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Intrusive thoughts(11 Posts)
I have a recurring thought: "I need to kill myself"
Let me be clear that I do not want to kill myself, am not going to kill myself, I'm not actually suicidal in any way.
It's a response to anxiety, I think. But I am absolutely exhausted by the same thought again and again and again. It sounds ridiculous that a thought can make you exhausted - it's hard to explain. It's like an unwelcome lodger in my head.
Does anyone have any tips to evicting the thoughts? I had a few weeks where everything was going OK and I hardly ever thought it - but it's back again now with a vengeance, a constant litany.
You are so right that it is to do with anxiety. I had lots of intrusive thoughts when I had postnatal anxiety. I had counselling and read lots about them to try and understand my brain.
What helped/helps me is telling myself that the thought has nothing to do with me or reality, it is just a symptom of my anxiety.
I try to say to myself "Oh poor you having that thought" and move on. The more you think about the thought the more power you give it and the cycle goes on.
The thought is usually the worst thing you can imagine as that is just how the anxiety works. I sat with the GP telling him all my hideous thoughts and he was like, yes, yup, no you aren't going to shock me.
Next time it comes in just tell yourself "This thought is a symptom of me being anxious, its how my brain reacts, poor me." the just get on with something else. I watched a lot of happy TV like say yes to the dress etc! And listened to a lot of radio 2.
You won't always feel like this, but go see your GP, they hear it all the time!
Oh and EVERYONE has intrusive thoughts everyday its just that when you are anxious or low your brain clings onto them. You are normal!
Please don't try and do anything to make the thought to away, the more you resist it the more power you give it. I had similarly intrusive thoughts, though they had a different subject matter. I tried to deflect them by thinking bad things about myself, consciously, as opposed to the bad intrusive thoughts I was having about another. I ended up much worse. Much worse. Please, go talk to someone, you can get proper help for this.
I've had intrusive thoughts for many years, and it's an integral part of my depression and anxiety. Dealing with them is a work in progress but depending on how severe they are I find either distraction (I have a positive daydream which I run through in my head which suppresses the negativity) or allowing the thoughts to run, knowing that they are only temporary and I will feel calmer soon and which distances me a little from them - almost viewing them as an outside observer - both help.
I would definitely advocate speaking to your GP, who can refer you to someone, although the waiting times are long. Mind.org have some good advice too, and the Samaritans are always there - contrary to popular opinion they are not just there for people on the brink of suicide, but for anyone who is having a tough time emotionally.
I do hope you feel better soon - you're right, intrusive thoughts are utterly exhausting.
Thank you all - some great advice. I know I'm not the only one but it does really help to hear other people have the same thing.
I love the idea of a positive daydream; I think that will have the added bonus of allowing some control? That and finding other distractions, such as happy TV. Well, Sherlock and Bake Off at any rate
I'm in two minds about the doctor - they're really busy, plus time off work - and I'm not in any physical danger. But I know it's an option open to me.
Thank you again for replying - I knew intellectually that I'm not alone (because I found the term 'intrusive thoughts' on Google ) but it's surprised me that actually hearing 'real' people has helped so much
Hi op, can only echo what pp have said.
Maybe have a look at cbt online if you're not ready for the gp yet.
It's taken me years to accept my intrusive thoughts
and still trying which are due to OCD.
Cbt will give you helpful tools to try and manage the thoughts. Ideally though you need to just allow them to come and go and remember, thoughts mean nothing!!!
I always think of it like this, imagine an elderly neighbour for example. They need help with their shopping, you see them across the road and think 'they could use a hand' thinking about helping won't help. Going over and physically helping will help. Thoughts have no power and remind myself of this regularly. I apply this to my negative thoughts.
Sorry for the ramble.
I find that these thoughts are linked to my stress level. If I reduce my stress and practice some positive self care they tend to fade and eventually stop. I've only made this link recently and have now realised that I can use the thoughts as a kind of barometer of my mental health so a few non compulsive whispering thoughts is a sign for me to block some time out for self care activities, make sure I'm getting enough sleep, book time off work etc. Louder more compulsive thoughts are a sign that I need to see my GPand/or councellor and consider medication.
I also second what PP said, the more you try to ignore these thoughts the louder and more persistant they seem to get. I find aknowledging the thought (not acting on it just noticing it) removes a lot of the power.
Search 'moodsmith' and intrusive thoughts. She is a psychologist that writes a lit about intrusive thoughts. Likewise the work of Rachman on intrusive thoughts is interesting.
Dr Claire Weekes also discusses intrusive thoughts in her book 'self help for your nerves.
As a PP has said, just recognise the thought in a face it type of way, but either saying out loud or mentally in your head 'there you are' or something of that effect, the just get in with what you were doing. Don't try to not have the thought or focus on it.
I'm just coming out the other end of near on 3 months of 1 continuous intrusive thought so yes, there are lots of us with it going on.
It's not rambling Kool, it's helpful.
I will have a look at all the people you have all recommended - thank you.
Since I've been allowing myself to acknowledge my thoughts, I've noticed they are always in response to something going wrong, or something that threatens who I think I am, if you see what I mean.
For example, an ex-colleague, who I didn't get on with (and was very hard work for all of us - he made complaints about the team every time his work was called into question) has started a new business and asked for a testimonial to put on his website. I don't want to, because I don't like him, but I am feeling anxiety about it because either I don't want the confrontation or I don't want to feel like I am petty for saying no. Or both! But I am recognising this - so I think that is positive steps made.
Thank you all for helping me to think x
thegreat yes, intrusive thoughts are more prominent when stress and anxiety is high.
Ironically, the more you have the intrusive thoughts and you give them air by either focussing on them or by trying not to have them, they just cause more anxiety and stress.
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