Anxiety. It freaks you out.
Normally I don’t suffer from anxiety. Except when I feed a meter and nothing happens. Or, you see someone you know crossing the road. But they don't talk to you.
Anxiety is silly stuff, really. A lot of it triggers over nothing. But suddenly, it's comes over you in the strangest situations. And you feel like there's nothing you can do about it.
Like making packet gravy. You stir in the powder to make it up. Then keep stirring over heat to make it go thick. But when nothing happens the anxiety starts kicking in.
What if it never thickens and the rest of the meal is ruined? What if I develop a repetitive strain injury meantime? What if my excess stirring gouges the bottom of the pot? What if I'm stuck here, stirring until I die? And there's just a skeleton holding a spoon?
Once anxiety gets a foothold, it's like your mind gets hijacked ("Take this flight to Timbuktu! And keep calm. Or we will shoot you all!"). In your mind you become a quivering, nail-biting nervous Nelly of a mess. Even if on the outside you're as laid back as a lizard, soaking up the sun.
Like, when I applied for job as a casual waiter and had to dress up as a mad hatter and hand out leaflets on the street corner. Was fine a first. Then the anxiety kicked in.
What if I have to keep doing this job my whole life? I could get typecast. What if I get stick and can't get this outfit off? How am I going to explain this on a resume? What if I catch a disease from the person who wore this outfit before? How am I going to get up if I fall over? People are laughing at me already. What's going to happen if I slip over and lie on the ground like a fly waving my arms and legs in the air trying to get help. I could die in this costume and nobody would even notice..."
Stupid, I know. But anxiety is like that. Your mind can be like an undisciplined child, running off to ridiculous places. Then it dumps you there. In a big wallowing puddle.
But at least with my mad hatter career, I needn't have worried. Because they didn't give me anymore work, when they actually had to pay me (Pancake Parlour are you listening?!).
Yeah, I know. Anxiety is no joke. Except that it's often a bit ridiculous. Especially all the what ifs that trigger it off.
"What if my wife is keeping secrets from me?"
"What if she is seeing... another man?"
"What if... what if... she isn't seeing another man? Because...because... She's BLIND?! (And how dangerous is it that she is still driving?!)"
I'd like to think being tickled could cure anxiety. But it would probably just annoy the heck out of you. Then, you'd probably want to thump whoever was tickling you. Then get into a foul mood about it. Then start worrying that you've offended them. Start feeling like you're the worst person in the world for not wanting to be tickled. Start feeling anxious that your lack of ticklishness has deeply upset them.
Probably best not to tickle people in a state of anxiety. Just get them a cup of tea or coffee. Or, something. Be nice to them. And tell them... tell them they make nice gravy. Will it help? No idea. But it won't hurt.