I Could Not Stop Overthinking And That Almost Killed My Relationship
My overthinking stopped me from perceiving reality the way it was and forced me to believe only in the negative outcomes. The endless what-if questions clouded my head with fear and I would end up acting in an irrational way.
Why has he not called me yet?
Is he out with someone else?
Naturally, I would lash out at my partner or act passive-aggressive. In the end, I would always regret not staying calm and thinking it through before acting crazy.
Fortunately, my partner is a calm man and he would deal with my overthinking patiently most times. However, every person has their threshold and I crossed that when I got mad at him for uploading pictures on Instagram before showing them to me.
It is downright bizarre and toxic behavior. I know, but when you are stuck in the trap of overthinking it is tremendously difficult to differentiate between right and wrong. My habit of overthinking mixed with my intense fear snapped my partner’s thin line of patience and he gave me an ultimatum- Work on your overthinking or end this relationship.
I did not feel good about my intrusive and obsessive thoughts. Who does? These thoughts were so deeply rooted and automatic then despite my best efforts to control them I just could not.
I felt an empty pit in my stomach and my chest burned with anxiety. The dominoes effect of overthinking on your mind and body is seriously dangerous.
I was 23 years old at that time, and fortunately, the growing awareness around therapy had broken the stigma of therapy at my home. I decided that the best choice for me and my relationship would be seeking more professional help since the self-help tools were no longer working for me.
However, days passed by and I never gathered the courage to actually go for therapy. Moreover, the entire process of finding a therapist was overwhelming and took up most of my energy.
I honestly regret delaying my decision. My overthinking seemed in control for 3 days but on the 4th day, it would always come back. But this time it was different. This time instead of lashing it out at my partner I gulped all my negative feelings inside me.
I would still overthink but I pretended to be cool and composed in front of my partner.
The thoughts still disturbed me but I kept the fears away from my partner because I did not want to lose him.
This new strategy to overcome overthinking was much worse. The suppressed feelings turned into negative thoughts about my partner. The feelings of frustration got misplaced and I could not figure out why I was surrounded by constant negativity about everything including my partner.
Those were some of the worst days of my life. I felt like I was controlled by someone else. My ways of thinking started turning toxic and dangerous. It stopped me from focusing on anything else and forced me to remain stuck on my bed all day long.
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My relationship suffered the blow of my overthinking. I could not think straight or act normally around my partner. Every time I was with him, I would overthink the smallest of things.
Is he bored of me?
What is he looking at in his phone?
Is he thinking about someone else?
I could never enjoy a single moment of peace with my partner because my mind was constant chatter.
I picked myself up from all the mess I had made, metaphorically and physically, and went for therapy. Just taking that first step was so overwhelming but at the same time, I felt good about myself. I felt proud of myself that I was finally taking the steps to change my life and make it better and happier.
I started feeling lighter from the first session itself. I needed someone to listen to me with unconditional acceptance and no judgments. My therapist certainly had perfected the art of listening and creating the safe space necessary to heal.
The sessions that followed were like a roller-coaster ride. There was so much about me that I kept hidden and suppressed like it was some sin that could not be disclosed. A lot of my overthinking stemmed from separation anxiety. It is basically an intense fear of abandonment or being separated from the one you love. I was able to talk openly about my childhood, my suppressed disappointment towards my father, and how sometimes I projected that on my partner.
The self-awareness was crazy! I learned so much about myself, and then came the best but also the hardest part. It was about accepting the dark parts of me and loving myself for all that I was, all that I am, and all that I will be.
All this while I believed that I loved myself, but it was all very superficial. I had a difficult time communicating my needs or setting boundaries with others. I had a deep need to be loved and feel validated. This deeply rooted need had led to people-pleasing behavior to such an extent that I stopped caring about my personal needs and even my self-respect. I had lost myself somewhere in all these complexities until I became someone I did not even recognize.
Self-awareness was only the tip of all the things that therapy taught me. One of the most amazing benefits I got out of therapy was how to trust myself and fill my own cup before I pour it into others. It is not selfish to take care of your needs, or distant yourself from people, situations, and habits that make you feel any less about yourself.
In fact, respecting yourself sets the tone for how others will treat you. Working on your personal growth and improving yourself is so much more important than working for others’ approval or validation.
Not only did I realize that I need to accept myself, but I also understood that patience and acceptance nourish your personal relationships in the most beautiful ways. Every person has their own ways of showing love and affection, every person comes with their baggage and flaws. We can either accept them for who they are, and if we cannot then it is better to be honest about it and walk away.
Ah, the wisdom that therapy has evoked within me.
The relationship I shared with my partner did not work. We had to separate our ways because he moved to Canada for further studies. We decided that it was best for us to focus on ourselves for now, and if destiny agrees we could definitely be together again.
A few months back this would have broken me. I would have spent all my hours stalking him and overthinking about him. I would have stopped eating, drinking, and taking care of myself. However, that was the past version of me.
Today I feel calm and in control of my emotions. My mindset is much stronger and my overthinking… no it has not disappeared completely. It still happens, but I am quicker in recognizing the toxic thoughts and stopping myself before they blow out of proportion.
I am in a much better and happier place in my life. I feel free from the burden of my thoughts. It is honestly possible to manage the overthinking, and keep moving along in this beautiful life!