I'm the ‘Queen of Overthinking.' This Is What It's Like to Be in My Head.
I am the “Queen of Overthinking.” I have been known to spend hours analyzing why I’m overthinking, so basically I overthink why I’m overthinking. I often feel like I have a three year old child in my head asking ‘but why?’ every second of the day.
Routine is like a best friend to many people who have anxiety, but new situations are a nightmare. You find yourself thinking about every possible outcome and every “what if” and you need to find a solution to all of them or you don’t feel prepared. You would be surprised to find out how many possible outcomes there are for what many perceive to be a simple task.
My mind races completely out of control, darting from one obscure thought to another and I never seem to get a break. Even when I’m asleep, my brain races out of control like a runaway train. I’ve always been like this, but my solution was to keep busy. A busy mind doesn’t dwell on the negative thoughts. An active mind is a positive thing if you need to solve problems and accomplish things. Any “normal” person can distract themselves by watching TV, reading a book or chatting to friends, but when you have severe ME/CFS even the slightest activity is exhausting and painful.
Since my physical health deteriorated, I’ve had to face the negative thoughts I’ve been distracting myself from for years. At my worst, I couldn’t even hold a conversation, so distracting myself the usual way was impossible. I therefore had to find another way or face my demons. It didn’t go well to begin with. I was in panic mode 24/7. I couldn’t sleep or even get a moment’s rest from the relentless onslaught going on inside my brain.
After weeks of not sleeping and suicidal thoughts I knew something had to change. I had already begged for help from my GP, consultant and mental health crisis team, but they weren’t geared up to help someone as physically and mentally ill as I was. I researched what I could and came across mindfulness meditation. It certainly wasn’t easy or a quick fix but I believe it saved my life.
Mindfulness meditation isn’t “mumbo jumbo” nor does it have to be spiritual or religious. It’s simply about taking time out from our busy lives to look after our mental health. It’s about accepting things as they are. It’s about being curious rather than judgmental or fearful. By focusing on the “now” rather than worrying about the future (or even the next five minutes) I can experience calm and help ease my anxiety and depression.
For me, it’s been an effective way to calm my overactive and anxious brain. It brings me down from a panic attack and relaxes me enough so I can sleep. It’s definitely not a quick fix and can take a lot of practice, but it really is worth the effort.
What experiences do you have with anxiety? What coping mechanisms do you use?
Getty Images photo via sSplajn