Anxiety and Overthinking Everything
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.
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.
Peterson, T. (2015, December 31). Anxiety and Overthinking Everything, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2021, May 12 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/12/anxiety-and-over-thinking-everything
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC, DAIS
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.
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
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.
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-acce…
Using Mindfulness for Anxiety: Here's How: https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/using-mindfulness-for-anxiety-here-s-how
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.
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!
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.
It sounds like you're actively tackling your anxiety. Even if you haven't felt results yet, it's a very good thing that's you're taking such an active approach. Taking action is the best thing we can do to get rid of anxiety. Sometimes, the action is a lot of trial and error. What works great for some people might not work at all for others. But there is something helpful for everyone -- including you. Therapy can be very effective, but it can take time to work. Also, every therapist is different. You can try different therapists until you find one who you feel is a good fit. Whatever you do, don't give up. Keep actively seeking help and treatment. You don't have to live with this forever.
I feel so much pressure from everyone and i oberthink about anything..and sometimes i want to talk and i can’t.. i talk just in my head and i feel how i am screaming in my head and i can’t handle it anymore..i do not think someone can help me with this because i know i am creating all the stuff and i know how to help other but i can’t help myself from all this..and the main problem it is i do not have something to do.. or someone to talk constantly because those are the only think that keeps me ok with all of these..:(
It can absolutely feel that no one can help, and it often does feel like you're creating these thoughts. You aren't alone -- these are very common thoughts and feelings and part of anxiety's mind games. The truth is that there is help and hope. You can work past this. Reaching out for help is an effective way to overcome anxiety and overthinking. These resources might help you connect with the right help:
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.) The following links will take you to articles that help you find in-person counseling and support:
Where to Find Mental Health Help: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/i-need-mental-help-where-…
Types of Mental Health Doctors and How to Find One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-do…
Types of Mental Health Counselors: Finding a Good One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-co…
Look I have been overthinking since like I was 11. What I thought was that I had health issues but I was my thinking and now I’m 13 (I’m going through puberty) and I think I have a deficiency of a vitamin or have OCD. I keep overthinking that I’m gay but in reality I’m not and I don’t want to be. I like and love girls but the thought just suddenly comes in and it scares me. So I keep thinking it, even when I’m with my friends I think that i am but I KNOW IM NOT. I can’t even live peacefully with my brain with thoughts just coming in and in. But please I need help to stop thinking of this.
Would it help to know that thinking about being gay is actually common during puberty? People are often afraid to talk about it (whether they are gay or straight), which can make you feel like you're the only one. There are a variety of reasons that homosexual thoughts keep popping up, the quickest explanation is simply hormones. Hormonal changes in the brain and body do all sorts of things to thoughts. Two effective ways to leave peacefully with your brain (I like that description) are acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness. These are approaches that help people deal with anxiety and disturbing thoughts by accepting them, let them come and go, and live fully in the present moment anyway. The two articles below have a bit of information about ACT and mindfulness so you can see if you'd like to learn more and try them. Until you check them out, know that your thoughts and experiences are normal. When you begin to overthink, pause, take a deep breath, remind yourself that these are normal thoughts that don't mean anything about you, and turn your attention to what you're doing in the moment. (And keep doing this -- it can take awhile to train your brain!).
Thank you very much Tanya! I’m telling you this because I have been thinking this for the past 5 months, but I did talk to my parents. It didn’t help me that much and also it’s because I am going on vacation in a week, So I want to enjoy and be relaxed and not to think and worry about these intrusive thoughts. I was NEVER like this before, I lived peacefully. When puberty hit, that’s when it began. Thoughts and thoughts, popping up and stressing about them and getting anxiety. This was really helpful. Like I said, I like and love so much girls and these stressful thoughts don’t leave me alone
Also I am very scared of thinking of this, I don’t want to think of it anymore, and I don’t and never want to be this and never feel this again.
