Anxiety and Depression Support
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Racing thoughts vs. obsessive thoughts

Lately I’ve been stuck thinking of a person I felt I had a bad run in with somehow. I can’t get their image or the feeling of lack of resolution out of my head. My mind keeps going back to their face/image/awkward exchange. I’ve even reached out to them to make sure we’re cool and that there’s no problem. The funny thing is, I’m not even really close to this person, nor romantically interested, nor etc... we work together and something about them just makes me uncomfortable. I can’t put my finger on it, but either way, I’m thinking way too hard and disproportionately about it. I can’t hardly turn my mind off it unless I’m occupied, but as soon as I calm down I go back to them. It’s really affecting my ability to concentrate and overall fucking up my mood and groove. Does this seem like OCD to you, bipolar racing thoughts, is there a difference? Is it something different altogether? Any thoughts, coping advice, medication suggestions... all advice appreciated.

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I don't know if this helps, but I had a regrettable exchange with a woman I worked with when I was still in college, and I remember it like it was yesterday. This was over 40 years ago! I read somewhere that very negative events get encoded in your brain using slightly different chemicals so that they last - it's apparently a survival mechanism.

I'm not a shrink, so I can't diagnose you with OCD, especially over the Internet. There are some signs of OCD there, but it just might be that you were greatly embarrassed by the exchange and are still getting over it. (In my case, the woman was a real b****, so I'll probably never fully get over it.)

Of course, if it's affecting your ability to function normally, it's a good idea to seek medical help.

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Thank you for your response

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I have generalized anxiety disorder and your experience reminds me of something I do. When I have a conversation with someone that I feel for whatever reason wasn't a good one- or yeah wasn't resolved somehow- I analyze the whole conversation over and over in my head. I'll try to distract myself to make the thoughts stop but then somehow I end up right back at that conversation mulling it over again thinking about what I should have said, or done that would have made it better. So I can't speak for your experience but it sounds like your having anxiety.

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Hi kali... thanks for your response. Yeah. I have generalized anxiety and panic attack disorder. I’ll often ruminate on thoughts and interactions, but this has been weighing me down for about three weeks now. Most of the time I get bored or underwhelmed and move on from them, but this one just won’t go. It doesn’t help that the person is someone I could risk running into at Work daily. I feel you though... how do you usually get past it?

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I find that for me these type of thoughts occur when I feel I did something wrong in the conversation, so Honestly how I deal with it, (and this can be really difficult to do sometimes especially depending on the situation) but I have to force myself to accept the conversation for what it was. Because for some reason thinking about the conversation over and over again makes me feel like I'm fixing it? which makes no sense, so I have to constantly tell myself that every time the thoughts come back- That the conversation was one I didn't like, that I wished would have gone better and thats it. theres nothing else I can do about. And when the thoughts comes back (because they always do) I tell myself that same thing again and again, until every time that image of the conversation pops back up into my head, that mantra immediately follows also, "that it is what it is, and there is nothing I can do about it." I don't know if this will help you even in the slightest but this is what helps me with those troubling thoughts.

good luck and sending good vibes your way!

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I find breaking it down to basic feelings. Does this exchange ( with this coworker) make you sad or mad? From there look at your part. Did you over react, under react? Accept your part. We are not perfect. Apologize if there is something to apologize for and move on. If this person did something to offend you, express your feelings and keep it moving. Don’t hold on to these feelings because you will just get what you got, weeks of anxiety ( that’s what this sounds like) accept your feeling, express them ( compassionately) and move on. Keep that head up and take this on..

