can pat themselves on the back and then get back to being quietly concerned that their temporary respite from madness might be their undoing health-wise. The non-health neurotics can add one more thing against them to the list of obsessive concerns and fears, and all you norms can continue going about your business, pleased as punch that your body’s biochemical makeup was not designed to send you into a tailspin of negative cognitive self-talk, oblivious to the fact that the only reason you made it from LA to New York is because I kept that goddamn plane up in the air with my carefully practiced rituals.

*penis joke?