That's a really normal feeling. It might feel like these thoughts will always be there, but they will lessen and stop plaguing you. Be patient with yourself and don't judge yourself. We all "have" thoughts, but no one "is" their thoughts -- including you.
Hi again Mael,
I'm sorry that talking to your parents didn't help. It's good that you tried because open communication is helpful for so many things in adolescence. Maybe trying again later might be better, or maybe you won't need to because your intrusive thoughts will no longer be a problem. On vacation, when you start to become anxious, shift your thoughts to something else. Even try thinking about something completely different than attraction to anyone. What have you been interested (before puberty and now)? And on your vacation, what fun and relaxing things will you be doing? Keep bringing your attention to those things. Tell your other thoughts that now isn't the time, then go back to doing what you were doing. "Doing" is important and beating thoughts, too. Get active doing something positive to distract your thoughts. Make lots of really good moments on your vacation (and when you return home.
Thank you for helping me understand more about anxiety. I embarked on this journey after finding myself deep in depression and literally hating life but realizing that I needed to find a way out for the sake of my wife and kids. I have major anxiety, I have been diagnosed with ADHD, and these issues have led me to deep depression.
I struggle is on finding the balance between my ADHD and my anxiety. A lot of the methods recommended suggest the refocusing of the mind and thoughts. I wonder if this will make my ADHD worse. I get distracted easily as it is. Any feedback will be greatly appreciated.
Dealing with any one of these challenges can be difficult, and put them together and "difficult" is an inadequate description. I can give you some good news: you are already well on your way to overcoming this (or at least minimizing it so that it doesn't negatively impact your life). You mentioned a purpose, which is a very important step in healing, and you are taking action by reading about what to do. I'm not just throwing shallow encouragement (I don't do that) when I say you're on your way. The evidence is in your words.
Trying to refocus your mind and thoughts could make your anxiety and ADHD worse, or it could make them better, depending on what the approach is as well as how you personally think and prefer. For example, you may have read about a therapeutic approach called cognitive behavioral therapy, or CBT. It involves identifying your thoughts, challenging them, and replacing them with different, more effective, thoughts. It's research based and proven to help improve mental health. However, that doesn't mean that it works for everyone. Trying to concentrate on thoughts to change them can turn into a fight with those thoughts which can magnify them. And with ADHD, it can become one more thing to try to concentrate on, which is often frustrating and can worsen ADHD and with it, anxiety and depression. One great thing about trying various approaches is that you won't be permanently set back. Any negative effects will fade away when you stop the approach. Overcoming mental health challenges is, unfortunately, often a process of trial-and-error. Because anything takes time to work, be patient as you try something to allow your brain/mind to adjust.
I wonder if some of the recommendations you've read about refocusing mind and thoughts had to do with mindfulness. If that's the case, it won't make your ADHD worse (maybe it will seem like that initially as you train your brain, but it will eventually make a positive difference). Mindfulness involves a drastically different approach to thoughts. Mindfulness is about living fully in the present moment, out of your head and into your life. You can come to enjoy time with your family rather than being trapped in your head, caught in your thoughts or distracted by them. Research has also shown the mindfulness is effective in reducing distractibility, anxiety, depression, and more.
These articles might provide some useful information:
Anxiety, ADHD, or Both? https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/09/anxiety-adhd-or-both
Mindfulness Can Calm Anxious Thoughts: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/01/mindfulness-can-calm-anxie…
ADHD and Impulsivity: How Meditation Can Help: https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/adhd/adhd-and-impulsivity-how-meditation-can-help
I hope you find some useful information in these articles and other resources, too. Overcoming ADHD, anxiety, and depression is a gradual process, but it can be done.
Thank You for writing this article, it has really helped me today.
I have always been an over thinker but I have never associated it with me having anxiety until reading this article.
I had a surprise party for my birthday last weekend, but I walked out as soon as I walked in to the room.
