My On-Going Battle With Overthinking
I get asked a lot about the title of my blog, with people wondering whether I have some misconceived perception of myself as ‘perfect’ even though that’s far from the truth! It actually strives from a longer piece of text, quoting “a perfectly put together mess.” The truth is you don’t have to look too deeply into my life, or writing, to understand the messy chaos that is my mind. A swirling mix of anxiety, with a severe need to overthink everything, my mind is a muddle of thoughts with as many ingredients as a long island ice tea – and bound to make me feel just as exhausted after indulging.
This is also me, melodramatic with a capital ‘M’ – combine this with my neurotic overthinking and a good does of paranoia (which I have in heaps) and you’ve got a girl who can continuously work herself into a downward spiral of insanity. This constant barrage of thoughts, that I can never really quiet, is describes by Forbes by 2 thought patterns – ruminating and worrying.
Ruminating involves rehashing the past, which is something that I don’t really do – I used to do this, but I’ve since told myself there’s no use in constantly questioning every past action. I don’t believe in regrets, something I have already shared with you, instead choosing to recognise them for the mistakes they are and learning from them. As long as I learn from my mistakes and failures then I don’t regret them. Similarly, there is no use in constant overthinking of people’s conceptions of me – their opinions are none of my business!
On the other hand, worrying involves negative predictions about the future. This is something I can hold my hand up for and say ‘heck yeah, I am guilty!’ A few weeks ago I couldn’t sleep because my mind just wouldn’t shut off. I’d just booked accommodation for my upcoming trip to Disney Land and for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I couldn’t sleep until I’d checked the travel time to the park (even though this was clearly stated in the description). It’s a good thing I did, because it turns out public transport was dodgy in those areas and it would’ve taken us an hour to reach Disney. Most people would’ve maybe cussed their mistake, gone to sleep and dealt with it in the morning.
Enter the overthinking.
I tried to do this, but physically couldn’t and wormed my way down into a rabbit hole of cancelling and rebooking accommodation, checking Paris metro maps, RER A prices and travel time until half 1 in the morning!! If that doesn’t point out my problem I don’t know what does.
With an example like that, it’s like a physical power telling me I have to check something, otherwise my head is just going to go round and round in crazy concentric circles! But it isn’t just that, sometimes I work myself into such a crazy state. Did you know that I can’t go on Tinder dates? Or Bumble? Or basically any online dating platform. I’ve been asked out for dates before but I’ve never gone through with them. I overthink them, combine them with my paranoia and tell myself that this guy, whom is probably lovely, is going to drug my drink or harass me and this will spiral to a detrimental effect until I’ve convinced myself this poor chap on Tinder is going to turn me into a skin suit!
I don’t think people ever really grasped the actual crazy amount of thinking I do – I mean why would they as it’s impossible to see inside someone’s mind – but I thought I’d let you into mine a little (bet you wish I didn’t!)
When I was younger, I believed that there could never be a moment when you weren’t thinking of anything. In my head, there was always something on my mind, so I simply believed that the brain always had to be thinking of something.
Every single opportunity I get; I paint the future that I would have with that opportunity. For example, I have recently talked on my Instagram of my upcoming adventure to be an Au Pair in America. When I first signed up for it, I mapped out this entire future for me – who my family were gonna be, where they would live, how many children, their names, the eldest son (who would be 23/24, undeniably beautiful and inevitably fall in love with me) and every minute detail. This is fun, and definitely shows I have a hyperactive imagination, but is actually a really bad trait of overthinking. Now I am actually talking to potential families and each one is being measured against this pseudo family – and naturally they cannot compete because my dream family had no flaws, nothing that made them normal or ordinary, because they were a fantasy conjured by my overactive mind.
You starting to see my problem here?
I think I need to stop – but I’m not quite sure how.
At least I am fully aware that I’m thinking too much, at least I’ve noticed and can acknowledge that my thoughts aren’t productive. That Forbes article I told you about, well they say that whilst overthinking isn’t helpful, looking for solutions is. What can I do to avoid my Tinder date going full American Psycho on me? Meeting in a public place is a strong place to start, bringing a friend, really obvious ideas, that seem really rational and sensible when someone suggests them to me – I just have to learn to suggest them to myself.
I don’t think I’ll ever not be an over thinker, I just think it’s in my DNA now and that’s that. But I guess I can start being rational and logical with myself. Maybe I just need someone to call me out on my crazy, to tell me to stop overthinking my overthinking even.
All that aside, there are some really great qualities of being an over thinker. For example, trust me when I tell you I love you, because, believe me, I have most assuredly thought of every reason not to. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how much I overthink. I can’t have an answer to every feeling or situation – that isn’t how life works.
We figure things out through living, through messing up, by missing opportunities and by seeking advice and sometimes not taking it. We learn what’s important and what isn’t and sometimes we have no idea what to do and it’s scary, but it’s ok. Just like with my hunt for an American family, I’m overthinking it, but everyone keeps telling me that once I know, I’ll know.
I guess we all need to remember to trust our gut and know that everything will work out exactly the way it is supposed to; it always does in the end. If it doesn’t - then it’s clearly not the end, my friend!
Stay Perfect, Messy People