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Author Topic: Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?  (Read 505 times)

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Offline JCWest

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Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?
« on: January 09, 2014, 05:52:58 PM »
Hey guys,

So I have been posting on here for the past week and a bit about some really bad insomnia I have been having due to anxiety. I am having a really hard time controlling my negative thoughts about it, and I know that as soon as I can get those negative thoughts under control, I'll be able to get a handle on my insomnia! Vicious cycle.

Some of the thoughts I'm having:
- My insomnia won't get better, it has been a week and a half without real signs of improvement, I am doomed
- I'm going to lose my job and my relationship (I'm engaged)
- The medication I just started taking is not going to help
- I will be forced to take sleeping medication and get addicted to it

Any thoughts or words of advice are appreciated, I'm going through my CBT exercises but it feels like exercising a weak muscle; I'm not very good at it. JC
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Online MobileChucko

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Re: Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2014, 07:32:50 PM »
Hi JC...

You are in the very beginning stages of gathering some of your external tools (you were just started on an anti-depressant yesterday, and you are currently taking a sub-therapeutic dose).  I'm not certain how long you have been practicing cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).  If you have been doing it for a while, than it is an old tool.  Maybe it has gathered some rust.  Clean it up and use it to the best of your ability.  You have a friend in me, JC, and I have been where you are on more than one occasion.  The Serenity Prayer states: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."  The only difference between negative energy and positive energy is one's attitude.  Give yourself credit for every positive thing that you do, regardless of how small.  We had to learn to crawl before we could walk, and we had to learn to walk before we could run.

The very, very best to you, JC!...  Chuck
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Offline JCWest

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Re: Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2014, 07:34:24 PM »
Thanks Chuck, have you ever taken Benzo's before? I saw my doctor this morning and he wants me to take clonazepam for 2 weeks while the cipralex kicks in. The pharmacist straight up said I'd be better off taking Zopliclone for the next two weeks instead as benzos are so addictive. Thoughts?
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Online MobileChucko

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Re: Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2014, 09:28:25 PM »
Hi JC...

From reading many posts on the "Medications and Therapy" section of the forum, I have noted that quite-a-few doctors put their patients on a benzodiazepine such as clonazepam (Klonopin), at least for the first few weeks of initiating anti-depressant usage.  One's anxiety will tend to increase when starting a SSRI anti-depressant such as Lexapro, because of the increase in serotonin levels.  A benzodiazepine can really help with these side effects.  You should have no addiction problems if your usage is confined to just a few weeks.

My psychiatrist tends to stay away from the benzodiazepines, so she has never prescribed any for me.

If you post this question on the "Medication and Therapy" section, you will probably get some wonderful responses from individuals such as "Insights/Ian" and "Abraham".

The very best to you, JC!...  Chuck
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Offline mta214

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Re: Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2014, 07:20:59 AM »
As you may already know, part of CBT is challenging the negative and ruminating thoughts.  So, for every negative thought, try to come up with a positive one to counteract the negative.  Even if you don't currently believe the positive thought, say it to yourself anyway or write it down.  Eventually it will become a reality for you and a tool for you to use daily.

Do you do any type of exercise?
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Online e77

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Re: Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2014, 02:46:47 PM »
You are absolutely right.  Doing CBT exercises is like exercising a weak muscle.  People with an anxious temperament are not naturally inclined to think in a reasoned way when under pressure.  So we must practice even though it doesn't feel natural to us.  Maybe you could write out reasons that challenge your fears and write a final statement summarizing the reasonable and rational alternatives to the fears.  Read and reread them after writing them out.  No matter how you do it, the key is consistent practice.  Also, you mentioned starting up on meds.  Many people have side effects when they start taking meds that can make anxiety and the myriad of symptoms and sensations worse at first, but remember, keep challenging the anxious thoughts.  Take care
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Offline JCWest

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Re: Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2014, 03:08:19 PM »
Thanks everyone, this is all sage advice. Yes, I keep trying to remember to challenge my negative thoughts. My big worry is insomnia, as I have been barely sleeping, but last night I slept about 9 hours so I know there isn't anything wrong with me, past anxiety / depression.

Today is the 5th day of being on the cipralex, and I feel markedly worse; anxiety is through he roof and I feel kind of out of my own body. I am trying to avoid the benzo's unless I really need them, we'll see how this week goes with work ahead.
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Online MobileChucko

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Re: Help countering catastrophic thinking - your advice?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2014, 04:25:27 PM »
Hi JC...

Sorry that you are feeling markedly worse on day five of the Cipralex (Escitalopram/Lexapro), but this is common, and most often the case.  My anxiety was also through the roof when I started Celexa, Cipralex's sister drug.  My side effects included the increased anxiety, loss of appetite, insomnia, sweating, and hot and cold flashes.  These side effects stuck with me until day 16-17 into the treatment, at which point there was a major decline in them.

The first thing the Celexa impacted was my depression.  I saw that starting to decline around week three of treatment.  With the decline in depression came a reduction in the intrusive/negative thoughts.  There was also a decrease in panic attack episodes, and those I did have became much less severe.  My anxiety was the last thing that I saw a decrease in.

I am so glad to hear that you slept nine hours last night, JC! :sign0060:

Hang in there buddy, it does get better.  The very best to you!...  Chuck
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