Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, see our mental health web guide which can point you to expert advice.
Magical thinking/irrational behaviour(26 Posts)
Doctors say I have general anxiety. I don't agree. I struggle with my own thoughts. I'm constantly distracted or zoned out. I can't sleep or concentrate because I can't stop thinking. It's a problem. But it's not anxiety. I think about positive things and write stories in my head as much as I think about negative things. I've been on antidepressants and beta blockers and they did absolutely nothing for me. When I went for check ups, the GPs would ask me about the physical symptoms of my anxiety when I never had any in the first place. They don't listen.
Recently, I've been doing a lot of magical thinking mostly centred around my health. If I do/don't do [this] then I'll get diagnosed with [nasty illness]. I have a skin condition that nobody can diagnose and I think it stemmed from that. All sorts of nasty stuff can affect the skin so if it's not anything obvious then it must be cancer or something autoimmune or whatever. It's not distressing me because I know it's irrational but I do listen. Why take the risk of finding out I'm seriously ill when I can just not have chicken for dinner, right? I know it's completely nonsensical.
Also have other stuff like having to cross my fingers when the phone rings so it's not bad news and buying a particular snack on my way to work to guarantee a good day.
Today, I took my irrational behaviour to a new level. The woman who served me in a shop was rude to me so I threw the shirt I'd just bought in the bin outside the shop. I felt like she'd tainted it by being a dick and I didn't want it anymore. I know I should've returned it or given it to charity but I don't regret the wasted money at all.
I'm worried about where my mental health is headed and I don't know what to do when the doctors are all so fixated on medication. It doesn't do anything for me. I'd be open to trying some sort of therapy but when I've asked, two different GPs have told me I'm too all over the place. I KNOW. That's literally my problem.
Does anybody have any suggestions? Is any of the online self-help stuff any good? I don't mind paying but I don't want to pay for rubbish.
Sounds like ocd. what did the gp suggest? could you go back again?
different things work for different people. It's only by trying them out, and you may have to go privately, that you find out what works for you.
Antidepressants then a bigger dose of antidepressants then a different antidepressant then a bigger dose of a different antidepressant. I could see go back but I've already seen three GPs who've all said antidepressants with a hint of beta blockers is all I'm getting out of them. It's frustrating because ADs and beta blockers don't do anything helpful for me.
Prescribe what though? Prescriptions are the one thing I have absolutely no trouble getting from GPs.
I agree with pp, this sounds like the intrusive thoughts associated with OCD.
OCD is classified as an anxiety disorder, so it has some similarities with generalised anxiety, though it's not quite the same. Have you talked about the magical thinking with your GP, because it sounds like you would meet criteria for some therapy through IAPT. What do they mean, you're too all over the place?
Have a look here to learn about what OCD is: OCD UK
If you can pay for therapy you could try Anxiety UK who can provide subsidised therapy for members, depending on household income.
Or if you want to start working on this yourself, this book is great:
Break Free From OCD
OCD is more common than you might think, but CBT can definitely help some people. Good luck OP and feel free to message me if you want anymore info.
Thanks for your reply I'll take a look at those sites but I don't think I have OCD. On the OCD is diagnosed when... part of that site, only 1/3 applies. Also, I've never been any different as far as thinking too much goes. Just the whole magical thinking thing that's taken off recently and it's not distressing me or taking up any of my time.
When they say I'm too all over the place to benefit from therapy, I think they're trying to politely say that I talk a lot of rubbish and don't make a whole lot of sense. But again, I've never been any different. People misunderstand what I'm trying to say constantly; it's the most frustrating part of my life and always has been.
My first thought was OCD, but that miles-a-minute mind could also be associated with ADD or mania/hypermania (bipolar disorder).
You should see a psychiatrist if possible, though, and explain this all. Easier said than done, I know, but you deserve a diagnosis that fits with you.
Just come across another thread where people are talking about how debilitating OCD is. Definitely not me. Definitely don't have bipolar disorder either. I've wondered about ADD but I'm not convinced and I'm not really sure I want a diagnosis of anything. I just want to put an end to this magical thinking stuff.
Reading about OCD has actually reminded me that I had similar a couple of years ago with lots of thoughts about being drawn to hurting people. That passed without me doing anything so maybe it's just a waiting game.
I think you would benefit from a psychiatrist who can identify exactly where your problems are, prescribe the right AD for you (there are so many different types) and suggest the right kind of therapy. You may need to see a therapist who covers multiple types of therapy (many of them do) rather than one who just does CBT for example.
"I can't sleep or concentrate because I can't stop thinking"
Totally understand and had similar experiences, also used to think certain numbers had a big impact on my life in weird ways.
Firstly I would say it is absolutely possible to change this, no question.
I stopped medication; (gradually as advised) took up mindfulness which helps me to realise my brain cannot stop thinking.............it is designed to do that! But you can train it to relax, its a habit, just like over thinking.
