How I Recognize Catastrophic Thoughts

January 31, 2017 Ashley Horsfall

Catastrophic thoughts, and recognizing catastrophic thoughts, has always been a significant part of the anxiety I experience (Dealing with Catastrophic Thinking and Anxiety). Initially, I thought that imagining all these terrible things happening would allow me to plan for them and control them as a result. Learning to recognize and deal with catastrophic thoughts has helped me get through difficult times when my anxiety comes on strong.

What Are Catastrophic Thoughts?

Catastrophic thoughts occur when you overestimate the likelihood that something negative is going to happen. These thoughts can set off the alarms in your head, making you feel certain that something devastating is going to happen (Anxiety Can Feel Like A Catastrophe). For me, catastrophic thoughts were mostly related to social situations and not having control over certain aspects of my life. They were the worst-case scenarios of my nightmares.

Catastrophic Thoughts Are Unrealistic

It took me a lot of time to recognize that certain thoughts were unrealistic. I first had to learn to ask myself questions rather than to continue focusing on negative thoughts. What caused me to think of this? How often does this actually happen? Has it ever happened before? I had let catastrophic thoughts become such a big part of my life that I had stopped recognizing that these were unrealistic. I spent so much time worrying about things that were essentially impossible.

Catastrophic Thoughts Involve Mind Reading

Catastrophic thoughts contribute to anxiety, no matter how unrealistic they are. Learn how to recognize catastrophic thoughts so you can calm down. Read this.One of the first things I learned when I started recognizing my catastrophic thoughts was that I was acting as if I could read the minds of the people I was worrying about. I was jumping to conclusions about their thoughts based on minor interactions I had with these people. If somebody seemed cold toward me, I assumed that I had done something unforgivable instead of realizing that perhaps he was having a bad day.

Catastrophic Thoughts Make Assumptions

Not only do I jump to conclusions when I'm in this catastrophic mindset, but I also make assumptions about the world (Social Anxiety and Jumping to Conclusions). When I'm anxious, I see the world as a bad place. I think that everybody and everything is out to get me. Logically, I know that this is not true. In my anxiety I can't stop fearing what I "just know" is going to happen.

Ways to Deal with Catastrophic Thoughts

Watch this video to learn more about recognizing the catastrophic thoughts I've experienced as well as how I cope with them. Then, let me know how you deal with catastrophic thoughts and anxiety. How do you calm yourself when these thoughts emerge?

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Photo via Bossfight.

APA Reference
Horsfall, A. (2017, January 31). How I Recognize Catastrophic Thoughts, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2020, June 1 from

Author: Ashley Horsfall

February, 8 2017 at 9:13 am

I have catastrophic thoughts. Alot like 95% of the time. To the point where i really just want to get out of my head. It's sometimes seems like a labyrinth that i can never get out of. Ive even thought of suicide. Just so the thoughts will stop. My catastrophic thoughts have caused alot of issues in my life and work life and my relationships. My doctor wants to put me on anti depression pills. But i feel that the medication wont help and they are just throwing darts while blindfolded in hope they will hit the bulls eye . I have been seeing a psychiatrist but i feel im not getting much help through that. Ive thought about CBT and wonder if that would work? Unfortunately i cant find much on the internet in some self help tips that people use to help them through catastrophic thoughts its really is mental torture and is slowly destroying my life. Im not on any medication for my catastrophic thoughts and have been trying to cope with daily life but and finding extremely difficult. If you know of any good books web pages or what kinds of medication can help while i go thought this process and get to the root of the problem would be much appreciated.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 8 2017 at 9:50 am

Hi Shan,
Many people report that CBT helps them, and others say the same for medications. Some people claim they benefit from both types of treatment. Each of us is different, and talking to either your therapist or psychiatrist about your concerns may shed light on the best course of action. I will also direct you to some potentially helpful resources. If you want to talk to somebody about your issues, the Lifeline is available 24/7 and is completely free and confidential. The phone number is 1-800-273-8255. United Way also provides 24/7 assistance through 2-1-1.

February, 3 2017 at 6:39 am

I have anxiety issues which make me feel low ,depressed and less confident about myself.i have been dealing with these issues for a long time now as I was in a v bad relationship. Please help me

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

February, 3 2017 at 6:56 am

Hi Sharu,
There are a lot of helpful resources that you may find comfort using. If you want to talk to somebody about your issues, the Lifeline is available 24/7 and is completely free and confidential. The phone number is 1-800-273-8255. United Way also provides 24/7 assistance through 2-1-1.

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