Recognizing that you have a persistent problem causing you anxiety, is a good first step. My short answer is to suggest that you seek help from a mental health professional. Family doctors are usually the gatekeeper to the healthcare system but unfortunately, many are not all that sympathetic when it comes to mental health issues. If you have a local mental health department I would suggest seeing if they have an Intake Worker or an Urgent Response person that looks after walk-ins from the community. Seeking professional opinion would help you determine if this is a serious problem requiring treatment.
A professional intervention at this stage of your life may be beneficial in thwarting future, escalating problems with what you are describing.
I wouldn’t be so bold as to diagnose you without ever having met you or interviewing you, but what you are describing isn’t that uncommon. Many people have repetitive thoughts going through their minds. Sometimes, in some people, it can become a serious problem for them. Many people diagnosed with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) or even general anxiety start off the same way. The thoughts tend to create anxiety, which in turn leads to more thoughts and even more anxiety. It can be a self-fulfilling prophesy.
The trick is to come up with a strategy to break the thinking pattern. Obsessive thinking is a characteristic that is often shared with people who have just quit smoking. Many situations in their lives trigger a repetitive thought that they have to have a smoke. Many people find it helpful to wear an elastic band around their wrist. When they get the problematic thought, they pull back on the elastic and give themselves a good wack. This is called a pattern interrupt. You focus on the immediate pain and the problematic thoughts are forgotten for a while. It can take quite a while for it to work though for some people.
Another approach, called CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy) would suggest that every time you experience the disturbing thought, you immediately challenge it by saying something to the effect of “stop! This is inappropriate thinking!” Then quickly change your focus to another subject. The more you think about these disturbing thoughts, the more likely you are to have them.
Thanks for your question and good luck with regaining control of your thinking.
I am diagnosed with anxiety, I never knew this is related.
Am I torturing myself?
Anxiety is both a diagnosis on its own and a symptom of other mental disorders. You ask if you are torturing yourself. You are being tortured, as evidenced by the anxiety that it creates for you and the personal distress, but that does not necessarily mean that you are actively torturing yourself by forcing these disturbing thoughts.
Overcoming anxiety is usually a three-pronged approach. One, is anti-anxiety medication i.e. anxiolytics taken on a when required basis or several times during the day. Secondly, speaking to a professional about the anxiety and developing cognitive techniques to either control or extinguish the anxiety. And three, is self-education and skill building on the areas of one’s life that may be causing the anxiety.
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Rae A. Stonehouse is an author, speaker, and self-publishing consultant dedicated to helping others embrace constant improvement and overcome challenges. With over 40 years of experience as a Registered Nurse in psychiatry and mental health, Rae brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for self-development to his writing and presentations.
As a 25+ year member of Toastmasters International, Rae has systematically built his communication abilities and self-confidence to share his insights as an author and speaker. His self-help books and personal development presentations aim to have conversational one-on-one connections with readers and audiences.
Rae is known for his wry sense of humor and sage advice delivered in a relatable coaching style. After four decades as a nurse, Rae has rewired rather than retired, actively writing and pursuing public speaking. He strives to share lessons learned to help others achieve personal and professional growth.