The Power Lies Within

The last few weeks of my life have been hell. However, something beautiful has come from it. I have gained a degree of self-awareness that I did not have before. For example, I am currently having a conversation (over text) with someone I care about deeply about a very personal topic that is very anxiety producing for me to have. Usually, I overthink her every response in scenarios like these due to my attachment anxiety and change the subject before the conversation can fully develop.

However, this time, I know that I do that and as hard as it is for me, I’m requesting of myself to be patient and wait on her reply. Subsequently, I am also asking myself to pause, read her response, reflect on the prior parts of the conversation, and evaluate my emotions before I return to the conversation. In this process, I have discovered a unique little unhealthy coping mechanism my brain has developed. It is a form of rumination and overthinking that is triggered when I face a conversational situation where the response or outcome is uncertain.

It starts out as your run of the mill rumination, where the text I just pressed the send button on plays over and over in my head like a broken record. Then, after a while of listening to what I typed play through my ears constantly for several minutes, I begin to imagine her response to the question. Seems somewhat reasonable, right? Maybe so. But then things start to take a turn in a different direction.

Once this process begins, my brain begins to imagine how the entire conversation will go from there on out. Taking something that has billions of possible permutations, an reducing it down to a select few conversational paths, usually that are highly improbable, unrealistic, or exceptionally negative and saddening.

Once more, the rumination begins, this time playing each scenario out in explicit detail, rewinding and rewriting every time something doesn’t fit. It plays through infinite variations of tone, facial expressions, imagined intent, adding in context from previous unrealistic imagined conversations, through each version and iteration, until alas, a conclusion of the path the conversation will take is reached, along with the suspected outcome (usually something that ends with me getting hurt emotionally or deeply saddened, sometimes to the point of physical tears).

The problem is none of this has happened, nor will probably ever happen. The bigger problem is that I subconsciously incorporate assumptions from the imagined conversation into the real conversation, and sometimes even go so far as to confront this poor woman about something that hasn’t happened, probably won’t ever happen, and is usually something that is completely out of her character.

Thus, in effect, bringing a negative imagined reality that is detrimental to my mental health and my relationship with her into fruition. The human mind is a very, very powerful thing. So powerful, in fact, that it could alter the course of my life, and the course of my relationship with this amazing, wonderful, loving, kind, and caring woman.

I am just now realizing that that I have the power to choose what that direction is. The decision lies with me…



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