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  1. Mona was driving toward the hospital, beside herself with worry for her husband.

  2. Mona was driving toward the hospital, out of herself with worry for her husband.

  • Is the phrase "beside oneself with" used naturally here?

  • Is the second sentence also possible (to mean the same)?

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    Idiomatic to be beside oneself (out of one's wits, out of one's senses, usually because very angry) was first recorded in 1490. But for centuries it's been a fixed set phrase that's not "linguistically productive" (it hasn't led to any new usages). You can say someone is out of their mind, or scared out of their wits, but we don't normally say someone is out of themselves. And if someone did say I was out of myself I'd probably interpret that as meaning "spaced out" or "daydreaming" rather than "angry" anyway. Feb 28 '21 at 18:22
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Mona was driving toward the hospital, beside herself with worry for her husband.

Sounds totally natural and correct. Here is the definition from Merriam-Webster in case it helps.

Mona was driving toward the hospital, out of herself with worry for her husband.

This one I haven't heard before. Maybe you meant "out of her mind with worry"? I searched for this to see if it is common or if I could find a definition, no luck. The most similar phrase I could find means something entirely different (to talk oneself out of something OR to take you out of yourself).

I took a look at Google NGrams and it seems to confirm that "beside herself with" is more typical than "out of herself with".

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