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