I have said so many times I would not want a party at all, never mind a surprise one due to how stressed I get with social situations and how much I over think everything. I was so upset that none of my family respected my wishes when they know I hate surprises and have social anxiety. I know they was trying to do something nice and meaningful to me...but it had the total opposite, I have never felt so awkward and then the host also did too with my reaction.
I’ve been replaying the walking out through my head constantly and feel like I can’t face anyone again who was there and keep thinking what they are going to say to me.
I have felt nothing but guilt towards the hosts as I know they’d put so much effort into it and I look so ungrateful.
It’s exactly like the gerbil reference, the thoughts are running around on that wheel and I feel like it’s never going to come to a stop.
I have started to feel better as the days have gone on as I try to distract myself from thinking about it.
I'm glad you found this to be something relatable. You hit on something really important in your last statement. Distracting ourselves from our thoughts is really powerful in slowing down all of that overthinking. You probably know of this practice as mindfulness. Focusing your attention (over and over again) on something else chips away at anxiety and overthinking. If you're interested in reading more, the article Mindfulness Can Calm Anxious Thoughts might be useful: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/01/mindfulness-can-calm-anxie…
As far as your feelings of guilt, guild and anxiety often go hand-in-hand. And they make each other worse! While it's impossible to know what others think, you can consider some possibilities. Maybe they are thinking what you are afraid they are. Maybe they aren't. Maybe they're feeling bad for doing something they knew you didn't want and for making the event about themselves rather than you. Maybe some of them are secretly glad that the event ended because they don't like parties but they don't want to admit it. Maybe others are off onto a bunch of other events and are busy dealing with stressful things so aren't even thinking about the party anymore. It's impossible to know. Which also means it's impossible to know that they are judging you. Just something to think about. :) I'll share one more article. This one's about guilt and anxiety: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2016/07/guilt-a-distressing-effect…
My 8 year old step daughter is experiencing some extreme anxiety. She had poison ivy over a year ago and now she will have a panic attack if Shea near grass. That's just one of the things, but she somehow seems to panic over a multitude of things. We've tried therapy. We've tried talking to her at home. We've tried deep breathing and wearing a rubber band to "snap your way of thinking". We've been dealing with this for about a year and a half now. There have been no changes at home or school that might explain any of this. We're at a loss for how to help her. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.
Hello, I’m 26 and have suffered with nervousness/ anxiety from as far back as I remember, making me dislike the entirety of my school years. I know it’s 10 years since I left but I feel as anxious now as I did then, despite the fact I’m no longer in a toxic environment. I’ve tried exercise, diet change, been to a counsellor but nothing has changed. I’ve struggled to hold down a job and being socialable, even going out, I just feel worried about most aspects of life. I’ve tried certain medication, like diazepam and propranolol but neither seemed that effective. Sorry for going on, I hate whining lol, I just don’t know what else to do and I don’t want my relationship to end so I want to feel better but I feel like I’m constantly drowning in negativity.
You have incredible perseverance. As you well know, anxiety can be a huge obstacle. By not giving into it, you're already winning the war. Sure, anxiety is winning lots of battles, but you are the one who will come out the victor.
