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Anxiety and Overthinking Everything

December 31, 2015 Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Anxiety and overthinking tend to be evil partners. One of the horrible hallmarks of any type of anxiety disorder is the tendency to overthink everything. The anxious brain is hypervigilant, always on the lookout for anything it perceives to be dangerous or worrisome. I've been accused of making problems where there aren't any. To me, though, there are, indeed, problems. Why? Because anxiety causes me to overthink everything. Anxiety makes us overthink everything in many different ways, and the result of this overthinking isn't helpful at all. Fortunately, anxiety and overthinking everything doesn't have to be a permanent part of our existence.

Ways Anxiety Causes Overthinking

An effect of any type of anxiety is overthinking everything. There are common themes to the way anxiety causes overthinking. Perhaps this generic list will remind you of specific racing thoughts you experience and help you realize that you're not alone in overthinking everything because of anxiety.

  • Obsessing over what we should say/should have said/did say/didn't say (common in social anxiety)
  • Worrying incessantly about who we are and how we are measuring up to the world (common in social and performance anxiety)
  • Creating fearful what-if scenarios about things that could go wrong for ourselves, loved ones, and the world (common in generalized anxiety disorder)
  • Wild, imagined results of our own wild, imagined faults and incompetencies (all anxiety disorders)
  • Fear of having a panic attack in public and possibly thinking that you can't leave home because of it (panic disorder with or without agoraphobia)
  • Worrying about a multitude of obsessive thoughts, sometimes scary ones and thinking about them constantly (obsessive-compulsive disorder)
  • Thinking -- overthinking -- a tumbling chain of worries, vague thoughts, and specific thoughts (all anxiety disorders)

Result of Anxiety and Overthinking

With anxiety, not only are these thoughts (and more) running through our brains, but they are always running through our brains, non-stop, endlessly. Like a gerbil hooked up to an endless drip of an energy drink, they run and run and wheel around in one place, going absolutely nowhere. Day and night, the wheel squeaks.

Over-thinking everything is a horrid part of anxiety disorders. Over-thinking everything creates more anxiety. This tip helps stop over-thinking. Check it out.Anxiety and overthinking everything makes us both tired and wired. One result of the thinking too much that comes with anxiety is that we are often left feeling physically and emotionally unwell. Having these same anxious messages run through our head everywhere we go takes its toll.

Further, another dangerous result of anxiety and overthinking everything is that we start to believe what we think. After all, if we think it, it's real, and if we think it constantly, it's very real. Right? No. This is a trick anxiety plays. Anxiety causes overthinking, but with anxiety, these thoughts aren't always trustworthy.

You have the power and the ability to interfere in anxiety's overthinking everything. It's a process that involves many steps, but a step you can take right now to slow down that gerbil is to have something with you or around you to divert your attention. Rather than arguing with your thoughts or obsessing over them, gently shift your attention onto something else, something neutral. By thinking about something insignificant, you weaken anxiety's ability to cause you to overthink everything.

I explain this further in the below video. I invite you to tune in.

Let's connect. I blog here. Find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. My mental health novels, including one about severe anxiety, are here.

APA Reference
NCC, T. (2015, December 31). Anxiety and Overthinking Everything, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, October 19 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/12/anxiety-and-over-thinking-everything



Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC

Tanya J. Peterson is the author of The Mindfulness Journal for Anxiety, The Mindfulness Workbook for Anxiety, Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 steps, and five critically-acclaimed, award-winning novels about mental health challenges. She speaks nationally about mental health, and she has a curriculum for middle and high schools. Find her on her website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Ken
says:
February, 14 2019 at 7:48 am
I truly I am my own worst enemy. I recently lost my job and I have had a lot of time to think. Overthinking and ruminating on past happy thoughts/great emotions to try to feel that way again puts too much pressure on my mind which causes the viscous cycle of anxiety and the painful symptoms that come with it. I’m learning just to be myself again, to stop overthinking, although honestly I’m not there yet. All of this also affects my sleep which makes it worse. Thanks so much for your videos every time I Google my thoughts on anxiety you come up Tanya. ?❤️
February, 15 2019 at 5:38 pm
Hi Ken,
I probably keep showing up in your searches because I have so much to say about anxiety, and wellbeing, too. :D :D I've never been accused of saying or writing too little! I really do have much to share. I've had a lot of anxiety on my own, and I've also been able to move past it (for the most part -- anxiety is never completely gone, and that's okay as some anxiety is healthy). You're not alone in this, but of course your experiences are unique to you. I think you have a great deal of insight into your anxiety, and you can use this to overcome it. I noticed your comment about pressuring yourself to recover past happiness. Even though you're overthinking happy memories, they're still in the past. Anxiety has such a way of keeping us stuck in the past or afraid of what might happen in the future. It keeps us out of the present. Have you ever considered what it would be like to define what happiness is to you now, separate from what it was in the past? Also, what would it be like to make small goals and do little things each day to move toward what you want? This won't quickly erase anxiety, but it could really help. You could even turn this into a ritual that you do before bed. Perhaps journal, writing or drawing or both, about things like what you're grateful for, what you did that day that you enjoyed/made you happy, and what you want to do more of tomorrow. Do this without any devices on and with the lights reasonably dim. End with a mindfulness activity (something as simple as feeling the carpet beneath your feet, the smell of something pleasant (the kitchen is a great source for that), etc. Just use your senses to bring your attention to the moment. These activities can further calm your thoughts and make you feel empowered. It will help you learn how to be yourself, too. Thank you for reading my posts and watching my videos. :)
Chris harris
says:
December, 22 2018 at 6:13 am
Hey i overthink i have depersonalzation i know i dont have it but i always think about it and its symptoms and it makes me Imagine me
Really having it and feels like the symptoms are real
December, 24 2018 at 5:18 am
Hi Chris,
Depersonalization is a legitimate effect of anxiety. While there is a dissociative disorder called depersonalization/derealization disorder, people can and do experience either one as effects of several disorders as well as side effects of some medications. It's to experience these as part of extreme stress and anxiety (people with occasionally strong anxiety but not categorized as an anxiety disorder also can experience depersonalization and derealization. Therapy can help verify that your symptoms are indeed depersonalization, and working with a therapist can help treat this and other effects of anxiety (including overthinking) that you are experiencing.
Amy Schroeder
says:
November, 29 2018 at 11:29 am
Thank you for that tip! I met a man who I’m head over heels for. We’re good friends but something that makes me sad is that he’ll visit with others but seems like he can’t be ALONE with me for very long. I’m beginning to believe that it’s because I always end up telling him something or asking questions that ALWAYS come from OVERTHINKING and are probably embarrassing him or making him feel uncomfortable. I’m afraid he’ll never let me in like his other friends. I’ve only known him for 6 months. Now even if I get controll over my thoughts, he’s so used to my foolish conversations , how will he notice if I’m not talking that way anymore?
December, 4 2018 at 12:22 pm
Hi Amy,
That is a good question and such a common dilemma. We notice things about ourselves we want to change, we work on it, we grow -- and then we go back to worrying that people will keep assuming that we're the same and won't notice our new behaviors. (I've been there myself.) That old saying is true: Actions speak louder than words. I've been searching for another quote that is perfect here, but I can't find it at the moment. The essence is to shut up and let people notice what you're doing and not doing. (I'm not telling you to shut up! It just illustrates the sentiment of the quote I can't find.) Your friend and others probably won't comment on your changes, but they'll reflect them in their own behavior. You might find that he spends more time with you, for example. (One thing to keep in mind is that wanting to change some things and grow is healthy and good. There's a fine line, though, between this and modifying who you are to gain the approval of someone. True friends accept both strengths and weaknesses. Just a thought.)
Makooks
says:
November, 23 2018 at 9:45 am
Lowkey distractions only work for so long. From one distraction to another, this is yet another behaviour as vicious as overthinking. This cyclical approach fails to address the root of the problem, which is always a genuine concern no matter how random. As arbitrary as it may be, it is still based on truth, or rather logical scenarios that remain as nothing more than a possibility. By not giving it attention you do not take away that reality or make it less true. Youre only saving yourself the effort of tackling the problem. The reason you suffer is not because you feed attention to the wrong thought but because you are not working to make that wrong thought the right one. Overthinking is only a crutch if you do not understand why you think those thoughts. They manifest in our heads not to hinder us but to help secure our success by working out solutions to potential problems so you dont have to go back and correct them. By looking at every angle you can devise a fail-safe plan of action that will give you the ease of mind you are looking for. Only once you know you done, are doing, or will do your best to lessen that worrysome truth that something can go wrong, will you be able to get it OUT of your mind instead of putting it IN THE BACK of your mind. When the distraction ends, reality will come back. GoodLuck. Preparation is Key; Distraction is Crutch.
November, 26 2018 at 12:11 pm
Hi Makooks,
Thank you for sharing this insight. The approach you mention is very helpful for some people (a lot of people). Your comment makes another good point: There are so many approaches to dealing with anxiety in general and thoughts in particular. Some things work great for one person but not for another, and vise versa. The important thing is that there truly is something to help everyone. It's often a matter of trial and error until one finds what's right for him/her. I really appreciate it when people share what works for them because it's provides more information.
mady
says:
November, 16 2018 at 7:44 pm
my overthinking is affecting everything, my relationship. it’s making me question my happiness when ik for a fact i am happier than ever! but it’s only when i’m away from from him. he’s my everything and i love him more than anything! i need help before it causes serious damage
Andy
says:
November, 15 2018 at 1:37 pm
Hi Tanya, I am a 27 year old male, always a bit socially awkward around girls, always focused on studies etc. I had never dated any girl or never told any girl about my feelings until now. At my workplace, there is this cute girl who is from a totally different country and culture, with whom I was good friends for the past whole year. We used to hang out regularly with other coworkers, enjoy each other’s company, and I started falling for her eventually, but was trying not to show it as I thought it’s wrong to date a coworker. But last week we had a office party, where we talked a lot, I could not control my emotions and told her that I liked her. She was taken aback, but responded positively that she also liked me but then we discussed about our different culture, religion, office priorities and came to a conclusion that we may possibly date in the future but right now would not be a right time. To tell her what I feel took a lot of guts for me. But then since that day, I have been constantly feeling ashamed of letting her know my feelings, and changing the friendly equation between us, feel worried sick, overthinking, cannot sleep properly, cannot eat food properly etc. Every morning I get up suddenly around 4 am and start worrying about what I said, what will happen, whether I will lose my job etc, all irrational thoughts. I feel super tired at work, try to avoid her and others and feel that I have ruined my career. I don’t even want any relationship with her anymore, I just want the anxiety, stress and worry to stop. I don’t want her to be affected due to my weird behavior. Anyway I am not even dating her, I just told her I like her, even then I am worried sick, thinking obsessive thoughts and super anxious. I have never felt this way before, and I do not want to lose my job because of all this. Please help me and advise. My family is not understanding what’s happening to me either. I feel I should get out of this worry cycle super quick and focus back on work as I really do not want to lose my job. Please help!
November, 16 2018 at 7:43 pm
Hi Andy,
It sounds like you are experiencing a nasty aspect of anxiety know as catastrophizing. It's a very common part of anxiety, so know that this isn't something "you" are doing wrong. It's anxiety. Anxiety tends to make us blow things out of proportion to make them seem bigger than they really are (this is also called magnifying or magnification). It causes us to do exactly what you're describing because the problem seems so big and so real. And this kind of thinking makes anxiety spread to other situations, such as worrying about losing your job. This seems strange, but it's true: our thoughts aren't always true. Just because we think something doesn't mean it's accurate or that we're right. Of course it seems that way because it's our thoughts. Why would they be inaccurate? There are so may reasons why our thoughts can't always be accepted as true. A big reason is that anxiety skews our perception of things. This is all good because it means that your situation might not be as bad as you think. It's also possible to change catastrophic thinking.

