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Author Topic: Need Your Strategies  (Read 132 times)

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Offline bewell981

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Need Your Strategies
« on: February 22, 2014, 05:36:59 PM »
It's come to the point in my life when I need to ask for help, not only from a professional but from all of you as well. As of within the last 6 months my anxiety has reach its peak.  I constantly have my "negative movies" going on in my head about all the bad things that may be happening, but really aren't. I'm always letting those thoughts be what I believe instead of what is actually in front of me. It has come to the point of affecting my relationship and my boyfriend couldn't take my accusations and negative thinking. I would always let the movies in my head convince me that he is cheating on me or not being honest. Sadly I believed those thoughts over the person that I love most in this world. These thoughts and just negativity are making me feel like I'm going crazy because I can't stop them from creeping up. I know that it is a choice to believe what my brain is creating or to get rid of those thoughts that make my heart race, breathing get fast, become completely restless, unable to sleep,etc. 

I want to learn your coping strategies so I can get my brain out of the gutter and begin thinking clearly and trusting the person I love. I don't want to be this negative, out of control person anymore and I need help to stop. Please tell me your suggestions for coping and stopping these movies before they start.
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Offline Floridagal10

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Re: Need Your Strategies
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2014, 09:40:22 PM »
Sorry to hear about your troubles. A few strategies I use when I start feeling negative are 1- write or mentally make a list of all the positives in my life. 2- I use a worry time strategy. I (try) to only worry for a 20-30 minute time frame during the day. This time frame is one I set, and if I start to worry about something before/after my worry time is say to myself... I can't worry right now.  3- distraction. This is a major one for me. If I am anxious or even negative I try to find something to distract myself with..a good book, a movie, Pinterest, chat, or video games. 

I have moments of panic and anxiety still but using these strategies have helped a lot. Also the members of the forums and chat have all been great and supportive.
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Offline AltoidsAndTabloids

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Re: Need Your Strategies
« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2014, 12:24:35 PM »
Hello, bewell981!

Floridagal10 wrote some fantastic strategies. I'll try to add my own advice in hopes that it can only help more.

It's difficult for me to give any advice specific to your situation since I'm not sure of your history with your boyfriend or your anxiety in general, but I can still relate to you in some ways.

A little background on me: I'm 24 and have been seeing therapists on and off for the last 12 years. My symptoms fall into the categories of General Anxiety Disorder, Panic disorder, and OCD, but in the end I just like to say that I think too much.

I experience these "negative movies" like you do, but they are usually about something different. I am extremely anxious about friends and family getting hurt in any way, and sometimes I can't help but imagine terrible scenarios in my head where things happen to them. I don't want to think about these things, and I know logically that they aren't happening, but for whatever reason I can't help obsessing over them.

Perhaps more similar to what you're describing, I also have negative thoughts about what friends or even strangers are saying about me or things I like.   For example, a friend of mine might make an off-hand negative remark about a shirt someone is wearing. From that day on, I might randomly think of that remark while I'm dressing myself in the morning. I'll think things like, "he probably thinks this shirt looks dumb" or "I bet he thinks my style is stupid", etc. Sometimes I get angry about things that he never even said! It's all stuff that I imagine him saying. Logically I know he isn't saying those things, but somewhere deep down I almost believe that he is.

The commonality between people like us is that our minds are grossly over-active. Our imaginations have grown so strong that they seem to stomp on any logic we throw at them. We are our own worst enemies. That is both the worst and best part about anxiety. We are capable of putting ourselves in the worst moods imaginable, but we can destroy what we have created with practice.

These thoughts and just negativity are making me feel like I'm going crazy because I can't stop them from creeping up.

My first piece of advice is to take a step back and understand that this is beatable. I know this sounds tired and overdone, but it's absolutely necessary to understand. Too many people with anxiety approach it with a doom-and-gloom mindset. "This is going to be my life forever", "my mind is messed up", "I'm going crazy", "I'm going to lose my friends", blah blah blah blah. With that approach, you set yourself up for more anxiety. Again I stress, we are our own worst enemies. You are not sick, you are not messed up, you are not broken beyond repair.

As for how to stop these "negative movies" before they start, the answer is in the question. Literally, you STOP thinking these thoughts when you feel them starting. This is something that will take practice and a lot of time, but after a while you will probably notice that it will be easier and easier to not think these bad things. You have to resist the urge. Chances are, you don't WANT to think about your boyfriend cheating on you, but you have this uncontrollable feeling that you HAVE to. It's as if by not thinking about him cheating on you, something bad will happen. If you feel any inkling of those thoughts approaching, you feel obligated to indulge in them.

