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Overthinking Quicksand

Have you ever had a little thought swimming in your head about something that you worry about, find yourself obsessing about it, then even more thoughts evolve from that initial thought and the next thing you know you are questioning the very essence of your existence? Well, I have and trust me, it is never a pleasant experience when this happens.

Last Friday, as a part of the new adventure in my career, I was given a task to write a blog article about new years in Bali. I leaped in excitement when I received the task as I made a huge career decision to pursue writing 100% recently. This opportunity would propel me to my dream job, a writer. So I came home from my current job that night with a smile on my face and pure excitement in my heart, knowing I'm going to be able to tackle this task. I mean, writing has been a huge part of my life and it is something I enjoy doing plus blog writing is not something new to me. Easy peasy!

So that night, I sat in front of my laptop, ready to write. This would be a walk in the park. Or so I thought...

15 minutes went by and I still haven't been able to write anything. An hour and several cat YouTube videos later, I was still staring at an empty Word doc. At this point, I started to feel the pressure. Funny thing about our mind is that it seems to love to add drama to our already stressful situations and it seems to always come at the perfect time as well, as if our lives need more plot twists. So there I was, sitting in front of my laptop, already starting to feel the stress of not being able to produce a single word, then a simple thought popped out "What do you know about new year celebration, Sisi?".

Then my mind began to justify that thought. First of all, I am not a party girl. Far from it. Yes, I enjoy a night out once in a while, but party girl? A big fat nope. Second, the closest celebration I have to welcome a new year is being able to stay awake until the clock strikes midnight and that rarely happened this past few years. This justification then led me to another thought "With your very limited information and experience of parties and new year celebrations, will you be able to write this article, Sisi?". As if I wasn't feeling enough pressure already, my thoughts then spiraled down to questioning my own ability in writing. Thoughts like "I'm not capable of doing this" "What the fuck am I getting myself into?" "Who am I kidding? I can't do this!" "English is not even my first language, what if my grammar sucks?" to "I'm a total fraud!!". Oh what fun time I had.

2 hours into attempting to write and I still haven't produced ANYTHING plus my anxiety started acting up. Great! There I was, sitting in front of my laptop and instead of writing the blog, I was thinking of the perfect words to be put on my hopes and dreams' tomb. "Here lies Sisi's dream of becoming a writer. That dream died before it even started. Rest in peace" or somewhere along the lines of that.

You see, that night I went into overthinking mode. Without even realizing, I fed that initial thoughts and allow more thoughts to come, which in the end crippled me rather than made me believe that I could finish the task. The truth is, it didn't matter whether I'm a party girl or not or that I celebrate new year by sleeping at the same time I normally would. The problem was I forgot that instead of focusing on putting words together and producing something on the Word doc, I was focusing a lot in delivering a killer blog draft worthy of posting and immune from the grammar Nazis, hence, the overthinking and believing that I suck at writing.

The way I see it, overthinking is like a quicksand. The more you panic and struggle, the more it's going to suck you in. It sucks you in slowly and before you know it you're neck deep into the quicksand waiting for your inevitable death. Overthinking is just like that, the more you panic, the more they are going to spiral down. This is where all common sense goes out of the window into a pile of shit.

Here's the thing though, the only difference between getting stuck in a quicksand and overthinking is that you're actually the one responsible of your own thoughts -I have never heard of anyone deliberately walk into a quicksand before, unless of course, you have that YOLO mentality-. So, acknowledging that you are getting drown in your thoughts and limiting beliefs, is really the first step to stopping yourself from drowning even more. In the quicksand scenario -should you ever get stuck in one-, this is where you know you have to stay calm and think of a way out. My way out from my overthinking quicksand that night was just that. I acknowledged that I was overthinking and just like that it helped. Like a lot. That night I turned off my laptop, did a bit of breath-work and set an intention to try to do it again in the morning.

This ability to acknowledge the overthinking quicksand did not come easy, of course. It takes a lot of calling myself out on my own bullshit and it's still a process that I'm going through. One thing I know is that I refuse to be controlled by my own thoughts that can be super toxic at times. And honestly, they can also be exhausting and limiting. Other than acknowledging my overthinking quicksand, I learned that showing compassion towards myself while and after this happens is crucial. Nothing boosts your energy more than to show compassion towards yourself and to tell yourself that it's okay to have these moments every now and then in your life. You're not flawed because you let yourself get trapped in an overthinking quicksand, you're actually functioning as a normal human being with about a gazillion thoughts swimming in your head all day long.

With that said, your thoughts can be pretty tricky at times. They could make you or break you. It is your responsibility and your responsibility only to sort out your thoughts and get rid of the ones that don't serve you.

I'm going to leave you here with something that my Disappointment Panda said to me as I was almost in tears telling him about what had happened. "If you create it, then you have the power to stop it". If that's not powerful, I don't know what is.