Try staying in your present moment as much as possible. When you catch your anxiety running wild, take a breath and return your attention to what you're doing. When your friend talks to you, simply listen and respond in the moment you're in. When your worries take over, tune back into the present moment (this is called mindfulness). Remind yourself, too, that you're thoughts are just thoughts and not always accurate. If you catch yourself worrying about ruining your career, tell yourself, "I'm having the thought that I've ruined my career." It puts some distance between you and your thoughts. All of this is a process that takes some patience, practice, and persistence, but it is effective in calming anxious thoughts and reclaiming your life -- both days and nights.
Trishala
says:
April, 26 2019 at 10:24 am
Hey, I have a constant thoughts of losing my boyfriend because of the mistakes I've done in my past. Now even the smallest things gives me panic attack like what if I had crush on someone when i was committed with my boyfriend and I'll be constantly thinking about my past mistakes....! My boyfriend tells me not to say anything about that but I'll be regretting evrytime this makes my life a hell.
May, 6 2019 at 4:00 pm
Hi Trishala,
Relationships are a common source of anxiety and overthinking. You're definitely not alone in this, although of course your specific thoughts and situations are unique. So many times what we focus on grows and even becomes true because that's the center of our attention. These thoughts and worries can interfere in relationships. It sounds like you've talked to your boyfriend. Have you talked about mistakes from the past? Doing so might lessen your anxiety because it will be out in the open and you don't have to worry about being "caught." If you don't want to do that, you could accept that you made mistakes so you can move past them. When you accept something like this, you make room to let other things in -- like your boyfriend's comments about not saying that you're worried and enjoying time with your boyfriend. Acceptance lets you be in the moment rather than stuck overthinking.
Srushti
says:
November, 11 2018 at 1:23 pm
Hello Tanya..
Your article helped me a lot ..i can definitely relate it with my experience..I had medical entrance exam last year,and I was having anxiety like 'what if I will not be able to crack it'.. unfortunately i lost it by some marks last year...this yrar I m again preparing for same exam..somewhere I get anxiety about '' what if I write my roll number wrong in exam.( Auough last year I wrote mu roll number right"...

As u said in Ur article that" we often think that these thoughts are real , although they are not"...how to work on that..?

Pls suggest something...I m in very need of help... again thanking you
Srushti
says:
November, 11 2018 at 1:25 pm
As u said in Ur article that" we often think that these thoughts are real , although they are not"...how to work on that..?
November, 13 2018 at 12:08 pm
Hi Srushti,
First, congratulations on getting this far -- to reach your medical entrance exam is an outstanding achievement. Next, I know you have what it takes to beat this anxiety and move past the exam because you aren't giving up. You're preparing again despite anxiety. Consider that and all you have done/are doing to keep moving forward even though it's difficult. Writing down what is helping you do this (your strengths, values, and goals for example) can be very helpful in grounding you and causing to see past your anxiety.

Another thing particularly useful in dealing with false thoughts that seem real (I merged your separate comment into this one, by the way). is practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness involves pulling yourself out of your head, away from anxious thoughts, by paying attention to what is going on in your present moment. For example, if you're studying and find yourself caught up in the worry that you'll write the incorrect roll number, shift your attention to the information in front of you. Remind yourself, "I am studying for this exam and I made it this far so I'm smart enough to complete the form and pass the test." Then, notice your notes or book, spend a moment looking at it and touching the pages to center yourself. Bring your attention to the material and concentrate on it. When your mind begins to worry, just return to mindfulness. Over time, this will become second nature and can calm anxiety in pretty much any situation. I've included a link to an article about mindfulness and anxiety if you'd like more information.

Using Mindfulness for Anxiety: Here's How: https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/using-mindfulness-for-anxiety-here-s-how

