Tribulations of an over-thinker (and Tantallon Castle)

My brain has always worked at a pace I can’t ever get ahold of. Small worries turn into big worries which manifest new worries all together. It’s hard to explain, but I’ll try. Just now, my heater made a little cracking sound. Instantly, I sat up, looked at it, switched it off, and moved to the other side my bed in case of possible explosion. Which turned into: if it explodes, will I survive? Have I accomplished everything I wanted to up until this point? I haven’t. What a sad death that would be. You know what would be a sadder one? If someone broke in and stole all my things and finished me off before leaving.

As you might’ve guessed, it’s generally negative things I over-think. To a less dramatic extent, let’s say at work, it often goes something like this: Oh no. I told someone I didn’t like their idea. Ugh look at their face. Their smile faded ever so slightly. Are they judging me? Are they upset that I said that? Will they ever enjoy working with me in the future? I hope I didn’t hurt their feelings. I’m worried I’ve made them feel awful.

 I’m hoping by now you get the picture. Not only is it absolutely useless to think in this anxious cycle of negativity, it’s bloody exhausting. Friendships, relationships, all the ships, are so stressful, not in and of themselves, but because my brain makes them that way.

I know, I know. I’m working on it. I really am.

I started seeing a therapist, which I really should’ve done much sooner, who is teaching me a little about acceptance. Acceptance that I am the way that I am, and I can’t do anything to change that fundamental piece of my brain. But I can learn to reprogram those negative thoughts into positive ones, simply by accepting that I am going to feel how I feel but also offering my head a new thought to snowball from. Something more positive.

It’s definitely a process. But I’ve finally had the epiphany that maybe being an over-thinker isn’t bad. It’s just a part of who I am. And there are so many positive facets of my personality that come along with the wheels turning so quickly in my brains. I’ve become more and more empathetic with time, since I think so much about how people are feeling about things. I’m also very good at my job and problem solving because of my innate gift to overanalyze every situation (which is wicked cool because my high school math teachers would argue that problem solving was never my strong suit).

All this thinking about overthinking leads me to remember the time I spent in a cabin by the sea in North Berwick, Scotland, and my visit to Tantallon Castle. I wrote about that adventure in a blog post a while back and it’s helping me to reevaluate myself a bit. What we think of as being flaws in our personality are actually what make us special. Everything we’ve been through in our lives has brought us to the point we are now with our mental health and ability to move forward. And it’s okay to feel broken. Like Tantallon Castle, destroyed in battle to almost complete ruin, it’s our broken bits that make us more beautiful, more unique.

I’m starting to gain a little more clarity on my brokenness, and I’m finding I’m not so broken after all. It’s just a part of who I am. A part that makes me a much more deep, dynamic, and aware person. The trick is, remembering these lessons, no matter how dark it starts to get.


2 thoughts on “Tribulations of an over-thinker (and Tantallon Castle)

  1. I just started seeing a therapist regularly and she hosts a DBT therapy group that I am really getting a ton of benefit out of – like you, I wish I had done it so much sooner, but you know (as well as I do) that it’s not really worthwhile dwelling in the “I should have” space 😉 I’m so happy you’ve found a therapist you click with! Therapy has been so so helpful for me so far, and it’s given me so much comfort and relief amid the normal anxious spinning of my brain.

    I relate so so so much to your last few paragraphs.

    Trying to accept myself has been a long road, too. It’s so hard not to grow angry and sad and resentful of the parts of us that make life more challenging.

    Being an overthinker, a pessimist, a ruminator… all of these things are what made us both such naturally analytical thinkers (hay, analyzing ridiculous literature to the ends of the earth and back), and also so compassionate and kind, too. I like to think that if we continue our journey with therapy, and if we have already learned so much at this point in our lives, that it is only a matter of time before we learn how to accept a little more and lean in to those bright parts of ourselves just as much as we lean into the dark parts (although I for one feel so much more at home or more inclined to focus on the dark parts, out of habit, but I know both deserve our equal attention).

    Anyway, I feel you, one hundred percent. I know how painful and difficult it can be, especially in a world that makes it hard to navigate as someone who thinks a lot and cares a lot and feels so deeply. But I’m so happy we’re both getting a little help in our navigation now, and I think with a few skills we might continue to surprise ourselves. 🙂 This was sappy as hell, but I mean it!


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