From the website snopes.com
[Collected via e-mail, 2002]
The year 2002, a man finds himself locked in a walk in freezer. He is convinced he will die and begins writing letters. His letters end with a final passage where he is saying he can not write anymore because his fingers are beginning to freeze. When they find him dead, not only do they find the letters but they discover that the freezer’s temperature never dropped below 50 degrees. Thus, the man pretty much psyched himself to death.
[Van Ekeren, 1988]
The expression “worried to death” has more truth to it than you might think.
There is a story about Nick Sitzman, a strong, young bull-of-a-man, who worked on a train crew. It seemed Nick had everything: a strong healthy body, ambition, a wife and two children, and many friends. However, Nick had one fault. He was a notorious worrier. He worried about everything and usually feared the worst.
One midsummer day, the train crew were informed that they could quit an hour early in honor of the foreman’s birthday. Accidentally, Nick was locked in a refrigerator boxcar, and the rest of the workmen left the site. Nice panicked.
He banged and shouted until his fists were bloody and his voice was hoarse. No one heard him. “If I can’t get out, I’ll freeze to death in here,” he thought. Wanting to let his wife and family know exactly what had happened to him, Nick found a knife and began to etch words on the wooden floor. He wrote, “It’s so cold, my body is getting numb. If I could just go to sleep. These may be my last words.”
The next morning the crew slid open the heavy doors of the boxcar and found Nick dead. An autopsy revealed that every physical sign of his body indicated he had frozen to death. And yet the refrigeration unit of the car was inoperative, and the temperature inside indicated fifty-five degrees. Nick had killed himself by the power of worry.
My Personal Experiences:
When I returned from Vietnam, I had feelings of guilt and the memories of combat that haunted my mind daily. I would awaken after hitting a wall running from my demons. I was not in a good place then , but with the help of my faith, wife and family I started to focus my mind on the good things in life. My Father told me once that the past was for life lessons, but if you are always looking back you will miss all the wonderful things life has to offer in the present.
My darkest demons are now locked in my emotional Pandora’s box deep inside myself. They will stay there so I can enjoy my present and my future. No more ‘Stinking Thinking’ for me, my mind is now under my control, I am no longer under its control.
Moral of the story: You can control your response to a situation. Don’t let the situation control you.
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