Mindfulness Can Calm Anxious Thoughts: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/01/mindfulness-can-calm-anxiety
Alex
says:
October, 30 2018 at 12:49 pm
The problem with anxiety disorders is that they feel so real and that many people who suffer/ moan about them are unaware just how far back their manifestation reaches. Sometimes the roots of anxiety go back as early as the first few months after birth into this hell of existence. Considering that the first 6 years of life our brains are within the Theta wave frequency, thus below the frequency of our conscious mind, any postnatal anxiety disorder is so intricately woven into our fabric of thinking that it manifests as a reality, albeit a disadvantageous one.
Having had anxiety disorders since I was 5, perhaps even earlier, as well as suicidal ideation and an obsession with death on a weekly basis for the past 30 years whenever overwhelmed by my triggers, I have come to the conclusion of just letting it be. After 12 years of psychotherapy with 4 different psychiatrists, countless medication, and 'trying' to get better I realised that my anxiety and suicidal thoughts perish when I isolate myself from the wretched outside world; of course any liberal, disinterested and deluded psychiatrist would see red flags, but I do enjoy seeing them panic and pretending to care.
When I returned to myself, a nihilistic anarchist, and when I started to read Nietzsche again I found my existence bearable because I enjoyed hating life again. The one thing that I don't agree with Nietzsche, and all other philosophers as well as psychiatrists, is their realization of life being meaningless but suicide not being an answer or option, though instead one should start being compassionate towards others and help those less fortunate to leave behind the basic and lesser animal instincts. Though precisely the suppression of the lesser animal instincts is what started the malicious cycle. And on top of that, knowing that the limbic system is physically larger than the logical prefrontal cortex, what chance does somebody really have to overcome their innate anxiety disorders? None! Sure you can delude yourself by believing in goodness and pretending that therapy is getting you somewhere where you imagine to be socially acceptable, but deep down you know you're lying, as I discovered. Both of my parents are weak psychologically, meaning they will blame the world or anyone for their failures or nearly anything adverse, just like most people, especially on this post- admit it, you're all looking for praise and understanding from a stranger. And for what? To get a feeling of momentary alleviation? Well news flash, you're anxiety ain't going nowhere and the sooner you accept that the quicker you can be on your way.
Those here with deep rooted anxiety and depression, all I can say is they will continue to exist and proliferate in strength until you liberate yourself from the environment in which they prosper and flourish. You, we, are different than those without chronic anxiety and depression, if it won't go away by any means possible than try to adapt by leaving the very things which exacerbate the symptoms. After I turned my back to my family, most friends and socially acceptable norms, my life has become tolerable. Remember, as long as you are craving for your thirst to be quenched it means you are doing something causing dehydration, similarly, if you continue to look for happiness in life you are doing something causing continuous sadness.
Vita detestabilis, vana salus, remember this and you will never again hope for happiness but instead live consciously.
Take care, or not.
Abigail Torres
says:
October, 27 2018 at 4:18 pm
Your video calmed me so much. I just wish It was longer. But I just feel like sometimes I can't relate to all these different categories of anxiety. I am a mom of two boys, I work a full time job and I go to school. But just recently I began feeling what I assume is anxiety. In the beginning I could feel the panic attacks coming, until I started getting this habit of taking deep breaths constantly or else I began to feel like I couldn't breathe. That slowly went away, but now I am starting to swallow constantly and I get comfort out of it just like the breathing. So obviously it is stressful to have to be doing that all the time, I just dont know If I can relate it to anxiety:/
October, 31 2018 at 11:49 am
Hi Abigail,
I'm happy that the video was helpful. (And I appreciate your comment about the length. Very few people ever say that they want me to talk more!! It actually takes me many tries on the videos to make them short enough. :D)

Your incredibly busy life explains a lot of what you're experiencing. The only way to know with certainty if this is anxiety or not is to consult with your doctor or a therapist. They'll talk to you, ask questions, listen to you, and help you sort it out. Food for thought: it isn't always necessary to know whether something is anxiety or not. Sometimes, the label matters less than dealing with the symptoms and the effects on your life. It's good that you were breathing deeply, as deep breathing is a stress- and anxiety-reducing technique that works. Swallowing can sometimes become a repetitive gesture that your mind associates with relief, or it can also be a physical response to tension you're carrying. (If you suspect that it's a medical problem, do see your doctor). The starting point that might be the best might also cause more stress and anxiety: self-care. When you are stretched as thin as you are, it's crucial to give your mind and body regular breaks, even short ones. A brisk, brief walk for exercise, stepping away to take 10 or 15 slow, deep breaths, starting the morning and ending the day with a calm, simple ritual, making sure to eat nutritiously and avoid junk foods/beverages, and other methods of self-care are helpful for stress and anxiety. Consider starting with just one thing a day. And of consult with a mental health professional at any time. He/she can help you be at peace.
Felipe
says:
October, 23 2018 at 1:16 am
Hi Tanya,

I struggle with over thinking all the time, especially during tests when I change my answers which unfortunately has affected my grades. Hearing your words on how sometimes we start to believe these thoughts is consoling, as recently my brain challenges everything that I see or watch on TV and I start to believe these thoughts. I end up feeling like a psychologist. I've never wanted to hurt anyone and I end up asking myself why it's wrong to hurt people. I damn well know the answer and I would never want to, but the mere questioning of it scares me and makes me feel like a bad person (I have good friends and I love my family). I have ADD and sleep apnea, as well as social anxiety, and so I find myself analyzing people and why they do what they do to no end. I get racing thoughts and can't control my thoughts, so I find it hard to slow my thoughts down and question them so I don't believe them. Anyhow, writing out the thoughts like you said or recording them really helps. I just want to have a calm
focused mind. Please pray for me! Your article is very reassuring and your writing style is awesome! Thank you!
October, 24 2018 at 5:31 pm
Hi Felipe,
Your description about what anxiety can do to our thinking is really fitting. Rest assured, you are not a bad person. It sounds like you operate and act out of love and compassion, which is why thinking these thoughts is distressing. People who are "bad" don't worry about being hurtful. Something to keep in mind is that a thought is just a thought. It's meaningless until you act on it. Analyzing people and their actions is exhausting. You can indeed learn to let all of these thoughts go. They might still pop up, but you can learn not to tangle with them. (I say this from my own experience.) In addition to writing out/recording your thoughts, you can do other things, too. Two approaches that are very useful are acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness. I've included links to articles so you can check them out if you want to and see if you want to try any of the strategies. Be patient with yourself as you work on anxious thoughts -- and remember that you're not a bad person.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Stop Avoiding Anxiety https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy

Using Mindfulness for Anxiety: Here's How: https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/using-mindfulness-for-anxiety-here-s-how

Amelia
says:
October, 22 2018 at 8:42 pm
I don’t know if you’d reply but I have a serious inquire. One of my family members are in like a constant state of fear kind’ve like people always have an eye on her and looking at her. She’s always looking to see if anybody’s watching her. Shes sometimes zoned out and when trying to talk to her I would have to repeat myself constantly. I feel like she is always worrying about something or is in a deep thought. She also always feel that people will always know some aspect of her life even though there’s is no possible way for them to know if she doesn’t tell them. She hasn’t had many social interactions or friends and people are always using her because of the way she is, but she’s doesn’t realize this. Her way of thinking is definitely not normal to a normal human being at all. So I’m wondering if it could be because of anxiety or something else. An incident happened to her some years ago and since then she’s been paranoid about somebody is always after her and people are always looking at her every move. Please reply I really want to know how I can help her overcome whatever it is she’s going through.
October, 24 2018 at 5:37 pm
Hello Amelia,
You're very caring to reach out out of concern for your family member. There could be a variety of things going on with her, things that can improve with professional help. These resources might point you in the right direction. Help and healing are available and possible.

Where to Find Mental Health Help: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/i-need-mental-help-where-to-find-mental-health-help

Types of Mental Health Doctors and How to Find One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-doctors-and-how-to-find-one

Types of Mental Health Counselors: Finding a Good One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-counselors-finding-a-good-one
Hussnain
says:
October, 17 2018 at 6:15 pm
Hey tanya,
I'm 22 years old and in the last year of my law degree I have been consuming hashish for last one and a half year but I never had any harsh experience with it and I haven't consumed any other drug other than this but used to drink occasionally
Almost 30 days back I had a joint at night which I used to smoke daily before going to bed and then I do my stuff watching movies and all but that night I felt my heart running out of my mouth and I got scared that iam going to have an attack heart with racing heart and sweating and shorten breaths I thought im gonna pass I went to the nearby doctor and he sedate me made me calm it was just an panic attack but the next morning when I woke up I had that anxious feel I didnt know at that time that it was an heart burn cause I was eating a burger at that time when I had this panic attack I was scared for couple of days that there is something wrong inside me or I have something like a stomach cancer or ulcers but it was just acid reflux ever since that night I quit smoking hashish and it has been thirty days I didnt smoke but I got severe anxiety iam overthinking all the time googling my symptoms all the time I have this fear that I might go insane or iam going to have some severe mental illness and then I start looking for their symptoms I have these intrusive thoughts for no reason which do not let me sleep I just cant sleep I wake up with a racing heart cause iam always stressed overthinking about my health my sanity I was doing great in my university and iam a very social person but this overthinking is ingesting me inside I have these feeling of detachment at times like I have lost my self somewhere questioning my existence and everything
I really dont know what to do please tell me something. I really want my life back.
October, 22 2018 at 11:43 am
Hello Hussnain,
Congratulations on already being in the last year of your law degree! That is a huge accomplishment. Given that you have done so well in your studies and social life, this sudden experience with panic and anxiety will quite likely be temporary. It sounds like you have skills and success to draw on. There is a chance (but I'm not in a position to say with certainty, but a doctor would be) that this is you're brain's reaction to the substances. It is possible, too, that searching for symptoms and answers online is exacerbating your anxiety. (It's a very normal thing to do because we want to discover what is wrong so we can fix it. I do the same thing, so I understand the drive to do it, and I know that for me, resisting the temptation to do this is much more helpful than trying to seek answers.) I have two articles to share. Your words instantly made me think of both of them. While one is technically about a loved one's health, it can easily apply to your own health as well. I thought of the article about curiosity because you seem inquisitive and intelligent, strengths that you can use to beat this anxiety and panic. Each article contains links to other article you might find helpful. I hope these contain helpful information. As you work to overcome this, keep up with your studies. Doing something that you love, you're good at, and that leads to one of your goals is one of the best ways to end anxiety.

Anxiety Over a Loved One's Health: Do's and Don'ts -- https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/11/anxiety-over-a-loved-ones-health-dos-and-donts

