Recently (for the last 6 months) I’ve been playing Dungeons and Dragons. Because it’s cool. One of the personality traits of my character is a belief that “If you know yourself then there is nothing left to know”, which I picked because I utterly believe it. I think I’ve mentioned before that if I got lost anywhere, it would probably be inside my own head.
Last time on inside-my-brain-with-Sally, I talked about how important control is to me, and how much I dislike the feeling of not having it. I was talking about situational control rather than anything else, so now it’s time to talk about personal control (which incidentally has a strong crossover with situational control issues, bear with me here).
So I don’t like being in situations I can’t control, but a part of that is because I don’t know how I’ll react. It’s a funny thing to think about, but in the whole world I think the thing I have the least control over is myself. If I finally get that (see quote above), I don’t think anything will ever bother me again. That’s a huge step though because I’ll need to get out of my own head first, a place where I spend a lot of very unproductive time.
I’m a worrier, and it’s easiest to describe in terms of situations because I can’t describe the inside of my head – not with words which would make any sense anyway. This article is just about the perfect expression of what it’s like to be worried about situations you have no control over, but I think the image which speaks to me most is this one:
Here’s a control situation which breaks me, time after time. I’m not sure how an interaction went, and eventually I get so far into my own head about it that I’m convinced that the person I was engaging with hates me, thinks I’m crazy, thinks I’m stupid, thinks I’m evil (with context, obviously. Not all of this at once). I want to clarify with them whether this is the case, but that’s just not a conversation people really have. So eventually I just get more and more cagey around them in case they hate me, and then it’s very much a downward spiral.
The worst thing about the above? That’s me. That’s just my lack of control of my own emotions stopping me from doing friendship correctly. Other people have some kind of God-like capacity to take a situation which might have felt a bit awkward, look at it, put it down to the direction of the wind and then MOVE ON. But not so the brain of the anxietyist (it’s a word). The memory of that situation bubbles away and every now and then a new element of it comes floating to the surface until you convince yourself that when you thought you were talking about the weather you were doing it while killing that person’s pet. And now they hate you.
This is another level of control that I’m slowly trying to work on. When something happens I try and look at it objectively, decide if it’s something I should have a reaction to, and then actively forget it if it’s nothing. It’s made it easier to go out with friends (I used to have panic attacks in clubs), it’s made it easier to talk to strangers about my actual views, and it’s making it easier for me to share how I feel (hello all of this blogging in the world).
One day I think I’ll “get it” and I’ll work out why I think what I think about LITERALLY EVERYTHING BECAUSE MY BRAIN NEVER STOPS, and that’ll be cool, but actually if that day never comes I think that’s ok too. So long as you’re reconciled with the fact that you’re a bit crazy it gets easier to see that everyone is a little bit really.