How do I overcome intrusive thoughts that rethink

Dealing with derealization (dampened sense of reality) and obsessive-compulsive thoughts: my experience

by machinio

Hello! My name is Maria and I want to share my experience of derealization and obsessive-compulsive thinking with everyone affected by it.

Hello! My name is Maria and I would like to share my experience of derealization and obsessive-compulsive thinking with everyone affected by it. Less

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How I Cope with Derealization and Obsessive-Compulsive Thoughts Hello! My name is Maria, I am 21 years old and at the age of 18, unfortunately, or even fortunately, I have an experience with derealization (further as "D" - the word is just too long for me), anxiety states and intrusive irrational thoughts made. Unfortunately, because these are all very unpleasant things. Fortunately, because I now have experience. And experience can and should be shared :) I don't really want to describe how and why it all started. It is more important to me to write about what has helped me. First briefly about D, then about obsessive thoughts and at the end about what can help with almost every condition and what one should perhaps consider. By the way, I study psychology and can speak of many things not only from my personal point of view (especially, of course), but also professionally :) I have to apologize in advance for my not-so-very-literary language, I've been studying abroad for a long time and speak several languages ​​at once, all of which mix in my head. And I was never good at writing anyway :) Derealization D - is when you suddenly feel detached from your surroundings, isolated, and have the feeling that you are in a computer game. Something in perception simply changes, becomes flatter and you have the feeling of being surrounded by an invisible shell. Someone is more lucky - she / he experiences D quickly and inconsequentially, someone less - it takes a day, two, three and after a week it is still there. You get scared, don't understand what's going on and somehow try to put it into words, search the Internet ... In the best case, you come across some good advice and some positive experiences from others, in the worst case - apocalyptic predictions. And one almost realizes that there is no clear explanation for and no general remedy against D. The main thing - calm down. This is not a judgment and it is not forever. A lot could help against D. For a long time I couldn't find peace myself, I panicked (if I knew that everything was going to be okay, I wouldn't really need to be panicked.) My situation at that time was not easy anyway, and here was this thing. You have to understand that you can change something, but most likely it will happen slowly. First of all, it is important to find a "safe haven" for yourself where you can always return - the arms of a loved one, lying in bed with your eyes closed or dim light, etc. Usually this is also a place for you feel protected. and where changes in perception are not so noticeable. I've been lucky in a sense - I'm very myopic, wear contact lenses, and at some point I realized that when I remove my contact lenses, everything is so blurry that the feeling of D disappears (or becomes minimal). Yes, and I also found it easier with glasses, since there are glasses in front of your eyes anyway, and you can just blame the strange perception on them.

So I decided to just wear glasses for a while - it actually helped to barely focus on them anymore. Maybe it will help someone else too :) The stress lasted long enough, I have to say, but at some point I started to deal with my everyday life (at first I sometimes had to really force myself to focus my attention on other things but you have to do it real) and stopped feeling D all the time. At some point it no longer mattered whether I wore contact lenses or glasses. About a year later, I realized that if D takes a long time with you, at some point it is difficult to tell whether or not she has disappeared - how was everything before her? The only thing I understood is that I now feel good again and see the world normally without being distracted by anything. Maybe D is still here, but pretty unnoticeable and nothing bothers me. Or maybe she's gone. From that I drew a conclusion for myself - D is not necessarily something polar, either there or not. This is more on a continuum - can be less, more, change, come, go. Sometimes (rarely) it still happens - when I'm tired, I get sick, or I'm just not doing so well right now. But over time these episodes no longer cause anxiety, this is normal. I just always try to get back to my “safe zone” and my head is busy with other thoughts anyway, so I don't have to think about them all the time. D is not esoteric; like everything else in the brain, it has organic causes. I have leafed through a few scientific publications in English (not very carefully, I have to admit, but if you have the opportunity and the desire, take a look at something, e.g. on google.scholar). Possibly D is due to the low blood pressure and insufficient blood flow, tension, drug effects and so on. And first and foremost - it's related to negative states - depressed mood, anxiety, and so on. When I feel good, when other things concern me, I don't feel D anymore. Or maybe D is long gone. If obsessive thoughts are not of interest to you, you can immediately skip to the end of the post, where it is about more general things / thoughts that helped me or my friends in difficult situations, also with D (and still help). Obsessive Thoughts Some time after starting D, I suddenly felt overwhelmed by thoughts about the reality of this world and the existence of other people. Yes, almost everyone in life has to do with these hypothetical thoughts, but they are just hypothetical. But my very anxious state at the time was fertile ground for her. No matter what I did, it came to my mind every five minutes causing terrible fits of fear. They got stronger, totally unjustified. It seemed to me that I would never get out of this state and that I would never get rid of these thoughts. A similar situation was repeated in two years when I had rather severe tinnitus for a few months. It also seemed to me that it was there, that I would never get rid of it, I listened every second to see if there was still noise in my ears, was afraid to go home to quiet places, especially to bed in mine quiet room. Perhaps someone's thoughts and fears will match mine, with others they may be different, but they most likely work for you

