I have always suffered with some form of GAD (I am a natural overthinker/overanalyzer) and have had infrequent panic attacks since 16 (I'm 24 now). I have never been diagnosed with any mental illness and felt like I was pretty good at managing the large amounts of stress I have. I've also never really battled with depression, except in relation to outside circumstances (i.e., a breakup).
Since starting grad school, I began noticing myself focusing on my mother (she suffers from delusions and obsessive thoughts) and my family in general, since we don't have too great of a relationship. These thoughts seemed to 'trickle' stress until it began really consuming me a few months ago. One night that I was having a lot of anxiety, I noticed a 'shift' where my mind became cluttered with thoughts that I could barely discern The best way I could describe it is it felt like something was smashing a hammer against my head and I couldn't handle all the stimuli at once. Since that night, I noticed my thoughts become more racy, negative, and it was like I was on overdrive for a week straight. My fear of insanity that has always been underlying due to witnessing my mom popped into full gear and this was all accompanied by a lot of anxiety. It was so exhausting. It went away for a week and I thought it was just some sort of strange episode, but now it has come back in a different way. Now I feel anxiety for no particular cause, almost all day long (except for when I am doing something that can distract me for periods of time). Even when I'm around my boyfriend who usually makes me feel wonderful, I am still thinking "something is not right with me" in the back of my mind, along with this big negative sensation that I can't describe.
What's worse is I've begun to feel detached, or like I'm not like everybody else. It's like I've fallen out of place, or have slipped into this weird frame of mind that I can't kick myself out. It's as though life is going on around me, and everyone senses me as normal (which they do-- I don't show any outward symptoms), but inwardly, I feel like I'm acting, as though I am not real like them. It makes me feel so lonely, like I'm in my own shell that no one can penetrate. I am completely aware that these thoughts are irrational, but I can't shake them.
I've read enough about the insanity phobia here (and talked to a psychologist I've been seeing about it); it's helped me because I do realize it's probably nothing related to schizophrenia or psychosis, which is my biggest fear. I don't know what it is though, and every time I feel myself letting go and having fun, I am pulled back by this sensation that something is wrong with me. Along with the daily anxiety for no apparent cause, by the end of the day, I am so sick of being in my mind, I just can't wait to sleep-- and I want to shut my mind off for long periods of time. I have also never considered meds, but it's getting to the point I will try anything.
Has anyone experienced anything like this? I know you're not all doctors, but if you could point me toward some kind of understanding that would be so helpful. Thanks.