The Other Stuff

Confession Time: I Obsess and Overthink Everything (Almost)

This week I was originally thinking about sharing a new band I’m obsessed with, or finally diving into my skincare routine, or maybe the details on my hiking adventures this weekend. But then last night, as I toss and turned with my “insomnia,” obsessing over minor things, desperately wishing my brain would just shut off and let me get some rest, it came to me…my “insomnia” has been way worse than I ever remember it being for the last 6 months or so. Maybe I should talk about that.

And here we are.

Before I get going, ranting to you about my sleep problems and where I think they stem from, I want to clarify why I am saying “insomnia” and not just insomnia. I’m using the quotations here because I’ve never been diagnosed and besides the last 6 months or so, where it feels like I’m struggling at least one night a week, prior to this I would only have problems every couple of months.

So what’s the problem?

The problem is stress and anxiety, and a mind that ruminates and obsesses over everything. The problem is that I’m an overthinker and I have a tendency to catastrophize things and overthink almost everything when I let my mind get the best of me.

You see I’m the person that will write and re-write an email or a text over and over again obsessing over every word, even when it’s not an important message. When someone takes too long to write me back I’ll worry that my sense of humor or sarcasm was misread and literally have to stop myself from texting back to clarify (99% of the time I’m reading into nothing and logically I know that, but that doesn’t help me). After I hang out with an old friend I’ll replay the afternoon or the evening in my head worried that I may have done something wrong. And even when there is absolutely no reason I’ll worry that I’ve made someone mad.

Last night I got just over four hours of sleep (I’m shocked it was actually that much) all because I was panicking over a task I was supposed to do this morning and obsessing over a “what do I do” email I sent (asking myself over and over again, “should I have sent that?”)

A couple of weeks ago I struggled for a couple of nights, laying awake late into the night thinking about the fact that for the first time in my life if a job falls through I only have myself and my husband to fall back on. It hit me out of nowhere, I’m self-employed and no longer paying into unemployment (Have I mentioned before that besides my retail job, I’ve been laid off from every long-term job I’ve ever had?).

Last month I woke up at 3 am after struggling for hours (I think during this episode I managed to get a whopping 2 hours of sleep) all because I was stressing over whether or not switching doctors was a good idea. And then the month before that I fought for any sort of sleep for three days, all because of a singular conversation I had with a loved one.

And those are just a sample of what the last few months have looked like for me.

So what do I do? How do I fix this?

There really is no fix. At least no quick fix.

Really getting a grasp on this is going to involve a lot of internal work. A lot of the problem is rooted in self-doubt, low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and anxiety. All things I’m working on and making progress on slowly but surely. But what do I do in the meantime?

I’m writing this out because this is my therapy, my journal, my space to share my thoughts, write out what’s going on, and attempt to work out life. So with that being said, I know what works, or at least what helps. I know how to make this better.

  • Creating clear boundaries for myself and sticking to them (boundaries like no work after 8 pm)
  • Positive affirmations that remind me I am capable and I am enough (reminding myself of all I have done as a way of showing myself all I can do)
  • Making time to workout, regularly
  • Meditation

I don’t know how to fix this problem, I only know how to make it better and at the same time, I am only a very flawed human. It’s easy to say I know how to fix this, to acknowledge what helps, it’s another to do them and stick to them.

I know I need to work out. I know I need to meditate. But there are times, like right now, when life gets in the way. I lose track of those healthy habits and blur those boundary lines because things are falling behind or some random craziness made this week extra busy like a broken fridge and a blown tire (both those things happen to me in the last week by the way). It starts with just a little give, skip one workout here, work a little later just tonight.

And then it happens again.

And again.

And before you know it you haven’t worked out in two weeks, you can’t even manage a 3-minute meditation session and you’re checking emails while you’re laying in bed.

This is where I find myself right now, but I know what I need to do to feel better. To get better. I just need to start recognizing the areas I’ve let get sloppy and begin working my way back to healthy habits and hopefully a more healthy sleep routine.

If you have made it to the end of this post. Thank you. I love you and I hope this helped you or at least made you feel seen in some way. But why did I write this? Honestly, reading back through this post now that I’m done, it’s nothing but a mindless ramble. Where I started isn’t even close to where I began. A part of me did for a split second consider deleting it. But I wrote this post for multiple reasons.

The first one was I was frustrated. I needed to get a post done and last night’s insomnia was honestly pissing me off. I wrote this post because I simply wanted to vent and share a little bit about myself.

The second reason I wrote this, which wasn’t even apparent to me until I began to wrap this up was, I wrote this to sort out my thoughts and find a solution. This post gave me an opportunity to get all my thoughts out on “paper,” look at what the problem is, where it is coming from and outline how to fix it.

The final reason, and probably the most important reason, was because I know I have anxiety and I know I worry too much and obsess over unimportant things. And these problems often make me feel like something is wrong with me. Although I know so many people out there feel the same way I do and struggle with the same things I struggle with, when I’m in them and really fighting them, I feel alone and I feel like something is wrong with me. I’m hoping that by writing this, someone will relate to the things I’ve shared and maybe the next time they are fighting their fight, they might think of this, and just maybe it will help them feel less alone.

Cover image by cottonbro studio

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