For some people, anxiety doesn’t come from any specific source or thought, whether it be a single one or multiple thoughts. For others, it’s an overwhelming number of different thoughts and sources of worry. For me personally, it’s usually just one single thought that can put me through an anxiety episode. Something that gets my heart racing fast, gets my hands shaking, and my stomach twisting. While having one of these episodes, all I can do is sit and stay in the same place for a prolonged period of time. I feel frozen in place and stuck in time. The source of my anxiety is all I can think about (with dozens of different images from completely unrelated things cycling through my head as I discussed in a previous blog post). I can’t watch any movies or TV shows I haven’t seen before because a) I won’t be able to focus long enough to enjoy them and b) whatever conflict or drama the characters experience only makes me feel more anxious. I’ll drink a lot of water, try to pray, and try to start a conversation with someone via call or text so that I don’t feel alone.
It can be a challenging struggle, and will usually last a couple hours. I’ll end up spending a significant amount of time analyzing the source of my worries, and even if I have enough evidence to support that there’s nothing to worry about in the first place, my mind keeps searching, constantly feeling as though something isn’t right, until I’m too tired to keep thinking and I just sleep. It’s tiring, overwhelming, and simply no fun. It has been a periodic thing for me growing up, and while those episodes are not nearly as frequent for me as they used to be, once in a while I’m reminded of some of the things I’ve had to endure growing up, as someone who has fought with anxiety, and someone who has the tendency to overthink things and analyze the smallest details. This insistence on uncovering the most insignificant of things is part of the source of my anxiety, because if I struggle to find a solid answer in my analysis, I grow worried about what I could be missing or that something is seriously wrong.
You’d think that with how increasingly deep I get in my analyzing, I’ll end up tearing a hole in the universe itself, exposing a whole new one beyond. Being an analyzer and an overthinker has its merits for sure, but anxiety is guaranteed to come as a side effect, which is why a little more mindfulness in how you want to proceed thinking about something is important. You need to ask yourself the question: Is it really something worth looking into?
One way that has actually helped me from overthinking about meaningless things, therefore getting anxious over it, is to just shrug and say ‘I don’t know’. When you’re about to overthink something, it already means that you don’t know the answer, and it doesn’t matter how much time you spend analyzing it on your own, you’re never going to find the right answer. By just saying ‘I don’t know’, it’s being humble and confessing that you really don’t know all the answers and that that’s okay. It’s shutting down the endless, anxiety-ridden train of thought before it even has the chance to begin.
People who overthink may be smart, but not a single person knows every answer about the universe. In certain situations, it’s okay to shrug, be humble, and just admit that you don’t know. It’ll save you from a lot of trouble in the future.