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Terrible thoughts and unbearable anxiety

I ve been wondering about what it is I ve been feeling for a long time now. I m fairly certain that it s not something normal people deal with. In my later teenage years (I'm now 20) I experienced severe depression and the treatment and medication slowly made those feelings ebb away, but ever since then I've been having feelings of extreme anxiety constantly for the past 3 or 4 years all relating to these very intrusive thoughts about mutilation, bodily catastrophe, death, and of non-existence after dying. These thoughts are more controlling and prominent when I am alone (which is most of the time). When I have nothing else preoccupying my attention I cannot escape from these thoughts and they invade what seems like every part of my mind and my chest begins to tighten, my heart races, I start sweating, my hands and feet get cold and numb, and I can feel a tight discomfort at the base of the back of my skull like the feeling before fainting/blacking out. These kinds of episodes give me the most anxiety, sometimes to the point where I feel detached from the world and nothing is real or like I m unable to experience it, when this happens it is very scary and I try to force myself asleep. These kinds of episodes happen at least once a week. I've never told anyone about this. The most I've done about it is try to control these thoughts by working them out in paintings and through other mediums such as writing and meditation/spiritual practices, so far nothing has made it go away and I am afraid of anyone knowing about it (besides anonymously). Recently I've been having trouble (it's hardest in the few hours after I first wake up) distinguishing these images and thoughts as 'not real' if that makes any sense. I just want to know what these symptoms mean and if I should seek therapy.

Re: Terrible thoughts and unbearable anxiety

You should seek medical attention first and then your dr can determine if you need additional therapy from a mental health care professional. Your level of anxiety appears to be bordering on panic attacks (which feel like heart attacks). It is good you have found a medium for release via your art and writing. Chemical imbalances in the brain (which is the usually associated with most mental illnesses) may require a combination of therapies (drug, talk, massage etc). The longer to put this off, the worst it may become. Congratulate yourself for recognizing some of these symptoms...get professional help to elevate them.

Re: Terrible thoughts and unbearable anxiety

Hi! You seem to think that having "intrusive thoughts about mutilation, bodily catastrophe, death, and of non-existence after dying" has some kind of deeper meaning. You seem to want to explore what these thoughts say about you as a person. Perhaps you wonder "Why these thoughts?" as opposed to other thoughts? These are the kinds of thoughts that an untreated depressed brain creates. Once your depression is adequately treated, the thoughts will go away. There is no deeper meaning than that. I would focus all my attention on treating the depression.

Re: Terrible thoughts and unbearable anxiety

I am very doubtful that I am depressed, I sleep 7 hours a day, my appetite and diet is healthy (I'm vegan, so probably more healthy than others), I do not have feelings of worthlessness, and I have a sexual partner with whom I'm very happy with. I've always been a very introverted individual, it's just my nature as an artist/writer, I live inside my head. So when I am alone alone my mood is not especially elevated, nor is it exhaustively depressive. And with friends, colleagues or family my mood is typically elevated.
Is it possible that these thoughts are just a manifestation of the damage left by the depression? Or possibly another disorder caused by my predisposition for mood disorders and anxiety? My grandmother, mother and sister have general anxiety disorder but my feelings of anxiousness seem to be deeply correlated with these thoughts.

Re: Terrible thoughts and unbearable anxiety

Cheryl has given you the right advice. Because there may be an organic cause for these experiences, a full medical workup is the first step. If the MD rules out such things as brain tumor, endocrine disease, etc., then you will want to consult a psychologist for help. This is not something that can be treated with online advice. You need personalized help, and should seek it right away.

Good work, Cheryl. Thanks for participating in the forum and for sharing your wisdom.

Re: Terrible thoughts NO WORRIES MAN!

Hey man,

Sounds like you need the right anti-depressant. I began to worry that I was going insane when I started having constant violent, homicidal and rarely suicidal thoughts and images continuously pop into my head. You said you've been on medication? Maybe you haven't found the right one. I was never depressed and I myself, like you, live an incredibly active and healthy lifestyle. My doctor diagnosed me with obsessional thinking, gave me Effexor, and pop! It's gone man. The relief is orgasmic. You should listen to Dr. Rob, though, it could be organic. From personal experience though I can tell you what my psychiatrist told me: "It's your extreme anxiety battling with your admirable self control, detouring around it to manifest itself in completely bizarre ways.

The feelings of unreality, too man, I had those too. They went away, as well. Believe it or not man it's just anxiety, trust me on this. Go get yourself some anti-anxiety meds. Effexor works miracles for me but I understand that's not the case for everyone, so ask your Doctor to begin trying new meds and maybe some therapy.

Trust me on this man, it gets better, you're going to be ok.