By: Julia Sacco
overthinking or underthinking?
From a young age, I was always hyper-aware of the way that I acted and thus how I was perceived. While other kids were playing soccer at recess, I hid in the bathroom, a hurricane of thoughts hindering my ability to step outside.
As I got older, things shifted. I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety and panic disorder while in eating disorder treatment at fifteen. Since then, slowly but surely, I have been coming to terms with the fact that while I may be “wise beyond my years,” as my therapist liked to put it, my vision of myself and the world around me had been warped by insecurity and fear.
This skewed sense of personhood trickled into relationships throughout my young life. I went through friendships like candy in elementary school, dropping friends after the slightest inconvenience under the guise that they no longer liked me or were bored of me. As I grew up, I later connected this to having a victim complex, always finding myself to be the bearer of pain.
While it prevented me from easily cutting ties and helped save friendships, this victim complex narrative then began to hurt me more than anyone else. Fights that began with me voicing my qualms would end with me profusely apologizing, always citing myself as the villain and why things go awry. If anyone did something to upset me, I would simply come to the conclusion that my standards were absurdly high and that I am always the thing that must be fixed.
I cite social media as a link to this problem. Constantly seeing text posts listing “10 toxic behavioural traits” and identifying with more than a few, or being force-fed strangers dirty relationship laundry and questioning if their means to an end can be linked to behaviours I encapsulate.
Every day is more confusing to navigate. Am I mad because someone actually did something to hurt me? Or am I overreacting and using my feelings to manipulate admissions of guilt from my loved ones? The past few months have been a blur of attempted self-diagnoses, self-induced panic attacks and exhaustion, effectively leaving me with the wish that I could just be like everyone else, that I could live in a world outside of my head and act freely without second-guessing my every move.
In some ways, I am thankful for the mind I was given. I have a rich inner world, a strong introspectiveness and a rather profound understanding of self. I just hope that one day I will be at peace with it.