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.
NCC, T. (2015, December 31). Anxiety and Overthinking Everything, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, June 17 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/12/anxiety-and-over-thinking-everything
Author: Tanya J. Peterson, MS, NCC
A constantly racing mind -- that is a really good description. Social anxiety and insecurity can definitely be at the root of this type of overthinking. And as you're seeing, it can keep getting worse! The good news is that it can also get better. Have you looked into social anxiety? Perhaps starting by looking into information about this type of anxiety will be a great first step in reducing overthinking.
Some therapists do (and should) address overthinking. Others do not. I'm not sure what the VA policy is. If it's possible to try a different therapist? Also, 6-12 weeks apart is a long time between sessions. Have you tried any self-help books about anxiety to work on between sessions? That might be helpful.
Anxiety can be related to genetics, at least partially. It can also definitely be learned. Anxiety is no one's fault but is something complex that develops from many different experiences with our environment, within the brain, and a consequence of interactions with others, including parents. Your mom probably cares about you and wants you to be safe (physically, emotionally -- the whole deal). She might have some fears and anxieties of her own that give her reason to believe that the world is not okay, and by constantly asking and obsessing, it's her way of making sure you are okay. But having that kind of interaction and talk over and over again really could have an impact on how you interact. This is what you learned, and it's naturally how you see things and react. (This is oversimplified and there is a lot more to anxiety -- and to you as a person -- than this. This is an observation based on what you mentioned.)
You have already had a great first step. You've identified what you don't want. The next step is identifying what you do want and then create an action plan that involves small steps to work your way to who and how you want to be. It's common to think, "I know what I want. I don't want to be this way. I want to stop overthinking. That's what I want." But that isn't helpful. When you think about what you don't want, you are thinking of what you don't want. Your focus is on the negative. Just reframing and focusing on what you do want will start to make a difference. Build on that with action, and you will be working toward the change you want to, and can, create.
The insight you have about your anxiety, including the fact that you know that your thoughts don't match reality, means that you're already far into the process of overcoming this. Many times, people don't realize that just because they are thinking and feeling, it doesn't make it true. (That is a common trick that anxiety plays on people, so it's not bad when that happens. It's just a different starting point for overcoming anxiety). You're aware of your irrational thoughts (that's not a judgment; "irrational" is just the word that is used and it means that they aren't what's really happening). I have two links for you that might be helpful. One is about relationships, and the other is about an approach to mental health and wellbeing called acceptance and commitment therapy. These just might have information that will help you stop the anxious thoughts and let you be yourself. (ACT is largely about learning to be yourself.)
From my own personal experience plus what I've encountered professionally, this drive/need to be productive is extremely anxiety-provoking. It becomes a terrible cycle: We think/worry about not being productive. So we try harder to be productive, taking on more tasks to try to solve the problem. Of course, there is only so much time, and everything we do requires time, which means we don't get to everything. That makes us feel less productive. So we take on more. The cycle continues and anxiety worsens. It even causes physical symptoms and physical illness. It can also lead to other mental health challenges -- like the way you reacted to the social interaction. That is a very normal thing to do, and it often comes from being overwhelmed. The brain becomes overloaded and it becomes harder for it to handle things.
It's hard to break out of this cycle of anxiety and productivity. Believe me, I know! One thing that is often effective is to start at the source -- the need to be productive. Make a definition of productivity that is meaningful to you and of course realistic. Define what is reasonable to do in a day, then choose the most necessary things to fit into the time frame. Jot them down so you can cross them off when you do them. That reinforces that you are doing things. Also, before bed, list what you accomplished and why it matters. If/when you keep thinking about what you didn't accomplish, write that down, too, plus why it's okay that those things didn't get done. This is a good first step to reducing this "productivity anxiety."
One thing that very likely does contribute is something out of your control: the chaos around you. These conditions absolutely can cause or add to anxiety, depression, PTSD and other trauma-related disorders, and more. I happened to research this recently for a book, so I've read studies and personal accounts about the effects of living in wide-spread poverty, long-term effects of natural disasters, war, political strife, etc. This chaos does take a toll on mental health and wellbeing. Discovering personal meaning can counterbalance the negative effects. What is important to you? Who is important to you? What bothers you that you would like to see change? If you can take time to explore what is meaningful to you, you can then do things to live in a way that matches your meaning. This has the added bonus of reducing the need to be productive because living according to your values is naturally productive and satisfying.