Similar principle: Thoughts that are constantly turning in your head prevent you from concentrating on other things in the long term, frighten you. It seems to you that they never go away and there is a constant need to think about them. In the case of my thoughts about the reality of the world, for example, to “solve” the problem, to find a way out, which often only leads to the thoughts becoming even more persistent. Even if you have just explained everything nicely and have been able to calm down - after 10 minutes everything comes back. I have overcome it and am trying to collect everything that has helped me here. 1) The safest way to get rid of obsessive-compulsive thoughts is to ignore them. Easier said than done, I know, but it is. The first time, the first few days are the most difficult, but the further, the easier it is. Usually, every time an obsessive thought occurred to me, I began to reconsider it, panic, look for explanations, calming words. At some point I calmed down, and after 10 minutes it came back. And once, when I managed to overcome the panic, I made a promise to myself that I would no longer ponder these thoughts because the brooding is destructive, makes no sense, and that I can't come up with anything new that makes any sense would. I found a very simple technique on the internet - to say STOP every time I worry. First you can say it out loud, and then, when it becomes a habit - to yourself too. And immediately draw attention to something else. And it helped. Not immediately - at first the brain did not see at all that I was ignoring my thoughts, not getting lost, not looking for explanations, not trying to calm myself down. At the very beginning it is terribly difficult, I felt the tension almost on a physical level - you can imagine a door through which someone wants to break through, and you have leaned with all your strength on the other side of this door and let it go someone not in. And it seems like this someone breaks through, and sometimes he actually breaks in, but you pull yourself together, push him out again and hold the door tight again. And so it goes, and for a long time, it doesn't happen in one day. But after a while you notice that the pressure is easing. Slowly, but he lets go. And when you are full of determination and optimism, it will go away completely. Sometimes, rarely, this other person will look in at you through the window when you are remembering this phase of your life, or something will remind you of it, but you will be sure that you are inside and that someone is outside. While it is still uncomfortable to think about, that someone is now in your past and is no longer related to you. And you'll forget about him in a few minutes. 2) I've already talked about STOP, but in fact, you can choose any word you want. It's mainly about the principle. In the beginning, the word STOP helped me the most, and right after the word STOP I started saying to myself, "This is just your phobia," and then immediately turned my attention to something else. That said, I've focused less on my problem being that the world and the people around me may be unreal, but more on my problem being more obsessive-compulsive thoughts on the subject, and that this is normal and me

I'm not the only one. Roughly speaking, I've shifted the focus of the problem from the content of the obsessive-compulsive thoughts to their very presence. It helped me further distance myself from my fear. 3) E is difficult to resist the thoughts at the beginning, at the beginning you react very aggressively and slightly panic with the STOP word, in order to get rid of bad thoughts for this moment. But over time you have to learn not only to drive away these thoughts and feelings of fear, but also to do them calmly and calmly. Just be aware of when they come and go, and each time say to yourself, “Oh, those thoughts again. Okay, now STOP. "," Oh, that's a feeling of fear, okay. “It is very important not to refer to this as" my thoughts "," my fear "and not identify with it. You have to see it as something that is separate from you, become aware of it for a brief moment - yes, it is there now and attention changes again. Meditation helps a lot to train yourself to do this (more on meditation below!). 4) In the case of tinnitus, when I was fed up with having to focus on all the sounds all the time and any, even the softest and most natural, noise or tone in my ears driving me crazy, I used this technique too, and too tried something new (I think it could work well with all other obsessive thoughts. As I said before, there is always a need to rethink these thoughts a thousand times, to want to prove to yourself that everything is really okay and yourself not even believing that everything is okay, etc. And when you try to ignore all of this and use the STOP word, the brain resists, because it seems to it that it has not yet solved an important problem and is still thinking about something So I promised myself that I only have to manage to ignore my thoughts for 7 days and not give in to the need to brood, but after 7 days I'll be fine allow r very briefly. During these seven days I was able to calm myself down relatively well. Of course, my thoughts didn't go away that quickly, but the difference was palpable. Then I promised myself the same thing for another 7 days, then for two weeks, then for a month ... Well, I didn't even realize that at some point I completely stopped noticing the tinnitus (unless it was for a moment was really loud, but it didn't panic in me at all). IMPORTANT: Of course, I also did something for my health at the same time - started doing sports, drinking a lot, eating right, sleeping more. Don't forget that of course :) 5) I took a light antidepressant for two and a half months, and it took me another month to get off. I think it really helped me and I haven't had any negative experiences with it. I think it was called Cipralex. I don't advertise it, I don't make any promises, but, as I said, only share my experience. If you think, look, it can't go on, if your fear is too strong and persistent - seek help. I'm glad I took medication for a short time. But only with D and thoughts of reality, during the tinnitus I managed it myself. What doesn’t do any harm - strong herbal sedatives :) 6) I have dealt with a lot of things. Learning, working, trying new hobbies, sports, meeting friends, partying, looking for something that I enjoy

