Dear Annie: Am I strange? I like to keep my house clean and neat. In addition, I check for items that may need fixing so the house is not in disrepair. Although friends and family think I am “anal,” I do not feel that I am obsessive.
I also have many fears, some of which are entirely baseless. I am in anguish if I have to travel on a highway, imagining worst-case scenarios. Five years ago, my husband and I started driving 1,500 miles for our winter vacation. (Flying is too expensive.) With speed limits up to 70 mph, I am scared out of my mind. Last year, on the day of our trip, I awoke with a migraine and started to vomit. Another trip is coming up in the fall. I might as well have a heart attack and get it over with.
I believe I inherited this type of thinking from my mother. I am sure that I am not alone with these problems. Can we change who we are? Please do not suggest counseling. – Too Clean, Too Fearful
Dear Too Clean: You can change if you are motivated to do so. We aren’t concerned about your clean house. You may be a little more attentive than most people, but it doesn’t sound as if your cleanliness is out of control. Your fear of highway travel, however, is an anxiety issue. A combination of therapy and medication is quite effective, but since you are not interested in therapy, look into alternative treatments such as relaxation techniques, acupuncture and yoga. For more information, contact the Anxiety and Depression Association of America at adaa.org.
To all of our Jewish readers: A happy and healthy Rosh Hashanah.