When Thinking Of The Future Paralyzes You

Sometimes my brain just starts turning on an idea and it doesn't want to stop.

I don't know if it is related to my anxiety, perfectionism or depression. I don't know why it happens. It's frustrating, it's painful and it stops me from functioning.

I will research whatever I am thinking about for hours, without realizing it, and neglect what I need to be doing. I simply cannot let it go. It's like my brain gets stuck in a loop.

Let's call my obsessive idea X. My brain will worry about X, research X, realize X is a long time away, wish X was closer, wonder if X is possible and then start all over again at worry about X.

Before I know it, I have five or more tabs open on my internet browser, I am crying because I don't know if X is possible, and it is 2 a.m.

I have been stuck for hours. Stuck in my head. Stuck in my worry. Stuck in my idea. Stuck in the fantasy of it coming true. Stuck in worrying that it will only ever BE a fantasy when I seriously dream of it as a reality. I am stuck.

It's especially bad when the thoughts about X permeate into almost every moment. My brain has latched on, hard. I want it to let go. I want to remember that things have a way of working out. I want to remember that X is years away, and I don't have to have every problem worked out, every process understood and every question answered right this minute.

But I can't. I can't release it. I can't get my brain to unlatch itself and move on. It just keeps aiming for whatever X is.

It's painful. It's frustrating. It will leave me crying. I have found myself on my couch, crying, holding my head and begging my brain to just stop. Stop thinking about X. Stop obsessing over X. Please, just stop. Please, just give me a break.

I have found these cyclical thought processes often stem from me being unhappy in one way or another. The more unhappy I am with my situation, the deeper my brain dives into X.

The more I research, the more I worry, the more I get stuck.

It all correlates with something making me depressed. I want to change something. I want to move, change myself, change what I am doing or change how people know me. I feel insecure. I feel ashamed. I feel stuck. So my brain turns to X. And it sticks to X.

Even if X really is something I could do in the future, my brain will pick X apart and find all the worries, all the complicated processes, all the things that could go wrong.

And so I will end up on my couch, with my laptop, for hours and hours, researching X and forgetting about how unhappy I am — until I come out of my trance and realize I am even more unhappy than I was before, just hours later and with more worries.

These thoughts are not jokes. I cannot just switch them off. I cannot just stop thinking about it. Trust me, I want to.

And I never know how long it will take for X to become a goal rather than an obsession.

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