Have you heard of acceptance and commitment therapy? I have seen it work very well with people in situations similar to yours (terrible anxiety that persists despite having tried many things), and I apply the principles of it to myself every day. This article provides some general information about what ACT is and how it can help. It isn't a quick-fix, but it is a very effective "fix" in the long-run. It might be something you find worth investigating further. https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acce…
I’ve been struggling with what I think is anxiety since I was probably around 19... I’m 23 now. Heck it might be longer but the last couple of years it’s been the worst & I can’t even ignore it anymore. I can’t get even my license bc of the fear & over thinking anxiety gives me. It affects my love life I can be fine for months but the out of nowhere I completely overthink about my relationship “omg he hates me” “he’s gonna leave me” “he’s being weird, this is it he’s gonna end it” constantly goes through my head 24/7 ! & it causes problems bc I start acting weird & no matter what I do I can’t stop... my anxiety has ended 2 of my relationships & im working on a 3rd. Anxiety effects my job I’m constantly worried I won’t hav enough time or I’m not doing something right I’m a cna btw. I have low self esteem I’ve had my whole life.... I haven’t had the best life I’ve seen & went through things I never should have, horrible things. I know that’s completely destroyed the way I feel about myself. I have an appointment in a few days to see a doctor.... I want medication... but then I think what if it doesn’t help what if I’m just like this & nothing I do can stop it... what if there’s just something wrong with me. I know the medication will take a little to work & even then it might not be the right anxiety medication for me. I just don’t know what to do anymore
I hope your appointment went well. Seeing a doctor for help is a really good first step. You're right about the medication, but that's okay. If your did prescribe something, maybe it won't work. But maybe it will. Either way, you have begun your journey to heal, and that's a very positive thing. It can take time, but even so, you can get better. That feeling of being overwhelmed and not knowing what to do is normal. When every you think it, remind yourself that you are doing something already. Time will tell if you'll need to do something different, but right now the important thing is that you have begun to take action. Have you considered seeing a therapist. Many times, a combination of medication and therapy work very well. Keep seeking help and treatment because you can reduce your anxiety so it doesn't interfere in your life anymore.
I have been suffering from anxiety for 15 years I am now 30 and have a really hard time living a normal life I always think somthing is wrong with me and it makes me super anxious it can be a simple weird feeling in my throat that will trigger my anxiety causing me to hyper ventalate I don't like to be fat from a hospital . Does anyone else have this.
You have described anxiety very well. There are many types of anxiety, but there are things they all share in common. Regarding your question about anyone else having this, I'll give you an answer as well as leave this open for others to respond. Other people do indeed have this. Just in the united states, over 40 million people live with some sort of an anxiety disorder, and together, anxiety disorders are by far the most common mental disorder. This means that therapists are trained to help people with anxiety. Working with a therapist can help you with these symptoms and more. This doesn't have to last!
Social anxiety is becoming a big problem these days, nice post thanks for sharing.
Thanks for your comment! I agree with you about social anxiety becoming more of a problem. I think a lot of societal changes are at work here.
Hi :) I had posted a comment before but I'm not sure where it is so I'm sorry if there are two ??. I'm 17 and I've always been a worrier. It's not new to me to overthink everything (I overthink every interaction with people to the point that I convince myself that they hate me). I really suffer from stress in school and I was talking to a teacher about it but now I regret it cause I've convinced myself she finds me annoying and hates me even though she says I can talk to her any time. Im so nervous because I'm worried I wasted her time. My parents don't really think what I feel is anything unusual or important like they say every teenager is stressed and I think they got a bit upset finding out I talked to a teacher because they felt like I was being dramatic . I just feel like everyone hates me and I have really low self esteem and confidence. I just don't know what to do I feel so stressed all the time and most of the time there is no solid reason. I'm just always so anxious and I have a constant knot in my stomach. I just don't know what to do :( do you think I might have anxiety? Do you think it's important or am I overeacting?
I suffer with it to. Best advice I can give is to seek help sooner than later. My life was pretty much the same. Parents thought it was no big deal and made me feel like it was just me. I have even had someone tell me that I need to get over it. They don't understand it is not something you can just get over. I had to get away from negative people. I am still looking into getting some medication to help. I would also seek out others dealing with it. I was really struggling today till I read your post. Knowing I am not alone helps. Logically that tells me and should you that nothing is wrong with us, In the sense that we are not weird. I know I know with our brain that is hard to believe, but it does help. I know I am a stranger, but you really have helped me just by sharing your story. Thank you!