Sometimes (many times) family can cause great anxiety for many different reasons. When family members, especially older ones in a special role, judge us negatively, it can cause anxiety and withdrawal. Sometimes, putting family opinions aside temporarily (you can still respect them in their role) and exploring who you are and how you want to be can reduce anxiety. You have a chance to know yourself without feeling wrong about your discoveries. One way to do this is to examine your unique strengths and find ways you want to use them. Check out www.viacharacter.org for a high-quality self-test and information. Also, because you have been dealing with this for so long and because it comes from family, it can be helpful to work with a therapist. If you don't have easy access to a therapist, you can try an online service such as betterhelp.com or talkspace.com. Truly, you don't have to be stuck with this severe anxiety forever.
Know that you aren't alone in this. So many people have a hard time around what you describe that there are indeed books to help. The other reason there are books is because it is possible to overcome this and thrive. If it were hopeless, there wouldn't be any books!
Something that stood out to me in what you wrote was the fact that you have a new job and have recently experienced traumas. While I would never dish out a diagnosis, I will say that these are elements of adjustment disorder or even adjustment-related stress if it's not a full-blown disorder. Even positive change can lead to adjustment stress/disorder. This is something that is temporary when you have help dealing with it. That help can be in book form. There aren't many books about adjustment disorder out there. One good (but short) one is Adjustment Disorder: When You Can't Cope with Change by J.B. Snow. Learn more here: http://amzn.to/2FkS7Pq. That title sounds a bit off-putting in my opinion. But if you can get past the harsh "When you can't cope with change" part, the information is good.
Another good title to look into is Thriving with Social Anxiety: Daily Strategies for Overcoming Anxiety and Building Self Confidence by Hattie Cooper.
Another one that is helpful with overthinking, self-confidence, adjustment, and more is Break Free: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy in 3 Steps: http://amzn.to/2FlaPqu. I should disclose that I am the author of this one. However, I make nothing from the sales and have nothing to gain at all by telling you about this book. I believe strongly in acceptance and commitment therapy so I'm just listing this with the other two.
I hope this list gives you a good start. You're on the right track already. You've taken two important steps: you decided you want to break your current patterns (that's a big decision that not everyone makes), and you're seeking information to do it. Keep at it!
I am looking for books or techniques that will help me break these patterns of negative thoughts and over come my over thinking. I think I'd be a happier and healthier person. Previous therapists haven't always been helpful, and I am not in a position in my life to be able to afford therapy. Any advice you give would be greatly appreciated.
my name is willy im 21. i have relationship problem with my girlfriend. She had been overthinking in our relationship and question the feeling of mine. She overthink stuff very easily . i feel that she didnt feels secure inside her even though im trying to give her security as much as i could. We been loving each other very much but we argue very often. She been keeping her overthink to herself and refuse to talk about it every time i ask about it. Im very tired and so she does but its our first love and we dont want to break up, we are so important to each other. Could you suggest me some way to overcome my problem?
Relationships are difficult! Add anxiety and insecurity to the mix, and "difficult" doesn't describe them adequately. It sounds like you have a healthy perspective, seeing both the positives and negatives. Know that the feelings you are experiencing are very normal. I have a resource to share with you that you might want to look into. It's a book called Anxious in Love: How to Manage Your Anxiety, Reduce Conflict, and Reconnect with Your Partner (the Amazon link is http://amzn.to/2AGQU1v -- it's just so you can look. I'm not trying to sell! I have nothing to do with this book.) It's written more to the person with anxiety, but it is suitable for both people in the relationship. I haven't read this particular book, but I have read other books by one of the authors (Carolyn Daitch). I like her work. This might be something for you to read first to gain some insights and tips, and it's also a good one to read with your girlfriend and talk about with her. This book won't advise you to stay together or tell you to break up (at least it *shouldn't* give you advice like that). But it will help you communicate, give you strategies to try, and ultimately see if the relationship causes more stress than good times. Most of Daitch's books are available in libraries, so you might be able to check it out rather than purchasing it. You seem very caring and solution-focused. Those are very positive qualities. Know that if you decide to break up, those qualities will still remain. Sometimes staying together is best, and sometimes breaking up is best. By exploring this, you can be confident that whichever path you take, it's the right one for you both.
when i was about 14 i started to over think and talk to myself about situations....
but now i know i thinked in a wrong way..i want to recover
from it but its so stressfull how my inner voices are
stressing me....please help me i am in problem...
what can i do to controll my mind annd inner voices...?
