Dear Brain, please shut up.

Just because I’m paranoid, it doesn’t mean you’re not talking about me
– quote by me

Everyone has something about themselves they would like to change. For some people it’s a physical attribute, they feel their nose is too big, wish they could lose weight, long to be taller. For others it’s a health issue that’s out of their control. For me, it’s a personal, mental thing that isn’t visible to anyone else, but it is there. I am paranoid, and I do overthink things. No, correction. I overthink everything.

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Now, unlike a physical trait or a health issue, I have absolutely no way of knowing when or where this started. I’m sure it’s deep rooted back to some insignificant (at the time anyway) time, but I don’t remember what triggered it. Right now in my life, I’m in a good place and I’m happy, but the issue is still there. Close friends know that I don’t sleep well. I’m the kind of person who needs pitch black and complete silence at the best of times to even feel remotely relaxed enough to sleep. However, unlike a light switch, my over active mind can not be switched off. No off switch. Unless it broke, because I know of people who can fall asleep as soon as their head hits the pillow. Yep, my off switch is broken. That’s totally what’s wrong here! At night, when I’m tired and craving sleep, that’s when I go back over the days events, or future plans, and turn them into the biggest nightmare before I even close my eyes. I’ve heard a good nights sleep can help clear the mind to make you see things with a clear head the next day. I often wonder what that would feel like. Sometimes, the over thinking is subconscious. I go to bed in a good, happy mood, it’s been a good day and I’ve got something to look forward to, yet my brain is still ticking, so therefore I’m still thinking. I really don’t know what about most of the time. Random thoughts come to mind. Occasionally a song lyric comes to mind and I can’t shift it from going over and over in my head until I’ve been and found the song and listened to it. Over thinking isn’t exclusively saved for bedtime. No, no such luck. I’m always thinking. I guess that’s why I’ve started blogging. I’ve also started an online creative writing course. My blog is real life, my paranoia creates situations that will never happen. They are created fiction. I need an avenue to get them out there because they’ll make good stories!! My mind is over active. I’m the kind of person who can’t stand repetitive noises, tapping, dripping, banging and I am compelled to go and stop the noise. I truly believe that it’s because I always have something going on in my brain that needs to be worked and worked over again, and any other noise trying to take me away from my thoughts is an unwelcome visitor in my head. Of course I’ve led myself to believe that my over thinking and paranoia had somehow contributed to previous relationships not lasting. Even though I suffer from my paranoia silently, and I don’t talk about my fears to the person involved. They’d think I was crazy!?
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I’ve started to wonder whether I’m so paranoid because when good things happen and things are going well, part of me feels that I don’t deserve it. Good things don’t happen to me, so there’s got to be a catch, right? Having so many bad things happen in a short space of time, it’s easy to think that I’m just one of life’s unlucky people. Although, now I’m on a “be happy” route…… I know that’s not the case. I’m lucky. I’m very lucky.

In my mind though, it’s better to think the worst about a current situation, as its gives me chance to prepare how I deal with it if that worst case scenario is the one that presents itself.

forewarned is forearmed
phrase of forewarn
1.
proverb
prior knowledge of possible dangers or problems gives one a tactical advantage.

I genuinely do look at every single angle on things. Previous conversations are ripped apart word for word to see if I missed anything out, if there was a hidden meaning which I’d missed at the time. Future appointments that haven’t even happened yet will be played over and over in my head, wondering what will happen if this is said or if that is done. I have an inability to just “wait and see”. It is something I’m working on, in my blog about happiness I’ve acknowledged that you shouldn’t waste your time worrying about what might be as it may never happen, so, I’m getting there, I am. It’s not something that can be changed overnight (especially when that night is spent awake thinking about how to stop thinking about things!). However, the following quote is starting to make me think…. is being paranoid and over thinking things really such a bad thing.


“Your mind is working at its best when you’re being paranoid.
You explore every avenue and possibility of your situation
at high speed with total clarity.”
― Banksy, Banging Your Head Against a Brick Wall

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Exploring every possible outcome does give me the advantage of not being taken by surprise. In my mind I have thought about everything that could possibly take place, so that I already know how each of the scenarios would make me feel. Or, that’s what I’ve convinced myself. Protecting myself. I know, I know, get the violins out!! This way of thinking only applies to situations that are yet to happen. Over thinking late at night leads to sleepless nights, not just the night before, but from the moment I know the subject of my over thinking is going to happen. I imagine the conversations, I prepare what I want to say, how I’ll react. Sometimes I even write down what I think I might need to say, crazy right, the conversation hasn’t even happened yet. I once texted myself a whole speech to say to someone if they said what I thought they were going to say to me. They did actually say it, but I was hardly in a position to get the phone out and read out what I’d typed. I was right though. So, forewarned had its benefits in that situation. I can’t do anything about situations that have already happened, but it doesn’t stop me going over and over them in my mind.

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What I can’t prepare myself for are the things that happen out of the blue, so that’s where my paranoia kicks in. For example, if I receive one of those badly worded texts where more than one thing could be meant by the words used. I will spend hours and hours thinking about it, I’ll read it over and over again as if the meaning would become clearer the more it goes into my brain. Part of being paranoid means not just considering that everyone is out to get you or that the worst is going to happen, it means thinking about this constantly, no matter how much you try and distract your mind with something else. Trust me on that one, I worry myself over the same thing over and over again. The more you think about the same negative meaning or outcome, the more you indulge in your paranoia, and the more you become convinced that they are likely to be accurate. It’s hard. I wish I didn’t feel like this, but I do. Next time you’re talking to me and despite answering you, you can tell I’m not quite there, it’s probably because I’m still worrying that the text message I sent three hours ago THREE HOURS AGO….had scared him off and it meant that my relationship was over and he never wants to see me again and as every minute passes by until I hear from him again, I go over and over what I’ll say when I finally cave and text him if I haven’t heard from him in another hour because it’s been three hours so it must mean its over right well sod him I’ll ignore him too……. (My lack of commas in that sentence is how my train of thought goes when in a paranoid state). Then I find out his phone died and had been on charge. Oh. How stupid do I feel? Very stupid. I was one hour away from making a fool of myself. Then I worry what would’ve happened had I sent the text I wanted to send if I didn’t hear from him. It’s never ending, I tell you!
I’m getting better, honestly. Being happy does help. Reading about paranoia, it seems most paranoid situations arise from being self-conscious, however with me that’s not the case. I wouldn’t say I’ve ever been self-conscious. I’m sociable and have enough confidence to pull me through most situations. I do have a fear of talking on the phone, but that’s a whole other unrelated issue. Or is it? I wonder… anyway…! Many many years ago, before the crap stuff happened, I bought a book called “Women who think too much”, as even back then I was an over thinker. Recent years events have not made me this way. I’ve kinda always been like it. The book was purchased in the hope that it could give me some sound advice on how to not over think. It didn’t. All it made me realise is that there must be enough crazy ladies out there just like me, that it warrants a book being dedicated to the subject. So, I don’t have the answers on this one. I know I’m not alone. The only plus side to having this constant state of mind is that more often than not, I can get to be smug and confidently say “I told you so”, because trust me, I saw every possibly outcome!

Pronoia- I’ll come back to you on that one!
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