I have a tendency to overthink things. Actually, that's a grotesque understatement. I overthink, I obsess, and I have been known to make myself sick with worry. It can come from anywhere--due dates, homesickness, insecurity, unwanted attention, how others see me, the 2016 election even. Sometimes it feels as if anything could set me off into a spiral of worry and anxieties.
What I should do is express these fears as soon as I notice them. Of course, this is not what I do. Instead, I continue to suppress these feelings of dread and doubt until it eventually comes pouring out (and not in the way that I had intended...) I then proceed to feel the effects of this emotional outburst for days, sometimes even an entire week, after the fact.
I'm being open about this because I know that there are other people out there who have probably experienced similar feelings to me, and it's awful! But I also think that's because as a society, we have become too accustomed to pushing away or ignoring things that worry us. We instead throw ourselves into our work and when loved ones ask, "Are you OK?" we are afraid to be completely honest.
But, I want to change that. So, I'm going to be totally vulnerable. I am going to publicly list my personal worries and insecurities. My fears and my doubts. I don't think that doing this makes me especially "brave" or anything, but I figure it's always comforting when someone else out there can tell you, "I get it. I feel you and I hear you. Your feelings are valid and I can relate."
Without further ado, here goes:
1. I worry that I'm too needy, I rely on reassurance from others. I can't do a good job and just accept it as is, someone needs to explicitly give me a thumbs up.
2. I fear losing touch with my boyfriend who goes to a different university despite his constant assurances of love and devotion.
3. I'm supposed to study abroad next year and I am terrified of starting over in a new country. Sure, I'm studying Spanish, but will that be enough for Toledo, Spain?
4. I miss my dog. He's 11 years old and healthy, but my biggest fear is that he'll get sick or pass away while I'm at school.
5. Whenever I meet someone new, I automatically assume that they aren't going to like me (even with evidence to the opposite present).
6. I'm on the board for two clubs at my school and I don't want to disappoint the other members. I want to do the best job possible.
7. I know that I'm primarily attracted to men, but I don't identify as "straight." I've been calling myself "heteroflexible" but I'm still not entirely sure where I lie on the sexuality spectrum.
8. I am getting unwanted attention from certain people at my school and I find it difficult to confront them.
9. I will never meet my parents' expectations.
10. I know that I'm only a sophomore in college and have declared a major and minor, but I still have no clear idea about what I want to do with my life.
I did not write this in any attempt to be pessimistic or negative, rather, I hope that it has the opposite effect. You see, when I feel especially anxious, I like to write down a list of my worries. That way, my thoughts are out there in the universe instead of floating around in my head. I write them, read them, and then move on with my day. It's sort of like in the Harry Potter books where Dumbledore extracts his memories and then stores them away in glass bottles- only to be retrieved and reflected upon when useful. Many of my worries are illogical, having no basis in reality, but they continue to pester me regardless. So why not take the first step in ridding myself of them? Offer myself some relief and solace amidst my worrying.
Do not ignore your worries. Address them either personally or confide in someone you trust. Mental health is important and you need to take care of your emotional well-being just as you take care of your body. Meditate. Reflect. Pray. Write in a journal. Pet an animal. Tell someone you love them. Don't be afraid to be vulnerable.