Let’s call this friend Felix. Now that we both knew why we were there, Felix went out with her.

“I have a beautiful wife and child. I have a job I’ve been working my whole career to achieve and travel the world doing what I love. However… something is wrong. I don’t feel anything. All the way. I don’t sleep well.. . I think I might be worried too.”

I asked the question I always ask: “Have you had any physical symptoms?”. I explained, “For me it was migraines, nausea, and crazy bad neck and shoulder pain. Do you have anything like that?”

“I’ve had a lump in my throat for as long as I can remember and it feels like I’ve been punched in the stomach all the time,” she said.

With these words, I knew that my friend had arrived at the same place I had arrived in mid-2015. Hello, my wonderful fellow traveler.

Since Felix knew nothing about my overthinker project, I told him the telltale signs of Overthinkers to gauge his reaction:

People who think deeply about the world around them. Most of the time, researchers are always looking for answers. Maybe their friends and family have told them since childhood, “You think too much.” They are sensitive and know the suffering of others. Sometimes they obsessively want to “figure it all out” while ignoring their other priorities.

Felix: “That’s frighteningly accurate.”

Then he asked the same questions that almost everyone in this situation asks: “How can I fix this? Can the fix happen quickly?”

I’m starting to get asked these questions often enough that I answer them consistently. My answer is not very simple, but neither is the concern. My answer consists of 3 main pieces of information. I talk in detail depending on the time and bandwidth of the person I’m talking to.

Part 1: My timeline and first steps

I describe being diagnosed by a neurologist with Generalized Anxiety Disorder and then going to UCSF’s Gateway office for a comprehensive diagnosis. Before working on The Beautiful Traveler, I used to tell people that what worked for me in terms of GAD (understanding that anxiety is a spectrum and not everyone with anxiety has GAD) was medication, meditation, and communication.

Fabric #2: Unique fingerprint

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