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Old 08-19-2007, 03:26 PM   #1
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Racing thoughts

I'm wondering if anyone knows what the difference is between racing thoughts in bipolar disorder vs. OCD. I frequently have a loud inner voice and I am overly analytical, but it doesn't normally interfere with my life or cause anxiety. I had some problems with mood years ago and I would have these times of agitated ruminating where my thoughts would run through my head very quickly, causing me to feel like there was a massive pressure inside my head. Once I took a bottle of painkillers just to shut them up and landed myself in the ER. After that, I found that alcohol was more effective and safer, so I used that for awhile.

Now I have a child and don't abuse any substances and my mood has stabilized, but about two years ago I started having trouble sleeping because of the racing thoughts in my head. They aren't about anything, it's not an obsessive fixation on one thing, it's just a loud voice that prevents me from sleeping. It definitely triggered anxiety though which made the situation much worse. I find the thoughts/inner dialogue gets worse in times of stress, whether good or bad. Anything that activates my brain, even a great discussion, will get my mind going in loops and it's hard to settle down.

My doctor thinks it's anxiety/depression (she thinks everything is a serotonin deficiency) and keeps trying to prescribe me SSRIs. However, I have been on just about every medication in that class of drugs and they tend to make me wired and super talkative, Cipralex/Lexapro was the only one that didn't, and it also had no effect. I'm wondering if this might not be OCD but something else, and if there is another medication I can ask for that would deal with this symptom as it is interfering alot with my life right now? Thanks!

~MJ

 
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Old 08-20-2007, 07:47 PM   #2
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Re: Racing thoughts

Hey, I constantly have a loud inner dialogue. It's never racing and fast, it's literally like a little guy who won't shut up in my head, talking rubbish. At first I thought I was schizophrenic, but I've come to realize it's just an annoyance. That's all it is. I haven't been diagnosed, my doctor just tries giving me relaxation tapes and leaflets on meditation and tells me it'll go away eventually. But to be honest...I've found alcohol very effective also

I'm not sure what it is. The most I've come to realize is that maybe my (and your) brain just works a little differently to other people. It's not a good thing, because it annoys me like hell, and it's not a bad thing, because I still manage to get stuff done in my life (despite the anxiety caused by the thoughts) So I just consider it nothing. If that's the way my brain is then so be it, because I like who I am regardless of how weird my brain is.

I know this sounds cheesy, but we're all special. The most I can advise is to just roll with it, have fun with it when you can, and when it gets too much just think of how much worse it could be.

I'm sorry if that was no help, but that's all I have to offer.

 
Old 08-20-2007, 09:22 PM   #3
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Re: Racing thoughts

Hi,

Yes, I get these. I cycle somewhat - depression and hypomania - but this includes horrid depressions and periods of frantic activity. When I am in the activity phase, the thoughts do race.

I talked to pdoc about it, and said anxiety alone can cause that.

In any case, my mind will usually just not stop. That inner voice, oh, yes.
Do you hear it as a voice from outside - or just a kind of running commentary in your mind - thoughts, not an actual voice?

Your doc - I saw mine,. she is giving me meds to try and stop, or a least ameliorate these things. Juist because it's "only" anxiety and depression doesn't make it any less of a painful thing. It should be taken seriously and treated.

May I ask what kinds of thoughts they are? Ruminations, creative thoughts?

Keep posting, hope to hear from you.

 
Old 08-21-2007, 06:25 AM   #4
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Re: Racing thoughts

Thanks for the replies.

Staralfur: I agree I feel much better when I just run with it, admit I'm a little crazy and laugh at myself. That's what I'm working on now and it definitely decreases anxiety. Meditation has not worked for me so far but I haven't really given it an honest try either.

Seaturtle: I have also had really bad depression in the past and possible hypomania, definitely SSRI-induced hypomanic symptoms. When I am depressed, I can have racing thoughts that make me feel like I'm going crazy, very agitated, can't sit still. I used to drink to calm them down. Othertimes, I will feel on top of the world, super hyper and sped up. I used to drink to calm this down also, although it usually just made me more reckless. I used to use stimulant drugs back in the day and the best way I can describe the thoughts is that when I'm "up" they're like being high on cocaine or meth, and when I'm "down" they're like coming down from these drugs, very agitated and filled with anxiety, don't want to be anywhere, just want it all to go away. The thoughts can be good or bad, creative or ruminating, or just plain scattered. The voice is definitely my own voice or a running commentary, never felt like it was coming from outside me.