Also made some goals to stop me having the time to navel gaze, I know it is the risk of being a cliché but exercise and outside space is a wonderful thing. Why not try mindfulness, even the concentrating on the breath exercise can have a real impact if tried every day. If you can get to the stage where the internal narrative stops, and the thought is just a feeling it is really quite refreshing, and gives you a 'break from your mind'.
Just trying to help.........and hope it does.
So you're having some symptoms but it's not distressing, is that what you mean?
But you want rid of them? Or not? Sorry for not understanding!
I had magical thinking associated with health anxiety. I think a lot too. But people who are anxious tend to overthink! I wouldn't have said was ocd exactly but health anxiety and ocd are closely related and my brother has ocd so it's similar. Mine comes and goes depending on stress though (if I'm stressed about other stuff I'm not anxious but when I have nothing to worry about anxiety does tend to rear it's ugly head - like my body and mind want to be stressed out or something!). Anyway no answers for you there but just saying you aren't alone!
I want rid because I am acting on the magical thinking but at the same time, it's not upsetting me. Like, I think if I go to a particular place, I'll be diagnosed with cancer so I mostly avoid it but last month, I had no choice but to go there and I wasn't having panic attacks or anything. Sort of an acceptance of the bad stuff that will happen if I have to do certain things.
Most of the stuff I see online is people who think they have to do certain things to stop bad things happening. I'm the opposite. I think that doing certain things will cause problems. Suppose it's less stressful to avoid things than it is to have to do things.
Is there a particular mindfulness program you'd recommend, Daddyof3lovelylife?
Sorry to hear you have the same thing Titsywoo but it is nice to hear that I'm not alone!
Probably worth mentioning that ever since I was a kid, I've been convinced that I'm going to die when I'm 37 so I'm expecting to be diagnosed with something nasty at some point. I think I'd be more worried about getting ill if I expected to live a long life.
Agree re. OCD. Obviously we're not medical experts but from my experience, what you described are symptoms of OCD. It doesn't have to be debilitating. You can have the thoughts but still know in the sensible part of your head that they are irrational. They may become debilitating, they may not.
Can GPs diagnose OCD? Past experience tells me I have very little chance of getting anywhere near somebody who specialises in mental health. Got a GP appointment about something else next week anyway so might mention it.
Thanks for all of the advice/suggestions
No, as I understand it, GP shouldn't be diagnosing OCD (though they should be able to recognise symptoms), and you should be referred to a mental health practitioner for a full assessment. See here on NHS website.
I have very similar wrt the constant and magical thinking, and like you it's that doing certain things will cause something bad to happen rather than stopping them. Also like you I'll avoid these things if I can, but won't be really distressed if I can't. My GP and a doctor at the mental health clinic said I don't seem to have full OCD, but do have obsessive-compulsive tendencies. That may be true of you too? I've found medication has improved things somewhat, but the thinking is still there. CBT can apparently help too. It can make you feel a little crazy when you know you're being irrational but can't help thinking that way...
Tendencies sounds more like it. I feel like I don't really fit any diagnosis. More a bit of this and a bit of that. Definitely feel like I'm going crazy at the moment. Starting to really stress about my health in particular, which is a newish one for me.
Saw a GP I haven't seen before this morning and she seems nice but she went straight to 'do you think about hurting yourself'?, which got my back up. I couldn't really explain myself in a way she understood and we didn't really get anywhere. Although she seems open to the idea of me getting talking therapy so maybe I'll go back like she suggested.
I used to have 'magical thinking' when I was a teenager, but centered around my watch. I had to stand on a certain spot in a local park (on the way to school) and count to 10, then look at my watch.
If the seconds were 'uneven' numbers then I had to start again at another spot in the park.
Took me ages to get to school. But it was all down to stress as I was convinced that I would get a bad day (beating) if I didn't see 'even' numbers at a certain time.
Totally crazy. But I outgrew it when I left school and got away from the bullies.
A lot of this could have applied to me when I was younger. I was eventually diagnosed with ASD.....the ocd -type thinking was just my hopelessly over-stimulated brain trying to get the world into an order which made some kind of sense.
The communication difficulties, trying to explain myself to medical professionals and failing miserably, also rings true.
I am also reasonably sure that I fit the criteria for one of the attention disorders. Not sure that I can face going back to the gp about that though.
Might be worth reading up on autism in women, OP.
I don't know anything about OCD but a lot of what you are describing reminds me of how my friend with bipolar describes her manic phases.
It sounds similar to "Pure O" OCD to me. A good friend was diagnosed with it and she could not sleep due to intrusive thoughts and magical thinking.
Disclaimer - I'm aware that an anecdote does not equal evidence, just thought I'd throw a suggestion in.
I suffer from anxiety at times and I'm a terrible over thinker but I sometimes do the magical thinking. I know its stupid but I still do it. I have a photo and for example if I've got say a visit to the doctors/dentist, I have to take it with me so that everything will be OK. If i dont take it then i will get bad news. Its crazy but I'm not too concerned about it. I've done other random stuff occasionally and I know in reality it makes no difference to the outcome but I do it. Is it a problem?
Join the discussion
Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.Register now »
Already registered? Log in with:
Please login first.