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How do you manage intrusive thoughts?

paramoron003

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I can never tell if I'm actually ill, or if I'm just ill because I don't want to believe that everything is fine. I've had a few tests and a physical in the past couple of weeks, and both came out normal. But there's always another test to be done, always new symptoms to fixate on, always something that you never noticed before. Does anyone here find that they can talk themselves down before spiralling into a full blown panic? If so, what do you do to manage the anxiety?
 

bin_tenn

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That's quite a loaded question, honestly. Yes,I can almost always talk myself down before I spiral into full blown panic / anxiety these days. It was a long process, and it was all learned through self help and professional therapy. Once you find techniques that work for *you* it isn't so difficult. But getting to that point is the tricky part.

Once you find what works, it's only a matter of time before you can permanently change the way you think. I do still struggle with mild intrusive thoughts from time to time, but generally I don't. It used to be an every day thing. But now I infrequently think the worst case scenario when something comes up.

Research CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy). It's probably the most common form of therapy for health anxiety. Anyone with enough willpower can learn enough on their own to find at least some relief. You may eventually discover that you're feeling a lot better but need that extra push, which is where therapy is very useful. When I saw a therapist for the first time, it really helped me apply all I had learned on my own to my specific circumstances.
 

bin_tenn

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I couldn't say much earlier because I really don't think much about it anymore when I do have to talk myself down. (I try to forget it and move on once I've successfully beat it) At this moment, however, I'm actively countering some anxiety. So I'm fine, I'm sitting in my room making some music (playing keyboard). All is well, I'm enjoying myself. Suddenly I notice I feel a bit nauseous, and then some anxiety ensues (nausea and vomiting make me severely anxious).

Here's how I reacted, and how I'm feeling much better at this point (not even 10 minutes later). I started by taking a deep breath and looking at the bigger picture. I didn't allow myself to jump to conclusions. Yes, deep breathing actually does work. It helps to reset the (para)sympathetic nervous system (can't remember which) and helps the body to lower respiration rate and heart rate, among other things. Deep breathing is a very helpful technique.

Why do I feel anxious now? Well, because of nausea which I already mentioned. What caused it? Since I can see the bigger picture and not jump to conclusions, I know I feel this way because 1) I've had too much caffeine today, and 2) I'm now experiencing some GERD which causes nausea as well as chest pain and other symptoms I feel with anxiety/panic attacks.

One thing I learned through therapy was how to identify very early signs of impending panic/anxiety. I couldn't see it before I visited a therapist, and had assumed my panic attacks are almost sudden. Meaning I thought I went from fine to intense panic in a matter of seconds. My therapist said that's never really the case, that it's a process, and it is indeed possible to identify very early signs. After she asked me several questions, she pointed out things in my thought process and even behavior that indicated I was definitely "aware" of an impending panic attack.

Since then, I've been aware of those early signs, so I can fend it off before it becomes unbearable.
 

mollyfin

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I'm in a bad place right now, but when I was more functional, it helped for me to act like it was someone else saying these things to me trying to get me mad/scared. So I'd just respond with "Uh-huh, yup, I'm gonna die, that's nice Chad." (Why I named it "Chad" I don't know, but one syllable names seem popular...I met someone else who does this and they call that inner voice "Tim.")
 

paramoron003

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Late response, but thank you all for the comments! I just wanted to say that I looked into CBT, and have found a therapist. Thank you again, it means a lot to talk to people who understand.
 
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