Intrusive thoughts and Anxiety - Anxiety and Depre...

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Intrusive thoughts and Anxiety

krando89
krando89

Hi! Lately I've been dealing with intrusive thoughts that have been making me anxious and depressed. I'm in therapy and on medicine, but I feel like it's not working.

I've mainly been worrying about/obsessed with the idea that I may never get married and have children, and I'll be left alone with no one.

I'm hoping these thoughts aren't true, but i can't help but believe these thoughts sometimes.

4 Replies
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No one knows what the future holds! Worrying about the future is anxiety-producing. You just don’t know what’s around the corner. You need to let go of that worry and live your life. Worrying about it will not change anything and you have absolutely no control over the situation. Try to let it go and choose to live in today!! Sending you hugs!!

I have a similar trigger for anxiety/depression but more so it’s that I’ll never be “normal” and it’ll eventually ruin my marriage (which I have no evidence to suggest that’s even remotely possible at the moment)

What seems to work for me, other than medication, is mindfulness meditation. It helps get your head out of the many possible futures and opens your senses to only the present moment, which is really the only state of time we have control over.

Precious friend,

Your post really resonates with me.

I find myself having a lot of anxiety about the future. I was married, but 13 years in, it ended in divorce, and I've been single ever since. Most of the time I do okay. I hang out with friends who are also single, but there are those lonely days where I wonder if it's going to be that way for the rest of my life.

As I read your post, I can't help but think of an exercise I learned a few years back, and I think it might be of use to you. Get a piece of paper, and at the top of it make 5 separate columns. The first label A for Activating Event. The second label B for My Belief/ Thought. The third label C for Consequence / Emotion of my Belief. The fourth label New Belief/ Thought, and the fifth label New Consequence/ Emotion.

In column A, record the event which activated these anxieties. For example, did you get triggered when you watched one of your friends get married? In column B put your belief or thought about the situation:

Now this belief column operates on two levels. For instance, your immediate belief might be, "I'm never going to get married." But if we dig down deeper, according to Cognitive Behavioral Therapists, they say it all eventually comes down to one of two core beliefs. Either you believe, "I'm not lovable," or you believe, "I'm not capable." It could even be a combination of both beliefs, if at the core you fear you are not lovable and you fear who will take care of me?, which translates to "I am incapable (of caring for myself.)"

Now you move to Column C, which is the consequence/the emotion. What emotions does this belief make you feel? Write those emotions down.

Now you write down what emotions these beliefs and thoughts are evoking: fear, anxiety, sadness

Now comes the challenge: You need to adopt a new thought, a new belief, by challenging the faulty thinking. Challenge the faulty beliefs with the truth. Write the truths down. Take every one of those faulty thoughts/beliefs and challenge the truth of them. Go through each one of those irrational thoughts and challenge the truth of them. What is a more accurate, realistic thought?

For example, if you believe, "I will never get married," challenge that belief. So what? What is so bad about it if you are single? Start thinking about all the pluses. For instance, I know a woman Susan who has never married, and she has been all over the world, done missionary work, had some amazing experiences that she never would have had if she'd been tied down. I know a woman Debbie who never married, and she has one of the busiest lives I know. She works in the theater, acting; she volunteers in a Domestic Violence Shelter, she helps with the children's theater group; she helps in the local library. It's hard to pin her down because she is always on the go. She's taken trips to Germany and France. She has lived an amazing life. Debbie never had kids, but she works with kids constantly: in library programming, in the children's theater, for a time she was a director of a daycare center. There are plenty of ways you could have kids as a part of your life. There is a Big Brothers/Big Sisters program where you act as a mentor to a child who only has one single parent involved and needs a mentor.

Just because you are not married, that does not mean you are unlovable. Nor does it have to mean you have to go through life without kids. As for the husband part, do you have male friends? My best friend is still single, but she hangs out with all kinds of guy friends. Yes, sometimes the romance would be nice, but sweetheart, to tell you the truth, so many marriages have zero romance. So many couples live like roommates after the Oxytocin wears off, and experts say those ooey-gooey oxytocin feelings fade about 18 months to 2 years into the marriage. Instead of being worried about what you don't have, start focusing on the blessings in your life that you do have. And challenge those intrusive thoughts!

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What helps me sometimes is to put on a lighthearted show or even talk it out with someone who knows what I’m going through (like your therapist or a friend). But I’m not saying this will always help.

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