Am I overthinking this?

If I met you in the street, I would have a perfectly normal seeming conversation with you, smile and chat, then we would part and you would not give a moments more consideration to the interaction.

I, however, I would spend the next few days agonizing over what I had said. Why did I say that? Why didn’t I ask more questions about you? Did I talk too much? Did I not talk enough? For I, dear reader,  am a Chronic Overthinker.

chronic overthinker

Me, pondering over a conversation with the local shopkeeper two years ago.

If I have a Wedding to attend, for example, I will worry for, literally, months beforehand about who I might be sat next to at the table, and what I might possibly have to talk to them about. If I am at a meeting at work, I will practice my contribution in my mind over and over again before I build up the courage to share it with the group. I will avoid a local shop and go into a garage in order to avoid exchanging niceties with the owner. I can literally remember word for word a conversation with a colleague where she slightly misunderstood what I was trying to convey – it happened around 12 months ago. If my son has a playdate, my main concern is the conversation I might have to have with the child’s mother and all the opportunities it holds for me to say the wrong thing. If my mam is on holiday and I don’t hear from her for a few days I convince myself she is lying dead or dying in some farflung country.

This is utter nonsense of course, but so is the fate of the Chronic Overthinker. The most simple and mundane interactions becomes a source of intense scrutiny. It is utterly exhausting and of course, totally futile.I know that you are not giving me a moment’s thought, I know you are not replaying our conversation over and over in your mind thinking ,’why did she say that, what an utter loon!’ I AM NOT THAT IMPORTANT;but being a CO also makes you self-obsessed.

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The worst part of being a CO is how it impacts on decision making, or rather lack of decision making. A Chronic Overthinker will run through every possible outcome of a situation, always of course dwelling on the worst case scenario. Don’t ever ask an Overthinker ‘What’s the worst thing that could happen?’ because they have considered every possible ramification, ending only with complete devastation and catastrophe. They become paralysed by indecision, terrified of making the wrong choice. I have maintained the status quo for so long in my working life because I was utterly terrified of making a bad decision and being in a worse position than I currently was. Turns out making no decision was the wrong decision – you end up in the same place  you always were, just with a few more grey hairs.

One of the reasons I started this blog was because I was tired of thinking so much. And do you know, I have actually started thinking less since I started writing. Well, not thinking less, but overthinking less. I am not spending my time agonising over trivial interactions because I have something more productive to think about. I am doing something. And I am so much happier, and, generally, less anxious. I can’t keep up with my mind as it ticks over all my ideas and plans.

So my advice for my fellow Overthinkers. Do Something. Do Anything. Just Do It.

*Disclaimer. Please don’t quit your job or leave your husband based on the ill-conceived ramblings of some woman on the Internet. Give it a little more thought.

 

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34 comments

  1. This makes so much sense! My husband and failed past relationships also hated this quality about myself. My husband thinks that I only think of negative things. I can’t shut it off. He or anyone I encounter can say the most simplest sentence or phrase and in a split second I will think of 10 other ways of what they said, how they said it and 10 different ways they meant it. I can see situations from so many angles. I have really bad insomnia because I just can’t shut it off and stop thinking about EVERYTHING! Even more so since my son got his diagnosis for autism and speech sound disorder a month ago. I can’t sleep, at work my mind is also somewhere else or making lists of things that need to be done. No one I ever meet or work with would suspect anything because I don’t show it EVER….Probably why I started blogging too. Get everything I think out…Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for reading – it is a terrible trait, and you have to work really hard to overcome it but being aware of it is the first step!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Really interesting to read that – my mum has always had similar reactions in some ways – generally assuming the worst and over thinking situations.

    I’ve got a few similarities – I will generally plan out the potential outcomes of every situation in advance but I’ve got a bit better at enjoying the moment too, which I think has turned out to be a decent combination in the end. All about finding a middle ground somewhere I guess and still managing to get things done even when you know there is a small chance that the outcome might be bad!

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    1. Ah, the elusive middle ground ! Hope to get there soon

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  3. I too am a Chronic Overthinker! I really try not to worry so much about social interactions but it’s a challenge. I have a lot of social anxiety. I always think, “what if I don’t have anything to say?” Or “what if I say the wrong thing and sound silly or stupid, etc?” And then I end up analyzing my conversations long after the fact. I can completely relate!

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    1. I know I’m terrified of not having anything to say..its so stressful !

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  4. I’m also an over-thinker. Serial offender! Something I said to my mate in 1983 still keeps me awake at night and it wasn’t that important. This ladeh can relate. 🙂

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    1. Oh lord , 1983 ! I’m sure she has long since forgotten – but you know that !

      Liked by 1 person

  5. All.The.Time. Even after I give someone directions. I have no advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. muffykraken · · Reply

    I can so relate to this!! I so wish for a simple mind sometimes, still, it is the over thinking that has probably led you to write a blog in the first place and this helps other people also to realise they are not the only one to feel this way, I find doing nothing a lot of the time is the right decision for me in certain situations, I am glad you have found more clarity by writing, great post : )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The blog has definitely helped me – now I just need to not overthink the blog !

      Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a great read! I don’t think I am quite at the chronic stage but I am prone to overthinking. I love that advice though – it is true that keeping a status quo you are unhappy with doesn’t get you anywhere. I am glad you’ve found writing helps, too!!

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    1. Also in true overthinking spirit… Why do I use so many exclamation marks?

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  8. mumaontheedge · · Reply

    Hey,
    That must be so tough for you – i sympathise massively, it must be exhausting to constantly overthink everything.
    Loved the honesty of this post, and it is always good to remember that some peoples quietness runs deeper that them just not fancying a chat.
    Love, L xx

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    1. Thank you – it is exhausting , I’m getting better tho, hopefully !

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  9. Great post! I think a lot of people do this!!! I am guilty of over analysing certain situations, drives my poor husband mad!! x Abby at http://www.peppermintcove.com #brilliantblogposts

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I think a lot of people overthink, I know I do at times. I wonder if you can rewire your brain or if it’s a little OCD like (something again I sometimes suffer with). That if you stop the ritual or ignore the thought and distract yourself, you’ll eventually not worry about it. What’s your fear? Being judged? Dont’t worry about what you did and didn’t say, I think try and live in the moment and just be yourself. Easier said than done but you’re awesome. Most people are busy worrying about themselves than noticing if you said something wrong x

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I tend to over think things too, but no where near to this extent. It must be extremely exhausting constantly running through it all in your head. I’m so glad your blog seemsite to be helping. Xx #KCACOLS

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  12. I tend to over think things too, but no where near to this extent. It must be extremely exhausting constantly running through it all in your head. I’m so glad your blog seems to be helping. Xx #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Oh wow, this is totally me! Not quite to the chronic level, but boy do I tend to overthink. It’s something that keeps me awake at night for sure-thinking about conversations and wishing I could go back and said something else instead. I don’t quite know why I do it-even with conversations I’ve had with complete strangers who will probably never think of and see me again! I know it’s got to be so exhausting to be running through your mind like that ALL the time-but hopefully it’s something that gets better in time. ❤ #KCACOLS

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  14. I’m so like this too. I can’t help but go back over everything that I’ve said and wonder if I spoke too much or too little. I’m a introvert at heart so talking to new people doesn’t come naturally anyway but I really wanna try for the kids but then, like you said, the CO kicks in and I worry again. Love this post!! #KCACOLS

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  15. It’s such an energy-suck though, overthinking, isn’t it? I used to be a bit like that but I have really calmed down in recent years, mostly through reading plenty of New Age hippy bullshit. That stuff can be great, sometimes. #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh must check out some new age hippy shit then! Thanks for reading

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  16. I go through phases of overthinking things. Usually when I don’t have enough productive things to do. I’m glad blogging has helped you. Writing things down often does #KCACOLS

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    1. It’s true lack of purpose can add to overthinking , hence my current blogging obsession! Thanks for reading

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  17. I am definitely guilty of over-thinking but I always put mine down to my anxiety, I think the two go hand in hand. I also think about things far less when I have written them down, that’s why my blog is so therapeutic for me! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Beth wit every blog post you write I realise we have a lot more in common than I thought. I’ve gotten better over the years but I too over analyse and over think everything. It’s not something that’s easy to control because it sits in the pit of your stomach and just won’t go away. Writing is definitely great therapy. In a way I suppose were analysing ourselves and our lives when we blog and it helps us to understand where we are coming from and why we do the things the do. Thanks for sharing another beautiful heart felt post #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Really well-written post; I’m also an overthinker! I blame ADHD; I say totally stupid things because my mouth and brain aren’t quite working at the same speed, and then I stress about them for days afterwards! #KCACOLS

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  20. We all do it. It is an anxiety trait but it absolutely doesn’t get you anywhere. Certainly never provides a solution. I have to say I don’t do it now, I think that’s an age thing. But I’ve certainly done the whole playing everything back and you end up crucifying yourself when actually no one has given it any further thought. I do think it can often go hand in hand with new parenting too. It’s a time we feel vulnerable. It’s such a waste of energy and you need all of your energy. Be your own beautiful self! #KCACOLS

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  21. I’m not as much of an overthinker as you, but I have definitely replayed conversations in my head and worried about things I’ve said, not fun at all. I think your advice is spot on, don’t let all the potential ‘what ifs’ stop you from just doing something in life! x #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Emilie · · Reply

    I can totally relate to this. I replay things over and over thinking “Why didn’t I think to say that at the time?” or I practice discussions beforehand or I think about past embarrassing moments and cringe even though I know everyone present will have completely forgotten about it! #KCACOLS

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  23. […] Am I Overthinking This? by themotherhub […]

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  24. lynnepearson1 · · Reply

    That sounds tiring…X I definitely overthink possible disaster scenarios if I can’t get hold of one of my relatives immediately..#ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I always overthink things I think it is a hazard of life. My blog helps me so much as it just allows me to blurt anything I feel out onto the page – so handy! I had to chuckle at the disclaimer at the end!
    Thanks for linking to #ablogginggoodtime

    Liked by 1 person

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