In the last several years I've been more stable due to having a baby (I think pregnancy hormones left some positive changes). During my pregnancy I felt on top of the world, really serene and ecstatic. This feeling continued long after my baby was born, although I started having the racing thoughts when trying to sleep. I was doing the last year of my degree, taking some intense philosophy classes, and totally working myself to the bone, yet feeling good emotionally. It was like my mind was on overdrive, still making connections and editing my papers while I was trying to sleep, so I guess it would be too much creativity. Lately, the voice got really loud again after an emotional encounter with a recent ex-boyfriend, intense feelings of anxiety and depression, and an ongoing debate inside my head as to what to do about the relationship that I wish I could shut up and distract myself from, but it was very consuming. I feel like I'm super sensitive and I get over-stimulated really quickly and don't know how to regulate my thoughts/emotions properly.

Thanks for the help!

 
Old 08-21-2007, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Racing thoughts

Hiya,
Sounds like me. Have you tried a mood stabilizer? I am on Lamictal and it has worked wonders for depressions and the worst of the mood swings. I used to get the depressive cycle for months at a time, now it's usually just a week or so.

Tak good care!

 
Old 08-22-2007, 09:45 PM   #6
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Wink Re: Racing thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by maryjane1980 View Post
I'm wondering if anyone knows what the difference is between racing thoughts in bipolar disorder vs. OCD. I frequently have a loud inner voice and I am overly analytical, but it doesn't normally interfere with my life or cause anxiety. I had some problems with mood years ago and I would have these times of agitated ruminating where my thoughts would run through my head very quickly, causing me to feel like there was a massive pressure inside my head. Once I took a bottle of painkillers just to shut them up and landed myself in the ER. After that, I found that alcohol was more effective and safer, so I used that for awhile.

Now I have a child and don't abuse any substances and my mood has stabilized, but about two years ago I started having trouble sleeping because of the racing thoughts in my head. They aren't about anything, it's not an obsessive fixation on one thing, it's just a loud voice that prevents me from sleeping. It definitely triggered anxiety though which made the situation much worse. I find the thoughts/inner dialogue gets worse in times of stress, whether good or bad. Anything that activates my brain, even a great discussion, will get my mind going in loops and it's hard to settle down.

My doctor thinks it's anxiety/depression (she thinks everything is a serotonin deficiency) and keeps trying to prescribe me SSRIs. However, I have been on just about every medication in that class of drugs and they tend to make me wired and super talkative, Cipralex/Lexapro was the only one that didn't, and it also had no effect. I'm wondering if this might not be OCD but something else, and if there is another medication I can ask for that would deal with this symptom as it is interfering alot with my life right now? Thanks!

~MJ
I have racing thoughts and I hear voices too. My mind race's with OCD thoughts mostly like: wanting to take a shower or not wanting to take a shower. It just drive's me crazy, and after I take a shower, it stop's and I feel alot better. Also when my mind is racing, I get really anxious and I have a hard time concentrating on other things.

I want to know what causes you to have racing thoughts, does anybody know? I am really glad that somebody posted this. Anyway I understand what you are going through, it really helps to talk about it with other people who are going through the same thing.

Are you seeing a Psychiatrist or a Psychologist for this? Just wondering.
I am seeing a Psychiatrist for medication and a Psychologist for therapy on my OCD.

I really hope that you will feel better soon. Keep us updated on how you are doing.

Take good care of yourself!!!!

 
Old 08-23-2007, 07:40 AM   #7
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Re: Racing thoughts

I was on mood stabilizers + Wellbutrin about 5 years ago and it seemed to take some of the symptoms away, although I found too high a dose of Wellbutrin increased my anxiety and paranoia. SSRIs haven't seemed to work in the past and I have a really negative attitude towards them now, which will probably ensure they don't work well in the future either. Ha. I just started seeing a psychologist who specializes in anxiety and does cognitive behavioural therapy, I really like her, so I'm feeling positive about that. She is going to refer me to a psychiatrist and when that happens, I will ask about mood stabilizers. I have not had good history with psych-doctors. I used to journal in order to deal with the thoughts, or use substances, now I think I am just very good at suppressing all my thoughts and emotions. I also book every minute of my schedule so I am always busy doing something, but that has caught up to me and I now have chronic fatigue. TV helps too.

