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Anxiety, Overthinking, & Control

Updated: Aug 18, 2022

It was a beautiful August morning, I was in my telehealth counseling session in a great mood. I was happy. Things were going well for me and I talked to my counselor about how excited I was about this new chapter of my life. Although I was going through so many life transitions, the thing that was worrying me the most was my new job. At the time, I had not yet signed my offer letter because I was wanting to contact HR first and discuss my pay. After several attempts of reaching out with no response, I became worried.

"What if they are stalling on purpose to get me to sign without voicing my concerns?", "What if they are secretly trying to hire someone else instead of me?".

I expressed my concerns to my counselor. She connected these concerns to a previous session where I disclosed that I tend to overthink as an attempt to mentally prepare myself from being let down or caught off guard. It was evident in this experience. A lot of times, overthinking has led me to becoming more anxious about certain situations. It was happening again here. I noted that it was lowkey a way of me trying to control the outcome of the situation. Because if I could predict what was going to happen before it happened, I can say "I knew it!" and I would be in complete control of the situation and completely unbothered.

Yeah... Right.

Thinking back, I realized that in similar situations I may have let my overthinking alter the outcome of things. As difficult as it is to ease up those thoughts, especially with diagnosed anxiety, I realized I worked myself up for a lot of situations that were out of my control. With this situation in particular, I did everything in my power to get the job and the recruiters offered me the position. If they decided they wanted to change their mind about the job offer, (as much as that would suck) that was no longer in my control.

Overthinking is a form of control. I was trying to protect myself from something potentially unexpected and by overthinking I was (subconsciously) trying to control the outcome. I’m learning that I don’t have as much control as I think. Yeah, I can think of the worst possible scenario to "mentally prepare" myself for what could potentially happen, and yeah I'll temporarily feel in control. But it's not like it's gonna hurt any less if it does happen. Yeah, I probably won't be shocked, but emotions are layered. I'm sure there will be other uncomfortable emotions that I will be forced to deal with regardless, and that's okay. Because... I do have control of how I respond. And as a Black woman in this society?.. unfortunately that's what matters the most.

My counselor joked with me and told me that what I said was so powerful and resonated with her so much. She asked me, "How does it feel coming to that realization?"

I told her, “this is honestly something I’m still learning to accept but once I fully master it, it’ll be so liberating”.

Knowing I did my part would be enough. Knowing that things won’t always turn out in my favor after giving a real effort would be less bothersome. Leaving room to validate how I feel about the situation would be ideal. It’s a process. I am getting used to it more in certain areas of my life than others.

There are so many things in life that we literally have no control over. A lot of us get ourselves worked up by worrying and overthinking certain situations that are not in our control. What’s in our control is our effort, our actions, and our response to how life treats us. A lot of times the overthinking serves as a protective factor to prepare ourselves for the unknown, but what would happen if we realized in the moment which situations were not in our control?

What would happen if we freed ourselves from experiencing that excess stress and anxiety from overthinking? What would happen if we continued to live authentically and fully, released control, and gave ourselves permission to feel our feelings?

What are some ways you deal with overthinking? Leave a comment down below.

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