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Worrying and ruminating about a disorder make things worse

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Citizen Insane, Apr 21, 2016.

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  1. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    Hello everyone,

    These are exercises from a book I've been reading:

    "Overcoming depersonalization disorder" ;
    a mindfulness & acceptance guide to conquering feelings of numbness and unreality.

    Feel free to do these exercises or respond to the thread if you wish. I hope they can be helpful in understanding yourself a bit better.

    Most of the exercises are related to depersonalization disorder, so I've rewritten it a little because I feel they could apply to other disorders as well - like depression.
    I myself will do the exercises as well.

    Here's the first exercise for now, more to follow later:

    Exercise 1: How I have tried to solve the problems that I experience with my disorder and how succesful have I been in solving them?

    1. Describe a time when you found yourself worrying about how long your feelings of your disorder might go on. How did worrying affect your experience?

    I found myself worrying and also ruminating about the problems I experienced with depersonalization disorder in 2011 (and still do in 2016). It was during a period of time after the psychosis I experienced in 2010. I was thinking: "These feelings are going to be here forever." - That affected the way I handled myself and my emotions. The feeling I had was absolutely incredible, in a very scary way. I was losing the connection with reality very rapidly, I also thought I was losing the remainder of my sanity.

    Moments of complete mental numbness overwhelmed me; no matter what sort of thought I had in my head it all felt the same to me, emotionally. My mind was traumatized from the extremely frightening psychotic experiences, but I just couldn't not place what was wrong with me. I was living in an unreal world.

    The worst thing was that I did not express these feelings to anyone I knew, I felt so alone. In 2016 I gradually started to learn how and when to express myself more, to prevent the problems and feelings I experience from circulating over and over in my head.

    Worrying about these feelings and wether they may or may not leave my body made things worse in the end. I was so far away from reality, I don't remember much about the things that happened in my environment around me during that time or events in 2011. I was very busy with self-focus in my mind, analyzing each and every thought that my brain produced: "Just to check if it was or wasn't a (psychotic) delusional thought."

    I'll continue on with the next exercise later;
    2. Has thinking about psychological pain you experience, led to any relief or more pain? How succesful have you been in your efforts to solve the problem of your disorder?
    Todd-, JmpMster, Jenumbra and 2 others like this.
  2. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    "Thinking about what you should be doing about the discomfort you're experiencing will often not lead to the solution to that problem."

    To give a personal example:
    Actively trying to search for solutions to chronic headaches that I experience every day will increase my awareness more. I start to feel the pain even more than before and I will not reach the goal of being able to find relief, even if it would be just temporary relief. The pain would be amplified by my over-awareness of it, by thinking about it.

    I would rather be distracting myself from the physical pain, by focusing on places in the body that do not experience that specific type of pain like headaches or sometimes lying down for a nap. Also stimulating the senses in a good way brings the awareness level down again, so that I will not focus too much on the pain, in the form of music usually. Maybe even things like closing the curtains will help in that situation as well, just reducing the amount of incoming information for the eyes in this case will help as well.

    Let's apply this to emotional/psychological pain.

    2. Has thinking about psychological pain you experience, led to any relief or more pain? How succesful have you been in your efforts to solve the problem of your disorder?

    Thinking about psychological pain leads to more pain for me, it increases my awareness of the fact that something in my brain is not like it's "supposed" to be. - I start to live through every thought and the emotions that come with them and then I keep finding more and more evidence that I am sick, ill in my head and that it's not going to go away at all.

    It starts to affect my belief system and my mind starts to think in circles, if you know what I mean:

    I feel bad > must find solution > can't find solution > feel bad about not finding the solution > I feel worse >>> and so on....

    I haven't been succesful I feel, to solve the problem of my disorder in this way.

    So I feel I have to shift my focus on things that I'm still capable of doing "with ease" and comfortably so. No activities that are draining my energy all the time and leave me with more pain, either emotionally or physically. Instead, activities that give me energy are way more preferable and make my attention go elsewhere rather than on the pain I experience.
    Todd- and Freya like this.
  3. JmpMster

    JmpMster Have a question? Message Me Staff Member Forum Owner ADMIN

    Thanks for sharing- very useful information and a good idea for many to consider how it affects their own quality of life....
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