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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, June 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.

M S Abdul azeez
says:
September, 4 2017 at 4:47 am
I've a problem don't know how but sometimes a perfectionist comes into my mind and wants everything perfect but nobody does and even I don't do but at that time it is very frustrating for me to have a conflict between the perfectionist and the realistic I've faced many a problems due to this what to do it never leaves even I distract myself for some time it re appears

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 8 2017 at 7:37 am
Hi M S Abdul,
Perfectionism is an ugly thing that can stop us in our tracks. There is an exercise that is great for what you describe. It's called "good, not great." When you find yourself facing perfectionism, recognize it and mentally stop for a moment. Identify what you're doing and what you're doing to make it good. What are the positive qualities of the project, situation, etc., and what are the positive things you are doing. This will help you remember that you are in control and that things really are good. Think of the actions you are taking rather than your thoughts about needing to be perfect.
Abhishek
says:
September, 1 2017 at 5:47 am
Hello Tanya,
I'm preparing for one competitive exam. But I am facing problem related to it. I perform well in home if I give practice test at home, I score good. But if I give it in classes, I can't get score as per my expentetion and even lower from my home performance. I suffer from lots of strees and sometime it so suppressed over me that my hand really started to shake. I try to control my thoughts and just try to concentrate on other things. But somehow my mind just continue thinking about negative thoughts. I have also read your suggestion for doing meditation. I tried it, but it feels better for sometime like after starting it I feel better up to 3-4 days, I feel balanced. But then after my mind become so calm that I don't wish to think about anything, I also feel like lazy. However I want this type of mind- calm- but laziness kills me from inside because in the night I think that I did nothing... So I left doing meditation. Moreover I feel so stress sometime that during in that situation I can't understand conversation with other person and I feel like someone has sedated me, I can't comprehend with their questions.
So will you please suggest me solution and about meditation so that I can feel motivated, energetic and confident every time?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

September, 8 2017 at 7:27 am
Hello Abhishek,
Your experience with meditation is something that intrigues me because I have experienced that phenomenon, too. The insights I'll share aren't research-based (I haven't found any studies on this exact effect of meditation) but are based on my own experiences, readings, and observations. When I first got meditation to "work," I found that it seemed to make me too relaxed. So I stopped, and my anxiety, stress, overthinking, etc. returned. I returned to meditation but modified what I was doing. I pause periodically throughout the day to breathe, visualize, and be mindful. I have the same calming benefits. I think why I felt lazy, and why you did (based on everything you wrote) is because I have a strong sense of perfectionism (your text anxiety/performance anxiety is likely tied to perfectionism). I used to believe that if I wasn't going at full speed, and if I wasn't feeling stressed and overwhelmed, it meant that I wasn't working hard enough and that I would fail. So when meditation reduced stress, I actually didn't like it. I needed that stress and all of its physical, emotional, and cognitive manifestations in order to feel like I would do well. It took me awhile to get past that belief, but I did (admittedly, it does still pop up -- I just recognize it and move on). I realized that I could actually be more productive, talk to people better, and feel better when my mind is calm. It was just hard to get used to. This is just something for you to consider. Maybe try returning to meditation knowing that it won't feel right to be less stressed at first. Keep going anyway and see if you actually become more able to work and perform the way you want to.
Jimmy
says:
August, 29 2017 at 6:42 am
I feel anxious in my mind,thinking what have done past which is giving this anxiety,worried what would happen yet I have done nothing. Am also having sleepless night my mind thinking

