Planner and overthinker

Drawing of a person looking down a line and seeing two question marks, to go with my post about being a planner and an overthinker.

I am a planner. I’ve always been and probably always will be a planner.

It’s both a blessing and a curse.

I’m also an overthinker.

Being both an overthinker and a planner can be absolute hell.

A planner of everyday things

I am forever planning things that will and can happen in future. There is a planner on my desk — one week on two pages — and in it I write the things that I have to do on specific days. I plan my blogging, plan my work, plan my week. I need to know when things will happen and how I will approach it, and I hate (yes, hate) unexpected things. My kids all know they shouldn’t ask me in the evening if I will help them with something tomorrow, as it will send me in a total panic. I need to know at least 24 hours in advance, preferably two days.

When we have an appointment scheduled for whatever, and it’s at a place I haven’t been before, I check the address, go to Google maps and ‘walk’ in the streets, looking at the building I have to be, and the surrounding buildings. I need to do this, as it saves me a lot of anxiety having to go to new places. Had I been to a location before, I know how long it will take me to get there, and I always plan everything in my head.

To give you an example: this week, on Tuesday, Master T had his weekly visit to the rehabilitation center. He had to be there at 9am. So, the day before my thoughts were something like this: okay, we have to be there at 9am, so we have to leave at 8.30am. An hour before that is 7.30am, which means I have to set the alarm for 7am so I can shower and have breakfast before we leave, as we will only be home by 10.30am and that’s too lae to have breakfast.

If I don’t have this time planning in my head the night before, I know I will toss and turn all night, and get very little sleep.

Overthinking everyday and not so everyday things

From the above I think it’s clear that I am an overthinker. Sometimes I wish I wasn’t, especially when it comes to unexpected things happening in our lives.

I have more or less gotten used to thinking about those appointments, or even just going to work, and planning the time frame in my head. It’s part of who I am, and it puts my mind to rest if I know how I am approaching whatever is about to happen. It helps me to sleep and be less anxious.

It’s when I come to those unexpected things that my overthinking drives me absolutely crazy. What if this? What if that? How should I approach it? When will it happen? Will it even happen? And if it doesn’t, what then? It comes to a point where I literally tell myself over and over: stop, just STOP!

A planner of not so everyday things

With things happening in our lives now — Master T’s stroke and some follow-up examinations — my mind constantly goes to the future. He was lucky, as he had a light stroke, but the fear remains (my fear) that it was only a forebode of something worse to come. And then of course there’s all those other appointments taking place that make me fear the future every more.

To say it bluntly: Yes, I am afraid he might die.

Deeply afraid, but I push my fear away. I manage to keep the fear down, but I can’t stop the thoughts. Involuntary thoughts keep on forming in my head, of how I will approach the future if he is taken from me. That I will move. Where I will move. What furniture to take with me. What my life will look like then.

I don’t want to think of these things. NO! I want to have him with me until we are both old and grey and looking back on a long, full life. But my mind keeps on going there, until once more I scream in my head: STOP!

Crazy. My thoughts drive me crazy. I drive myself crazy.

This is me

This all is very much part of me. Part of being a planner and an overthinker is a good thing, but much of it — especially the overthinking part — is unhealthy. I just don’t know how to stop it. Believe me, I have tried. Many times. And failed. I don’t want to have those thoughts about what I would do if I end up alone, but they occupy my head whenever I have my ‘thinking’ moments, such as under the shower, or when I am busy with chores.

When my thoughts get too dark, I tell myself over and over to stop. I force myself to think of other things; channel my thoughts to something more positive. That seems to work, even though my thoughts to return to the same, hours later.

I have fought these ‘doom thoughts’ many times in my life — I also had them back when my mom was ill — but never ‘won’ the fight. I have come to accept that they are part of me. That this is the way my mind works. In a way, ‘knowing’ what will happen, or having a sort of plan for if something will happen, helps me to be less anxious. I need to ‘see’ things in the future, to be prepared, because, as I said above, unexpected things send me in a panic. I have tried to overcome this, but just like not being able to stop those thoughts, I don’t seem to be able to stop the panic.

So, I have just accepted them to be part of me. The same I am accepting that fearing the future when ‘danger’ looms on the horizon, like it does now, is part of me too. Thankfully, Master T knows this. I see it in his eyes when he looks at me for a few moments, and then just hugs me. No words. Just a hug.

It doesn’t take the fear away. It doesn’t stop those thoughts. But it helps. It gives me strength.

“…everything has a past. Everything – a person, an object, a word, everything. If you don’t know the past, you can’t understand the present and plan properly for the future.”

~ Chaim Potok, author

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

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8 thoughts on “Planner and overthinker

  1. Gosh, Marie! Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be more organised, and I take baby steps to being so. But I think I would fall apart if I was as organised as you are! You are incredible, and I’m in awe of the thought processes you go through to achieve everything you do. N xx

    1. Thank you, N. If I am not as organized like this, I will totally go crazy. I just don’t know a different ‘mode’ xox

  2. The unexpected causes me similar anxiety. I, too, overthink and overplan. In fact, I found myself nodding about the mapping things out and walking the streets ahead of time to be sure I get the lay of the land. I don’t like to be caught off guard, and being prepared for every possibility gives me some sense of peace. Your fears, too…I get those. Worrying about what will happen, and what you will do if they do happen. Sometimes, the planning, and the following of plans is a way to get through difficult things, riding on top of the emotions, putting one foot in front of the other, checking off the preplanned boxes. It is hard not to let an anxious brain go down dark paths, considering every horrible possibility…to prepare for it. I’ve definitely been there.

    1. I am there too much lately, and have frequently found myself – and still do – saying out loud “Stop.” I have to stop the thoughts, because they are driving me absolutely crazy.

  3. You are perfectly YOU, my friend. We all have things that maybe we wish were different…but being a planner and an overthinker also has advantages. And… I hear the worry about Master T… having lost some of the key people in my life, all I can say is…. I get it <3

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