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This is very thoughtful and good advice. I’m still gestating it. In many ways this is what I want to do. However, in this situation the source of discomfort seems so deep in my subconscious that it’s hard to answer these basic questions. I already did attempt a conversation with the person in question and got confirmation that they aren’t upset with me. Something about them though just makes me uncomfortable regardless, and I think it’s because they remind me of people who were involved in past anxiety trauma of mine. The dilemma I have is... how do you kindly and compassionately tell someone they make you uncomfortable simply because of who they are aligns with past people who hurt you? This is part of the reason my counselor insists I’m having a classic OCD thought relationship with this person and that the solution is to maybe try to break my cycle of obsessing over rifts in relationships and compulsively seeking resolution. Especially when those rifts are buried so deep they’re borderline illogical. In other words, now that I’ve reached out and didn’t get resolution, focus on seeing how out of proportion my thoughts are, how non-threatening this person actually is to me, recognizing the obsessive-compulsive pattern, and letting it go... no matter how skin crawling it can feel at times. In some ways it feels like the opposite of your advice and I fucking hate that to the point of having to believe I can un-learn what has become (a potentially unhealthy) emotional instinct.

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I'm also going through something similar wiyh a coworker

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I’m not sure that people remind us of past trauma, I think it’s more likely that circumstances remind us of past trauma. I think this is key. That in fact the person in front of us has triggered this thought process. I often break it down to simple feelings, by looking at what is triggered ( if you can) The thought comes than the feelings start and than the cycle begins again. I do t think any thoughts you have are illogical they just are thoughts. I have found that meditation is insightful with all of this. It has taught me that my mind just thinks constantly, like a constant loop without resolution. Let me tell you it has been a life saver. I have learned to not hold onto emotionally charged thoughts, the loop is lessened. Understanding the pattern of thoughts has lessened the anxiety and rumination all through meditation. I truly believe that the answers are in meditation.

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Any resources that you suggest on meditation?

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10 prevent happier, meditation for fidgety skeptics. This is a great book. By Dan Harris. He Teaches the techniques, also has a website and pod cast..

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That title was made for me. Thank you.

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I’ve been working on this. I got the book, but have more so been using the headspace app to guide me through a process so unfamiliar. It gave me a lot of peace last weekend. Its much more difficult during the week with work stress, but I expect it takes a long time of practice and dedication overall. Either way, I get what you were saying above. It certainly seems to be providing me a type of anchor I’ve never had before. My obsessive thought has really subsided. Lots of life weight remains though and I could use a good cry/vacation/cleanse, but I’m excited to bring a new focus on meditation along for the ride.

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I get to work 10 minutes early and sit in my car and meditate. When I find I’m in that uncomfortable space I find a quiet place to sit for 5 minutes. Deep breathing allows me to notice the patterns of thought. The more I notice the patterns the manageable the thought become. I also was prescribed seraquel, low dose-25 mg

For the thoughts. Man it has been amazing. The thoughts just come and go without anxiety. I feel kinda drugged though and tired, so I’m not sure of this as a long term job thing. I’m also on Lexapro 10 mg. How are you doing with exercise? Exercise is a must for me, I do one hour of cardio at my targeted heart rate. I do this 5 days a week as my schedule stinks. I have learned that the life stresses are the reasons for the uncomfortable thoughts. As we become able to manage the stress than we are able to get to the core of the stress. Good for you following through with the meditation.

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Exercise is always up and down. I’ve always been consistent with it, and while it often helps me, sometimes it can be the source of my stress. I’ll push myself to keep in shape for insecurity about being in my late 20s and single. Sometimes in that sense it’s an added source of stress and the solution is to say fuck worrying to hard about how flat or soft my core is and have a drink or just go on a walk.

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Ya I hear you. In my younger years I owned a gym and was a personal trainer. I get how exercise becomes a stress filled chore. I now just do one hour of cardio 5-6 days a week. That keeps it light for me. If I go to the weights it’s just for enjoyment. The meditation can become a chore also,there has to be balance with everything. Hope things are going well with you. Today is another rainy day in New York, but I’m working so I don’t mind so much

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Re original post: this describes exactly what I’ve been going through. Had a week where I felt over it, but then had a backslide this week. Rough day today: anxietycentre.com/anxiety-s...

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This is still affecting me. Anyone else have any similar experiences go on this long? Any ideas how to get over it? I can’t go on like this. I have no peace of mind. If I keep on like this I’m pretty confident I’ll develop a Xanax addiction.

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