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 30 2017 at 11:41 am
Hi Jimmy,
Anxiety can stop us in our tracks. It can keep us from sleeping at night and from moving forward during the day. It's truly a trap. Have you ever tried mindfulness? It involves paying full attention to what is going on right now, in this moment. You can use your senses to help -- what do you see, hear, feel, etc. Doing this can pull people out of the past and into the present. It works at night, too, because it distracts you from your thoughts and can be relaxing. It doesn't typically come naturally to people at first, and it can feel forced and even impossible. But it is possible, and it won't always feel forced. It can help you stay in the present and begin to reduce anxiety about the past.
Aditya Mehta
says:
August, 28 2017 at 6:05 am
I'm really effected by mental illness like negative thoughts,overthinking fear based and lots of question related to disease (cancers, tumour, heart attack ) and much more.
I want to leave anxiety because this time lost my concentration on studies. Plz help me doctor

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 30 2017 at 11:35 am
Hello Aditya,
I like the comment you made about anxiety and time lost. Anxiety really does make us lose time and takes time away from the things we need to do and want to do. Negative thoughts can overpower us and dictate how we perceive things as well as actions we do or don't take. Have you seen a doctor? Seeing a medical doctor is a great starting point because he/she can discuss your health/disease concerns. Sometimes, anxiety is an effect of medical conditions, so your doctor can put your mind at ease by talking to you about this. He/she can also recommend a helpful treatment approach to help you know which direction to take. There are treatments like medication, therapy, and bibliotherapy (reading self-help and other books). Your doctor can help you choose the right direction for you.
t
says:
August, 26 2017 at 4:41 am
I always have the fear of dying and scared feeling.
Kyla
says:
August, 23 2017 at 1:05 pm
Hi, recently I've been overthinking extremely to much to the worst negative thoughts. My past has brought me to recently to inbox a old friend that that I havent talked to in years and this anxiety and being careful on what I say. I feel the anxiety all in my legs and I just go through random solutions of things going bad. I watch what I say and easily regret even starting conversations with people. It seems as if my past is causing me to redirect alot of things even though its nothing bad I find as if I step into one thing and fall into another. I have a peaceful life and my mind is corrupted. I worry about what I say to ppl and if its going to convert to something worse. Im a person of wonder and it scares me. I find peace and go back into corruption.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 25 2017 at 5:56 am
Hi Kayla,
A very frustrating thing about anxiety (or about being human in general) is that we do bounce back and forth between finding peace and then losing it. It's very good that you do find (create) peace. What is happening in those times when you're at peace? Think in terms of your thoughts, feelings, actions, surrounding, circumstances, etc.) A key to making the peaceful times greater than the times of corruption is to figure out what works and do more of it. Curiosity is a character strength and it is one that can help beat anxiety. Use it here: wonder what creates peace. What are your interests, things that you're curious about? Exploring things just might help decrease anxiety.
Daniel
says:
August, 17 2017 at 10:21 am
Hi!
In 2015 I started to notice that I worry about everything. I get very sad (my heart starts racing fast, I sweat and i feel like i'm on the edge almost all of the time) about it for a very long time, until I worry about other things. I can't seem to sort of "live" again because I feel so stuck. I worry about my health, my unemployment, how my friends/family.relatives think about me, how I think about myself, everything. It's been two years since and I feel as depressed as ever. It feels like I constantly put myself down in whatever I do. Should I go to a doctor?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 18 2017 at 1:47 pm
Hi Daniel,
While I'm not in a position to tell you what you should or shouldn't do, I will say that I think doctors (and therapists) can be very helpful. They might think that medication will help you, and they might recommend a therapist. Regardless of what path you and your doctor take, you can benefit from professional help and support.
