I wouldn’t necessarily consider myself an anxious person. When I think of those who are anxious, I think of people who are jittery, nervous, and jumpy most of the time. However, when it comes to changes in my life, then all of a sudden, I do become quite anxious.
I think and plan about changes in my life over and over again. I play through scenarios of new events again and again, so that mentally I can prepare for anything that might come up. If suddenly I have a great amount of things that get in my way regarding my new situation, then I become nervous and even angry but unable to let those feelings out. A recent example was when I first started online teaching. I wasn’t completely comfortable with teaching online like I had planned. I thought about it all weekend before I was to begin. I didn’t sleep well the night before because I kept thinking through all the situations that could result in disaster if I didn’t fully prepare for my morning. So, I used a great deal of energy, stressing myself out for a situation that worked out better than I could have imagined.
I could argue that if I hadn’t done all of the planning in my head, that it might not have worked out as well as it could have. That type of thinking helps me justify why I should continue with this pattern of worry, stress and anxiety. However, I have to think of the long term behavior patterns I’m creating in my mind. After doing this repeatedly, what am I setting myself up for in the future? It’s one of the many kinds of behavior patterns that I can link to my sexual abuse.
Many times, I would hyper focus on what happened to me, wondering what part I had in it, what part was my fault, and what I could have done to prevent it. Over and over, I replayed the events in my mind trying to determine how I could have put myself in this situation. Also, I would replay any changes that occurred in my life so that I could ensure that I would be seen in a favorable light, never wanting anyone to figure out what had happened to me.
I’m certain that there are some benefits to thinking through situations in this way. However, I need to retrain my brain so that I can live one day at a time, giving 100% to the situations, events, and people that are in my life at the present.