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My mind always has to have something to worry about...

29 replies

pinkbows · 02/10/2020 13:24

I go through phases where I worry about particular aspects of my life. It is constant worrying and rumination. Most recently it has been my health, so I thought that I just have health anxiety. However when I look back on the last few years I realise that it is not just my health, I worry about everything.

When I was at university I worried about university constantly. I worried that I would get incorrectly accused of coursework plagiarism or cheating in exams, I worried when I was in the lab that I would do something wrong like break an expensive equipment or contaminate everyone's samples, etc. Even now that I have graduated I worry I am going to get a phone call accusing me of plagiarism or data falsification or something and they are going to strip me of my degree? It is completely irrational as I would never do those things.

When I learnt to drive and in the first few years of driving I would ruminate over my driving. Did I accidentally speed without noticing? Did I go through a red light without realising? Did I go in a bus lane without realising? Was the flash I saw in my mirror not someone's headlights but instead a speed camera going off?

My life is getting smaller and smaller. I have slowly stopped driving even though I know I am a safe, observant driver. I have a insured and taxed car parked outside that I haven't driven in months now. I finished university recently. With lockdown and moving back home I am not socialising as much. My life has got so restricted and "small" and yet my anxiety is just as bad as ever and it's like the only source of anxiety my mind can conjure up is worrying about my health even though I am healthy and in my 20s. It is kind of ridiculous but even if I have a simple cosy day at home, I will find something to worry about.

Does anyone else experience this or have any advice? I have tried CBT techniques which help with particular worries and 'in the moment' but as soon as I calm down about one worry my mind just moves onto the next. It is like I always have to have something to worry about.

OP posts:
WINDOLENE · 02/10/2020 19:09

You wait and you'll see we all worry, sometimes we worry about not worrying. It's normal but if its all consuming then maybe a chat with your doctor

Libertyfree · 02/10/2020 19:28

Yes I’m like that. I can’t remember a time when I’m not worrying about one thing or another. I just thought life was like that for everyone but with different worries. Not sure what to suggest, sorry. Maybe see if different therapies can help?

oohmama · 02/10/2020 19:51

I'm the same
No advice

But you're not alone

ballsdeep · 02/10/2020 19:54

I'm the same. I'm constantly worrying. I can never think of a time where I am completely relaxed;there is always something chipping away in the background. It's exhausting.

H1978 · 02/10/2020 19:57

Same here. If I find I’m not worrying about something then I’ll overthink something so it causes me worry. I’m an over anxious thinker and it can really mess with your head because other people can’t understand why you worry about things the way you do.

DustyMaiden · 02/10/2020 20:05

I have always been that way. I am medicated and had CBT. I think with my anxiety I always have to have a hook to hang it on. I think I feel anxious and look for what is making me anxious. I am pretty sure after all these years that what I’m feeling is often not anxiety, it could be High blood sugar or excitement. When I feel anxious now I jump up and break into a song and dance routine. Only when I am alone, or they may have me certified.

noideaatallreally · 02/10/2020 20:08

Yes, yes, yes. I did read something about this. You have anxiety. You don't know why so you 'scan' for possible reasons to pin that anxiety to. I totally understand/ empathise with everything you have said.

noideaatallreally · 02/10/2020 20:13

What I have found helps me is to fill as many moments as I can with something more pleasurable. Reading helps, but intrusive thoughts can creep in unless I am totally engrossed in the story. The same with watching TV. Being outdoors really, really helps me. I try to focus on my senses - feeling the wind, listening to the birds, taking note of the details of what I can see. I also find any kind of puzzle helps. the more I can engage my mind on other things the more I push out the negative thoughts.

DuckonaBike · 02/10/2020 20:20

Yes, I can empathise. I’m always worried about something. Agree with noideaatallreally about trying to spend time outdoors; this is good for your mental state (I wouldn’t suggest it right now though; it’s pitch dark and raining).

I’m old enough to be your mum and still worried. Most of the bad things haven’t happened though.

AuldWan · 02/10/2020 20:27

Yes me too for all my life (56 years). However I am two weeks in to trying medication and so far it has been fantastic.

DownThePlath · 02/10/2020 20:33

Absolutely the same. I spend my whole life paranoid. When I was at University, I also used to constantly think I was going to be done for plagiarism even though I knew I had never plagiarised anything - it was just ridiculous. Right now, I keep worrying someone is out to get me or "out" me (over what, I have no idea, but I worry it'll happen). It's exhausting.

Michaelbaubles · 02/10/2020 20:50

You say your life has got smaller and smaller but your anxiety is just as bad...surely it’d be better to still have the anxiety but at least lead a wider life? What you’re doing isn’t working to get rid of the anxiety, after all, and it’s madness to carry on being the same and expecting a different outcome.

noideaatallreally · 02/10/2020 21:48

Just thought of something else that helps me - music - or even a line from a song that means something to me. I try to have the tune in my head - sometimes that can help. Try to find a new hobby? I have found great satisfaction in things like painting, geocaching, cross stitch, gardening, cooking. listening to the radio, walking, birdwatching, yoga, learning about a new subject, maybe studying online?. I do realise that as you are much younger than me many of these things would not appeal to you!! I understand what you mean about the world getting 'smaller'. Sometimes the 'safe' thing to do seems to be to cut out the things that make you feel anxious - and there is some value in that, but instead of seeing the world as getting smaller would it help to see it instead as spreading out in a different direction? I hope you feel better soon.

magimedi · 02/10/2020 22:02


Yes me too for all my life (56 years). However I am two weeks in to trying medication and so far it has been fantastic.

