IS IT TRUE THAT OTHERS ALSO STAY UP AT NIGHT BECAUSE OF OVERTHINKING?
Have you found yourself thinking? He does.
Have you found yourself constantly thinking? He does.
Have you found yourself constantly overthinking? He did.
Have you found yourself constantly overthinking at night resulting in sleeplessness? He did.
After working from home all day long, he returned back to his bed. He lay down, closed his eyes, and began thinking. He began thinking about his day. Even though everything did not go as planned, he thought that it was a beautiful day for him and was so proud of all that he achieved during the day. He felt extremely grateful for his life and for those around him.
14 months back, it was all different.
After working at the office all day long, he returned back home and to his bed. He lay down, closed his eyes, and began thinking. He began thinking about his day. He thought about how bad his day was and how nothing went as planned. He was extremely frustrated and couldn’t help but think about how he had achieved nothing throughout the day. Everything went wrong. It was one of his worst days at work.
He had some sleep concerns in the past as well. However, that night was the first time he couldn’t fall asleep. He stayed awake throughout the night, tossing and turning in bed. He tried sleeping in different positions, on a different side of the bed, with and without his blanket, by counting backward, by chanting repeatedly, by listening to guided meditation; however, nothing seemed to work. He finally gave up and sat-up on the bed. He removed his laptop and wrote to his boss at 4 AM, “I am sorry but I will not be able to come for work tomorrow. I have encountered an unavoidable emergency.” He shut the laptop, got out of bed, went to the balcony. He stood there on the balcony staring at the bright lights of the city that ‘never sleeps’. He looked down from the balcony and thought, “Should I?”.
He got scared. He was so scared that such a thought even occurred to him. He ran back to his room, shut the door, locked it, got on the bed, and covered himself with his blanket. He was shivering, sweating, and could feel his heart racing. He sat up and found himself nearly passing out and unable to breathe. As he quivered, he reached out for a glass of water, but it fell to the floor. He closed his eyes and found himself sinking in the darkness.
Exactly 2 minutes and 33 seconds later, it all stopped. Everything felt okay. He lay back down and started thinking, “What was that? Am I going to die?”. He removed his phone and went on Google. He typed, “shivering, sweating, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, a sensation of passing out, felt like I was going to die”. The only answer he got was a diagnosis. A diagnosis for a mental health condition. It was, indeed, a panic attack.
He locked his phone, moved over to the other side of the bed, and thought, “I am going crazy. I have a mental health disorder. I can’t tell anyone about this. What will they think? What will they say?”. He closed his eyes tightly, pinched himself, and tried to make himself believe that it was all a dream. Gradually, he fell asleep.
The next day, he woke up at 2 PM. He was extremely groggy. Just as he opened his eyes, all the memories from the previous night flashed back again and he couldn’t breathe. He tried to hold onto his blanket. Exactly 1 minute and 2 seconds later, it all stopped again. He got up from his bed and did the usual, brushed, bathed, cooked, ate, watched TV. The only difference from the usual was that he did it all half-heartedly.
After 2 months of multiple panic attacks, sleepless nights, and thoughts of ending his life, he finally took the courage to talk to his friends. He spoke to his childhood friend. With a lot of trust and strength, he poured his heart out to him. The only thing he got back in return was, “Chal, hatt. Mard ko dard nahi hota. Yeh sab tere dimaag mein hai, sapna dekh raha hoga. Chal, chal kaam ki baat kar. Ladki jaise baat mat kar. Yeh toh accha hai tune mujhse baat kiya, koi aur hota toh sochta pagal hogaya hai. Yeh sab khulle mein baat mat kar. Kisi ne sunliya toh? (Translation: Go away. Men don’t feel any pain. This is all in your head, you must be dreaming. Let’s talk about work. Don’t talk like a girl. It’s good that you spoke to me, if you would have talked to someone else about it, they would think that you’re crazy. These things aren’t meant to be talked about in public. What if someone heard it?)”.
He was crushed. He poured his heart out to someone and all he received was invalidation. He couldn’t help but think about how foolish he was to have opened up to his friend. After work, he went back home. He sat down and read more about mental health. He read more about the stigma surrounding mental health in India. After 2 hours of in-depth research, he found multiple avenues for counseling. A person who was so hesitant to share his feelings with anyone, went on to tell a friend about it (which obviously didn’t go well) and also signed up for counseling in-person.
After 6 months, he called himself to be a work-in-progress. He never told anyone else about his struggles with mental health and kept going to therapy a secret, as well. He told his therapist that he does not want to tell society about his reality, the reality of his mental health struggles. And the therapist further questioned that belief with, “So what if the society got to know about?”. After multiple “So whats”, he realized the need to stop concealing his true self.
Therapy didn’t solve his problems. The therapist didn’t advise him. Therapy only brought to his notice something that was already present in him. Therapy, a process of self-exploration, brought to his notice all of his cognitive distortions – his negative rumination, his all-or-none thinking, his magnification of issues, his drop in self-confidence, and his fear of “What will people say?”. This is what therapy is. Your therapist is your mirror image; they reflect who you are and can only facilitate your growth. You write your own story.
This brings us back to how this story began; today, he is still thinking and constantly thinking, but not overthinking. Today, he still goes to therapy. Today, he feels like himself again. Today, he talks about going for therapy and his mental health struggles without the fear of judgment. Today, he has overcome his hurdles and is still a work-in-progress. He believes that he would like to be a work-in-progress throughout his life because once he has progressed completely, there would be no scope for improvement; something that seems untrue to him.
Your mental health matters as much as your physical health. Don't hesitate to take a step towards your mental well-being. If you’re looking at talking to a professional, book your Initial Consultation with us on https://www.themoodspace.com/freeconsultation or write to us at email@example.com. Take a step towards bettering your mental wellbeing because you deserve it!
Written by – Virachi Chaudhary