power - constantly trying to occupy my head. That is also very important. And often imagined how I would be fine later when this phase of my life is over. About four months after I started struggling with obsessive-compulsive thoughts about reality, I was fine again. With tinnitus it was a little faster. 7) A small post for those who have similar thoughts about reality - basic knowledge of neurobiology helped me. It is impossible to separate neural connections in the brain from consciousness, from the “soul”. These are all material neural connections that are directly influenced by our environment and everything that happens around them. Soul is practically (in my understanding, at least) electrical signals transmitted by neurons. And our neurons, the nerve tissue, originally come from the two cells of our parents that existed before us and our consciousness. I do know, however, that in a state of paranoia you can rethink things endlessly and create new conspiracy theories. Therefore it is important to understand that (in the worst case) you can never prove that the world and others do NOT exist. The same goes for all other thoughts and fears. It is crucial (!!!) to understand that you are currently not in a calm and rational state and that you cannot think completely objectively. Promise to think about it again in six months, for example, if there is still a need at all. Now it would be important to focus on your everyday life. WHAT ELSE IS IMPORTANT! Try everything that could get you out of this state - deal with your health, do sports (swimming! Running! Dancing! Any other sport that brings joy). I know health and exercise are talked about all the time, but they are very, very important indeed. When you take care of yourself, you really feel better. Exercise improves both the state of the body (e.g. the circulatory system, which may be responsible for D) and that of the brain (that's neurobiology!). You will be better. Next - if possible, see a psychotherapist or even a psychiatrist. Sometimes when you get into a difficult situation you need professional help, and it's normal too. For example, a psychiatrist can prescribe something for you to help with D and other symptoms such as anxiety, feeling hopeless (underlining). Don't be afraid - there are also light medications with minimal side effects. As I said, I took an antidepressant myself and it helped. The main thing - you take care of how much and how long you take it. Of course, you can't achieve that much with medication alone, you have to work for it yourself, but medication could make it easier for you.The psychotherapist can teach you techniques and point out ways that will help you get out of it all. Waiting times - that's a big problem, of course, that's true. But I would try it anyway. Have a look on the Internet - there are university outpatient departments in the training institutes, where the waiting times are also shorter than with independent psychotherapists. In my

In that case, I would say that behavior therapy would make the most sense because it focuses primarily on practical problem solving. But you can also get advice, maybe another form of psychotherapy or a combination would be right for you. In any case, there is the possibility that the health insurance company will take over psychotherapy. Feel free to try something like acupuncture or hypnotherapy (if possible, of course). There is a lot of scientific literature and publications on hypnosis and acupuncture - a lot of them work and work well (on the subject of hypnosis - I study psychology myself, and I've had seminars on clinical psychology. And I also worked at a hypnosis congress, there I also took something with me). My main message is - search, search, search if you have to - try something esoteric, Ayurveda, Reiki - why not? The solution can come from absolutely anywhere. Meditation. My favorite subject is meditation. Many people immediately think of something magical - that's not the case. Meditation is a technique and an instrument that is also widely used in clinical psychology. The main principle is mindfulness and focus on something in particular, ignoring all other thoughts and sensations in general. There are so many techniques - you can just focus on your breath, inhale and exhale, or repeat the same mantra to yourself. Check out the internet - there are also visual meditations, meditations that deal with body sensations and so on. What can I recommend from my own experience? First of all, if you speak English more or less well - for example, I can only recommend the “headspace” app (definitely available in the app or Google store). This is a guiding meditation - you will be accompanied by a pleasant voice explaining what you should be doing (and why). The first 10 meditations (10 minutes long) are free, but this is enough to understand how it works. If there is a chance to get a subscription, it would be really cool. The app is already very well done, you could adjust the duration of meditations, there are different focus topics - how you can deal with depression, anxiety, chronic pain, etc. And many more. I myself often meditate with this app - the man has a very calming voice and it is interesting to read about him - how and why he founded this app. Unfortunately, I can't do anything comparable in the German language, but there is probably something similar. What am I doing? I've made it my rule to meditate for about 20 minutes once a day (more - better, of course). Sometimes I just count my breaths and when I get to 10 I start over with 1. For a while I meditated by concentrating on a certain mantra, for a while I imagined how certain parts of the body get warm and spread light. As I said, there are many ways - you will find your own. In any case, it is always easier to start with pre-recorded guiding meditations. Take-home message - meditation makes people calmer and more mindful, it helps to deal with fears and to be able to handle one's own thoughts better, to become aware of the thoughts, emotions and body sensations. I

I would only encourage you to read more about meditation and other mindfulness techniques and mindfulness in general, It is important to understand that changes come with time, but they come and are not only noticeable in everyday life, they are also on the to find neural level. But you need time and discipline, you need to meditate often and regularly. This is the only way you can pump up your muscles in the brain. However, they should be pumped to get you out of their current uncomfortable state and to invest in their mental health in the future. By the way - you can also try something between hypnosis and meditation - self-hypnosis or autogenic training. I haven't tried, but I've heard a lot of good things. Could help :) Another thing from my personal experience - you don't know how everything will be in the future. There is always a way out and there are wonderful moments in every state. You do not know how your future will develop, and it is very possible that it is actually quite good. Changes happen continuously, from day to day, but every day also brings something new to it and can also be different from the day before. You definitely have the power to make your life better. Good luck with it! Everything will pass, and this will pass too, right?