A Punch from the Brain, Retaliation from the Heart

If someone has a magical solution to help a person stop overthinking things, I, personally, would love to learn more about said solution.

Because it’s exhausting, friends.

I overthink to the point where I only focus on the negative outcomes. My immediate reaction is to assume the worst, because my mind easily twists and warps things to fit into that equation, where the only solution is the one my overthinking brain creates. Until that worst case scenario is proven false or doesn’t come true, I just assume that’s the reality, the truth of what’s to come. And then once it doesn’t, I feel like a fool, because everything obviously pointed to things being okay or things working out, yet my brain couldn’t help but distort those signs, those facts. I tell myself, See, you didn’t need to worry? Don’t put yourself through that again.

I’m sure you’re not hard-pressed to figure out what happens next.

 insomnia GIF

I’ve been doing this a lot lately in terms of my evolving friendships and undefinable love life. It can be the simplest things, from not receiving a text for a while to not being called a pet name to putting in all the effort to being left out of a hang out session. I over-analyze, I replay conversations, trying to pick up meanings from inflections and word choice and things left unspoken. I become hyper-focused, always worried that my reality is actually going to become what my brain tells me it will–and it’s never good. And life is good, right now, and who am I to deserve that? How long can it last before I mess it up; then, once doing so, how long will I spend regretting that one confession, that one crying session, that one time where I admitted too much or became too vulnerable and fucked everything up?

These thoughts and fears and scenarios birth in my brain and then worm their way into my emotions, twisting me into a sour mood where I either don’t want to talk to anyone at all or I become needy, desperate for affirmation and confirmation that these fears are heedless and merely vicious to my own subconscious. Suddenly, my desire to be productive diminishes, and even writing and reading become chores when they should be exciting. If it’s really bad, the emotions will manifest into physical pain, in my chest or my stomach, a throbbing pain in my temple.

 girl pink head explosion universe GIF

And all the while, the scenarios don’t stop replaying in my head, pointing out exactly what went wrong and how I caused it.

This sucks. It makes me seem like my brain isn’t exactly all there. That I’m emotionally imbalanced or the most needy human. It makes me seem like…a bit much, maybe too much to handle or perhaps not even worth the trouble, even for the good times; for the times when I have my brain under control and I don’t give into every seed of doubt, every change, every fear. How can the good times be worth it, for my family and friends and partner, when they also come with moments of the bad, which occur more often than I like to admit?

I can’t make a case for why, but I like to believe I’m worth it, anyway. Even though it’s not the most enjoyable part of my personality, being an overthinking worrywart is a part of my personality. A part I’d like to lessen, a part I’d like to be more in control of, but it’s a part of me nonetheless. So yeah, I have a lot of anxiety and I overthink way too much. But that doesn’t mean that’s all there is to me. That doesn’t mean that those demons are right and I’m going to ruin every aspect of my life, to my family to my friends to my love life to my writing career.

So thanks to those of you who stick by me, despite of this.

And also? A little note to that overthinking brain of mine?

Yeah, I’m in a point in my life right now where I have a lot less friends than I used to, so the few I’ve held onto, I’m suddenly so paranoid I’m going to lose them for good and my life will become nothing but working and coming home to an empty house; a routine never broken up by coffee dates to catch up, weekly 1-1 sessions, long conversations or tears caused by laughter. I’m at a point where I am falling hard for a man who is scared of commitment, so we might never have the type of relationship I’ve always dreamed about, and he’s become so important to me, I’m so nervous he’s going to disappear from my life and not only will I be alone again, but I’ll also no longer have him as a constant presence, support and light. I don’t want to lose him. I’m at a point where I’ve been struggling to write and I’m scared I’ll never get over that, but I’m also scared of the books I have written never going anywhere, never being loved the way I love them. I’m at a point where I feel like my financial status is dominated by bills and I’ll never catch up and feel ahead or financially comfortable, so of course I’ll either always live paycheck-to-paycheck….or worse.

But you know what, my lovely, over-energized, never-ceasing brain? All of those things could happen, all of those fears could come true, and I will still be okay. 

I could lose every friend I have and see no one. I could get my heart shattered by this man. I could have every book I write get rejected. I could lose my job or live paycheck-to-paycheck forever. One or all of these things could happen and yet I will still make it. You wanna know why?

That’s calling living.

That’s life.

If I didn’t have these fears; if I wasn’t putting myself out there and risking my heart, risking my hopes, risking my dreams; if I wasn’t so attached to people and passions and things; is that the kind of life I want to live? Sheltered, comfortable, safe, complacent, routine?

No, I don’t think so.

