Overthinking is one of those symptoms of mental illness (or just being human) where you just don’t notice it anymore. Once you live with something for so long, you don’t even think about it. You just accept that it’s part of you. Every single day it’ll happen to you, and the amount of times that you actually notice it happening are near 0.
I overthink sometimes to the point where everyone else has to tell me I’m being ridiculous because it’s that bad. I just can’t stop myself. A regular thought process would possibly be something like: maybe that bump I heard was a cat, but maybe it was someone trying to break into the house. If they break in, I don’t have a weapon. Why don’t I have a weapon in my house? I’m going to die if they come in. Then I just spend the rest of the night staying awake and expecting my death.
I can sit there and tell myself that I’m being stupid as much as I like. I can tell myself all the positive things in the world – your house is in a safe neighbourhood, nobody has ever broken in before, etc. It doesn’t do anything, I just can’t stop my brain from running away with its crazy idea’s and deciding it’s the truth. I don’t even just overthink massive things like a break in or death – it’s the smaller things that can be really hard to deal with.
Sometimes I’ll just overthink going to the shops. I can write 4 lists and I still don’t believe I’ve remembered everything I need to get. Maybe I’ll just sit there procrastinating it because I’m scared I’ll be in a horrible car accident. I’ll even overthink things like cleaning my room – “maybe I don’t have to do it today. If I do it today, then I’ll have to do it again before that event anyway. Nobody hoovers their room every week, who does that? I’m weird for wanting to hoover my room every week.”
Sounds ridiculous, right? That’s because it is.
Overthinking is definitely a silent killer. You don’t have to have a mental illness to overthink everything, and that’s the worst part. You can just be going about your day and suddenly you’re overthinking every last move you make. There aren’t many ways you can stop it, either, unless you have extremely good self control. I definitely do not have good self control. There is only a certain amount I can deal with.
It’s mental suicide. You’re pushing yourself into situations that didn’t exist to begin with, and then worrying about those situations as if they were real. You’re creating a life for yourself which is full of danger, when really you’re in no danger at all. Do you know how exhausting it is to live in fear all the time? To be scared of everything you see, hear, touch, smell? There aren’t enough minutes in your life to spend avoiding things because you’ve sat at home and convinced yourself it’s bad. However, that’s just how it is for me.
I want to be able to live my life without worrying about everything – without this fog in my head. I don’t know whether it’s anxiety, or just my personality, but either way I don’t want it anymore. Being able to go outside without worrying if I’m going to die that day or I’m going to get injured would be amazing. I even worry about other people – what if that’s the last time I ever speak to my mum? As if when I leave, she’ll suddenly drop dead. It’s morbid, and it makes me upset, and then it ruins the rest of my day.
The need to be reassured that these things aren’t going to happen is a vicious cycle of its own. You get reassurance, you believe them, and then an hour later the fear comes back. You get reassurance again, and then the cycle starts all over again. That’s why I was warned right at the beginning of my therapy that I wasn’t to check for reassurance more than a set amount of times per day. Breaking the cycle of checking and reassuring yourself is the toughest thing you’ll ever have to do. You’re left to fight your brain by yourself.
It’s OK when you’re arguing with someone else about a subject – they have their own opinions and idea’s of what the situation is. What do you do when you’re fighting with yourself every day? One side is going to be stronger than the other, and that’s just the end of it, so how do you win? I still don’t know the answer to that question. I think I avoid, avoiding things. Which again, is another massive cycle and completely ironic.
When I figure out the answer to stopping yourself from overthinking, I’ll let you know. I guess for now we’re just all in this together. Maybe we’re not as much of a minority as we think.