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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, July 23 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.

October, 31 2018 at 11:49 am
Hi Abigail,
I'm happy that the video was helpful. (And I appreciate your comment about the length. Very few people ever say that they want me to talk more!! It actually takes me many tries on the videos to make them short enough. :D)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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



Lilia Robberts
says:
July, 18 2018 at 10:08 am
My mind sometimes seams to hate itself. I have the hardest time not feeling fear constantly. Constantly I have thoughts of bad things happening. Thank you for letting me know that I have the power and the ability to interfere in anxiety's overthink habits. Sometime I feel like I loose control. I think I need to look into psychological testing. There is a possibility that I need allot of help.
July, 18 2018 at 1:48 pm
Hi Lilia,
You do indeed have the power to disrupt anxious thoughts. That feeling of losing control is a very common part of anxiety. Seeking professional help can be very helpful in healing and moving past anxiety. Anxiety can be hard to deal with, and it often responds well to professional treatment. Therapists, etc. are there for a reason!
Chinadoll
says:
July, 14 2018 at 2:44 pm
Hi. This is my first time ever posting on a blog but I realize that I need to reach out. My anxiety has been with me since I was a little girl. It would come in the form of vomiting my nerves out. As I got older it went away. Then in my 20s I had social anxiety and couldn't leave the house. I took medication and soon felt better. Then after I had my first child is skyrocketed. I became a constant worrier and I would panic over everything when it came to her. I just took that as first time mom jitters. However within the last 3 years it has gone to another level. I have this constant fear that something bad is going to happen. My mind jumps to worse case scenario in an instant. I can't move past it. I actually build on to the fear by thinking of other things. For example, my husband received a letter from our bank that they saw some fraud activity. So right away I'm like someone hacked into our phones. Then I was like they have all my information and pictures. I drove myself to the point of erasing my phone and starting fresh. But the overthinking was still there. I would look up articles on how to avoid identity theft. My mind becomes consumed by fear. I was prescribed medication but I took it for a couple of days and felt I couldn't handle the side effects. I started therapy which has not helped much. I even looked into an intensive outpatient clinic to see if I could get better help. I want to feel normal again and not think of the worst possible outcome. I want for things to roll off my shoulders.
July, 18 2018 at 1:58 pm
Hi Chinadoll,
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.
Julia
says:
July, 1 2018 at 4:55 pm
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..:(
July, 3 2018 at 4:45 pm
Hi Julia,
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-to-find-mental-health-help

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

Types of Mental Health Counselors: Finding a Good One: https://www.healthyplace.com/other-info/mental-illness-overview/types-of-mental-health-counselors-finding-a-good-one
Mael Cam
says:
June, 25 2018 at 4:05 pm
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.
June, 25 2018 at 6:46 pm
Hi Mael,
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!).
Mael Cam
says:
June, 26 2018 at 12:45 pm
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
Mael Cam
says:
June, 26 2018 at 12:54 pm
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.
June, 30 2018 at 10:34 am
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.
June, 30 2018 at 10:31 am
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.
Dan Perez
says:
June, 18 2018 at 7:46 am
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.
June, 20 2018 at 9:08 am
Hi Dan,

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-anxiety

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.
Katie Matthews
says:
May, 28 2018 at 10:43 am
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.
May, 29 2018 at 6:44 pm
Hi Katie,
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-anxiety

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-of-anxiety
Candice Hall
says:
May, 6 2018 at 3:38 pm
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.
Jamie
says:
April, 29 2018 at 8:55 am
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.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 30 2018 at 10:31 am
Hi Jamie,
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-acceptance-and-commitment-therapy/
Carrie
says:
April, 21 2018 at 8:20 pm
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

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

April, 27 2018 at 11:59 am
Hi Carrie,
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.
Rayna
says:
April, 19 2018 at 4:27 pm
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.

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