Overthinking is something that I have always struggled with. Before being diagnosed with anxiety, I always wondered if it was normal to think and worry as much as I did. I remember being a little kid and wondering if everyone else was the same. “Is there something wrong with me” is what I always asked myself.
As an overthinker, you take even the smallest of situations and string it out to be a whole ordeal. Personally, I can spend days being stressed and anxious about a situation that someone else might take lightly. As a result, it makes it impossible for me to pay attention to anything else such as school or work. I spend days wondering “what if”. What if I did this instead? What if this? What if that? I find myself replaying a situation over and over again as if it’s a movie.
You feel as if the thoughts will never end. They’re going in circles. You keep replaying the situation in your head. Replaying it over and over again, wanting to change it. You cry, you scream, and you may even laugh. Realistically, you know that no amount of thinking or worrying will really change anything but the thoughts and worries aren’t something that you feel like you can change. It’s debilitating and creates irrational fears. You end up fearing the world that you are in.
What do I do then?
Firstly, don’t be too hard on yourself. One important lesson that I’ve learned so far is that you can’t blame yourself. In the beginning, I hated myself for being an overthinker. I hated how it stopped me from enjoying my life and how it affected my performance in work and school. What I later realized that this is not something that I can necessarily control. You can’t blame yourself for doing something that you don’t have full control over. Always be kind to yourself.
Secondly, learn from your past. But also know that it takes time to figure out your thoughts. With time you will learn to recognize your negative thinking pattern and be able to catch them before they get worse.
Thirdly, use distractions. Although it is difficult to completely get rid of your thoughts and worries, having distractions can help. Do something that you love and enjoy. Whether that be singing in the shower, writing in a journal, or cooking your favourite meal! While your thoughts and worries may make you feel like it is impossible to do, try! Personally, I love writing out my thoughts and feelings during times like this. Hence, this blog post! Even as I am writing this I feel my thoughts and worries wanting to peep through. While it’s not a cure, it is helpful.
At the end of the day, I know that my worries aren’t going to resolve themselves overnight. I know that it’s something that I’ll have to continually work on. But what I’ve learned to do is to be okay with it. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed at times. Just remember that this doesn’t have to be a permanent thing. This is just another hurdle that will make you stronger than ever.