I am an over-thinker, and I have been one since I was little. My brain is always moving 20 steps ahead of a current situation, and I always see the end before something even really starts.
I hate not being in control of a situation or myself, or not knowing the outcome. I get scared and can totally induce a panic attack without even trying. I imagine bad things that will probably never happen and analyze everything beyond recognition.
It’s really annoying, actually.
But, I also know that I’m not alone. So many people have a hard time having firm grasps on their lives and can get so overwhelmed that they’ve lost themselves.
Life is totally hard sometimes, and it’s not just something that our generation alone faces.
Parents worry about sending their kids to college, we worry about finding the perfect job, high schoolers feel frantic about what they’ll study.
There are different levels of overthinking, but these are problems we undoubtedly face.
1. Sometimes we’re so stuck in our heads that we cause problems that don’t exist.
I am so good at this one. I can overanalyze something so far that I create a problem in my head that really, very seriously does not exist.
I can take a small comment and run it over through my mind so many times that I forget what the original comment even was.
And then, it eats away at me. It bothers and annoys me and then, I don’t say anything because…
2. We’re worried that saying something will cause another problem.
We don’t want to confront the person who originally got to us because then, we’re stuck thinking about all of the possible scenarios and outcomes, and we imagine conversations before they even happen.
It’s likely that the conversations we imagine will not happen.
I’ve learned from experience that bringing up your in-your-own-head comment always leads to, “What are you talking about? Honestly, how the f*ck did you get there? That’s not even remotely what I meant.”
3. We constantly need others to calm us down.
Any time that I’m having a really big problem, I go to my friends and ask their opinions.
I tell them I’m freaking out and nervous and worried and scared and they either look at me or say very seriously, “You need to calm down. You’re making a glacier out of an ice cube. You have zero reason to be this worked up right now.”
And, nine out of 10 times, they’re right. I am taking something too far when it was so innocuous, or everyone else can see that I have nothing to worry about.
We need to be told that we’re being ridiculous and that we need to loosen up. If we don’t have that, we just bury ourselves deeper and that’s not fun.
4. We’re total insomniacs.
When your mind is constantly in overdrive, it’s hard to shut it down without a sleep aid. We can lose hours once our head hits the pillow.
Right when we're about to drift off, a thought enters our mind and we think, “Oh, God, how did I stop thinking about that? I must pore over it forever now.”
And then, we end up never sleeping or having very poor sleep schedules. There’s something about the dark and the total stillness that just gets to us. It sucks — it’s totally unhealthy and we should, for sure, try to stop it.
5. We can be a little unbearable sometimes.
Throughout my life, I have discovered that when I have let overthinking become a problem, I can be unbearable and a little hard to be with.
My friends get annoyed, my family gets mad and my boyfriend has to tip-toe around what he says when I’m in full swing. It’s not something that I enjoy, and it makes me stop and look at what I’m doing.
You never want to be the person who someone doesn’t want to offend or upset with the slightest comment.
Being present is one of the most important lessons I’ve recently learned. We, over-thinkers, need to calm down and think about where we are at this exact moment.
We need to look at this and think to ourselves, “Maybe this isn’t so bad if we just take it week by week, day by day, hour by hour.”
We just have to keep ourselves grounded instead of deep in our self-made trenches.
This is why while our 20s are such an annoyingly difficult transitional period that never stops presenting change (the intangible kind, not the coin kind), we have to re-evaluate.
We have to stop being so far ahead of ourselves. What’s going to happen will happen, and we have to understand that we don’t always have control.
Bumps in the road happen and we have to deal with them as best we can. How do we know that the outcome we want won’t happen? We don’t.
While things can hurt, sometimes devastate us and totally knock us off our game, we have to accept the lack of control. We can totally do this.
We have to remain positive and focused and have our hearts and minds set on what we want. We can take all of that negative thinking and turn it into imagining what we want and how to get it. It's amazing how helpful doing so can be.