Itís unstoppable and unbearable. The thoughts just keep circling around in my mind and before long the sense of panic emerges. The butterfly feeling in the pit of my stomach. My breaths shortening. The sense of doom and hopelessness.
It doesnít have to be something major or even that significant to trigger these ruminations. It can be something quite ordinary. Some of the day to day events we all face. For some reason though the situation or worry takes on a life of its own. One that overwhelms me. I canít help but think about the worst possible scenario. Drawing the long bow towards what the worst possible outcome might be. Not able to think about anything that I or anyone else could do to make the situation better. Itís as if that part of my brain simply shuts down. The part that can usually problem solve, come up with solutions, be logical and sensible. Once I get in to that ruminating state none of this works.
Itís funny that when Iím at work or with others I can manage these thoughts and feelings better. I can work through a process of getting information and problem solving. I can counter any negative thoughts and manage the feelings as they emerge. I can appear calm and others would not see the risk of rumination that is just around the corner.
It began when I was little actually. When I was a child I would think of the worst possible things that could happen and then actively plan how to manage them when they came. Of course they didnít usually happen so my action plans werenít required. Sometimes I ruminated about who I would sit next to on the school bus when we went on an excursion. I worried that I would have to sit alone. I planned how I would talk to people as we got on the bus so they were more inclined to sit with me. I planned how I would manage if I had to sit alone, telling myself it really didnít matter. One part of my brain knew this but the ruminating part of my brain didnít ever hear it.
Now as an adult I have to resist and fight these ruminations really hard. I have learned to find ways to manage, by journalling, by positive self-talk and by constantly reminding myself to trust myself. Probably not just to trust myself, but others as well and increasingly have faith that things will turn out all right in the end. To see challenges as opportunities to test myself, to develop new skills and to learn to manage each new situation as it arises. Iíve learnt to catch the ruminations before they take hold, to take some control over them and even to play some tricks on them.