X
says:
August, 16 2017 at 1:28 pm
I dont have panic attacks but I've been thinking embarrassing moments over and over again from stuff that happened in grade school but i eventually got over the embarrassment. However recently i've been lashing out more especially at people who make me overthink and become embrrassed. For example, someone could point something out abouy what i posted and i would recklessly text them and assume the worst because I didnt want to feel bad about myself. Also. Ive been thinking about everything i do from talking to an old friend and saying the wrong thing to imagining scenarios about what could have happened if I wasnt too careful with something. I can't live like this anymore i dont know how to deal with this And i'm sure it's not as serious as other people's conditions but it drives me crazy to the point where whenever i'm alone and thinking i want to bang my head against the wall to make it stop.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 16 2017 at 4:36 pm
Hello X,
It's important for you (and so many others, because you're not alone in feeling this way) to know that you never have to compare your experiences with others. Your experiences are making things difficult for you, and that is what matters. Next, while I can't diagnose, I will share my observation that much of what you describe sounds like social anxiety. Have you looked into that? Thinking about being embarrassed or judged by others is at the heart of social anxiety, and it causes a great deal of overthinking in the way that you described. You might want to visit with a therapist or look into social anxiety information on your own (HealthyPlace has a wealth of information, including social anxiety tests). If you feel you are experiencing social anxiety, you can target your treatment/self-help efforts accordingly and no longer feel like you're being driven crazy.
X
says:
August, 17 2017 at 5:14 am
Thank you so much, Tanya. I will definitely look into that. My problem is finding the courage to tell my loved ones. I guess i can wait a year until I'm 18 to find a therapist myself. I'm just not sure. What do you suggest?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 18 2017 at 2:19 pm
Hi X,
Talking to parents and other loved ones causes its own stress and anxiety. It helps to plan ahead of time the important points you'd like to discuss. Sticking to just a few top concerns is often best at first. Talking about your symptoms, how they're bothering you/disrupting your life, and what you want to do to beat this anxiety. They'll probably have questions/comments, and if you let them ask and answer neutrally, they'll be more likely to stay neutral and listen to you. The article How to Talk to Your Family About Mental Illness might be insightful for you, too. The conversation might feel awkward at first, but opening up could be a great help and relief.
Layne
says:
August, 14 2017 at 9:35 am
I've been dealing with this for 6 years now. I am currently on 40 mg citalopram daily. Recently I feel off after taking my dosage. Warm tingly feelings in chest. Ice pick headaches. Tension in neck and shoulders. It's a constant cycle. I have my honeymoon coming up and also dealing with a hiatus hernia which I feel contributes to the issue. I'm fearful of going on the trip and being in a bad state for 3 weeks. Any help would be appreciated!!!!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 15 2017 at 5:14 am
Hi Layne,
If you haven't already done so, an important step is to consult with your doctor about the changes you've experienced regarding your medication. It's also a good idea to check out the physical symptoms you've described in case they relate to a different medical condition. Your doctor might also be able to give you some tips for feeling well on your honeymoon. This could go a long way in reducing anxiety so you can enjoy the time with your spouse.
Rose
says:
August, 14 2017 at 1:54 am
Hi, I have been suffering with anxiety for years and 5 month ago started take ssri for it. I have just started counselling for it. My worse partl since taking the meds is that I feel like I'm having obsessive thoughts. I focus on something as simple as an orniment and that's all I think About! I have through stuff away to relieve my anxiety and I just focus on something else and obcess over that! Is this normal anxiety or something else? I feel like it's the only thing stopping my progress. When I feel calm and think about it I get all anxious again and start reasoning with myself! Any advice would be great. Thankyou