Would you be willing to tell us what medication you are on??
KingaRoo · 02/10/2020 22:07

These can actually be symptoms of OCD rather than generalised anxiety. Very common with OCD to worry that you've committed a crime or done something wrong. It's not a very well known aspect of OCD but very common.

Gilead · 02/10/2020 23:23

You really need a chat with the doctor. You’re really not alone, but talking it through will help. 💐

pinkbows · 02/10/2020 23:34

Thank you for all of the replies. It helps to know others are like this and to some extent everyone worries a lot.

@DustyMaiden noideaatallreally Yes! You have both worded it perfectly about always needing to search for a reason for the anxiety and pinning it onto a particular worry. I never really thought of it that way, that the anxiety comes first and the worries second.

@Michaelbaubles You are completely right. I have never thought that way before but you are completely right. If I'm going to feel anxious even on a simple day at home I might as well try and branch out and expand my life a bit more. I have been putting off applying for a new job because I feel like my anxiety is so bad I can't cope with anymore stress, but if I am already really anxious I have nothing to lose. It might actually be good to worry about "normal" things like job interviews rather than ruminating over things like my health.

@KingaRoo I know, I've been reading up on OCD recently and I am trying to make the distinction between whether I think my anxiety is caused by generalised anxiety or OCD as I'm not sure. I have some elements of OCD like when I am nervous about my health I will check for symptoms (e.g. if I am nervous about my heart I will check my pulse several times and then will feel calm and then start to get nervous again and repeat). However other sources of my anxiety don't seem to have a behavioural compulsion element.

OP posts:
Sleepingdogs12 · 03/10/2020 07:08

I always think there is something seductive about negative thought processes, I have to actively stop myself continuing the thoughts at times. I assumed everyone's brain does this but may be not? I try to think about the worst thing that could happen(hopefully it isn't too bad in reality or liveable with), then the likelihood of it happening (hopefully not likely at all) and then move on to something else and occupy my mind with a task. It is easier said than done though at times. If it is affecting your life to the point you are restricting it you should think about talking to the gp.

Odile13 · 03/10/2020 07:25

I relate to this. Worrying can move from one thing to the next, always going on in the background, like a dog chewing a bone. I think it becomes a habit and your mind just does it automatically.

I have coped by reading self help books, finding which ones work for me and re-reading them regularly. I like The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, The Little Big Things by Henry Fraser, Things Get Better by Katie Piper and many others. Stop Thinking, Start Living is a good one for getting out of what the author calls “analysis paralysis”. Another book which really helped me was How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie - this has lots of very useful techniques.

Wishing you all the best 💐

thenewaveragebear1983 · 03/10/2020 07:25

I do this too, although mine is usually about people. Have I messed up, did I send an email which is going to get me in trouble At work, did I upset someone, was I rude, am I overbearing, am I overconfident (which is ironic, huh?)

I left teaching because I couldn't cope with the anxiety of whether my students liked me, hated me, thought I was crap, thought I was wasting their time...I taught English to polish adults and I imagined them all talking about me in Polish saying how awful I was. I couldn't rest until every moment of my lesson was planned and as a result it was exhausting and overwhelming. I was actually a good teacher and I could tell they were learning. It was just anxiety.

I am in a new job now, and I have made myself develop some tactics so I don't lie awake at night. I am very organised. I spend 5 minutes at the end of each day checking my list, making sure I've not screwed anything up, and then I try to forget about it. It's stupid because I have only been there 5 weeks and I know I'm doing a really good job and I've been told as much. However, Last night I lay awake for 5 hours because it was all just whooshing round my head.

I actually better for saying this on here!

I'd love to know if there are some CBT techniques that I could try. The poster up thread who said it's like you're scanning for reasons to justify your anxiety, yes that rings true with me. Stupidly, I am actually not an anxious person in most areas of my life. I just go to a dark little place and worry by myself sometimes. It's worse when I'm tired or frazzled.

I hope you find some answers OPThanks

LunaTheCat · 03/10/2020 07:33

I was exactly the same. In my early 40’s I finally went to my GP and got antidepressants - absolutely life changing for me.

Itstheprinciple · 03/10/2020 07:40

Please consider medication. I am on citalopram after years of constant anxiety and it is life changing. I feel 'normal' for the first time in my life.

AuldWan · 03/10/2020 07:57

Magemedi - it is Ciralopram and so far it is really helping.

AuldWan · 03/10/2020 07:58

Oops Citalopram obviously!

thecognoscenti · 03/10/2020 08:15

I'm exactly the same. My mind abhors a vacuum and fills all available space with worry. It's exhausting quite honestly

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