I shared a link with Cat that you might like as well. It's to a post entitled Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me, and there are many comments. Here's the link: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/05/anxiety-says-everyone-hate…
I don't think you are overreacting at all. This is something that is bothering you, and therefore it's legitimate. I wouldn't risk doing you harm by trying to diagnose you, but I will say that what you describe is similar to anxiety, especially social anxiety. Anxiety is complex and Carebear is right - getting help is important. Just to reinforce the fact that you're not alone and that feeling like everyone hates you feels very real but is a mind trick played by anxiety, I'll share two things. The first is that I can relate to what you describe because I used to think very similar things. This can be overcome, so don't give up. Second, this is a link to a post entitled Anxiety Says Everyone Hates Me. There are numerous comments on the post, and reading through them might help you find useful information. https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/05/anxiety-says-everyone-hate…
Hello my name is lub toqeer
From last month i am vary stressed,confussed and worried i had panic attack that time i was supposed that i m just going loss my life my heart was just racing fast and bp was high have trouble in breathing after that i am just over thinking about death about that condition .i have pain in full body some time chest and throat .its is just unexplainable how i feel its just horrible i cant explain it in words.my stomic is not good every time from last 30 days .i m taking indrioll 40mg but it doesnt effect my condition still my thoughts is same.
I'm sorry you are experiencing this. What you describe can very much be a part of anxiety and panic attacks. It's a frightening experience, and people do describe thinking they're going to die. It's always important to have physical symptoms checked out by a doctor just to rule out causes other than anxiety. Since you're taking medication, I'm guessing you have done that. Next you can turn your attention to reducing anxiety. You're right about medication not helping thoughts. Medication will help the physical brain, structures and chemistry/electrical activity, which then allows you to work on your thoughts. It's a gradual process, but you can change your thinking and your responses to your thoughts.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) is a useful approach for treating anxiety. This article provides some info: https://www.healthyplace.com/anxiety-panic/articles/cognitive-behavioral-therapy-for-anxi…
Acceptance and commitment therapy is another helpful approach to anxiety: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acce…
Practicing mindfulness can also be highly effective in dealing with anxious thoughts and panic attacks: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2017/11/diy-anxiety-relief-make-3-…
Keep working on this, Lub. There isn't a quick fix, but there is a fix.
Hey, I’m joanna and I’m 26 years old. I’m a mother and a biology major who is doing 16 hours this semester. I recently had to quit my job as an ER scribe because I had a really bad panic attack on shift. Because I had the first panic attack I’ve started having more. On the way to school last week I had a really bad one and had to go to the hospital. In the past I have had to go to the hospital for panic attacks but it has been a year and I thought I finally had my life back. When my allergies act up I often struggle with increased anxiety and it’s hard for me to drive because I’m more prone to panic attacks when I drive. Now I’m terrified to drive to school. This happened last time and I would have to leave class because of panic attacks. I’ve also noticed the same pattern with my fiancé where I’d be constantly worried he would cheat on me because of my past experiences in other relationships. I want to feel normal again and regain control of my mind. I want to feel free to go anywhere without having to worry about having a panic attack. I know they don’t kill you but they feel so awful that it’s terrifying. Do you have any thoughts on how I can override my brain’s panic response? I feel like a car with a broken alarm.
I love your metaphor of a car with a broken alarm. That is a very apt way to describe panic attacks. Have you seen a therapist for this? I can't diagnose, of course, but what you describe is similar to panic disorder. A therapist can help determine if that's what's going on and work with you on treatment specific to panic disorder.
In the meantime, mindfulness is very helpful in overriding the panic response. Cognitive behavior therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy are useful, too, but often the brain is stuck in a pattern and can't break out of it easily, making things like CBT and ACT frustrating at best. Mindfulness is something that gently redirects the brain and begins to override that panic response. When you notice panic rising or even find yourself in the midst of a panic attack, find one thing on which to focus. You can carry something with you or find something around you. Don't argue with the panic or try to talk yourself out of it. Simply redirect your thoughts onto the object. Notice how it looks, feels, sounds, etc. (depending on the object). Do this consistently to teach the brain to shift its attention. Over time, the brain responds quickly and panic attacks become shorter, milder, and eventually even nonexistent. You also prepare your brain for structured approaches like CBT and ACT if you'd like to try those. Panic is an automatic response, but it doesn't have to be a permanent one. You can fix your broken car alarm!