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 15 2017 at 7:41 am
Hi Rose,
Sometimes, trying to reason with our thoughts (or argue with them or find evidence to the contrary of our thoughts) can make things worse. When we try to do this, we actually reinforce our thoughts/thought patterns because that's what we are paying attention to. I know this firsthand because I've been there! I have found (personally and professionally) that two approaches can be quite helpful for overthinking/obsessing: solution-focused therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy. YOu might want to consider looking into them to see what you think. These articles offer a good introduction: Five Solution-Focused Ways to Beat Anxiety (https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/06/five-solution-focused-ways-to-beat-anxiety/) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT): Stop Avoiding Anxiety! (https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy/)
Rose
says:
August, 15 2017 at 8:04 am
Thankyou very much for your reply. It's so hard at the moment I feel like im.going crazy at times! If heard of scary intrusive thoughts whilst anxious as if had them my self but because I'm obsessing/Having intrusive thoughts over random things scares me more as it's so unusual!? Do you think it's an obsession or more intrusive? Thankyou

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

August, 15 2017 at 6:52 pm
Thoughts you are describing are very difficult and indeed scary. One of the criteria defining obsessive thoughts is that they are intrusive. An intrusive thought is one that forces its way in and is unwanted. You aren't intentionally creating the thoughts. An obsessive thought is typically anxiety based and is one that occurs over and over again. Obsessive thoughts are also intrusive thoughts. And I'm sure you want them to stop! It might be a good idea to check in with a doctor or therapist. They can help you get to the bottom of what's going on as well as help start treatment. When it comes to obsessions and intrusive thoughts, it's often most helpful to work with someone in person. Do know that you aren't stuck with these thoughts forever.
Rose
says:
August, 15 2017 at 9:29 pm
Sometimes I wonder of I'm even have g these thoughts or just working g myself up so much I think I am if that makes sence? I often wonder what I'm thinking them blame my obsession? If never suffered with this before until o started my meds (citalopram) I'm having therapy but just phone based at the minute. I had a good few weeks where nothing bothered me then all of a sudden I'm a mess again! Thanks


Hi again, Rose,
Have you mentioned to your doctor that your obsessions/overthinking began when you started medication? This could be a very undesirable side effect. Your doctor can evaluate this and possibly change dosages or the type of medication.
Rose
says:
August, 17 2017 at 8:14 am
Hi, yes I have been to my gp yoday and he has give me some different meds and reduced my citalopram. Hoping this will help as o don't understand why I'm feeling like this! I feel very angry and frustrated tonight at my obsession/trigger. I feel like smashing it off the wall but then just wondering if I focus on something else!! I feel like these meds have given me ocd! It so awful

Be patient and gentle with yourself! Med changes can take a while to kick in. Do keep communicating with your doctor. You might need a series of changes and adjustments. It's really frustrating yet worth it to keep at it!
Rose
says:
August, 20 2017 at 4:52 am
It it ok so me for the meds to make me feel this way? And of so when I stop them will these thoughts go? Or am I stick with them!? I need my life back to where I 2as before the meds! Im.on a new meds now and they are not and ssri. Im.hopinh when I come off ssri totally these thoughts will disapear.

<strong>Hello Rose,</strong>
Because I don't want to give you bad information, I'm not in a position to get specific with medicaitons. They're tricky, and each person reacts differently to each type. I do think that you are on the right track with your questions and can absolutely keep asking your doctor (or a different one if you feel you aren't getting answers). Doctors should be able to help monitor your reactions to medications, including thoughts, and make adjustments safely. Of course you want these thoughts to disappear! And they can -- stay on top of your doctor and the medicaitons.
Rose
says:
September, 25 2017 at 7:35 am
Hi, I'm back again! I have been off my citalopram for 3weeks and started mirtazipine. My thoughts have been so much better since coming off citaloptam, however they are still there. I don't know of they are still concessions or just memories but the last 3 days in bed getting myself all anxious again (over the same thing) I feel so disheartened as I thought I was getting better. I don't even know if in been increasing today but my anxity tells me I am until I work myself so much I could scream.. are the citalopram still in my system and playing havoc with my brain still??

