Anatomy Of A Chronic Over-Thinker

Chronic over-thinking (noun): the inability to do anything without thinking of the repercussions of the aforementioned action; the act of pulling apart and analyzing everything and anything presented before you; how to ruin your life.

Chronic over-thinker (noun): a person whose inability to act spontaneously leaves them forever stuck in a state of longing for something they can’t have; a person with crippling fear of the future that stems from the fact that they can only imagine the horrible things to come; a person who is the cause of a majority of the problems in their own life.

Over-thinkers know they have a problem; they know they have a problem because they’ve thought about it, at great length — they even probably Googled symptoms of over-thinking. It’s often said that once a person can admit that they have a problem, they can then move on to the next step, which is to seek help. However, it becomes almost impossible for an over-thinker to do this, simply because they are too busy thinking about what moving towards solving their issues would mean; therapy, telling their mom they went to therapy, being that person who needed therapy. Seeking help would also insinuate that eventually, this person would no longer be an over-thinker, and that in itself is a problem: over-thinkers dislike change, and like to (believe they) have control of their future. No longer being an over-thinker means they (believe they) won’t have control over their lives.

Over-thinkers pick apart every aspect of their lives. They’re stuck speculating about what life will be like a month, two months, a year, or even 10 years from now, and this makes it almost impossible to enjoy what’s happening in the moment. I wouldn’t go as far as to say that over-thinkers are incapable of enjoying their lives, but they do have a difficult time in letting go to enjoy the present. 

When everything is going good in an over-thinker’s life, over-thinking is manageable, and is even easy to live with. The over-thinker will continue to stress over every word their professor said in that email, will speculate the effect their roommate’s new significant other will have on their friendship, and will even worry about what they’re going to wear to their cousin’s communion three months from now. However, as long as the fundamental things in life are at homeostasis, the over-thinker will be (somewhat) content.

But when things fall apart, that’s when chronic over-thinking becomes a serious problem. When an over-thinker is dumped, they believe they’ll never find love again. When an over-thinker fails a class they need to graduate, they can’t envision a future that doesn’t involve groveling on New York corners for spare change. When an over-thinker is late that month, even by a day, she’s already picking out baby names and debating whether or not to get the kid vaccinated.

Over-thinkers are often the cause of their own problems. It is not above an over-thinker to worry and stress about something to the point where they cause themselves to get sick. In many cases, over-thinkers will pick and pull at an opportunity until they eventually ruin it, blowing it for themselves.

An over-thinker is often misunderstood by their friends, family and significant others. An over-thinker often hears the words “calm down” or “you’re blowing this way out of proportion.” Outsiders believe it’s easy for an over-thinker to simply let go; they don’t understand the struggle within the over-thinker. Over-thinkers can’t enjoy having a cup of coffee with a friend because an over-thinker is too busy thinking about what they’re doing later that evening. An over-thinker can’t enjoy a nice walk around campus, because the thought of going back to an empty dorm room is daunting. Thoughts of the future encroach on thoughts of the present, finding a way to destroy any possibility of stress-free enjoyment, which is something a person not suffering from chronic over-thinking doesn’t understand.

Over-thinking almost always, without fail, leads to over-exaggerating the severity of the situation at hand. Over-exaggerating leads to stress, anxiety and unhappiness. Over-thinkers struggle with the inability to live life to it’s fullest — and instead of seeking help, all they can do is analyze the effect this inability will have on the rest of their lives. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

featured image – Khánh Hmoong

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