Hello, I'm 18 years old and I have this one friend. We've known each other for about
4 years now but not until 5 months ago we had not very much to do with one another.
For me he is just a friend but the problem is he is kind of sending my mixed signals.
I must admit I am a natural flirt, I mean I just like to tease the people around me and flirt with them, like literally everybody, that's just how I am.
At first when he started teasing me back I didn't mind. Then as the time flew by people started asking me what our relation between us is.
Slowly I started to overthink everything he did, like paying me dinner, carrying my purse when we were out, giving me small massages and everything. So I thought he may like me more than just a friend. I wouldn't say that I had caught feelings for him, but I realised that he was on my mind constantly.
So I kind of thought maybe we would develop a relationship someday, like in a romantic way.
But then I found out that the kissed a friend of mine and they made out and it just really confuses me. Like he is totally confusing. I don't get what he wants.
I know that I am overthinking and that I honestly should not care about that but I just can't stop. That's why I am writing.
Maybe you could give me some advice?
I would appreciate it very much.
Relationships, both friendships and romantic partnerships, can be difficult to navigate. Overthinking is very common, especially because there are no easy, obvious answers. You are probably well aware of this! HealthyPlace has a relationships community that you might find to be a helpful resource. You can find it here: https://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/
Hi. My ex-bf is suffering from anxiety, panic attacks & stress due to being jobless, love ones who are sick & billings that pilling up. He is always tired & sleepy. We are into long distance relationship. He started avoiding me (no text/calls) 2 months ago. He will only respond to my messages after 16 hrs. Then he told me that he doesn't know if he loves me. Every time I asked him if he still wants me in his life he just answer me with "I don't know". Every thing with him is an argument. He have had history of depression and anxiety. He told me that he is constantly overwhelmed and feeling too much pressure from me. I was hurt so I decided to let him go. But then I tried to work things out with him several times but he keeps telling me that I left him. According to him he misses me but he doesn't know if he loves me. We are no longer talking. He's not taking any medications and/or seeking the help of a Therapist. I don't even know if everything he say are whats really on his mind & heart.I am worried. Thank you
Why would u even WANT a guy like that? U need councling.
He is a gentle giant. I want him because I've known him in person. He never hurt me physically. Just because they have this mental illness doesn't mean that no one will ever love them or understand them. :)
See this is the time he needs you .. you have to be calm .just remember whatever he is saying is because of his anxiety . Let him to join meditation and yoga .give him a bit more time .
I am 40 year old ,mother of 2 kids and working as full time employees of good IT company. I have thyroid since last 2 years and had brain tumor surgery in Nov2017. Surgery is successful. After surgery I am having vitamin D , B12 and Iron deference taking medicine.I resumed work last month after 3 months medical leave. Now a days I am thinking so much about work. I am keep trying to avoid work thoughts but it’s becoming impossible. I feel work pressure and peer pressure is high. All are men’s in my team I feel they are better than me. I am doing my work successfully no complaints from anybody. Recently my manager assign me more work and I feel overwhelming. My manager is not understanding work load. He is thinking it’s simple and I am making complicated. I am constantly thinking how to get this done without any problems. Some people in my team enjoy their life at work come late and go early and he assigned their work to me. I have requested him I am not fully recovered give me another 3/4 months I can not take more responsibilities right now I can handle only my work which I was supporting before surgery. He didn’t support. He asked me to prioritize work and push back if I have other work commitments on that day. When I push back some work for next day then he is asking me to get that done on requested time. Yesterday I was so sad and cried almost 8 hours. I woke up morning with same work thoughts. One mind says resign then other mind says it’s very good company 15 mins commute let’s accept it , it is what it is. if I find another job then commute time will be more than hour. Also I have to put extra effort to understand new work and i don’t know how team members and manager. Here I am working more than 2 years I know system very well , good team. My husband is also working in IT he is good but really I want someone to understand me. Ladies can understand ladies problem. Men’s point of view is different than women.As per him it will be lot of work even you go anywhere. My parents can’t understand this because they never worked.Sometimes I talk with friends but not always they pick up my phone. I don’t like to be stay at home mom.If I leave this job and I didn’t get another job soon then.