Curiosity Kills Anxiety When Anxiety Tries to Destroy Us -- https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/01/curiosity-kills-anxiety/
Adam
says:
October, 7 2018 at 2:53 pm
So I don't know what feelings i feel anymore, Im constantly thinking about everything and being myself dosnt exist to me i just do stuff to look a certain way i want to look IDK but I'm just so confused right now I just wanna do what i want and say what i want and be who I want but idk how to do that
October, 7 2018 at 6:07 pm
Hi Adam,
The loss of the sense of self that you describe is very common in many different mental disorders. It's actually part of being human and is experienced by nearly everyone, but with anxiety and other disorders, it can grow and become very bothersome. Having a chance to figure out what "being myself" means so that very important concept does exist for you would be an excellent starting point for reducing your confusion and frustration. It's often most helpful to explore this with a therapist, either in person or online if in-person therapy isn't possible. While it's not always easy or fast, it is absolutely possible to re-discover (or discover) who you are, how you feel, how you want to respond to the world other than trying to figure out how others want you to respond, and determine your own values and action plans.
Becky Greenwood
says:
September, 23 2018 at 3:58 am
Hi Tanya, ok I'll say from the off that this may be a long response and may sound a bit nuts!!
Firstly, and not questioning you whatsoever Tanya, I am just left wondering the difference and how we would differentiate between knowing What Is the disorder and listening to our gut and intuition. It seems that both can give similar outcomes?
I definitely over think, my doctor told me recently that I am catastrophising and that I am overloading my brain. At this moment in time, life is probably throwing the toughest sh*t at me to deal with and to me, there's no wonder I'm catastrophising, my love of my life left me a few months ago suddenly and my father has been seriously ill after suffering a heart attack 18 months ago...he is at present dying and in his last days, I am caring for him along with my sister's, I have a 22 yr old son with adhd and a 9 yr old son who has had to take time off school whilst I care for my father as we live 100 miles away. So, all these things going on, they've thrown up and magnified, feelings of guilt, resentment, anger, panic, remorse,jealousy (ex), maybe a bit if paranoia too re the ex but to be honest I think my reasons are more than valid for that as he is very cloak n dagger and I am very open, everything on the table woman. So yes, I had gut feelings re the ex, which it turned out eventually, I wasn't wrong, these feelings during our relationship would not subside, feelings of jealousy, thinking he was being unfaithful and dishonest, that his heart wasn't in it, I'd panic also about losing him because I loved him so much. Apparently I 'chipped away at him, it's taken over two months for me to get any kinda reason out of him, he said it's simple...FEAR..that I fear everything and it ruined us as he can't live with the consequences of my fears. Eg:he wanted to go on a diving holiday to Egypt but I wouldn't go along with my youngest son because I am scared of terrorists and think Egypt is a dangerous place to fly to! I actually thought it through, weighed up that the risks weren't extremely huge, BUT! What if we were in that tiny percent of people that it happened too...I'd lose my youngest son, my eldest son would lose his mother and brother and that it really was not worth the risk, not just for a holiday.!
So yes, thats just one example.
I am pretty tuned in, and read people well, yet that mixed with this over thinking and anxiety can blur the lines ya know?
Also, I was in anti depressants on n off for years, each time (3), I was put on them for a reason, an outside event affecting how I felt and coped on the inside. This time I was on them way too long...4 or 5 years, I felt they were giving me a dark cloud over my head..that the anti d's were numbing me and dragging me down, so, even throughout all this current turmoil in my life,I have very very gradually brought myself off of them, the Dr knows, as I felt I just had to do something about it.
The cloud and heaviness have gone.
Obviously things are still pretty dark in my life right now as my father is dying and my partner whom I still love has left me.
A good friend of mine sent me a link to this page as she works in the the health area and I told her about my message regarding me being fearful of everything and that I had not realised just how very bad I had got.
I'm sorry it's such a long msg Tanya, I had to explain everything thoroughly, I would really appreciate some feedback and advice if you could give it please. Thank you ?
September, 23 2018 at 4:34 pm
Hi Becky,
You are going through a great deal. All of these experiences at once can definitely cause or increase anxiety, including the castrophizing you mentioned. What often happens with overthinking is that we feel caught up, even trapped, in all of the problems around us and within us. We think about them so much that the problems seem like they're a part of us. (I say "we" because it's a human thing, and I've experienced it, too. You're not weak or terrible for having anxiety, overthinking, and catastrophizing. It's part of anxiety, not part of you.)

Your question about the difference between thoughts coming from an anxiety disorder vs listening to our gut instincts when our gut instincts seem to be anxiety is a great question. It can be hard to tell the difference, and sometimes trying to figure out what is what can increase anxiety even more. Right now, you might find it helpful to just start separating yourself from your anxious thoughts. One part of this is catching your anxious thoughts and adding the words "I'm having the thought that..." in front of the thought. "I'm afraid that something bad will happen" becomes "I'm having the thought that something bad will happen." When you remind yourself that your thoughts are only thoughts, you start to separate yourself from anxiety. Two approaches that use this type of separation from anxiety are acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness. You'll find two links at the bottom that take you to informational articles. One very important caveat: you are working with a therapist who probably knows you quite well. There isn't a single approach to anxiety that works equally well for everyone. Talk openly with your therapist, and the two of you can decide together what is the best approach for you and your anxiety. I'm just providing these as food for thought. Do know that with patience, persistence, and practice, you can definitely reduce your anxiety. It doesn't have to stay that way!

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Stop Avoiding Anxiety https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy

Using Mindfulness for Anxiety: Here's How: https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/using-mindfulness-for-anxiety-here-s-how

Dario
says:
September, 15 2018 at 12:06 am
Thank you very much for the tip you just gave. It did bring me back. Overthinking triggering anxiety isn’t fun
September, 16 2018 at 11:27 pm
Hi Dario,
I'm very glad this was helpful. You're right -- overthinking does trigger anxiety and it isn't fun at all. You're not alone in that. It's very common. I know this doesn't make it easier, but sometimes knowing that it's not just you, that there's nothing "wrong" with you to cause this, can be a bit comforting. Misery loves company, perhaps? :)
John Atkinson
says:
September, 7 2018 at 7:38 pm
How can you say overthinking is an anxiety? Everybody on the planet will one day have thoughts about why we exist that’s natural we need to question these things the problem is there are people on this earth that seem to think they know more than others when in reality not one of us has a true explanation of how life began wether you believe in god or science nobody has the true answer the only thing that separates us from animals is that we can talk some philosophical historians speak a sentence and it’s believed your giving your own mind your own thoughts even though some people aren’t wired up right at the end of the day there’s good and evil right and wrong unfortunately there’s more evil than good in this world and we’re allowing it to take over something needs to be done with or without gods help
September, 11 2018 at 11:34 am
Hi John,
You are right -- everyone overthinks sometimes, and it's not always a problem. It becomes a problem and can be a part of anxiety when it takes over and interferes in someone's life.
Brye
says:
August, 17 2018 at 9:13 am
Hi Tanya,