<strong>Hello again, Rose!</strong>
Three weeks seems like a very long time, but when it comes to the world of medication, it's not long at all. I'm not qualified to make bold statements about medications, but I do know that it can take weeks to months for a medication to fully leave the system and also for a new one to really take effect. There's a chance that you have both medications in your system, and that is possibly causing problems. It's definitely something you want to check with your doctor because he/she is the one who will know. Your doctor could also make changes based on your experiences. Medication switches always take time and multiple trips to the doctor for adjustments, so be patient with and kind to yourself.
Rose
says:
September, 25 2017 at 7:41 am
That should say I don't know if I have been obsessing again or just my anxiety telling me I am. I don't feel like I'm thinking about my recent obsession/focus nut my mind starts going until I think that's what is causing my anxiety. I thimk.anoit throwing it away nut in the last I focus/obcess on something else. The tablets are to blame but scared I'm now stuck like this forever
Lou
says:
August, 3 2017 at 7:14 am
Hello , hoping to share thoughts and see that there are others feeling the same . I can't really pinpoint when my worrying / anxiety began , but I do recognise that it's got worse .
For me I think a combination of things has added up tonne feeling this day in day out . I've realised it's exhausting , my mind never stops , the only break I get is when I'm asjsro . The moment I wake I feel tense , knotted stomach &amp; a desire to just not face things that day ahead . Being a working mum I have to but a lot of mornings are a struggle to try to remain composed and not sit fretting about what's to come that day . Being divorced for 5 years and on my own with my daughter means there isn't someone to discuss worries or little things with at the end of a day . Nobody to put things into perspective and tell me " it's not worth worrying and it'll be fine " . Despite telling yourself this it doesn't really have the sand effect !
For me the daily jobs / events / tasks that seem small become harder when there is only myself to do all the decision making , choosing , sorting . I worry I won't get it all done , I worry that I do things wrong , I worry ill run out of time each day , work pressure adds on , I worry Ill forget places / classes I have to get my daughter to ( I never do ) , being in all places at once on time , I get anxious driving in case something happens , lost , car breaks down etc ... on &amp; on it goes .. my only haven is running , the only thing that relaxes me &amp; where I don't worry . I find it impossible to relax and am even worrying about a holiday abroad because it's myself and my daughter alone . It makes me so anxious I get to the point where I don't want to go ... it's difficult to rationalise it to yourself .. I'm hoping to try to find a Pilates or yoga class which may help ? Has anyone else had similar experiences ?

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Kate
says:
August, 13 2017 at 8:52 pm
Hi Lou, I'' in exactly the same situation. Your post could have been written by me.. it's not easy but try not to juggle to many different things each day.. the linden method helps.. or feel free to contact me. Big hugs x
Patty
says:
July, 30 2017 at 10:19 pm
Hello well under high levels of stress I too suffer with anxiety and depression. I have recently been having paranoia due to over thinking, negative thoughts and feeling like I am going crazy because already for the last three months I have had several moments where I think I am hearing whispers, or a faint womens voice I can't make out what it's saying or it's purpose but it is making me freak out and get into straight panic mode. I have researched and found that others have experienced this to and I am not alone. Although I have not quite found a solution to help me with issue in my finding I ran into this blog. If someone can help me and let me know how to ignore this or stop this it would great. I do not like this part of Anxiety although I have suffered from anxiety for the last 7 years this is new symptoms and I do not know how to deal with it. I am not on any meds nor am I seeing a doctor. Just a women in search for her healing.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