Some days, you win. You make the inside of my head a living nightmare. You exhaust my friends when they have to remind me, again, that they aren’t going anywhere. You make my family’s foreheads meet their palms when I repeat the same mantra of, “But what if X? Can’t you see Z?” You give me anxiety, you make me fear, you add unnecessary stress, you steal sleep, you absorb will, you cause pain. And I hate you for it.

 the lord of the rings our merry return of the king elise GIF

But other days, I win. I take risks. I follow my heart. I create art. I enjoy the little things. I run miles. I laugh with friends. I get overly excited about dogs. I nerd out. I go on adventures. I work. I live as a hopeless romantic. I do whatever I can to break up the monotony and mundane aspects of life.

No matter how hard you hit, no matter how many punches you throw, I’ll come back swinging just as hard. It may take hours, days, weeks, before I retaliate. Before my positivity can make a comeback and prove more powerful than my anxiety. But know this, anxiety. Know this, my overthinking, over-analytic, obsessive, cynical, hopeless mind.

I will never stop fighting.

And I will conquer you.

Cheers.

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About Nicole Evans

Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. She has five completed manuscripts: a trilogy about destined heroes that fail anyway, a science fiction standalone that pits the natural desire to love against the natural instinct to kill during the extinction of the human race and a new series about a writer who can't get published and gets the chance to live a life that all writers dream. She also has two scripts done. Currently, she is about to start writing the second of a nine book series while planning two more. (If you can tell, she really likes this whole writing thing.) Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works part-time as a supervisor in a library at the University of Kansas. View all posts by Nicole Evans

10 responses to “A Punch from the Brain, Retaliation from the Heart

  • justbmoreblog

    (Insert typical ‘you are not alone’ statement here – which while true, if often so unhelpful it’s bothersome. lol)

    So excited to talk to you on the phone in less than a week now!!! We have so much to catch up on – and I’m excited to HEAR some of these posts instead of just read them. Our overthinking minds can finally over worry together, haha!

    • Nicole Evans

      I still appreciate the sentiment, nonetheless. ❤

      I know, I am so jazzed!! I feel like it's going to be a long phone call and I'll try my best not to talk your ear off. I can't wait to hear everything about your life! 😀

  • Joyce C

    Fellow overthinker here. I think most of the time we trap ourselves with our own thoughts. We catastrophise. We spiral into anxiety and depression simply because we engage in our fears and allow our thoughts to run amok.

    Just know that I’m always here if you want to get vulnerable, if you need to spill your thoughts, if you feel your head starting to spin! xo

    • Nicole Evans

      Thank you so much, Joyce. You’re such a wonderful person to talk to and usually, our emails are when I vent the most and express all of those emotions and anxieties, so that’s been wonderful. I hope the demons have been quiet, as of late, and life is treating you kindly!

  • M.A. Crosbie

    You’ve put into words everything going on in my brain, and everything I’ve been struggling with for the past few months (years…). Thank you thank you THANK YOU for articulating it. You are absolutely worth it, don’t ever doubt that, and yes, even if all those things do come to pass, you will still be okay. (But, yeah, they probably won’t, so, WHEW!)

    I will forever be inspired by your eloquence and your resilience, and…ok honestly I just can’t say enough about how much of a relief it is to see all of the same things I’ve been feeling put into words! Thank you for writing this, and for sharing what’s in your heart ❤

    • Nicole Evans

      Years for me too, my friend. And probably for years to come, unfortunately, yet I take comfort in knowing that I’ll have friends like you by my side to help get me through the darker days. Thank you so much for such a lovely comment, Meredith. It warmed my heart, immensely. ❤

  • oranmdoyle

    Hi Nicole. Enjoyed your post. I have similar issues with anxiety, but what I’ve found over the years works for me is to accept that the anxiety is part of me rather than try to conquer it. I’ve found listening to my anxiety / worries and sitting with them (via meditation, writing, even talking out loud with them) to make a massive difference over time. I think of my anxiety as a part of myself that is extremely vulnerable and needs my attention and love. I also try to remember it is there to protect me even if it’s a bit over active. Rather than focusing solely on my own agenda (i.e. writing goals, life goals, etc..), I also need to respond to that scared part of myself and its agenda. Responding to its agenda over the years has at times meant changing how I live entirely and that certainly hasn’t been easy, but it has been necessary as it’s a part of me. Denying it has ultimately never worked for me. Anyway those are two cents and what works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for another so good luck with your journey. Oran.

    • Nicole Evans

      Hi, Oran! Thank you so much for such an in-depth and thought out comment. I think I’m trying, slowly, to accept anxiety and it’s value more than just reject it outright, like you mentioned. That is value in the mindset you’ve adopted and kuddos to you for working towards that! Best wishes on your quests!

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