Sometimes my thoughts start working in overdrive, and not always with positive things. If I’m upset about something, my brain does NOT stop. I spiral. I drown. I lay awake as if I’ve found myself in the middle of a lake and my thoughts are thousands of fish, surrounding me, hitting me in the face, threading between my limbs, I can’t breath I don’t know how I even got there.
The brain of a person with anxiety shares a lot of qualities with the brain of someone with OCD or depression. And a lot this has to do with repeated thoughts. This especially happens to me when I am feeling angry or hurt. Which means it probably is directed at another human being.
Instead of bolting out of bed and immediately calling the person or texting them to tell them what I think, I instead get up and head to a journal. Or my computer. And I write them a letter. The letter tries to explain why I feel the way I feel. This letter is never meant to be sent; it’s just for me. And almost every time this reveals something to me. It usually reveals the real reason I’m upset. I go into the letter thinking it’s one thing, and by the end of the letter new layers have emerged.
For example: I once felt endlessly irritated with a crush of mine for not returning my text messages in a timely manner. I thought he was so callous and distant and purposefully cold. I spent weeks fuming and calling him ugly names. I tried to convince myself to stop liking him (this never works). One day I sat down and wrote him a letter outlining why it was an assface move to wait days to respond to a text message, but by the end of the letter it had opened up into me discussing my insecurities. My fears of not ever truly being cared for. My issues with always giving and not finding people who are willing or ready to receive. The letter helped me understand why I probably was even trying to start a relationship with this man in the first place.
So if you’re hurt or angry, write it out. In a letter. The letter can even be addressed to yourself. Just give yourself some time to try and understand.