Indecision. Don’t know the best kind of apple to buy so you don’t get any, can’t choose the best order to do our errands to be efficient so it becomes whatever you see first, can’t choose what color nail polish to use so you use both. Inconvenient. Nagging. Frustrating. Time consuming. I mean, how long can one spend staring at the apples before you want to try each one, compare prices, and ask other people their opinion just to make the “right choice?”
When we make extra effort and take an abnormal amount of time to make a decision it wavers on overthinking, causing anxiety and frustration.Overthinking is caused by a bunch of emotions but most specifically, fear. We fear consequences. That imaginary idea that there are ways to do things, “shoulds,” and a right and wrong way to live your life. It is driven by a fear or worry so deep down, sometimes we don’t even feel it or realize it’s there.
This indecision can spiral out so that we no longer trust our ourselves or our feelings. We then, reach to others for their opinions, want extra information (think: tasting the apples), and avoid decisions for fear (there it is) of the consequences of making the “wrong” decision. Here you have anxiety, obsessionality, and potentially larger mental issues due to this inherent paralyzing uncertainty of “what if.” What an art we have mastered; meticulous, steady hand, creative blending of science and art.
My artistic hand has been molded and perfected for some time now. It’s exhausting to be so meticulous. No room for error, no learning from mistakes, no element of surprise, just an internal dialogue that questions each option.
Most recently for me, was the decision to either stay at my house during a snow storm or stay at my moms. Now both options offered significant pros and cons, and 30 minutes later I was still deciding. For some, this sounds funny and so crazy, but for me it really offered some annoyance, truth, and struggle. I flipped a coin, asked friends, and mentally reviewed the what ifs and possible scenarios of what I would do and how I would feel in each situation. Funniest thing was I flipped the coin, it told me to go home, and what did I do? Of course, I stayed at my apartment! Sounds like my planning, overthinking, and weighing of options really helped…
Thankfully, I have gotten a lot of practice, loosened my grip a bit and let the pencil, brush, and paints do the talking, but it hasn’t come easily.
I have been dealt cards that seem to play on the idea that I struggle with being decisive. As if anxiety and depression didn’t come with enough indecision and rollercoaster of emotions, a diagnosis of OCD offered just another layer of doubt and torturing mental mazes. That layer of uncertainty made each option something to consider as I tried to choose the “right” option (although there is no right option so you can imagine how that selection process went). Battling through the “what-if this” and “what-if that” was a sure sign that my mind was playing a ping-pong match with me and it was winning. I was going around circles always worried about something unrealistic. I was unhappy and didn’t feel like I had control over my thoughts, desires, and wishes.
But the twists and turns, punches, and mental strength tests didn’t stop there. Experiencing feelings for both males and females was my brain’s way of saying “You can handle more uncertainty!” And it threw in sexual fluidity-now choose which gender you want to be with and test your sense of commitment (to choosing something and someone). Well, it just knew where to get me the most emotionally I guess. Relationships are my most valued part of life. This really dug deep; really brought mental torture to a new light.
You would think finding someone would take the decision-making piece away, but don’t forget the OCD part that questions everything! Making a decision means no more options and when you dislike uncertainty, you want options (only to weigh them out and overthink, of course). So when I met someone I truly cared about, it was a big explosion of paint, pastels, clay, and all artistic media that I couldn’t control. My artistry was on display.
Being indecisive about apples is something I can handle, but about someone I want to be with…that is a ping-pong match I want to win.