joshua orellana
says:
August, 3 2017 at 8:26 am
play worship music, God in control. he healed me from this
jamie
says:
July, 29 2017 at 2:42 am
I just seem to spend all my waking day thinking about my anxiety. Checking myself on how I am feeling, wondering when the next panic attack will happen, and then at night I'm thinking about my insomnia, if I'm going to sleep at all, and if not, how it will affect my anxiety the next day. I seem to be stuck in this circle of thinking about nothing but my anxiety.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 31 2017 at 4:41 am
Hi Jamie,
That is an incredibly frustrating cycle (to put it mildly) -- I've been in it before. Two approaches that can be useful for this awful cycle are solution-focused therapy and acceptance and commitment therapy (both steer people away from checking how we're feeling/thinking, which is an important step). If you are interested in learning a bit about them, these two links will give you a start: https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2015/07/stop-avoiding-anxiety-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy/ and https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2014/06/five-solution-focused-ways-to-beat-anxiety/
jamie
says:
July, 29 2017 at 2:35 am
Overthinking 24/7
Kaylee
says:
July, 28 2017 at 1:00 am
Hi, my name is kaylee and I'm actually looking up self help videos for anxiety. I've never been one to think of myself as having a mental illness but Its become a problem lately. I'm constantly worrying and overthinking about anything and everything. So much so that I burst out in tears for something that hasn't even happend yet and probably never will. I randomly shut down and refuse to deal with any real problems because I can't get out of my head, I can't even explain it properly because I have no real reason to feel this way, which is the most frustrating. My head feels like it's going to explode and I'm exhausted. I don't know how to cope with it in a healthy matter. It's gotten to the point that i can't sleep at night because of my constant thoughts so I've turned to taking Advil pm or any other aide to sleep. I know that's not healthy but it's the only way that I can sleep without interruption. It's never been this bad but lately it seems all I can do is stress and over think everything and I feel like I'm not enjoying life because of it. It's even gotten to be a problem In my relationship, my boyfriend is patient and kind but i know he must be feeling frustrated by now because one minute I'm fine and the next I'm upset about something thats abstract or vague because theirs no real logic behind whatever it is I'm worrying about and I just feel insane and i'm worried that it'll become a bigger problem than it already is.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 28 2017 at 5:38 am
Hi Kaylee,
What you're experiencing does sound incredibly frustrating. Don't worry about the term "mental illness." All that means is that there are specific things researchers have found that relate to the brain. It helps doctors (and everyone else) categorize symptoms so they can best treat them. It's similar to terms like oncology (the global term for cancer -- cancers are categorized so they can be efficiently addressed). Anyway, an important starting point is to see a doctor to rule out other things that could be causing your symptoms. He/she can also consult with you about sleeping as well as make a plan for the next steps. This way, it won't, as you say, become a bigger problem than it already is.
V
says:
July, 27 2017 at 6:23 pm
Hi! I get nervous like most people, but for the past year or so, I've noticed myself overthinking. I would overthink things most of my life, but just recently it's gotten to a point where I get unreasonably anxious when I overthink. It seems to take a toll on my physical health at times too, with nausea and just constant dizziness everytime I get in this anxious state. It wasn't until I read this article that I realized that I most likely have some form of anxiety. My mom won't exactly understand when I say that I want to talk to someone. I've always been a very expressive person, and I just can't see myself getting better without talking to someone! I know that talking to a professional is most likely not the only valid option I have, but I seriously need help understanding what I'm going through. When I'm in these bouts of panic, it's very hard for me to bring myself back to reality. I find myself making these situations I'm in so much bigger than they most likely are, and I normally end up whole heartedly believing that I am about to die. I assume this is normal? That's basically all I know. What I want to know more about is whether or not this will go away? I'm just so scared all the time. It's hurting my relationships with the people I love.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 28 2017 at 5:30 am
Hello V,
You nailed it. This is anxiety, and it inserts itself into lives just as you described. The short answer to your question is yes, it will go away. The rest of the answer is this: it's a process. You've already begun the process: you have great insight into your anxiety, and you are seeking information and help. Working with a therapist can be incredibly helpful, especially for people who need and like to talk things through. If it's not an option right now (if you're in school and your school has counselors, that can be a good starting point that doesn't always require parental permission -- depending on age), there are apps that are designed to help people with anxiety as well as self-help books. Your library might even have some. Understanding your anxiety, knowing what you do want your life to be like (focusing on what you don't want, on the anxiety, keeps you stuck in it), and finding assistance in the form of counseling, apps, or books, is an effective plan for getting rid of anxiety and taking back your life.
R
says:
July, 26 2017 at 11:18 pm
Hiya, I'm really confused about whether I have anxiety or not. Like, I have those symptoms (apart from panic attacks) but whenever I think I have anxiety I just put myself down to being petty and dramatic. I think I have a really bad and annoying/obnoxious personality and have a burning desire to be "normal" and to fit in to society. Am I being dramatic and am I just weird and bad with people? Or could it be anxiety? I pick at my fingers and bite them and I pick my scalp as well and it is really hard for me to speak up to talk even to friends let alone the "cool kids". When I fail to make conversation or make someone laugh I feel worthless and rubbish and like I will never get anywhere in life compared to my friends who are just SO DARN GOOD at talking to people and making friends and fitting in. In fact they're so good at that I end up being horribly jealous and bitter and start to push them away and think really badly of them and as a result I hate myself and my brain tells me I'm a rubbish friend and "no wonder people prefer anyone else to you". Is this anxiety??? These are questions I am dying to have answered because it eats me up a lot :( I hope you can help thankyou

