The battle of overthinking
Sometimes I feel like my brain is on a constant hamster wheel that just does not stop. It’s like it is on overdrive all the time thinking about things that are not even relevant. It will literally be 1 am and I will be wide away, laying in my bed thinking about something I did or said that may have been weird or dumb to someone that probably won’t ever see me again. I overthink everything that I do, everything that I say. Believe it or not Christmas and birthdays are actually a horror show for me. That is when I get hardly any sleep because I am wide awake in bed, thinking about if the person will like the gifts I got them, thinking I didn’t get them enough or that they already have it. I just want to scream at myself and say “JUST ENJOY THE SPECIAL TIME!” but of course my brain has a different plan.
I know I am not the only overthinker in this world. There are so many people who battle with this everyday. I get picked on so much in my family (in a loving way) for how much I overthink. I mean you know it is bad when it takes several minutes just to call and schedule an appointment, because I have to think about every little thing that I might need to say. I want to share a few things that I struggle with as an overthinker. I also want to share things that I have started to do recently that have helped me to ease my mind a little bit. As an overthinker, also comes with a lot of anxiety (at least for me) and there are certain things I have done that ease that anxiousness.
Battle Number One:
MAKING PHONE CALLS!
Now when I say “making phone calls” I don’t mean to my mom or boyfriend or anything like that. But I mean those types of phone calls that are very important to make but that bring so much anxiety to my mind because I have to make them. You know, like making a dentist appointment or rescheduling a dentist appointment. At 26 years old I still have not quite overcome the battle of having to make these phone calls. I literally wish I could be a child again just for a minute for the sole reason that I would not have to make the calls. I know, I know it’s weird. But please tell me I am not the only one that dreads this?!?
Get someone else to make the call… ( I always ask my mom even though I am a 26 year old grown up)! Totally kidding. 🙂
What has helped me is honestly writing down things that I need or want to say. Making an appointment doesn’t usually require a whole lot of conversation but when I am following up with my doctor or making an important call that may involve me answering questions, I write them out so I don’t forget. I even do this when I am placing a pizza order. I get super anxious and always worry I will forget what I am ordering so I always write down the order (even if it is only one pizza). Writing things down has helped ease my mind a ton! I don’t overthink as much, therefor I don’t get as anxious.
Battle Number Two:
This is something I overthink probably the most out of every other possible situation. If I am invited so a social gathering I literally think about the weirdest things. I think about the fact that I have to pee a million times a day and how weird people would think I am if I went pee more than two or three times in the duration that I was there. I think about the conversations that I might have and the lack of words I typically have, especially under pressure and stress. I think about what I will wear and how I don’t want to be over dressed or under dressed. I worry about the awkward silence occurring if I try to make a joke and no one understands it. I literally think about a million things that could go wrong and a million thinks that are probably not even rational. I am naturally a pretty awkward person because I am pretty shy and quiet when I first meet people so the whole time I am worried that people think I am stuck up or a snob because I don’t talk enough. Anyone else in this awkward/anxiety filled boat with me?
I don’t want to act like I have found the perfect cure to ease an overthinker during social interactions because I have not. I still struggle with this but I have found myself to be a little be more at ease during social interactions the more I have to endure them. I know it is not the ideal solution or maybe not even really be considered a “solution” at all but the more you go through it, the better it does become. I still have times where I will be laying in bed thinking about my previous interactions and overthinking it, thinking that I did or said something stupid but I also have come to the conclusion that it is okay. If I am anxious about an interaction, say an interview or a random conversation with a sales person I like to have the mindset that “if I say something dumb or totally look like an idiot, the chances of this person seeing me again are very slim”, that is a mindset that I have learned to live by. It might not be a complete solution but it definitely helps ease the mind.
This is one that I used to deal with far too often and would keep me up at all hours of the night. I enjoyed going to school but once I got to the age of having to do presentations, the day of the presentation was the absolute worst day ever, or so it seemed. As much as I loved school, the first days where always the toughest, that too would keep me up all night. I would think about where I would sit for lunch, what if I didn’t have any friends in my classes. What if I spilled my lunch all down my clothes. What if I ripped my pants (which did happen once and let me tell you I never forgot it). When I had to do presentations, that brought even more thoughts to my brain that I would constantly think about. I would think about the fact that I had to stand up in front of a room full of kids that were probably much smarter than me. I thought, what if I mess up. What if I forget something I am going to say and stumble upon my words. After the presentation I would lay awake thinking how much better I could have done and how I didn’t feel prepared.
Even though I am not in school anymore, I do have some advice I can give those who are going through school and or have to give presentations. If I could go back about 10 years, in my high school days especially, I would tell my 16 year old self to calm down, breathe and realize that, although it feels like my chest is caving in, it is not. And even though it may seem like the end of the world and that everyone is judging me, it is not and they are not and even if that are, they won’t remember. It also helps to think about how nervous most of them are as well. It wasn’t until I got to college did I realize that just about everyone dreads that very first day of school and not many people enjoy standing up and giving a presentation. Remembering that you are not alone is a huge help.
GIFT EXCHANGES/PURCHASING GIFTS:
I know I talked about this at the beginning of this post but I didn’t elaborate too much or give a solution to this situation. Just recently it was my boyfriends birthday, which as I mentioned birthdays and gift giving holidays can be a real struggle for me. I spend far too much of time time overthinking the gifts that I want to give them. I spend my time thinking that maybe they won’t like the gift or maybe I haven’t gotten them enough. I think about the possibility of them having this gift or someone else giving them this exact gift (which let’s be honest is pretty rare). I also get super nervous about actually giving them the gifts. No joke, my palms sometimes sweat when someone is opening a gift I have gotten them. I lay awake, thinking about the situation that will occur of them unwrapping my gift and what they might think. I know I sound like a loon. Maybe I am. But I’m almost positive I am not the only one that thinks these things either. Right? Please tell me I am not alone.
As I mentioned, I just experienced this with my boyfriend having a birthday recently. Although I still had a lot of anxiety and overthinking, I was able to decrease it a little by just not letting it take over. I try to remember that at the end of the day, it is a day to have fun, a day to celebrate and whatever happens with the gift giving, happens. They will either love it or they can return it ;). No but seriously, try to remember that the people in your life that love you and just want to spend a special day like a birthday or holiday with you, is not in it for the amazing presents or plans you may or may not have. This is something I have struggled with and have just recently started to realize. I know this might not be the perfect solution but trust me, it helps to think not about the situation, but just the fun of the occasion.
These are four of my BIGGEST situations that did/does cause me to lose so much sleep over, thinking about what all could go wrong. Not that I am free from the struggles but some of the things that I have started to do, have helped to not cause so much anxiety and overthinking. I am no expert but I like to share my struggles as well as what helps me. I hope this helps at least someone. It’s always helpful to me to remember that I am not alone in this battle!