I have definitely realized I am dealing with alot of anxiety and I know that can cause racing thoughts and the obsessive inner dialogue. But I also know that good things such as creativity and engaging in intellectual activites (I was a student for the past several years) can cause the thoughts too, that's why if I wonder if it's more than anxiety. I find being alone with my thoughts can trigger the thinking, so when I was younger, I used to go out alot and party and having nothing to do would cause anxiety and racing thoughts. I know part of treating anxiety is to allow the anxious thought to run its course rather than seeking an escape (which only reinforces the cycle), which is fine when the anxiety is low, but with racing thoughts there is a feeling of not being in control of my mind and it is very consuming. Hopefully my psych will shed some light on this, we're only just starting sessions.

The other day, I was feeling super "up", really elated over positive feelings towards my on-again/off-again boyfriend, then we talked on the phone and he said some things that made me feel a bit sad, so then I felt sped up but very anxious, negative racing thoughts, etc. It was the middle of the afternoon, but on a whim I had a cup of sleepy-time tea (herbal sedatives) and although I struggle with fatigue, it didn't make me tired or sleepy, just calmed me right down. So maybe our brains are just easily over-stimulated, which can cause rebound under-stimulation (depression, fatigue). I know certain mood stabilizers work to increase GABA in the brain which calms over-activity in the brain caused by too much glutamate (another neurotransmitter). Sedatives like Valium also work to increase GABA but by different mechanisms.

More thoughts?

 
Old 08-23-2007, 09:07 PM   #8
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Red face Re: Racing thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by maryjane1980 View Post
I was on mood stabilizers + Wellbutrin about 5 years ago and it seemed to take some of the symptoms away, although I found too high a dose of Wellbutrin increased my anxiety and paranoia. SSRIs haven't seemed to work in the past and I have a really negative attitude towards them now, which will probably ensure they don't work well in the future either. Ha. I just started seeing a psychologist who specializes in anxiety and does cognitive behavioural therapy, I really like her, so I'm feeling positive about that. She is going to refer me to a psychiatrist and when that happens, I will ask about mood stabilizers. I have not had good history with psych-doctors. I used to journal in order to deal with the thoughts, or use substances, now I think I am just very good at suppressing all my thoughts and emotions. I also book every minute of my schedule so I am always busy doing something, but that has caught up to me and I now have chronic fatigue. TV helps too.

I have definitely realized I am dealing with alot of anxiety and I know that can cause racing thoughts and the obsessive inner dialogue. But I also know that good things such as creativity and engaging in intellectual activites (I was a student for the past several years) can cause the thoughts too, that's why if I wonder if it's more than anxiety. I find being alone with my thoughts can trigger the thinking, so when I was younger, I used to go out alot and party and having nothing to do would cause anxiety and racing thoughts. I know part of treating anxiety is to allow the anxious thought to run its course rather than seeking an escape (which only reinforces the cycle), which is fine when the anxiety is low, but with racing thoughts there is a feeling of not being in control of my mind and it is very consuming. Hopefully my psych will shed some light on this, we're only just starting sessions.

The other day, I was feeling super "up", really elated over positive feelings towards my on-again/off-again boyfriend, then we talked on the phone and he said some things that made me feel a bit sad, so then I felt sped up but very anxious, negative racing thoughts, etc. It was the middle of the afternoon, but on a whim I had a cup of sleepy-time tea (herbal sedatives) and although I struggle with fatigue, it didn't make me tired or sleepy, just calmed me right down. So maybe our brains are just easily over-stimulated, which can cause rebound under-stimulation (depression, fatigue). I know certain mood stabilizers work to increase GABA in the brain which calms over-activity in the brain caused by too much glutamate (another neurotransmitter). Sedatives like Valium also work to increase GABA but by different mechanisms.