Overthinking in this way is very stressful. One important place for you to start overcoming this is to know that you haven't thought in a wrong way. It can feel that way, but that's part of the way anxiety makes us think. It's easier said that done, but it's important not to judge yourself so negatively. A simple way to begin doing this (it won't completely solve the problem, but it's a great way to start): whenever you are thinking negative thoughts, overthinking something, etc. stop yourself and say "I'm having the thought that..." (So if you think "I shouldn't have said that," change it to (I'm having the thought that I shouldn't have said that.") It shifts your thinking and distances yourself, sending the subtle message that it's only a thought rather than a truth. This comes from acceptance and commitment therapy. This is an approach that helps people deal with challenges like overthinking. This article can give you more information: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy/
I do have a question for you. You mentioned inner voices. This means different things to different people. For you, are inner voices the thoughts you are telling yourself, or are they statements that you can hear, things that are talking to you? If you are actually hearing voices talking to you, or if you aren't sure, visit the Hearing Voices Network: https://www.hearing-voices.org/. You'll find a lot of information to help you know if this is what you're experiencing and, if this is it, information about what to do and where to find help.
Whatever the cause of your thoughts/overthinking, help is available. You don't have to be bothered by this forever.
It's great that you encourage friends to open up! And you're not a hypocrite for having a hard time opening up yourself. Doing so is really difficult. It's also common for people of all ages to wonder if they're making too big a deal out of what they're experiencing. When you feel pressure to be the best, it can become even more difficult. I think it is very reasonable, and very important, to seek professional help. When your anxiety gets in the way of your life, seeking professional help can help get you back on track, so you are in control of the worries instead of worries being in control of you. You can also reign in that perfectionism and performance anxiety that just might be at the root of your other worries. :)
I've been diagnosed with panic disorder 5 months ago. I'm stuck in a rut and unhappy with my current career and personal life. I started getting very bad panic attacks every time I think about the future because I keep overthinking a scenario in which I realise my life is too dull and can't possibly bear with it another 40 years and want to end it all. I've been doing CBT for 4 months but my therapist isn't able to help me overthinking this scenario. It started to seem more and more real and it is the main fuel of my anxiety. Any tips?
I have what might be good news. The key to moving past your overthinking and anxiety is in your message. Feeling stuck and unhappy with major aspects of your life is a HUGE contributing factor to anxiety. Many times -.people don't even realize this right away, but it sounds like you do -- which is another bit of good news. You've actually begun your journey to where you want to be. It just doesn't feel like it at the moment. It's very normal for people in similar situations. While you do feel stuck, the idea of the unknown can keep you right where you are. And changing careers or making big family changes is scary. It's often helpful to set thoughts about the future aside at first, other than creating goals and visions for what you want. Have a vision and then create an action plan to work toward it, and also live in the present moment. Do things every day to make good moments, and every day work toward your plan.
Also, don't worry about CBT not fully working. It can be great and very helpful, but it's not helpful for everyone and every situation, including your situation. You might want to look into solution-focused therapy or acceptance and commitment therapy. They're both goal and action-oriented to move your forward and reduce anxiety. You will be able to take charge of things, and you won't feel stuck forever!
I do want to mention one other thing. You made a comment about wanting to end it all sometimes. If you ever feel that way, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help and- support. Contact them to chat at suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-273-8255.
I'm sorry to read that anxiety is plaguing you like this. I'm wondering if you also have some depression mixed in. Anxiety and depression often occur together and make each other worse. I certainly would never attempt to diagnose you! I just notice a mix of both anxiety and depression in what you described, and it might be worth looking into just to discover the best possible treatment. You're very wise in thinking about talking to a professional. Mental health professionals can guide you in overcoming challenges like this and discover a path to living your life fully. You might consider examining what's keeping you from going (many people are hesitant to see a professional and/or are so consumed by their symptoms that they can't do it -- so what you're experiencing is very normal.) Sometimes it's helpful to list reasons why you don't want to/can't get yourself to go. Then list all of the ways that you might benefit from going. Does the second list override the first? Having a specific purpose in mind can help you move forward even when you don't think you can. You've had enough of living in darkness -- now let yourself move out of it!
Two great approaches for self-help are also approaches therapists use with clients. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Solution-Focused Therapy are excellent. I use both approaches in my daily life. I started them when I was working to overcome horrible anxiety, and now they're a part of my general wellbeing. These two links take you to posts to each one just to give you a general idea about them. Check out an article about ACT here https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy/ and an article about solution-focused therapy here: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/06/five-solution-focused-ways-to-beat-anxiety/.
