According to the New York Times, anxiety tops the chart in the mental illness hit parade. Yay, we’re number one; we’re number one.
Before we celebrate, understand, according to this article and the attendant research, anything that doesn’t feel particularly good falls under the heading of general anxiety. Worry about finances, dread over natural and manmade disasters, fear of flying or water or heights or disease. The nagging feeling that whenever the bell tolls, it tolls for me.
Have you ever had trouble sleeping? Do you ever self-medicate? Do little things irritate you disproportionately?
About that last one.
Yeah, well, maybe so. I have a list of major sources of irritation, made up of things so trivial, that the fact they bother me really, really bothers me and keeps me awake at night and drives me to self medicate.
Fortunately, my list does not include the top five words and phrases which, according to a Marist college poll, most irritate Americans.
It’s a benign, unimaginative list, and includes some phrases that really are quite necessary if one doesn’t want to sound like a windbag pundit. “Anyway,” for example, and “you know.” Why not just take “and” away from us and be done with it.
If masses of people were sputtering “ergo” or “heretofore,” that would be a different matter. But even the apparently hated “whatever” surely has a place in daily dialogue.
I suppose if a tolling bell with my name on it were poised atop my head, ready to explode, I could come up with a pretty ordinary phrase that grates on me no end: “This particular point in time.” I don’t have to parse all its problems for you, for YOU, who unfailingly correct my grammar on a daily basis. The perfectly adequate “now” or “then,” depending on the context, could take the place of that jumble.
Whatever. You know, at this particular point, I’m not going to lose any sleep over it. Anyway, not when it's time to self medicate.