More thoughts?
MaryJane,

I am really glad that you are seeing a Psychologist for this and that you will be seeing a Psychiatrist too. I was wondering about that. I've heard that having too much anxiety can make you feel fatigue. Maybe that's why you feel that way. I have too much anxiety and I feel fatigue too. Feeling fatigue is really annoying to me, because I don't want to sleep all day. I have things to do.

I have Paranoia too. How often do you hear and see things? Just wondering is all. I still hear voices, but it's been a while since I've seen things are not there. But having OCD and racing thoughts is the worse, my OCD is really
bad. I have a obsession of washing, a little bit germs, checking things, and a little bit of counting too. My OCD is driving me crazy!!!!!! I can't stand it anymore.

Do you have OCD? If so, how bad is it? Just curious is all.

 
Old 08-24-2007, 06:34 AM   #9
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Re: Racing thoughts

I've been wondering lately if my fatigue is due to anxiety, as my family doctor has told me for 2 years. I think it's probably amplified by anxiety, but I don't feel sleepy, I feel like I have the flu and various other symptoms like inability to tolerate exercise, alcohol intolerance, joint and muscle pain, random skin flushing, insomnia (no deep sleep), shortness of breath when doing mild activity....the list goes on and on. It's hard to know whether the fatigue is caused by anxiety, or the fatigue triggered the anxiety that I am already prone to. Personally I think they are two separate but related issues that influence each other.

I don't hear outside voices or see things in the sense that I think you mean. I do sometimes see things out of the corner of my eye, more like perceptual disturbances than hallucinations, like the kind you get when you are really really tired. For example, I'll think I see a bug but when I turn my head to look at it, there's nothing there. I think it's caused by 2 years of non-restorative sleep, but I could be wrong of course. It doesn't cause anxiety or paranoia.

I have not been diagnosed with OCD, or at least so I thought until I saw it on my chart at my family doctor's. To the best of my knowledge, I was never informed about this, or actively treated for it, and my doctor was not forthcoming when I finally asked her about it. Needless to say, I'm looking for a new doctor. I definitely don't have the typical obsessions and compulsions, so I figured she was totally wrong. Then I read some stuff about relationship OCD and "pure-O" OCD that sounded pretty familiar. Actually, I had alot of trouble in a relationship this past year which is what made me finally go back to the psych to figure out what exactly is going on. I definitely seemed to constantly obsess about whether to be with him or not, lots of paranoia and insecurity, terrified of him leaving, and lots of idealization/devaluation. Eventually this would drive me crazy and I'd leave him, which would relieve all the anxiety, at least temporarily, until I'd be so lost without him and miss him terribly, and get back together. Repeat this cycle for a year and you can imagine we're both pretty exhausted and needing some help.

My guess at this point is that it's a mix of some "pure-O" OCD and borderline traits, it has also been suggested to me that I am bipolar II considering the severe depressions I've had plus hypomanic symptoms. Whatever, I try not to define myself by my diagnoses anymore and am of the opinion that we are all messed up to some degree.

 
Old 08-24-2007, 06:17 PM   #10
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Red face Re: Racing thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by maryjane1980 View Post
I've been wondering lately if my fatigue is due to anxiety, as my family doctor has told me for 2 years. I think it's probably amplified by anxiety, but I don't feel sleepy, I feel like I have the flu and various other symptoms like inability to tolerate exercise, alcohol intolerance, joint and muscle pain, random skin flushing, insomnia (no deep sleep), shortness of breath when doing mild activity....the list goes on and on. It's hard to know whether the fatigue is caused by anxiety, or the fatigue triggered the anxiety that I am already prone to. Personally I think they are two separate but related issues that influence each other.

I don't hear outside voices or see things in the sense that I think you mean. I do sometimes see things out of the corner of my eye, more like perceptual disturbances than hallucinations, like the kind you get when you are really really tired. For example, I'll think I see a bug but when I turn my head to look at it, there's nothing there. I think it's caused by 2 years of non-restorative sleep, but I could be wrong of course. It doesn't cause anxiety or paranoia.