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 27 2017 at 10:09 am
Hi R,
You are using some harsh words to describe yourself. How we think about ourselves plays a big part in our wellbeing. Anxiety and low self-concept can contribute to each other. I have an assignment for you if you're willing. Start catching yourself being harsh. Deliberately stop yourself then change the direction of your thoughts to something realistically positive. Think you're being "bad" with people? List real examples of times you're "good."

It's not possible to tell if anyone has anxiety in this setting. That's done with a doctor or mental health care professional. You can keep doing what you're doing -- gathering information -- and if you're still concerned, take that information with you when you see a doctor/counselor. Here are links to a few articles that you might find useful:
Am I Just Worried, or Do I Have an Anxiety Disorder? https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/anxiety-schmanxiety/2013/10/am-i-just-worried-or-do-i-have-an-anxiety-disorder/
Social Anxiety, Social Phobia Test https://www.healthyplace.com/psychological-tests/social-anxiety-social-phobia-test/
What is Skin Picking, Excoriation Disorder? https://www.healthyplace.com/ocd-related-disorders/excoriation-skin-picking-disorder/what-is-skin-picking-excoriation-disorder/
Maddie
says:
July, 22 2017 at 4:01 pm
Hello! My name's Maddie and I'm nineteen years old (If that helps?)

I know that this is more for anxiety causing overthinking however I am wondering if you could give me advice on something similar.
Recently this year I have been experiencing terrible panic attacks due to overthinking things. I have OCD which causes me to obsessively overthink things which are inevitable and I will have to eventually go through it. And it's frustrating because although I don't have full-blown panic episodes (those are more once in a while) I do have terrible anxiety about them which can cause the panic outbreaks afterwards.
It's also annoying since every little thing would trigger it. Things that don't even have to do with the actual problem and somehow, subconsciously it ends up causing me more anxiety. I can't even enjoy a day out or do the things I love due to it.
I've tried going on walks, taking my mind off things and even humming to a tune but nothing seems to be working. I even tried meditating, drinking decaffeinated teas and every possible thing I could think of yet nothing works because sight, smell and even hearing certain words just drives me off the edge. I feel like I'm trapped and I sometimes just burst into tears due to all the anxiety and panic attacks.
I've been waiting for a psychiatrist because even though I am against the whole psychotropic medication thing however I haven't got a word back from them (Which I suppose is due to the long waiting list).

I am not sure what to do since overthinking is what's causing the whole panic/anxiety issue.

I don't even know what to do anymore since I've tried almost everything...and it's harder since every single thing triggers it. It doesn't even have to relate to the thought I'm worrying about.

