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Lastlighthouse 12-21-2011 02:44 AM

Drowning out the Negative Thoughts
 
When suffering from deep bipolar depression the worst aspect for me is the constant negative thoughts and fears, and Iíd be grateful for any advice on how to mute them.

Iím not the kind of person who responds to any kind of therapy, and relaxation or meditation techniques are also quite useless for me.

Last year was exceptionally bad for me due to a temporary reduction in lithium dosage. When Iím down I find that being with people is even worse than the rumination, so I withdrew completely socially, as usual, and spent almost six months playing Morrowind, Oblivion etc. This was the only way I could drown out the thoughts, but the moment I stopped playing they would crowd back in again and torment me.

So the only thing Iíve discovered is distraction, and Skyrimís on the way, but I donít want to spend half of every year playing RPG games that Iím not even interested in when Iím up, so Iíd love to hear of anything else that works to engage the mind on that level and stops the rumination.

Lucky Lucy 12-21-2011 01:23 PM

Re: Drowning out the Negative Thoughts
 
hi there, i know exactley what you mean. When im depressed, i hate being around people, or in public, i feel awkward, like even when i talk, my voice sounds funny to me. or if im in a store, i feel like everyone is looking at me.

i have been able to over come it but still happens a lot. you are not going to like my answer. You have to FORCE yourself, to do things. Make yourself go out for dinner, or the mall, and i know it will be horrible at the time, and you will feel so weird and uncomfortable, but after, you will feel better, and being social, comes easier and easier. Only you can help you..

I had to FORCE myself to go to the grocery store for shampoo this morning, i was uncomfortable the whole time, but i feel a little better now, becuase i did it!!!!!!

remember the laws of attractions, positive things, produce positive results. sometimes, i repeat, today is a good day, im going to be happy, out loud, over and over to myself. Drown the negative thoughts with positive thoughts. You have to beat them!

Lastlighthouse 12-22-2011 11:51 PM

Re: Drowning out the Negative Thoughts
 
Hi Lucy,

Many thanks for taking the time to let me know what works for you, but I have a different kind of problem and I should have given more details.

Before lithium, many years ago, I was very sociable, but not any more. I now find socialising in public pointless, even when Iím up, and gave it up in favour of doing things I love when Iím on my own. I suddenly realised that I couldnít compromise anymore. I didnít want to tell the polite lies that are necessary to keep a good dinner party going. I realised that I didnít even like most of the people I socialised with, unless Iíd had a few drinks. Iím older now and happy to live alone. I only see my closest friends when Iím up, and never in groups. Relationships donít interest me any more. I never wanted to give up my independence in order to stay with one person. I tried once and it was a disaster.

So I donít actually want to socialise at all. Ever. I donít worry about what people think of me as no one seems to notice me at all when Iím out in public. The kind of negative thoughts I have are not about myself, but about other people. I think we live in a really horrible world where weíre all out for what we can get and lying to each other 95% of the time, especially in relationships, and that everyoneís pretending to be happy when theyíre not. I think this when Iím up as well as down, but only obsess about it when Iím down.

Now these could be negative thoughts, or they could be true, and thereís no way to really know for sure.

But staying away from people is my way of surviving. As long as Iím left in peace I feel so much calmer, yet the advice is always to get out there and socialise. But why should I when even a trip to the shops can end up making me feel terrible? Even the most ordinary things people say in overheard conversations on buses can really upset me for days. If I see someone treating their child badly in a supermarket it can make me cry and I replay the event in my mind for weeks after.

I donít even see my friends when Iím down as I canít handle their lack of comprehension and the guilt I feel when they blame themselves because they canít Ďcheer me upí. Iím also acutely aware of the fact that Iím not the friend they know, and talking about things makes me feel worse, not better.

But I donít obsess about myself. I know I have an illness I inherited and that itís biochemically-based, so I donít blame myself for the way it makes me feel. I like the person I am when Iím not depressed. I donít identify with the view that itís an illness I Ďhaveí because I believe that I Ďamí bipolar, and without the disorder I would not have a self at all. I tried to fight against that for so many years, but have finally found peace in accepting what I can never change.

So Lucy, I think that if youíre a naturally sociable person it must help to force yourself to get out there and find that things are not so bad as they seem, and thatís great advice you offered, but for someone like me, who is so easily hurt by the way most people behave, it can only make things worse to get closer to the source of the pain more often.

Iíve tried positive thinking without success, and am irrevocably scientific, so I canít get my head around the laws of attraction (though one of my best friends swears they work).

I have to go to the shops this morning. Just one shop. Going through the back lanes with my earphones in. Hoping I wonít meet anyone I know. Hoping I donít see an animal dead in the road. Thinking of nothing except how good it will feel when I can close my door behind me again.