What you need to learn to overcome is that feeling of obligation. Think about what has come from these negative thoughts. Have they fixed anything? Did you successfully catch your boyfriend cheating because of all the negative thinking you've been doing? Have they helped in any way? Try to remind yourself about what you wrote in your post:

It has come to the point of affecting my relationship and my boyfriend couldn't take my accusations and negative thinking.

Clearly, judging by your post, they have not helped. They have only created tension within the relationship. THIS should be your ammo for dealing with the thoughts as they start to creep up. Fight the urge that you HAVE to think about them with logic. Think, "these thoughts have only hurt me and my relationship and have done nothing good. I do not have to think about them."

Like Floridagal10 mentioned, distraction can be a great tactic. Try to use distraction in combination with what I just mentioned. When you feel the thoughts approaching, remind yourself of their worthlessness, then immediately find a distraction. Change the channel in your head. Play a game of cards, watch some TV, cut your nails, clean your room, flip through old pictures of fond memories that make you laugh, go to the super market, do some exercise, anything! Don't try to "fight" those thoughts, don't give them the time of day.

Remember, you've already started the healing process by admitting that you need help. That is one of the hardest parts about beating anxiety, and the best thing you can do. From someone who has been going to therapists for 12 years, I cannot recommend it enough. Talking to another living, breathing person relieves tension. People are often skeptical about therapy because they think that the therapist will just say some generic bullshit, take your money, and send you out the door. But let me tell you, sometimes I feel the best after a therapy session where the therapist barely said anything at all. You know those feelings of, "I'm gong crazy", "I'm broken beyond repair", etc? Those are what therapy helps with. You can say your deepest, darkest thoughts that terrify you, and they will nonchalantly converse with you as if you're talking about the weather. It's not that they don't care, it's because they've heard it all before. That alone can calm you down. You are not alone in your thoughts. You are not un-salvageable. You are a lot more normal than you think.

I hope this helps in some way or another. Again, I'm going off of only what you wrote in your post, so I had to make a lot of assumptions. Please don't hesitate to discuss this topic further.

Keep your head up.
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"Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don't resist them - that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like."
-Lao Tzu

Offline bewell981

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Re: Need Your Strategies
« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2014, 07:42:14 PM »
Thank you both for your great support and ideas. This is definitely not an easy thing to be going through and I appreciate the understanding that I am not alone in this. I was hesitant to write about the effect this is having on my relationship because it's not just another realationship messed up by me being a jealous girlfriend. I have tried reading some books about controlling my thoughts and ways to understand what I am going through. I know I didn't give a whole lot of detail about my situation, I wasn't exactly sure what to say. I have been trying to distract myself in any way I can from Pinterest to cleaning my home, to reading my books. I know the way that I act is wrong by thinking things that haven't happened and let them take over my thoughts. I have always had some sort of anxiety and mental movies going on in my head, but they seem to only be concerning relationships I've been in. Never do I think about things at work or bad things happening to those I care about, only about being hurt.  I really try not to think so negatively because that's not how i want to live, but its so hard to switch gears and think in a different way. I feel like I am scared of everything going wrong and I don't know how to fix what I feel like I've broken, even though everyone tells me our separation is a 2 way street.

 It is killing me that he left and I feel completely lost. A little more background about our situation: we've been together for about a year. he works a second job on weekends doing security at this bar by our house. I always picture him getting numbers from girls who work there and stupid drunk girls that frequent there. He has told me on numerous occasions that he is never going to cheat on me because that is not who he is and if he wanted somebody else he would just break up with me....but he has no intention of doing either. I don't trust the other guys he works with, especially when one of them tells me I "should be worried" about him working there. From 10pm when he leaves til he gets home at 4-5am, I have horrible nightmares and my mental movies start playing. Since he's been gone I don't get to see him before he leaves for work and don't know if he's ok when he gets home (he's staying at his mom's house). He gives me no reassurance and just says that I am "crazy". We've barely spoken in a week and it's making me more anxious and nervous about everything. I am a schoolteacher and it is extremely hard to get through a school day, even though that is the best distraction. I am going to see my new therapist tomorrow and try to work on all this. I sometimes wish i could just be hypnotized to stop thinking so much and letting my thoughts get the better of me.
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Tags: GAD Panic Attacks 
 

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