2 years on...

#15

Postby lefttheleaf » Sat Oct 24, 2020 10:21 am

aHairOnStanleysHead wrote:Glad you are doing better! I read your story and it's EXACTLY what I've been going through. Started with an intrusive thought, "kill yourself", I panicked, and it was all down hill from there. Horrible intrusive thoughts about violent things involving my family and sh** that horrified me and caused CONSTANT severe anxiety. Dpdr, depression, intrusive thoughts, sleep problems, feeling like IM LOSING MY MIND. I'm 5.5 months clean after a HEAVY habit like you described. Been terrified and obsessed about schizophrenia, no matter how many professionals tell me I don't have it, it's never enough for my worried mind. I've taken evaluations and everything. I get constant intrusive thoughts themed around schizophrenia. "They're following you", "he's watching you", "she's cheating on you", imagining what schizophrenic "voices" would be like, due to all my constant obsessive reading about schizophrenia. It's gotten better as time goes on but still scary. If you don't mind me asking, what do you mean by anxiety-induced psychosis? Can you describe the experience? I've worried that panic attacks I've had were psychosis but they wore off after a couple hours so I don't think that's what it was? Hope to hear from you! You give me hope that it gets better with time and faith


Hey.

I’ve had that very same experience and ultimately realised that it’s an obsessive compulsive trait - which you have already been able to see. Like you I also sort the advice of professionals and like you I didn’t feel secure in their words either.

One of the things with these obsessive compulsive conditions of thought is that the need ‘to know’ and the need to subtly reinforce what we either are or aren’t is part of the wider problem.

The change for me occurred when I accepted that I had Schizophrenia. I was so worried about it and wouldn’t accept I didn’t so one day I had this moment where I just said to myself that I’m so tired of the worry I may as well just accept it. I then worked through each and every worst case scenario and thought ‘well okay but right now I’m okay too’.

My worst case scenarios were;

- slipping into a state of deep psychosis where I lost touch with reality.
- committing acts of violence against loved ones (intrusive thoughts)
- committing acts of violence against my pets
- being sectioned.
- being drugged into a state where I wasn’t aware.
- being unable to live independently
- being housed in a secure unit because I was too unwell to be anywhere else.

Over the course of a few hours I worked through all of the above in my mind and experienced how it would feel. I lived through it consciously and came to a point where I was so exhausted by the worry that I gave up and said ‘okay; that’s my future’. But I also then just decided to sit quietly and not do anything because also at that point I hadn’t hurt anyone or done anything.

There was thoughts there of all sorts of degrees of stuff, but I was able, like you, to know that I was not the thoughts and that I did not have to react to them and with that there was some space. And I took it one minute at a time. One hour. And then one day at a time.

If I could get through one day without going ‘crazy’ that was great. It was enough. And you know what? Once I accepted the worst case scenarios as a possibility their hold on me began to loosen. It took around a year to really get better but accepting my fear and facing it was the key. And ultimately I saw that I was scared of the thought of what could be as opposed to what was.

The key thing about the deeply sad situation of severe mental imbalance is that there’s very little insight. The fact that we know we’re experiencing these thoughts and phenomena is the key point which shows that we are the watcher and the experiencer. Not the experience.

Thoughts feelings and everything we can perceive are objects that appear in our field of awareness/consciousness. We are the subject of these experiences and have the ability to choose where we place our attention. When we have an intrusive thought we can choose whether to act.

If we are mentally stable enough to grasp and hear that point then there is scope for recovering from wherever we think we might be in terms of our mental health.

Meditation and other practices help us become stronger at acknowledging and accepting upsetting thoughts and feelings. Seeing them for what they are; which is passing phenomenal currents of energy within our mind stuff, and then moving past them without pushing them away or taking them deeper into ourself.

Just letting things be helps us more than I could ever explain. Sitting with what is and not grasping or pushing it away rewires our minds to not get caught in the whirlpools of obsessive thinking.

After accepting that being unwell was an actual possibility and that I was going to face being sectioned I gave up and decided to just get through each and every day as best I could. Instead of reading about anxiety and schizophrenia I read other stuff that I found interesting that didn’t reinforce any thought processes I had gotten into.

If you take a look at websites dedicated to Pure OCD you’ll see that the reading, asking questions, etc is one of the main factors that limit our recovery.

From where you are now I just took it one day at a time. I developed a meditation practice twice a day and with that my mind became more spacious and less constrained around habitual thinking.

I started with the Headspace app which was very nice. But the simple act of zazen or watching the breath come in and out is enough. It’s a subtle but powerful technique and if you’d like to arrange a zoom meet where I can transfer the technique to you then we can organise that.

I hope this helps.