But even at home the negative thoughts donít stop. Imagining arguments I could have had with people (I never do in real life) asking myself whatís the point of recycling when big business is polluting the world anyway, thinking of a single sparrow I saw killed by a speeding motorist ten years ago, or an incident of child or animal cruelty from way back, imagining what Iíd like to do to people who act like that, thinking of how I donít know one single good relationship yet everyoneís pretending things are fine, obsessing about the greed and materialism in this world, thinking of people spending so much money on meaningless things Christmas when kids are starving to death in other countries.

Those are the kinds of negative thoughts that crowd in on my mind 24/7 when Iím down (unless I use distraction techniques like RPG games), and no matter how hard I try I canít think up enough positive thoughts to counteract them because I know that thereís so much truth in them and that the only way Ďnormalí people survive is pretending that so much isnít really happening. Denial. So it feels as if depressed people are seeing the world far more clearly and realistically than most other people, and maybe thatís why no one wants to be around someone whoís Ďdepressingí. How could anyone really be happy in a world like this if they had to accept whatís really going on?

So maybe thatís what I need. A Ďdenial pillí.

beedee1957 01-21-2012 09:07 PM

Re: Drowning out the Negative Thoughts
 
I have a similar problem to some of the issues in this thread. Much of my depression and insecurity is caused or begins with negative thoughts. One would hit me and then came the onlslaught that started me to spiral downward. Pretty soon I was a mess. I've been on Lactimal and was recently prescribed Cymbalta to help slow me down b/c Geodon and Latuda were making me feel drugged in the morning. Saphris was a total disaster. Worst I've ever felt. Just lately, I've been finding it easier to recognize the thoughts that cause me to take a nose dive, catch them, and begin thinking about something positive. My wife used to tell me, "think happy thoughts," and I would become angry thinking it was a "Pollyanna" attitude. Now the idea doesn't sound so bad. I'm not perfect and when I around my co-workers that I often perceive as enjoying saying things that make me feel like crap. When this starts, I try to quickly find a way to leave. I'm around high school kids all the time. I tend to read into their expressions too much. I think, "they hate me," and really they probably don't its just the negative thoughts creeping in. The thoughts use any and every opportunity to take me down if I let them. Maybe its just easier for me. Maybe the bottoms going to drop out any day now and life will feel like crap again. I hope not.

Anyone else feel this way?

joenojunk 01-26-2012 01:16 PM

Re: Drowning out the Negative Thoughts
 
MY BP Depressions and NEG thoughts can be a challenge at times. It can be quite a choir just to get out the door. I had a friend that also has been BP for years and would practice Positive Affirmations with me ...The affirmations have helped me.
I.E. "I"m Its going to be okay" and "this mood will not last forever."
Isolation is bad for myself and has made the depressions worse, and the Negative
thoughts are at time very hard to get under control. I try to replace
the NEG Thought with a Positive thought. Also if I concentrate on a Negative Thoughts
I tend to Invite more Negative actions.

Nneekers 09-15-2014 05:22 PM

Re: Drowning out the Negative Thoughts
 
I too have obsessive negative thoughts. A stray thought passing through my brain gets stuck and fixated on, until I've played out a complete scenario of something that will probably never happen. A useless, pointless scenario that now replays in my head over and over again to torment me. Most of the time my obsessive negative thoughts revolve around animal abuse, human abuse, the inevitable death of my pet, my own death (in general), bad conversations with acquaintances and 'friends' that will never happen, and thinking that 'reality' is not real. Every time I end up crying, because every scenario played out in my head always ends in disaster. I don't try to think these things, they just happen, without warning.
Distractions help. But I've found that physical distractions (in my case) are bad. Let me explain:
When i'm doing something with my hands or whatever (cleaning, driving, cooking, cleaning up the yard, knitting) I'm not using my BRAIN. That's where the negative thoughts are, not in my hands, my BRAIN.:dizzy:
So I've tried more recently to keep my MIND busy. Turn on some happy music, brainstorm and idea, read a book, write a book, play games (Sims in my case), make lists of things I enjoy (blueberry muffin top cereal, pajamas, anime, coffee). Just THINK. But control your thinking to one specific thing. Like listening to a song, and concentrating on every different sound you hear, and imagining what the sound looks like in pictures. (I know I'm weird) I'm not saying 'think happy thoughts!' i'm saying, focus on thinking specific things so that negative thoughts don't get stuck.

none of these 'keep your mind busy' things interest me. But when I do them anyway, it helps.
Those who suffer mental illnesses often excel in other areas, like being creative or being a genius! (i guess that's the silver lining) I try to get some good use out of my bipolar disorder. When I'm down, that is usually when I write the best and draw the best.
This is what has helped me, if it doesn't help you, that's ok (thank you for reading)


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