I am constantly thinking about work. I have 2 kids one is in middle school and is in elementary school. Now a days I am not thinking about my kids, family. After coming from office ,something I cook and give them food, take them to actives that’s it. Don’t feel like talking. My thyroid level became high in last 2 weeks because of stress. I am feeling so much tired. Now a days I don’t enjoy anything like watching TV , Facebook, listing music. I like to talk with friends, go out but I don’t have many friends.Weekend we both are busy with kids activities, groceries and cooking ,nothing special on weekends no party, no get together.
I don’t know is this Anxiety , depression?
Can I see the psychiatrist. Shall I leave this job and relax for few months. Don’t know what to do.
I am not good at English writing. I feel uncomfortable while writing I can talk but can’t write. English is not my native language.
Please let me Tanya what shall I Do.
Don't worry about your English in writing. I can understand you perfectly. While I'm not in a position to diagnose you, I'll just make an observation that what you are describing does have some components of both anxiety and depression. But that doesn't mean that they're strong enough or numerous enough to be full-blown anxiety or depression. It makes a lot of sense that you are feeling this way and having so many thoughts about work. Returning to work after any health issue -- especially brain surgery -- is a challenge, and thyroid issues make matters worse. It's amazing how much the tiny thyroid has to do with our health and wellbeing. You were very right in communicating to your boss that you haven't fully recovered yet. I'm sorry he didn't listen. You have a lot going on in addition to healing, and it sounds like it all involves work, whether that work is at your job or at home with your family. Your kids are at challenging stages that can be exhausting physically and mentally.) You're tired from healing and from demands plus aren't able to have the element of fun/enjoyment in your life right now. That all takes its toll. This is normal and will pass, but it's difficult while it's happening. You mentioned a psychiatrist. You might not need a psychiatrist, as psychiatrists specialize in medication. You might consider a therapist (especially a woman). You can talk with a therapist, and you can sort things out. As difficult as things are right now, you will get through this. You're speaking up, and you know that you don't like how things are right now so you're looking for ways to change. Right there is proof that you'll get through this.
Thanks Taniya for suggestion and giving me hope to look positively.
this is hard for me to explain, but I’m worried about my best friend (14). We used to talk, laugh and do everything together, but recently she’s been very quiet and distant. However, this only happens when we’re in a certain friendship group because when we hang out with other people in school she suddenly becomes her bubbly self again. When she’s distant, she seems to try to avoid any conversation and is always on her phone (she never used to do this) . So, I asked her what was wrong because I couldn’t handle not knowing any line her. She says she just overthinks everything, such as other people’s reactions, and she worries too much. However, she won’t tell me exactly what’s going on with her. She mentioned that she looks at web pages to educate herself on what’s bothering her, but it makes her even more upset. She also told me that some days she’ll be alright, but on others she won’t. I’ve tried being a supportive friend by giving her advice, but I don’t really know what I should be doing. She said she’s really stressed about everything and she definitely didn’t look very happy when we were talking. I’m worried about her because I don’t want her feeling bad and overthinking anything, I want her to go back to her normal happy self. Any advice?
