I've concluded that stopping the downward spiral of thinking that is my brain is as difficult as stopping a train with a flyswatter. Prevention is the best medicine.
A chronic thinker is someone who relentlessly contemplates everything. Thoughts can run from anxiety-provoking thoughts like "I wonder if we're in tornado alley? I better check. OHMYGOSH WE ARE, I GOTTA GO MAKE A SHELTER" to depressing thoughts like "They haven't called. I guess they're not interested. No one calls. So no one is interested in spending time with me." It likely has little to do with intelligence and more to do with emotion.
Observe: Last weekend was a nightmare for the chronic thinker I am. I had already been starting to get quite upset by how quickly many of my friendships had disappeared once I was no longer around to try and keep them going. How little it seemed most people thought of me unless I was right in their faces. So, I emailed a long lost friend and my last girlfriend, just innocently asking how they were and what they were up to. Nothing more. Then, I had to take part in my friend's wedding. It was an honor and a nightmare. For one, I had to see my last girlfriend, who seemed to be virtually inseparable from her new boyfriend. I felt as though I missed her. I began to make the connection between her and the last time I was happy, realizing again what a support she had been in my life where friends and family were failing me. I kept trying to remind myself that it was not her I missed, but the loving support. No use - my thoughts kept bouncing back and forth like a bouncy ball in a concrete room. Wondering where I'd gone wrong. Thinking about what we had been together. Hating myself for thinking about that because I knew I was right to end the relationship and it was the best thing for us.
Continuing on, I thought about how I lost a lot of the friends I had when I broke up with her. How they cared more about her than about me, even though I was hurt, too. How none of them except the guy I was friends with before we dated tried to be my friend anymore. Making the connection between that and my current misery. Reflecting on how it was my own choice, my own unselfish desire to do the right thing that led to us breaking up and destroying what I did not know was my biggest support group in life. Reflecting on if I hadn't broken up with my last girlfriend we might be engaged/almost engaged by now...and that we'd be planning our wedding. Thinking again about how pathetic this all is and I should be happy with myself for just doing the right thing and continuing to be myself.
Wrote a letter to a girl I loved and respected before she moved away. Tried to keep it brief, friendly, and optimistic. Failed. Cried miserably the entire time I wrote it. Reflected on how every time I write this girl a letter I don't stop crying until I finish the letter. Told a friend I missed her. Wondered what might have happened if I had seen her the way I see her now months ago. Tried not to think about it. Failed that, too. Told another friend, one of the few to actually still really care about me, to stop texting me everyday to make sure I was OK even though I appreciated it because it was making me too emotionally attached. She agreed. Reflected on how wretched doing the right thing can make you feel sometimes. Hated myself for not just being happy I did the right thing. Went to sleep.
And woke up...fine. Fine! I've been fine all day. What's changed?
I'll tell you. I didn't start thinking about it. So I haven't thought of this stuff all day until now. This is just one of those things I'm still figuring out about myself. If I can keep myself away from the things that trigger me (Facebook, certain people, some texts) I don't start thinking about that stuff...and I remain OK.
Now it's written, so now I can't forget. I said I was the only one who can help me, and now I am.
There was a dream that I dreamed, a dream to slow it down.