Anxiety disorders are characterized not only by over-thinking, but by irrationality, fear, over-reaction, and mental exhaustion. When you put all those things together…….well, your life becomes a bit like your own version of “Alice in Wonderland”.
I will call it “Anxiety in What-If Land”.
What-If-Land makes no sense. Because its not real. It comes from your imagination.
People with anxiety are highly creative people. And if would only harness that creativity and put it into something positive, this world would be magical.
Alas, we don’t. Instead we usually use those amazing imaginations of ours to create unhappy endings and disaster scenarios.
Everything in What-If-Land seems odd and strange and scary. You feel as though you have fallen down a rabbit hole into a new world where nothing seems familiar. You find yourself feeling things and thinking things that feel very foreign to you. You feel a strong urge to analyze those thoughts and feelings until they make sense to you. That is where you think you will find your comfort.
But the thing you have to remember is that What-If-Land will never make sense. Because it doesn’t really exist. It’s not a place, it’s a frame of mind.
You are not crazy. You are perfectly sane. The imaginary rabbit hole you are in has been created by your over-thinking, stress, and mental fatigue. You are over-analyzing and mentally engaging things that feel very real, but aren’t. You are wasting your time by trying to find the answer to “Why am I thinking this way?”, “What does this mean?”. I assure you, I know what that is like because I used to do it ALL the time. And then finally one day I had this epiphany, and it was that there are no answers to those questions other than one………..
“Its just anxiety.”
That is the only answer you will ever need. That is the only answer there IS. You can sit and try to play tic tac toe with your symptoms but if you do, its going to be CAT every single time and you will always go right back to where you started. It will always be a never ending cycle of feeling, thought, analyze, fear. And that cycle will continue until you learn to be satisfied with the only answer there is…. “Its just anxiety.”
People have a problem with that because most people don’t get what anxiety is or why its there, and to them, the idea of anxiety is just as mysterious and vague as the symptoms they are analyzing.
But if you have read my anxiety pages, then you do know why your anxiety is there and it should make sense to you and that answer should be enough. It IS enough. It must be enough. Because that is the only answer there is.
“It’s just anxiety.”
So when you are in What-If-Land and you get the urge to pick apart those thoughts and feelings, I want you to stop yourself right then and there and say “No. I won’t do that. Its a waste of my time. It’s just my anxiety.”
The more you do this, the more it will sink in and it will ring truer and truer every time you do it. You will lose that urge to dig deeper and the symptoms of your anxiety will improve, if you incorporate the other tips I have talked about. I am living proof that this works. I would not be telling it to you if I didn’t live through it and experience it for myself.
For more information on controlling “What If?” thinking, give this article from SteveSeay.com a read. I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and for more information join our Facebook Page and private Facebook Support Group.