I am a multitalented person. I can write stuff, and I can create problems
that do not exist. The first one, I am happy about, however the second one, not
so much, I could easily live without this talent.
I could give a masterclass on over thinking and win a Nobel prize for it.
Been able to use it to create problems that do not exist might just be my
superpower. The fact is, every time I use this power, problems suddenly pop up.
See? It works!
It is no secret that I am new at being in a healthy relationship. Even
though I have been in a relationship for a while now, I am still not entirely
accustomed to it. You see I have had years to familiarize myself with toxic
relationships-to learn the ends and outs of verbal abuse, neglect, dishonesty,
infidelity, gaslighting and how to cope with the clusterfuck of toxic traits I
have encountered. But respect, honesty, compassion, love, and kindness are an
equitable partnership? That is all new to me. I do not get it fully.
My mind is so used to the patterns of unhealthy relationships. My reactions
are conditioned by toxicity. So instead of being curious, I lean toward
hypervigilance. I over-think every possible scenario, it is my mind’s way of
trying to protect me, (or so I tell myself) but instead, it just causes me more
I could give you an example, but it simply would not cover the scope of this
alleged superpower. Suffice to say, if there was a way to over-think something,
I am your girl, I am more than capable of doing this. I read into silences,
intuiting other meanings from the words I am hearing, and crafting entirely
messed up melodramas from my fears.
Guess what I am not alone.
Anyone who has a history of trauma, meaning everyone, can relate to this
superpower. While not everyone over-thinks all the time, we are all capable of
it. Do you agree? We have been there, but the truth is we do not all move there
and take up residence. I do, which makes me have this superpower.
I always believed that my over-thinking as a way to protect myself from
getting hurt. If I could imagine every possible outcome, I could be prepared.
But all I was doing was creating problems out of nothing. I have shed tears
over things that have not happened, felt pain from situations that may never
happen. I have twisted myself up in knots of anxiety over what-ifs and I have
created drama out of thin air because honestly, I am not always sure how to
cope with the calm or happy. I am learning. It is an interesting superpower. So,
for a while now I have been trying to lose this superpower. I am reading books;
I am listening to podcasts but more importantly I am talking to my friends
about this special superpower. I go to talk therapy and I have discovered so
much about myself, and I am learning how to train my thoughts and move away
from the over thinking person I am.
The first step I have taken has been to call myself out of this bullshit of
overthinking. Realizing It is not protecting me, in fact all it is doing is
hurting me in advance of imagined future hurts, not preventing them from
I have also started recognising my triggers and I have started paying
attention to my thought patterns. When I move into an unhealthy pattern, the
pattern where I am imagining dark and twisted scenarios, I can for the most
part pull myself back out. I do not just dive in anymore and indulge in whatever
entirely fucked up plot my brain has thrown at me. That is a great skill for
writing fiction, (which would be a better blog lol) but when I start imagining
everything that could go wrong in my life, I stop, and I take a brain break.
Brain breaks- I highly recommend them. I definitely cannot make every
thought in my head shup up and give me peace and quiet, but I can take breaks
from these thoughts. I can put down the serious and lengthy novel in favour of
a light and pleasant read. I can switch the channel from a stress-inducing
drama to something that makes me laugh or warms my heart. I am becoming more
grounded and mindful of the present moment. It has taken a lot of work, but I
am better at this. Mind-fullness as a practice can be incredibly helpful for
people like me, an over-thinker. It pulls me back from the downward spiral by
keeping me only in the present moment of what I am experiencing at that exact
time. Being grounded keeps my senses in tune with the present, which can help
me break the cycle of disappearing into toxic pasts. Moving myself away from my
phone is the best brain break I can give myself. It is not always possible but
when I can, I go for a walk, listen to a podcast or happy music, or my most
recent favourite brain break, is going into my garden with a cup of coffee and
admiring all the plants and flowers. Telling myself how proud I should be of
me, I did that. I grew them, I nurtured them. I watered them, I feed them. I
ground myself. And I place myself in the moment, I smell the flower, I see the
flower, I hear the bee, I taste my coffee and I feel my bum sitting on the
chair and suddenly, all is okay with the world again. I am here. I am breathing
I am alive.
I can create new mental patterns. When my mind starts trying to create a
problem, I can use logic and reason to bring it back to reality. Ground my
thoughts. I can establish new ways of reacting rather than falling into old
patterns. I indulge in conversations about something positive rather than
dwelling on my fears. This does not mean I am ignoring the pain or distracting
myself from it. I am reconditioning myself not to dwell on imagined pain that has
not even happened.
I see triggers for what they are now. Triggers come from trauma, and what
they are doing when they pop up is showing us an area that we need to heal in.
They may be maladaptive, but their roots are protective. And as a society, we
have made triggers a minefield and we have asked other people to tiptoe around
them. But the positive utility of a trigger is that it points us to an
experience in our lives that still needs healing and attention. We should look
at it as an opportunity for growth. We should use it to learn the lessons,
address the pain and allow for healing.
I can also see clarity. Instead of assuming the worse every time I fall down this particular rabbit hole, I can speak up. To my partner. To my friends. To my family. I do not have to play out the scenarios one by one in hopes that one of them is the right one, and
therefore I will be adequately prepared. I can just figure out what is going on
with an actual conversation.
Part of the process is talking about my triggers. It is uncomfortable
sometimes talking about my triggers to the people in my life that I love
because I have so dam many. In fact, my son is the most person I speak to
around this. He is the only one who really knows me and understands where I
have come from and why I have this superpower. I never feel judged. I just feel
his love. Around other people I would rather seem a little more well-adjusted than
I actually am. Having to admit that my mind has some dark pathways makes me
more vulnerable, and too often, we tend to interpret that as feeling weak. I
know I do. But talking about my triggers allows me short circuit the process. I
do not follow down those paths. Instead, I put a spotlight on them.
Every day I am learning more and more how to exist without toxicity. I am
learning to create a new kind of life where those old reactions are no longer
appropriate. They are no longer wanted. Anxiety, hypervigilance, over-thinking-
they all become coping skills I no longer need in my life, and I am rewiring my
brain to accept joy, peace, and prosperity instead. I am learning to exist in a
healthy relationship without waiting for it to turn into an unhealthy one. Because
if it does not turn into one, then this superpower will turn it into one.
It is a practice. It is about wanting to change. I still have to talk about
triggers more often than I would like, and if there is an impossible yet tragic
scenario out there, I am sure my mind will go hunt it up and try and play it
out. Maybe it always will. But I definitely will not just jump headlong into
the rabbit hole, and I will not follow every single path my mind tries to take
me down. I will get better.
If creating problems that do not exist is a superpower, I do not want it. It
is great for fiction as I said before, but I have no use for it in my everyday
life anymore. I just have to get better at telling those thoughts that they are
not the boss of me. I have to boss up, I have to chair the meeting, I am in charge,
and I have to live like I believe that.