It's really cool that you have gone to such lengths to help your friend. Not everyone would do this (how much better the world would be if everyone could be so caring and act on it). That said, it's important for you to know that you aren't responsible for other people and their happiness or actions. Do what you can do, like talking to her, reaching out for help, and know that other people have responsibility for themselves, too. I just wanted to throw that out there because sometimes people who are so caring and who value friendships like this can put too much on their own shoulders. :)
It would be good if your friend could connect with an adult who can listen and talk to her from a different perspective (outside of her peers who she feels she has to put on a bubbly face for or avoid by hiding behind her phone). Anybody that has been a positive part of her life will be a good start. Maybe a teacher, school counselor, or other school staff member, coach/activity leader, clergy member, etc. You can gently suggest to your friend that she talk to someone. If she refuses but doesn't improve, it's okay for you to go talk to the person and explain what's going on. The person will either reach out to your friend or point you to someone else that would be a better help.
A warning: sometimes (not always) people get angry when someone tries to get them help. In most cases, once the person is feeling better, he/she will be very glad for the help and no longer be angry.
I think your friend is lucky to have you as a friend. While you can't solve her problems, you're being supportive and helping her help herself. Not everyone can do that.
I'm 19 and a student.
Currently i have this one friend. To me, he's a very good company. both of us met about 2 months ago. but actually we were in the same kindergarten years ago. we seemed to be very closed to each other. we had dinner together everyday, tried every new foods in our college, walked to class together (even though we're not in the same class and program
) and do almost everything together. Im very grateful to have a friend like him.
however, lately i realised that he's distancing himself from me. we do have dinner together, participate volunteering works together. but we dont talk much like we used to. i dont like that.
so, what happened was, last night, i asked him what's wrong?
He said that i am too clingy that everywhere i go, i always wanted him to be with me and he couldnt bear with it anymore.
i admit that i am a person like that. some people like it and some dont. dont they? so, i apologised and told him that i'll fix that. it was that actually i dont quite understand him, since we've just knew each other.
i think i've got influenced by the movies i watched where two best friends usually do things together, go everywhere together, go on a travel together, understand each other etc.
so, i expected him to do the mentioned things above. my bad.
and the conversation continued..
i told him that there's one thing that i couldnt control when i'm with him or with my other closed friends. that's Overthinking.
i used to think lots of unnecessary thoughts. like you said above, about things that i shouldve said, done and what not. but sometimes some thoughts like how my friends feel about me do came across my mind. However, i knew that these thoughts are just nothing. they're just there. so, i ignored them. i made myself busy.
but the longer i tried to ignore them, the more that i got hurt. what do i do? i really hope that you can help me, tanya.
Relationships, whether they're friendships, romantic relationships, and even family relationships, are so hard! It seems like the longer we know someone, the harder they become. A lot of it has to do with the thoughts you described. You made an excellent point about movies. This is something that happens a lot. We (and I say "we" because I've done it and still do it until I catch myself) tend to interpret movies and TV as representations of reality. They seem real, after all. And they often portray the ideal relationships that people want. What we forget is that they're scripted. The people say what they say and do what they do because they have lines and directions provided. (Look at how the real people, the celebrities who play the characters, behave in real life. There's evidence of non-scripted behavior!).
What has happened is that movies and TV have warped our expectations. And when things don't go like they do on screen, we question what's "wrong" and overthink to try to get things back to how we think they should be. Unrealistic expectations, no matter where they come from, cause a great deal of heartache, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and more. Something that is helpful for many people (myself included) is to take an honest look at our expectations. Even write them out. What is your vision of a great friendship? Then get honest with yourself. How many of your qualities fit in the real world? How would you define a good relationship with more realistic, unscripted, undirected, features? Then, what actions do you need to take to override your unrealistic expectations and work toward the realistic ones? Sometimes it works to observe others and talk to people you trust about their relationships.
I honestly say kudos to you for your insight about movies. You've got it! Now run with it (but know that it's a process that takes time.)