I'm hoping you have any advice or suggestions?
Thanks!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 24 2017 at 9:34 am
Hi Maddie,
Wow -- you have been doing a lot to deal with your overthinking. Not only that, you've been doing very good things, things that are part of treatment approaches for anxiety disorders. That's a good thing. Don't give up because they don't seem to be working. These are still activities that will boost your mental health and wellbeing as you find other ways to deal with panic and OCD. What you have described fits what's called panic disorder as well as OCD. Often with these, medication is needed, especially when they don't respond to other treatments. Taking psychotropic medication is a big decision, one to be made with a doctor, and it seems like you are considering it carefully. There are certain things that do get better with medication and can worsen without it. Given that you're 19, your brain isn't quite done developing. A psychiatrist might decide that the right medication will help. It's frustrating when the wait time is so long. That seems to be a problem everywhere. Are there other psychiatrists in your area that you could contact that might be more responsive?

Here are a couple of links to information about Panic Disorder and OCD, including treatment and resources. I hope they help! https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/panic-disorder-when-fear-overwhelms/index.shtml https://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm
Soudabeh maleki
says:
July, 18 2017 at 7:02 am
Hello, I have depression and anxiety, I started to see mental health professional, he gave me medicine and when I took them all thoughts in my head went away, I felt powerful and I had self confidence, I started reaching my goals by trying without fear. It was awesome, then with some bad events "like my classmate made fun of me" happened and suddenly I was same as before. My Dr. increased the dosage and then I started to loose my memory and my hand were shaking like an old man, I still have problem remembering casual words, I saw another Dr and she reduced dosage of my medicine. Now I don't have shaking hands and I'm not nervous, but I lost my power, I still repeat conversations in my mind and its killing me. I loved the time I had free mind, I could reach my plans. I want to know whether these medicine made me addicted or not? because I feel I need them so much to be normal.
Sorry for wrong typing, I'm not english :)

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 19 2017 at 5:54 am
Hi Soudabeh,
You communicate very well. It's the meaning that counts. :) I'm not in a position to be able to evaluate medication -- it could be harmful to you if I tried to do so. I can say, though, that the general role of medication is to help the brain itself (the physiology, neurochemistry, etc.) so that we are better able to address things like overthinking, worrying, etc. When you first began taking the medication and felt powerful, what else was different? What were your thoughts about yourself and others, and how did your actions change? If you can uncover what positive things you were thinking and doing, you can start to do more of that to take your power back from anxiety. You and the medication can work as a team. The medication can help your brain, and you can help your "self" -- who you are and who you want to become.
Kitty Kaler
says:
July, 20 2017 at 6:05 pm
Such a beautiful response, Tanya. Thank you.
Nowshin Naz
says:
July, 13 2017 at 11:30 am
Hi.i almost past 5 years for BS.c degree in pharmacy but it incomplete .yet.now i have 58 credit more.my main problem is i can't memorize n always forget.my anxiety is i don't want to continue ,i am afraid and lost.i can't talk to my parents.i always think about my graduation.i can or can not plz advise me.p

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

July, 16 2017 at 8:16 am
Hi Nowshin,
There is a high rate of anxiety among university students, so know that you aren't alone. For that reason, most (if not all) schools have counseling centers, which are typically free of charge for students. The counselors there know the unique situation of university students and are equipped to help you figure out specific elements of your anxiety, examine your goals, figure out ways to talk to parents if you want to do that, and more. Sometimes counseling centers are housed in the same building as testing centers, so that might be a good place to start (of course, the website should have the location, too). Also, there are often many types of support groups within universities, including anxiety-based groups. People meet to discuss what's causing anxiety and share ways they handle it. Meetup.com or an app specific to your university might have information. Don't give up. It is very possible to get past this anxiety.
Madeline
says:
July, 13 2017 at 3:21 am
Hi Tanya so I just started doing research on anxiety and overthinking because I knew something wasn't right. I smoke weed on a daily basis and was wondering if there is such a thing like weed induced anxiety? Lately I've been notincing how I overthink everything and assume everyone is out to get me or hurt me which isn't true but my thoughts are what kill me. I don't know what to do or if I'm the only person like this. because of some stuff that happened in the past I feel like every negative thing that someone says is about me which it might be or might not be but I don't know and my thoughts won't let it go. So I shutdown and become anti social.

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