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How do we quiet that anxious voice that's convincing us something really IS wrong?

Melanie RN

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Does anyone else suffer from a little voice that helps try to justify why our fears can be validated? I've had headaches for a week now which I know are contributed to anxiety. I had a single moment when I can identify what triggered it... yet, this little voice tries to justify that I have a brain tumor! 'Well, you DID fall asleep with the cell phone to your ear several times. There have been patients THIS YOUNG who have cancer everywhere. Stranger things HAVE happened....." and I absolutely can't talk to myself rationally to calm this voice down. I'm a nurse ... so I know just enough to be dangerous... and I've seen just enough whacky things that I can completely talk myself into how and why I have any disease on the planet. I even make stuff up!! "It must be a new disease they're not familiar with yet!!' I seriously think this stuff you guys!! How do you calm yourself when you know you're being irrational? What works for you? Please help. This is almost debilitating. I'm seeing a doctor tomorrow to try anti anxiety medication but of course I'm thinking "there's no way it's going it work...." Anxiety is the devil living inside us I swear. LOL
 

triceps

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Hi again Melanie. I've had generalized anxiety disorder from my teenaged years to now in my mid 60's. So I have the irrational thoughts, which logically I'm aware are irrational but those thoughts tell me I can't handle situations or tasks verses your thoughts telling you you're terminally ill. I had the benefit of having a psychiatrist for a father who was very helpful with dealing with that destructive thinking and I also went for years to a different psychiatrist. Woefully, neither of these professionals could help me eliminate that irrational voice. Medication does help slow down the number of these thoughts but after all these years, not a clue as to how to eliminate them.
 

Melanie RN

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Thank you for your reply. It truly is "mind over matter." I do kind of wonder if now it could be chemical/hormonal imbalance as all of a sudden I can't get a handle on it. I see my doctor tomorrow. Thanks much and best of luck to you! Nice to "meet" you here in this community of people who truly "get it."
 

Hurt&Hopeful

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Hey there- yep, that little monster is ugly in our heads. Once a therapist had me write down the negative thoughts in a little notebook as they came into my head, and then turn them around and write some positive and more calming truth beside it. I'll be honest - I found that to be too exhausting and didn't really do it. Ha! BUT - the idea stuck with me. So sometimes when I hear the little voice saying, "You're going to freak out if you go on this trip," I will try to stop that thought, and just re-word it and re-frame it. Like, "It might be hard to go on this trip, and you might have some anxiety. But you know what to do with it if you do, and you'll be ok." Or when someone looks at you funny, change "that person hates my guts" into "I wonder what's going on with them right now." Stuff like that. It's not a cure, of course, but when it gets really really bad, it's like having a soothing friend sitting next to me. The hardest thing for me to accept about anxiety was the fact that nobody could fix it for me. I put so much pressure on the people around me to "help me" and "make it stop," and of course nobody could. Nobody had a cure, nobody could calm me down, no pill works all the time. But once I accepted that and started taking responsibility for my own reactions and decisions (and that took about 20 years for me, of course, because I was extremely childish and pretty stubborn about it all), the anxiety and those crazy thoughts have less power over me. Medications help with the symptoms, and I have learned through some really tough therapy that I have to be my own safe space, if that makes sense. It's really hard to accept.
 

prismpower

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Oh I've done the 'brain tumor' thing before - (made an entire thread about it!) when it really was a neck sprain. Yes, the headaches were intense enough for me to logically think it was a brain tumor or something very serious- but it was something that was healed by heating pads/rest + muscle relaxers. Headaches are caused by lots of things (weather, stress, sprains, medications etc) and the chance it's caused by a brain tumor is very slim.

And then there's getting bronchitis, thinking it's pneumonia but it's not, thinking I will die from the flu (when the flu just needed to pass/run its course). Getting chest pains in the past and thinking it's a heart attack when it's really acid reflux. Anxiety has a way to grossly exaggerate and make us think the worst is always true. And it doesn't help that I am very, very introverted and way too focused on every little sensation in my body to begin with. I feel things more deeply than most others, though you couldn't tell that by looking at me, I just look like a typical stoic unemotional guy on the outside - so often I am 'drowning' in emotional pain and nobody sees it.

Just try not to take your own thoughts so seriously. That is the way of depression and anxiety. Remember, even if you are right by some small chance and it IS that bad, the extra worry isn't going to help anyway. A thought is just a thought that you think, it's not 'reality' but anxiety and the way the mind works, makes us think that what we think is 'reality' when it's really only something we are thinking. (and we can all so easily fish for circumstantial evidence to justify our warped claims, digging us deeper into the hole.) I can't tell you to 'not think bad thoughts' because it's like telling somebody to stop thinking about a pink elephant. So, the bad thoughts are going to come, yet every moment in time is a lesson to not be so attached to them. The ego/mind wants you to think 'this is all I am, I am this thought' but it's all an illusion.

So over time they will come but hopefully, we 'let them go' faster. You can see what the devil is trying to do with greater speed, and not get tricked into it as often. With gentle practice and self-love, we can all do this. <3
 
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