I have not been diagnosed with OCD, or at least so I thought until I saw it on my chart at my family doctor's. To the best of my knowledge, I was never informed about this, or actively treated for it, and my doctor was not forthcoming when I finally asked her about it. Needless to say, I'm looking for a new doctor. I definitely don't have the typical obsessions and compulsions, so I figured she was totally wrong. Then I read some stuff about relationship OCD and "pure-O" OCD that sounded pretty familiar. Actually, I had alot of trouble in a relationship this past year which is what made me finally go back to the psych to figure out what exactly is going on. I definitely seemed to constantly obsess about whether to be with him or not, lots of paranoia and insecurity, terrified of him leaving, and lots of idealization/devaluation. Eventually this would drive me crazy and I'd leave him, which would relieve all the anxiety, at least temporarily, until I'd be so lost without him and miss him terribly, and get back together. Repeat this cycle for a year and you can imagine we're both pretty exhausted and needing some help.

My guess at this point is that it's a mix of some "pure-O" OCD and borderline traits, it has also been suggested to me that I am bipolar II considering the severe depressions I've had plus hypomanic symptoms. Whatever, I try not to define myself by my diagnoses anymore and am of the opinion that we are all messed up to some degree.
It's too bad that you and your boyfriend keep on breaking up because of how you feel. That really sucks, I feel really sorry for you. I really hope that your Psychologist and Doctor will help you, that is really important. Also be sure to tell your Psychologist and Doctor everything about how you feel. It's really important.

Do you keep a Journal? Just wondering. You should write down everything about how you feel. I do have a Journal, but I am not very good at keeping it updated. I should write in it more, I need to do that.

I am on medication too, the medication that I am on is called: Geodon and Cymbalta. Taking the right kind of medication help's you feel better.

Anyway I have to go now. I hope that everything is well with you.

Take good care of yourself and keep in touch. Let us all know how you are doing. We all care and understand what you are going through.

 
Old 08-25-2007, 12:28 AM   #11
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Re: Racing thoughts

Have you bveen checked out for fibromyalgia? The lack of sleep and joint pain and your other difficulties sound a bit like it (I have it).

A really good physical recently? Anxiey can cause fatigue, but so can a host of medical conditions. And sometimes, doctors will ignore physical complaints if they know the patient has psychiatric problems.

I hope you can find an answer. That long sleep deprivation doesn't sound like "just" anxiety to me. And if it is, then you should have long ago received proper meds to treat it.

Tke care, and maybe look a bit further for help on this.

 
Old 09-02-2007, 01:29 PM   #12
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Re: Racing thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by staralfur View Post
Hey, I constantly have a loud inner dialogue. It's never racing and fast, it's literally like a little guy who won't shut up in my head, talking rubbish. At first I thought I was schizophrenic, but I've come to realize it's just an annoyance. That's all it is. I haven't been diagnosed, my doctor just tries giving me relaxation tapes and leaflets on meditation and tells me it'll go away eventually. But to be honest...I've found alcohol very effective also

I'm not sure what it is. The most I've come to realize is that maybe my (and your) brain just works a little differently to other people. It's not a good thing, because it annoys me like hell, and it's not a bad thing, because I still manage to get stuff done in my life (despite the anxiety caused by the thoughts) So I just consider it nothing. If that's the way my brain is then so be it, because I like who I am regardless of how weird my brain is.

I know this sounds cheesy, but we're all special. The most I can advise is to just roll with it, have fun with it when you can, and when it gets too much just think of how much worse it could be.

I'm sorry if that was no help, but that's all I have to offer.
Omg this is just like me, i actually thought i was the only one with this. I have a little voice talking **** inside my head all the time, its like, i cant even explain. Gives me **** idea's thoughts and stuff and its like im in a constant battle with it 24/7. Am i schizophrenic? I'm so scared i have been so down because of it lately, it makes me cry and im scared of these thoughts.. can anyone help me. i dont want to be schizophrenic

 
Old 09-02-2007, 02:53 PM   #13
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Re: Racing thoughts

Sometimes when I am stressed I get these times when my thought start racing really bad, just like they are trying to come up with more things to obsess over.
I have also asked myself this, could I also be bipolar, also for other reasons. I have kind of elated hyper high energy times too. But the stress times, yikes... This is what I wrote in my journal earlier this year, because I was stressing (I was leaving, a long trip), trying to pin down the thoughts, trying not to think at the same time because of the fear where my thoughts might lead me:
(there may be some minor changes in the wording because I copied and pasted it from a "book" I tried to write about that time)

