50 Thoughts: Overthinking is Anxiety’s Bitchy Best Friend

Originally published August 27, 2018

There are so many things to meditate about when it comes to a list of crap I want to stop doing moving into my next decade.

Overthinking is near the top of the list.

Some days, I just hate my brain. If the mood is right, I will overthink EVERYTHING.

Fumbling an answer to “How are you?” from a cashier can elicit an hour of, “He/she thinks I am an idiot. Did they hear me right? Did I share too much? Maybe I shouldn’t have told them I am buying these pants for vacation. They probably think I’m being snobby. What do they really care?”

Texting with my sons while they are away at school. All it take is one vague “It’s $40 online” and I’m spinning the shit out of it, until I’m convinced they are texting from inside a trunk in some frat’s basement with a ransom request for a Keurig.

Or today, carrying cupcakes into school for my daughter’s birthday. My mind started to turn, and then, yeah – everyone is looking at me and thinking, “Cupcakes? Really? Aren’t we a little old for that?” (The answer, when my reasonable self kicks in, is “No you little turd. It’s the last birthday I am celebrating with her before she goes to college and for that, my baby gets cupcakes. Eff off.”)

One of my fave examples ever is when I was pregnant and overly emotional, and I saw two of my friends standing in one of their driveways after work. I was convinced they were talking about me. (OK, maybe that’s paranoia. That’s also crazy hormonal pregnancy.)

And omigod email. I can overthink how to word an email or where to place an appropriate smiley face for hours. I’m as non-confrontational as a person could possibly be, and I want my emails to smell like cupcakes and butterflies. (By the way, which idiot was the first person to use a smily face in email? Christ on a crutch — if I smiled like that reading the email out loud to a person, I’d likely end up in a saferoom in Human Resources until the authorities arrived.)

Overthinking is a demon. Overthinking is that voice of self-doubt over your shoulder. Even now, on my 50 Thoughts adventure, overthinking is whispering, “Are you sure people want to read this?”

Some people overthink because they are perfectionists. And some do it because they are riddled with anxiety. They don’t want to look foolish. They’re scared. No one, especially the older they get, wants to look as if they don’t have the answer. You want to appear the consummate professional in the office. You want to handle yourself flawlessly in social situations. No one wants to be the dunderhead.

Overthinking is, really, anxiety’s bitchy best friend. The one hanging out in the bathroom smoking with A, mocking all the people at the party just trying their best to have a good time.

Moving forward, I am going to try to remember that Overthinking is just that a-hole hell bent on making sure no one really succeeds. The prissy little shit cheering your anxiety on, hoping that it ruins your day.

It makes sense at this age, in conjunction with menopause and all the freedom that brings, that women are ready to let go — knowing I’ve already given all my fucks and have zero left to give when it comes to what other people think or how they’ll react to the moves I’m making every day.

It’s so damn liberating.

Today’s recommendation: Let’s Pretend This Never Happened by Jenny Lawson. The girl just puts herself out there. It’s brave and brutally honest.

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