I’m an anxious overthinker – I’ll just get that straight out now. Let me give you an example..I got stuck in a lift at work recently (I later found out I was stuck for around 45 seconds) in that 45 seconds I had thought that the lift was stuck due to a fire in the building, a fire or maybe an explosion – an explosion because we had a huge event on so there were loads of really important people in the building – someone was obviously trying to take us all out right? I paced the floor, had a raised heart-rate, sat down on the floor, took my shoes off (god knows why) and there were nearly tears. Finally someone knocked on the doors – opened them – we were stuck between floors – and said ‘don’t move’ – obviously I jumped out!
So – I overthink and I overthink all the bad things that could happen. I do this in the gym too. Recently I overcame my fear of doing a handstand against the wall – handstands in an open space I was ok with, handstand against a wall came with ‘what if I hit my head on the wall’ ‘what if I miss and fall into the wall’ ‘what if I make it and then my shoulders fail and I end on my face at the bottom of the wall’ – my head is pretty much fried on a daily basis as Im sure you can imagine!
So how did I overcome my fear of the wall, actually it was about realising that part of my personality (the irrational, anxious, overthinker part) was stopping me from doing things and that I needed to find a way around that otherwise I was gonna get stuck doing nothing new for a very long time – stuff I REALLY wanted to do – shit craic! Alot of you reading this are going to say – jesus just get over it and do it, its not scary. The thing is it IS scary – me doing a handstand against a wall was BRAVE – and now your laughing right – you see the definition of brave is possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance. So actually everyones ‘brave’ is different – its exhibiting the courage to do something that scares YOU.
So yeah – I was brave 😛
How did I get myself up against that wall? I put an ab mat on the floor – that way if my face did crash down it was going to be on a soft ab mat – and thats how I reasoned with myself, then rather than launching myself up I planted my hands down, locked my arms out and asked my Coach to stand next to me – but not to help me. I kicked up and I kicked up and I kicked up and then BOOM I did it – I laughed alot – I nearly fell, I DIDNT fall though and once it was done I knew I could do it again – and I did, and now Im so comfortable there Im planning my first attempt at a strict handstand pushup.
I learnt alot from this little victory – I exhibit this ‘terrified of what might happen’ behaviour in alot of my training – take the Snatch as an example, Im slow under the bar – because whats going through my head is – what if I fall, what if I hurt myself, what if I embarrass myself. Just knowing this is how I ‘work’ has started to undo alot of this behaviour but it takes time and patience – why? Because I have to figure out WHAT im scared of and then HOW Im going to get over it. Recently though things are starting to move in the right direction and with that has come people asking me how and when I tell them its all in the ‘head’ (for me) they ask what does that mean, and thats why Im writing this 🙂
Getting out of my head requires me to do three things:
- Figure out what’s going on
- Tell my Coach and Myself
- Be really fucking brave
I’ll add something here – alot of people in the past have told me to ‘just not think about it’, to ‘snap out of it’ or that ‘im being stupid’ – I freaked out in an MRI machine once and someone told me that it was ‘ridiculous’. For the record – its not, Im an anxious overthinker – it terrified me, you dont understand it? Fuck you! I was brave for getting in – I refer you back to the bravery definition. Just putting that out there!
So back to the 3 things…
- To figure out whats going on – I have to literally sit down and ask myself the question – what are you afraid of, are you overthinking, what exactly are you thinking?!
- When I know what it is I literally have to tell myself – you are worried about ‘xyz’, now sometimes when I say it that plainly to myself I can literally laugh it off other times..not so much! The not so much times require me to tell my Coach – ‘dude, Im terrified ‘xyz’ is going to happen – this is when EXCELLENT coaching happens (and Im lucky to have this) finding a Coach that can understand, not think your ‘stupid’ and give you complete confidence is second to none.
- The the bravery bit – once I know whats going on I have two options. I can ignore it (not gonna happen) or I can deal with it (gonna happen) and so I place trust in Myself and my Coach (trust = bravery for me) and we figure out how Im going to get over whatever it is thats bothering me and then – I just do it!
Actually one final bit – when Ive done it..my God I will SCREAM it from a building..serious celebrations go on and I get such a buzz from it – that kind of turns being brave into a bit of a drug for me – I get a hit from it! That adrenaline rush and that pride in myself – that feeling is second to none.
So thats it really! If you take anything from this I would hope that it would be to find your own mental strength and also help others attain theres, you know its usually the most outgoing, strong, bubbly, confident people that fall to pieces the quickest – don’t ever judge a book by its cover and never EVER laugh at someone else’s ‘bravery’ – because we each have our own fears and overcoming them is brave – that can be anything from jumping out of a plane to removing a spider from the bathroom – anxiety and fear FEELS the same for everyone.
I’ll leave you with this…