"Leaving leaves me anxious, I need a place to hide from myself. I need a mantra just to keep me going from minute to minute. It seems like all the things that could go wrong are just a breath short of crashing down into my world. Like a long ago dream rising again, bubbling, to the surface. This heat that I feel. I feel the blood rush through my veins. My stomach is in knots. I spend too much time inside my head, following trains of thought that had rather be left alone. Sitting there waiting for Food Not Bombs in the evening, after having said good-bye to everybody at the Welcome Center, I hope for somebody to talk to me, to get me out from inside myself, where a tangle of nonsensical fears tries to grab hold of any small speck of peace left somewhere. Like the clouds in the sky, they are clouding me over; like the sharp, biting wind, they hurt as soon as they touch. Like the empty plaza I stare at, my mind tries to stay above panic level. I take out my journal and start writing, writing, writing. It helps.
People walk into my field of vision. I try to shut them out, while I should let them in. And always the birds – they make me think of freedom. And always the wind; it keeps me alert.
I feel like I need to connect to someone lest i decompose, pieces of my world fluttering off like leaves and papers in the evening breeze. Where is my center?
A prayer, I say to myself, I need to hold on to a prayer, center myself around a deep love, a remembrance of peace. See the universe beyond the sky and the hidden worlds inside the smallest things. I need to close my eyes and let the sun warm my face. I need to remember that my world and life go on beyond this place.
But I am afraid of where my thoughts might carry me – somewhere not safe, somewhere dark and scary. It feels like I am walking on broken planks ready to give way so the ground can claim my sanity. I might push myself over the deep end. I need to get out of myself, right now, out of myself."


Kathrin

 
Old 09-10-2007, 12:34 PM   #14
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Re: Racing thoughts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kathrin74;31***23
Sometimes when I am stressed I get these times when my thought start racing really bad, just like they are trying to come up with more things to obsess over.
I have also asked myself this, could I also be bipolar, also for other reasons. I have kind of elated hyper high energy times too. But the stress times, yikes... This is what I wrote in my journal earlier this year, because I was stressing (I was leaving, a long trip), trying to pin down the thoughts, trying not to think at the same time because of the fear where my thoughts might lead me:
(there may be some minor changes in the wording because I copied and pasted it from a "book" I tried to write about that time)

"Leaving leaves me anxious, I need a place to hide from myself. I need a mantra just to keep me going from minute to minute. It seems like all the things that could go wrong are just a breath short of crashing down into my world. Like a long ago dream rising again, bubbling, to the surface. This heat that I feel. I feel the blood rush through my veins. My stomach is in knots. I spend too much time inside my head, following trains of thought that had rather be left alone. Sitting there waiting for Food Not Bombs in the evening, after having said good-bye to everybody at the Welcome Center, I hope for somebody to talk to me, to get me out from inside myself, where a tangle of nonsensical fears tries to grab hold of any small speck of peace left somewhere. Like the clouds in the sky, they are clouding me over; like the sharp, biting wind, they hurt as soon as they touch. Like the empty plaza I stare at, my mind tries to stay above panic level. I take out my journal and start writing, writing, writing. It helps.
People walk into my field of vision. I try to shut them out, while I should let them in. And always the birds – they make me think of freedom. And always the wind; it keeps me alert.
I feel like I need to connect to someone lest i decompose, pieces of my world fluttering off like leaves and papers in the evening breeze. Where is my center?
A prayer, I say to myself, I need to hold on to a prayer, center myself around a deep love, a remembrance of peace. See the universe beyond the sky and the hidden worlds inside the smallest things. I need to close my eyes and let the sun warm my face. I need to remember that my world and life go on beyond this place.
But I am afraid of where my thoughts might carry me – somewhere not safe, somewhere dark and scary. It feels like I am walking on broken planks ready to give way so the ground can claim my sanity. I might push myself over the deep end. I need to get out of myself, right now, out of myself."


Kathrin

 
Old 09-10-2007, 12:35 PM   #15
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Re: Racing thoughts

Have you tried meds they may help with racing thoughts also stay away from caffeine pop coffee extc and stress will cause those too, I have had that and it sucks all you can do is lie down and try to concentrate on something else

 
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