Here’s the thing, I sometimes get lost in everything. Becoming overwhelmed with everything happening. It makes me feel like I am alone, when I’m in fact I’m surrounded by loved ones. At times, it’s hard to understand why my mind so easily jumps to the worst possible conclusion in most situations. How much self-loathing can a person have to believe everything’s your fault and no one wants to be around you. Your boyfriend didn’t text you in eight hours? He probably is ghosting you and found someone else. Your friend just sends “ok” in response to the text message you sent? She apparently no longer wants to be friends with you. Oh, your parent’s didn’t pick up when you called? They probably died in a car crash.
Or it’s the thoughts that something bad will happen, so you have to check everything. My routine leaving the house in the morning sometimes is me going to the bathroom multiple times to make sure my straightener isn’t on even if I didn’t use it that morning. I have to move all my clothes from “that chair” to my bed for no known reason except if I don’t I will feel off and something bad will happen. I have to unplug everything if I leave for the weekend in case an outlet spontaneously combusts. One time my uncle asked me – “you should ask yourself – what’s the worst that can happen – and you will see that it’s not that bad.” I responded, “well I can leave something plugged in and then it’s going to catch on fire and my apartment will burn down and people and pets will die, and it will be all my fault.”
There are days that I don’t fall victim to these thoughts as much as I use to. But if it’s been stressful and triggering events happen throughout the week and weekend – all bets are off. I no longer want to try to cope the healthy way – just let me fall in because I’m tired of trying to swim to the top. I do my best not to let it get to that point – but I’m not perfect.
I think when these thoughts take over, I become the hardest to understand. It’s hard to comprehend why someone would think those thoughts or how their mind jumps to those conclusions. How can someone function like that? Well, let me tell you, it can become difficult. There have been times I have been late for class because I had to check that I locked the door for the fifth time. Or times I had to leave work to make sure my straightener was off even if I remember unplugging it. One time I couldn’t leave my apartment because my dishwasher was running and I had to make sure nothing happened. Succumbing to these thoughts and beliefs, it, well, it sucks. Explaining to people why I was late or why I didn’t show or why I am crying is even harder.
Holy crap, though, let me tell you- I am doing SO much better. Those intrusive thoughts and those checking habits have calmed down. Sure, I still have to check the lock on the door and my straightener but only twice not five times. Or when I leave the house for the weekend, I still unplug everything, but I don’t second guess myself during the weekend. If I get worried that my anxiety might come back – I take pictures of my apartment, so I can look at the proof that it will be okay. I think medication and therapy helped this a lot, along with all my coping mechanisms I try to do as well. Taking a step back and recognizing something is irrational is easy, stopping it is hard. That’s what I wish people would understand. That I know what I’m doing is irrational. I know that moving my clothes from my chair to the bed doesn’t combat anything negative – but I still do it some mornings. But I’m okay. I’m not as embarrassed anymore, I’m just honest and talk about it with people I am meeting, or I am with. I use my tools so that I no longer have to worry. My life is a little bit more peaceful now, not perfect, but I will take every bit of peace I can get.