Think less and be here in this moment more.
lefttheleaf
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#16

Postby aHairOnStanleysHead » Wed Oct 28, 2020 2:32 am

Thank you! I'm so happy you replied, not alot of people are still active on here. I'm glad you are doing better, it sounds like the experience taught you a lot. Like I said I'm just under 6 months into this journey, it all started right when my daughter was born, I quit cold turkey after a series of panic attacks. I am going to try to fully commit to meditation more often, I've tried it on and off but I am impatient and "desperate" for relief, so my anxiety has been making it hard to commit to anything. My fears are ALL based around losing control and hurting my family (uncertainly), which is where this fear came in. Because in my right mind I would never do it, so of course my brain gives me fears about not being in the right mind and doing it. I've done WAY too much research on schizophrenia and read so many horror stories about it, it's no wonder I've got such horrible anxiety. Looking back I would've NEVER started researching, but I was scared and wanted answers. No going back though, I need to accept my fears like you've said. I'm continuing therapy, but I've been very hesitant to start medication because I want to fix this. This wasn't me 6 months ago. It just gets so hard some days to "accept" the fear of losing control and harming my baby (intrusive thoughts). It's so hard! Anyway I really appreciate your time. Thank you for getting back to me
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#17

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:31 am

aHairOnStanleysHead wrote:Thank you! I'm so happy you replied, not alot of people are still active on here. I'm glad you are doing better, it sounds like the experience taught you a lot. Like I said I'm just under 6 months into this journey, it all started right when my daughter was born, I quit cold turkey after a series of panic attacks. I am going to try to fully commit to meditation more often, I've tried it on and off but I am impatient and "desperate" for relief, so my anxiety has been making it hard to commit to anything. My fears are ALL based around losing control and hurting my family (uncertainly), which is where this fear came in. Because in my right mind I would never do it, so of course my brain gives me fears about not being in the right mind and doing it. I've done WAY too much research on schizophrenia and read so many horror stories about it, it's no wonder I've got such horrible anxiety. Looking back I would've NEVER started researching, but I was scared and wanted answers. No going back though, I need to accept my fears like you've said. I'm continuing therapy, but I've been very hesitant to start medication because I want to fix this. This wasn't me 6 months ago. It just gets so hard some days to "accept" the fear of losing control and harming my baby (intrusive thoughts). It's so hard! Anyway I really appreciate your time. Thank you for getting back to me


Hi

Buddha once said to his followers;

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

And that’s really all there is to it. Each time you feel your mind moving towards these upsetting thoughts just bring yourself back to Here and Now with one of the many methods. I like to use Vipassana a lot. Moving through the day just noticing the essence of what’s going on.

When we’re aware of upsetting thoughts we can just note them as ‘Thinking’ or ‘thought’ and then move back to ‘breathing’

The rising and the falling of the breath is always there for us. If we anchor ourself in the breath then there’s no space for thoughts.

Because that’s all this is. Thought.
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#18

Postby aHairOnStanleysHead » Wed Oct 28, 2020 6:07 pm

Thank you! If you don't mind me asking, your initial post said you experienced anxiety induced psychosis? Can you describe this experience? Just because like I said, I've been worried that that happened to me as well but I don't know if it was psychosis or just extreme anxiety
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#19

Postby lefttheleaf » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:30 pm

aHairOnStanleysHead wrote:Thank you! If you don't mind me asking, your initial post said you experienced anxiety induced psychosis? Can you describe this experience? Just because like I said, I've been worried that that happened to me as well but I don't know if it was psychosis or just extreme anxiety


I can’t say it would be helpful to go into it as it’ll only make you worry more. Wanting to know and going over and over it is just part of the OCD aspect we go through.

Just relax into it and develop a daily meditation practice. You’ll be okay. Truly.
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#20

Postby aHairOnStanleysHead » Wed Oct 28, 2020 7:51 pm

I get that, I more or less was asking because I want to know whether or not to suggest that it was psychosis to my therapist, they don't think it was but they're not sure. It would just be nice to have a story to give them as an example, but I understand if you don't want to share. I will work on mindfulness
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#21

Postby Cthompson21 » Fri Oct 30, 2020 10:24 pm

@Lefttheleaf many thanks for all your help and encouragement. Meditation is going well. Will update more later. Best to you.
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#22

Postby lefttheleaf » Sat Oct 31, 2020 9:57 am

Cthompson21 wrote:@Lefttheleaf many thanks for all your help and encouragement. Meditation is going well. Will update more later. Best to you.


I’m pleased to hear that. Remember to not expect anything from sitting in silence. It’s good for nothing and really is nothing special. The rewards come in our daily life and after a time we just realise we feel okay.
Keep it up and I can absolutely assure you that you’ll be alright.
Peace.
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