We often hear people claiming they binged watched a box set or are binge eaters, but have you heard of binge thinking?
Binge thinking describes when our minds ruminate continuously over events and conversations as we replay things in our heads and fret over worries.
I have been a binge thinker most of my life, so much so that I managed to binge think myself into casualty on Saturday night!
How did you do that I hear you cry? It was easy! I simply lined up as many worrying thoughts as I possibly could and rushed my way through them in my mind, until I gave myself chest pains and had to be rushed to A&E. I am such a connoisseur of binge thinking that I can impressively whip myself into a frenzy with my own ruminations.
On arrival at hospital I was given a heart trace immediately by a young foreign nurse whom, no matter how hard I tried, I could barely comprehend a word he said.
We got into such a strange conversation of epic misconstrued proportions, that I panicked wildly when he mentioned a very large heart.
Oh Lord, my heart is evidently enormous and it’s going to explode, I binge thought! As it turned out he was explaining to me that it was actually him who had a large heart.
I misunderstood this as him meaning he was kind and reassured him that it was a lovely way to be. He looked at me oddly then explained that from where he came from, men had big hearts.
He actually meant that they had physically big heart organs. At that point I had no idea where to go with the conversation and began worrying if I kept asking him to repeat himself would he think of me as racist?
I simply smiled and nodded in agreement with everything, whilst worrying what in fact I may be nodding in agreement to! It was all rather angst-inducing.
It was bad enough worrying that I may be in the throes of a heart attack, but not wanting to cause offence by not understanding someone because they spoke really bad English, was amplifying my distress.
I then added in some more distressing thoughts, like if I died would my son get over it, had I turned off the iron and if I had to stay in hospital would hubby be able to locate my one nightie that I kept for such occasions, namely; the one which was glamourous yet respectable in the event of a fire?
It was all rather exhausting, and I was beyond relief when my heart problems were diagnosed as anxiety, and I was able to pop off home to start binge thinking all over again.
I immediately began to worry about worrying myself back into hospital, and decided to prepare a special hospital bag filled with essentials for such an event.
Experts claim we are in the middle of an anxiety epidemic, with women guiltier of binge thinking than men.
This can lead to depression, insomnia, fertility problems, acne and hair loss (and trips to A&E with chest pains for especially accomplished binge thinkers!)
According to Gladeana McMahon, a fellow of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy, it’s the minor niggles that is causing all the worry. We are sweating the small stuff far too much.
She claims we must learn to live in the here and now. Instead, we obsess about what happened in the past and what may or may not happen in the future.
Women tend to worry about things that will probably never happen. We are prone to writing scripts for ourselves where the outcome of events is usually a negative one.
It’s easy to become stuck in a perpetual wheel of angst. Women are also prone to carry out post-mortems on past events. Whereas men tend to worry more about things they can do something about.
So how do we help ourselves? Experts say we must distract ourselves as soon as we are aware of the negative thoughts.
All we need is 10 minutes doing something else, we should use the mental energy to do a crossword for example.
It’s true worrying about things is pointless, it just dampens our joy of life. As writer Erma Bombeck said; ‘Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere!’
Unfortunately, I’m the Val Doonican of worry!