Talking to someone about your anxiety could be very helpful to you. If you are uncomfortable talking to someone in person, there are online organizations that offer therapy and a safe, neutral place to let your down. TalkSpace.com and BetterTherapy.org are two of the online offerings that are professional and reputable. You've already taken the first step in reducing anxiety -- you're seeking information and reaching out. Keep going! Anxiety doesn't have to negatively affect your life forever.
I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with anxiety and ocd right now. I think it's great that you are looking for help and solutions -- it means you're not giving up no matter how bad things are right now! Things don't have to stay miserable. It usually takes time for the body and brain to adjust to a change in medication. Be patient with yourself during this transition period and knw that the higher-than-normal anxiety is part of the process of stopping medication. Being patient and accepting won't change your anxiety levels quickly, but it will help you deal with all of it.
Having support could go a long way toward overcoming this intensified anxiety and ocd. Working with a therapist can help people immensely. This number helps people find therapists in their area: 1-800-843-7274. You can also use therapist finders on PsychologyToday.com or GoodTherapy.org. Online counseling services like TalkSpace..com or BetterHelp.com. Finally, if you have a National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) office in your area, they could be a great resource The offer support, classes, and know helpful community resources. I know that having anxiety can make these things hard to do. But if you start small and choose to find support in just one way, and then gradually add to what you're doing, you'll notice that it no longer feels like you're living in a nightmare.
Morning anxiety is a common, and frustrating, experience. Your description of it being a rut is very insightful, and you might not have realized it, but it can be the way out of it! Morning anxiety becomes part of a cycle of dread. You feel horribly anxious in the morning and dread going to bed at night because of what the morning will bring. To break the cycle, begin with the nighttime dread. Having a nightly ritual where you get comfortable, maybe light a candle or use an essential oil diffuser to stimulate your sense of smell which positively impacts the brain. Then, write down three things that you're grateful for (or three things that went well) from your day. Next, write down three things you're looking forward to tomorrow, no matter how small they are. You can end with a positive statement about yourself (also called an affirmation) that reminds you of your ability to get past morning anxiety. These thoughts will come to replace dread of the morning. Put your notebook beside your bed and when you wake up, redirect your thoughts by reading what you wrote the previous night. When you do this consistently, it can replace morning anxiety with morning positivity.
Overthinking this way absolutely causes problems. I know this from experience. I also know that it can get better! Two things you might want to look into are great for this kind of overthinking: acceptance and commitment therapy and mindfulness. (Mindfulness is a part of ACT, but it also is a healing approach on its own.) These articles might be helpful in giving you a bit of background: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy/ and https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/using-mindfulness-for-anxiety-here-s-how/
Also, working with a therapist can be very helpful too. In-person therapy has many benefits, but online counseling is available, too. GoodTherapy.org and TalkSpace.com are two reputable organizations.
You can absolutely do things to decrease anxiety and overthinking everything.
My mental sickness became treatment resistant as so many AD tried but nothing help. Sleepless ness now is major problem. I did CBT more then 12 sessions and even ECT six sessions, nothing help. Right now going through sevre emotional stress and anxiety with completly racing mind with nagative thoughts. I can't stop it inspite all efforts. I can't sleep also for many nights, even taking Clonazipan 1.25mg at night but it stoped helping to sleep. I don't know what to do and how to relax for a while. Seriously needs your guidance and help. My body feels and remained under sensation 24/7 with a feeling that some thing burning running in my blood veins.... I really feel a current like feeling contineously. Now fed up and tired. Feeling helpless, hopeless, worthless, sleepless, supportless, isolated, clueless.... not able to think or get of the bed and house. Due side effects dry eye n other eye related issues with digestion issues are adding further fuel to existing condition. Further my mind multiply every little things by 1000?times and fuel my anxiety, stress and worries. Off course I have some sevre family problems with my married children with whom I n my wife live as dependant. My wife is also very sick. My younger son and his wife are very sick due car accident this week.... these all things frustrat me too much and I can't think anything.
I'm sorry, you may edit my moderate and edit my comments bcz I m sure you understand where I'm coming from and what is my current position, issues and possible solutions and help. Kindly help me Taniya, I seriously needs your help. Email me with your reply asap. God bless you. Thanks giving holidays passed with lots of pains and now Christmas and new year holidays are ahead and my life will be miserable besides my sickness will be additional problems for my families. Help me please.
