TWO: Your Personalised Radio Station

Oh, you just got that song out of your head? Here, let me play it for you again

Every radio station ever

Can I get a show of hands, who is an over-thinker? I have to pause writing to raise both of my hands, because I am a chronic over-thinker.

But then again, aren’t we all? What sets us apart is just how much we overthink. Do we look back on something and think “Damn, if I had my time over I’d change this”? Or does it go more in depth than that? Are we tracking back weeks, making mental adjustments here, and here, and here? Do we see the outcome we hoped for? Do we see several favourable, and a few more not so favourable outcomes?

An over-thinker will consider all of these things. We consider our successes, our setbacks, we envisage possible outcomes for the future. That in itself is not a bad thing, we need to have goals, have aspirations, have endeavours to strive towards. But once you begin to explore ideas outside of a logical reality, that’s when things become unhealthy. There’s a limit, a fine line between our aspirations and our wildest fantasies (I must have you, Sophie Turner. I simply must).

Consider this, you’re on a 12 hour road trip, and you’ve got the radio on. This radio station is odd, because for the entire duration of your road trip, the host discusses the same topic over and over again. Given the option, what do we do if the radio station is getting boring? We change the channel. Would a radio station be successful if the same radio presenter was on 24 hours a day, 7 days a week recounting the same tales, discussing the same topics? Gosh no, that would be awful. So, what makes your brain any different?

Whether you like it or not, your brain is your own personally-tailored radio station. You are the creator of all content. It’s influenced by what you see, what you hear, what you touch, what you smell, what you learn. It’s got music, sometimes it’s the same damn track you can’t get out of your head. It has special guests; family members, Sophie Turner, friends, celebrities, sports stars, Sophie Turner, the cute girl from the coffee shop, the good looking fellow from the beach, Sophie Turner, it’s got your exes, your former colleagues, your old housemate from university. It’s got news (both factual and fictional), it’s recounting the finale of Game of Thrones (featuring Sophie Turner), the final chapter of the Time Traveler’s Wife, it’s replaying the shocking twist in the Netflix series you just watched. It’s picturing what it must be like to live in Italy during the COVID outbreak.

Ask yourself, who are the special guests on your station at the moment? Who’s running the show? Is it you, or is it someone else?

After nearly two years, I had to ask myself, who’s running the show here? The range in guests on my station were few and far between. Often it was the same person, discussing the same thing. Over, and over, and over, and over again. What a boring station.

Why was it the same guest? Because I was heartbroken, and the easiest way to deal with my relationship breakdown was to let her take over the station, let her own the show. She became the director, the producer, the host, the special guest, she became every song, every news segment, she was weather, she was sports, she was the fluff pieces at the end of the news. She was the good morning, good afternoon and good evening. She consumed my every thought, good and bad, in a vicious cycle, for months on end. It affected everything I did. It affected my friendships, it affected my ability to trust in other people, it affected my relationship with alcohol, my sleep patterns, my moods. I replayed every happy and sad moment of our time together incessantly. I longed for the happy days again and I wished more than anything to redo the sad times, so I could fix them.

Sound familiar?

I feel I take long time to adequately acknowledge, process and overcome negative emotional stimuli, a little moreso than others. But who am I to know how long it takes everyone else? We choose the parts of ourselves that we reveal to others, there’s no way of knowing what skeletons lie in someone’s proverbial (I hope) closet. I don’t think my inability to move on within the consensus “normal” time frame is a flaw, merely an observation of my character. It’s part of who I am, as much as yours is a part of who you are. It may take you 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, maybe longer. But the important thing to note is that your life is not a Spielberg production, so it’s not for anyone to dictate YOUR emotional timeline.

When it comes to overcoming negative emotional stimuli, there’s no right or wrong way to do these things. Because no two people are the same. We were raised in different households, with different backgrounds, different cultures and different family structures. We had different experiences in our education, with different social circles, different relationships. All of these are important, because these are factors that influence how we respond to it. For me, I found it hard because there was an undisclosed illness that we tried to work together with, there was also an emotionally abusive side to the story. The who, what and why is irrelevant, the result remains the same.

So when it comes to searching for the “right time” to take that step forward with whatever you may be struggling with, stop. Stop looking for it. You can’t plant a tree and expect it to bear fruit the next day. No one has had your experiences, no one is going to respond to these things the same way. The time will come when it’s meant to. When it does, you’ll know. But in the meantime, it’s time for budget cuts.

Who’s hogging the spotlight on your show? The fact of the matter is, they’re ruining your station’s reputation for quick wit and up-to-date topical references (Back to the Future is a great new movie, check it out). They need to go. Fire their ass, have security rough them up on their way out of the studio, start looking for some new talent for the station. I found some talent, in the form of the curvy, bodacious seductress by the name of Travel. My news hour involved the study of my travel book, making plans in my head, envisaging being in the places I wanted to go. I embraced over-thinking about it. I started producing small segments living vicariously through the successes of my social circle, sharing in their many and varied triumphs. And in the process of meeting the demands of my new talent, I found peace.

I found mine in opening myself up and letting the universe know I was ready for my dream girl, whoever she was (she’s definitely going to be British with fiery red hair, don’t dispute this. Sorry to my future wife if you’re reading this and you are neither of these things. I still love you.). With whatever troubles your over-thinking brain, I’m confident that time will come for you, because you’re going to be busy. You have new guests in your studio, don’t ignore them. Find things that bring you joy, give it all the air time you need, and the rest will fall into place.

Nothing has a hold on your mind that you cannot break free of

Iyania Vanzant

Mental Health

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