It’s the first time i try to check what’s happening to me. And i found this article regarding anxiety and or i don’t know if its depression. Base on the comments on this articles it gives me strength to open up about my what i been through. Im having trouble with my sleeping my mind keeps on running and always awake even if my eyes are close and trying to sleep like my thought are going beyond the reality alwyas thingking of what happens next or what could have done. It really bothers me cause i dont have enough sleep going to work, im being forgetful for simple things its like ny mind is burned out and dont want to function. I really don’t like this kind of feeling. It gives me negative thoughts about my self. Its really hard for me to over come this situation. SOmetimes i dont like to eat, dont have the energy to go to work or out with my friends, i want to be alone always sleeping or laying in my bed, i want to be isolated to have the peace on my mind still I can’t even have it. Im really exhausted right now. Really dont know what to do there are times that i think of f being gone. My thoughts are always awake. Please help me. I really dont know what to do.
August, 17 2018 at 8:30 pm
Hi Brye,
What you are experiencing is definitely frustrating and challenging. It might not seem like it right now, but things will get better. Have you considered seeing your doctor or a mental health professional? It can be very useful to have some professional help. It's often hard to know where to find mental health professionals, so I've included links to resources. You can explore different types of mental health help and learn how to find it if you'd like to do so.

Online counseling is becoming increasingly popular. Two reputable sources are talkspace.com and betterhelp.com (HealthyPlace has no connection to either of these, nor do we endorse any single organization either online or off because each individual is different, and what works great for one person may not work as well for someone else. We like to provide a variety of resources for people to investigate.)

If you prefer in-person help, check out these resources:

Where to Find Mental Health Help: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/i-need-mental-help-where-to-find-mental-health-help

Types of Mental Health Doctors and How to Find One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-doctors-and-how-to-find-one

Types of Mental Health Counselors: Finding a Good One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-counselors-finding-a-good-one
Hridya
says:
August, 5 2018 at 7:25 am
Hey! Nice And useful tip.Can you help me with a problem that has been eating me since past one year?
Last year in September,I was thinking about a funny incident which happened 4 years back.I was also rubbing my eyes,which caused weird shapes to come in front of me.While thinking,I said to myself,''I wish this this time could comeback''.Suddenly,I imaged god in front of me saying ''okay''.I Didn't want it to happen,but from that Night,I feel like my past is happening to me again.This Has Given Me depression and caused me many problems.
Please Help Me
August, 6 2018 at 2:57 pm
Hi Hridya,
I can understand that this would be very difficult, and depression makes sense. Have you seen a doctor or therapist? It is often very helpful to talk to a mental health professional in person. You could (although I can't say this with certainty in this manner) be experiencing delusions. Seeing a doctor/therapist could help you sort things out and get to the bottom of what you're experiencing -- and of course begin working past it.
Siobhan Duggan
says:
August, 4 2018 at 11:25 pm
I am in the (hopefully) final month or so of my recovery from post concussion syndrome ... and it has really opened up all sorts of anxiety issues I didn't realize I had.

I was, what I call, spiraling when I started googling. I found your articles and have been reading for the past hour on all sorts of different subjects.

This article especially resonated with me because I feel all of those types of anxiety (except the agoraphobia) and have for my whole life, just didn't know really what it was.

Anyway this is really just a thank you for doing the work you do and for providing information that is easy to understand and access.
AxS
says:
July, 30 2018 at 7:37 am
Hi Tania,
I believe I have strong anxiety problems. I know I am not physically sick, since my last visit to the ER (they found I am fine, after a full set of tests they made). I know my body tricks me, but I still cannot or it is very difficult to resist it. What I experience since a few months is exactly the opposite of agoraphobia - I avoid being alone, being afraid I would faint or lose myself while being alone and nobody to help me or take me to the hopital.
Two times per week I have to take care of my small daughter alone after work - I had a panic attack when alone with her, so I got scared that something will happen to me (faint, or something) while it will be only me and her. This thought makes me to be over cautious about my physical state and always to analyze myself whether I will have a panic attack soon, or not. Which sometimes, of course, triggers a panic attack. Needless to say, that instead of enjoying my time with my daughter, I loose so much energy on worying and trying to control my state, it's like if I don't supervise my body, I will loose myself. It sounds funny, but this is my reality, unfortunately.
August, 2 2018 at 1:53 pm
Hello AxS,
In reading about what you're dealing with, I was struck by how much insight you have into your anxiety and panic. Believe it or not, that is a great first step in overcoming this. Your comment about losing energy on worrying and trying to control your anxiety/panic rather than spending time with your daughter is also an indication that you are in the right place to beat this thing that is preventing you from living the way you want to live. Both mindfulness and acceptance and commitment therapy might be very useful to you. There are therapists that use each of these approaches, and you can research them and adopt the principles on your own, too. I've included links to two articles that introduce ACT and mindfulness just to give you an idea of what they are. If you like the sound of them, you can explore them further, or if they don't sound like you, you can cross them off your list and keep looking for things that work. No matter what, this doesn't have to be your reality.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Stop Avoiding Anxiety https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy

Using Mindfulness for Anxiety: Here's How: https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/using-mindfulness-for-anxiety-here-s-how

AxS
says:
August, 6 2018 at 1:42 am
Tanya,
Thanks for your positive thoughts - they really give me strengh and hope. I will go over the material you sent, all the best to you!
koko
says:
July, 26 2018 at 2:59 pm
hi
a couple years back i started to have severe reaction about everything i touched, it was bad : like if i went to bathroom too pee then i would take a shower and change all my clothes , i wouldn't touch a lot of thing , i didn't go out of the house because i thought i would get dirty and... but it didn't contain overthinking.
i was't really a clean person before that so my mom thought it would pass.
i talked to a counselor and my Obsession did kinda get better a lot.
but now i have a Obsession with overthinking ; if i touch something and I accidentally touch myself i just don't think it's dirty i think of ALL the people who have touched it , all the ways it could have gotten dirty i imagine it all , i even think about all those people(usually my family)- who may or may not have touched it- 's different (may be even unclean) habits ,( i say unclean cause they are, in my mind .like touching the door knob ; every one who came to our home touched it.)
so now i hate touching people.
that's not the end of it. I've always been a people pleaser and an insecure , so when I am like in a part i try to make jokes , make people laugh , avoid insulting them and try not to have conflicts and when i come home want it or not i analyze everything , even though i enjoy having company , i've been dreading it for some time now.
this is about every person i meet (except my mama , papa and sister ,most of the time)
so now i just don't hate touching people, i hate even saying hi to them .
I'm not only a washer ,I'm a checker as well almost as obsessively as i am in over analyzing.
i didn't talk to any one about most of it , they only think i m obsessed in cleaning and a little crazy .
i dont know what to do.
July, 29 2018 at 10:33 pm
Hi Koko,
I can only begin to imagine how frustrating this is. It sounds like things went fairly well last time you saw a counselor. If so, you might consider returning to that counselor (or a different one would be fine, too, if you prefer). Also, I've included a link to the OCD and Related Disorders Community on HealthyPlace, which contains many links and resources. You might not have OCD, of course, but some of the information might resonate with you and lead you to new discoveries. The more information you have, the better you can equip yourself to take back the life you want to live. https://www.healthyplace.com/ocd-related-disorders
Britney Farmer
says:
July, 23 2018 at 9:31 am
Hi my name is Britney. And I have been diagnosed with GAD a couple years ago but I've had depression on and off for years. Back in may during my final week I had been crying allot from a family issue and hardly any sleep. The next morning at 3 I had issues with my eyes that seemed foggy. I thought something was wrong and ended up seeing endless doctors because I thought something was wrong. I also developed pressure and headaches that made me question if something bad was wrong. They ALL ended up telling me that I was fine. Well I eventually accepted that and the only problem is I began questioning my thoughts and self inducing my anxiety which started triggering my depression . During this time I have been asking everyone for reassurance and googling things but I always feel better but I end up going back to the negatives and thinking that will I ever be ok again I have a psychiatrist and therapist and I even question them at times with the methods they inquire. I just don't know what to do I need help.
July, 24 2018 at 12:11 pm
Hi Britney,

As you know firsthand, overthinking can cause tremendous misery. The more we try to think it way by reasoning or searching for information, the more stubborn the thoughts can become. Many times, turning away from the thoughts helps. Two approaches to this are acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) and mindfulness. These two articles introduce the concepts. You can check them out if you'd like, and see if you want to try these approaches:

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: Stop Avoiding Anxiety https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy



Using Mindfulness for Anxiety: Here's How: https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/using-mindfulness-for-anxiety-here-s-how



Lilia Robberts
says:
July, 18 2018 at 10:08 am
My mind sometimes seams to hate itself. I have the hardest time not feeling fear constantly. Constantly I have thoughts of bad things happening. Thank you for letting me know that I have the power and the ability to interfere in anxiety's overthink habits. Sometime I feel like I loose control. I think I need to look into psychological testing. There is a possibility that I need allot of help.
July, 18 2018 at 1:48 pm
Hi Lilia,
You do indeed have the power to disrupt anxious thoughts. That feeling of losing control is a very common part of anxiety. Seeking professional help can be very helpful in healing and moving past anxiety. Anxiety can be hard to deal with, and it often responds well to professional treatment. Therapists, etc. are there for a reason!
Chinadoll
says:
July, 14 2018 at 2:44 pm
Hi. This is my first time ever posting on a blog but I realize that I need to reach out. My anxiety has been with me since I was a little girl. It would come in the form of vomiting my nerves out. As I got older it went away. Then in my 20s I had social anxiety and couldn't leave the house. I took medication and soon felt better. Then after I had my first child is skyrocketed. I became a constant worrier and I would panic over everything when it came to her. I just took that as first time mom jitters. However within the last 3 years it has gone to another level. I have this constant fear that something bad is going to happen. My mind jumps to worse case scenario in an instant. I can't move past it. I actually build on to the fear by thinking of other things. For example, my husband received a letter from our bank that they saw some fraud activity. So right away I'm like someone hacked into our phones. Then I was like they have all my information and pictures. I drove myself to the point of erasing my phone and starting fresh. But the overthinking was still there. I would look up articles on how to avoid identity theft. My mind becomes consumed by fear. I was prescribed medication but I took it for a couple of days and felt I couldn't handle the side effects. I started therapy which has not helped much. I even looked into an intensive outpatient clinic to see if I could get better help. I want to feel normal again and not think of the worst possible outcome. I want for things to roll off my shoulders.

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