June 17, 2017
This post was written at 3 in the morning while listening to this excellent song.
My life can be split into three phases. First one was before turning about 21-22. I was up until that point a very spontaneous person that rarely spent much time brooding over what I said, what others thought of me or how my behavior affected others. I was well known for being super-goofy. I went with the flow and rarely looked back.
Then two things happened. Firstly I started having way more decision-making anxiety, even over small things. Secondly, EMPATHY happened to me. On a much grander scale than before, I found myself wondering how my actions and words affected others, what they thought and how it made them feel. This the second phase. It became like a curse, because I overdid it. Sometimes I said something and quickly realized that it was stupid thing to say and then that day, or at least the couple of hours ahead, were ruined. Ruined because the only thing that occupied my brain was spiraling thoughts about what should have been said or done instead, how I might have affected someone else's day in a negative way.
Now, at age 28, this has been going on with it crests and troughs. It was particularly bad last year. It went to the point that the care-free and goofy Karl was silenced by the enormous pressure of always doing the right thing and saying the correct words. I felt like a boring husk of a person I enjoyed being. Sometime during the spring of 2017 I got tired of this. Here's a tweet from around that period:
Starting today I will no longer brood over and be angsty about non-important stuff. As we say in Sweden: KÖÖÖÖR.— Karl Zylinski (@karl_zylinski) March 28, 2017
This has gone quite well! While I've occasionally been stuck in spiraling thoughts about what people think about dumb stuff I've said and done, but things have been better overall. I don't expect it to be totally gone, since a heatlhy dose of empathy and thoughtfulness is good thing to have in this wretched world. But overall I'm better at just forcing my way out from those spirals by convincing myself how silly my behavior often is. The decision-making anxiety is mostly gone, I just run "JUST DO IT" like a mantra whenever it pops up.
This is the new, third phase. A more balanced life. The old, goofy Karl is here. He cuddles with the Karl who thinks a lot about how other perceive him. These two Karls get along with minimal anxiety about the details. The sum of all Karls feel more relaxed than in long while.