I'm sorry to read of all that you are experiencing. It sounds like you have some long-standing difficulties and now new ones added plus a difficult time of year. This can make everything seem insurmountable. Sorting this out with a therapist could be extremely helpful. In-person is always great, but it's not always possible. There are also online services like GoodTherapy.org or TalkSpace.com. In the meantime, of course you want to start feeling better right away. I have a question for you to think about: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing, what would you change? What would be better, and how would you know it is better? Now, what small things can you do every day to make that one thing improve? (Okay, that was more than one question!) The idea behind this is that you get to start doing something, even if it's small, right away to start making things better. Also, it helps you prioritize and make a series of small goals. It can be very overwhelming and nearly impossible to address everything all at once. But by breaking it up into manageable goals, you can make improvements that add up to a big difference. You absolutely can get better!
I'm sorry you didn't receive a positive reaction from your family when you tried to talk to them. Please don't let this stop you from seeking help. Have you looked into online counseling, such as GoodTherapy.org or TalkSpace.com (there are others as well). Not everyone can easily go to a doctor or therapist, and these services offer a way to do it when there are barriers in the way. These services are given by qualified professional therapists. It might be worth looking into. As far as medication, I can't assess whether it would be helpful for you. Each person is unique, and everyone reacts differently to medication, plus there are so many different medications for anxiety and depression. Doctors and a small handful of other healthcare professionals are the only ones who can safely help with medication. Perhaps look into online therapy and see if seeing a doctor for medication would enhance therapy. This anxiety and possible depression probably feel miserable now, but they don't have to last forever.
Thank you for this post. I think I have been experiencing anxiety as far back as I can remember. The thing is I was sexually abused by a very close family member when I was very young and so I don't know if that's where this depression/anxiety stems from. Even the rain bothers me. I worry about everything that's going on in the world. Its like I don't know who I am. I just need to find myself so I can live a meaningful life.
Anxiety and depression can indeed stem from the abuse you experienced. In counseling, there are different attitudes, stemming from different things research indicates (there are no single, simple answers when it comes to humans!). Some believe that it's important to resolve issues from the past abuse before moving forward. Others say that's not important and can be harmful. I think both have a degree of truth depending on the person. To me, it also seems like you have found your own path to dealing with anxiety and depression, and you might not realize how important your words are! You said that you don't know who you are and you need to find yourself so you can find a meaningful life. Right on!!! :) Your words resonate with me because I really believe in that approach. What happened to you is terrible, Give yourself a chance (and time) to explore yourself/your life. What brings you meaning? What are your values and passions? What little things can you do every day to incorporate them into your life, piece by piece. You just might find that you replace anxiety and depression with purpose and joy. (A good starting point might be to look at your character strengths. Check out http://www.viacharacter.org/www/ if you'd like to know more about your strengths.
I can confidently say that yes, I do think you will get back to yourself. It probably doesn't feel like it right now, but this anxiety won't last. You got over it before, and you can do it again. You might not know exactly what you did last time, but there were things that you did that worked. Typically, anxiety doesn't just randomly disappear. It might be worthwhile to think back to that time and see if you can identify things you did that worked, even if they're small. It's usually the small things that are the most powerful. The following link will take you to our section on anxiety self help. Down the left side is a list of all of the anxiety self-help articles. There might be information in there that could be useful to you. Be patient with yourself as you go through this process of beating anxiety. https://www.healthyplace.com/self-help/anxiety/what-is-anxiety-self-help/
One last thing. Anxiety does make people go from one extreme to the other in a matter of months. That's one of the things that is so horrible about it. Remember that you do care. This anxiety is just blocking your positive feelings because it has taken over. That doesn't mean that you aren't the same person underneath!
Obsessive thoughts can really take over, exactly as you describe. Because they're so disruptive, they aren't easy to get rid of. But the good news is that you can, over time, get rid of them and live your life without being so affected by them. Working with a therapist is typically the most effective way to deal with obsessive thoughts. If you don' t have easy access to professional therapists, there are good options becoming available online such as talkspace.com or goodtherapy.org. With support, you can overcome obsessive thoughts.
I would never try to give a diagnosis this way or even try to fully explain because without knowing him, my doing that could be really harmful. So this isn't a diagnosis! :) But I'll make the observation that what you describe could be related to obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD is complex, and there are many criteria that have to be met for OCD to be diagnosed. What I noticed were his thoughts about negative consequences happening if he doesn't complete a problem. While this can only be diagnosed by a professional, you and he might want to do some reading about OCD to see if it is fitting. If not, then you've ruled something out and can go back and look at other symptoms. HealthyPlace has a lot of articles/info on OCD. This link takes you to the page that has all of the articles linked: https://www.healthyplace.com/ocd-related-disorders/