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The Bad Thoughts Won’t Stop

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I think this fits under dysregulation…

The bad thoughts won’t stop.

Lots of ways in which I hate myself.

You are fat.
You are ugly.
You are toxic.
Everyone hates you.
You deserve to be alone.
You should just die, nobody would care.
…..and so on.

I knew if the obsessions became bad again that I would need to start my meds again. They give me side effects so it’s something I need to be watchful of. I started back on them a week ago and I think they are helping a little bit. But again, it’s a low dose and my old therapeutic dose was 6 times higher.

I have a social worker who is a support person and she helps me somewhat, but she’s not a therapist, so her help is limited.

My actual therapist? Sigh. Canceled because of thanksgiving (nobody’s fault). Then canceled 30 minutes in advance because she had a meeting (her fault). Then I accidentally slept through my next appointment (my fault). And THEN we had snow (nobody’s fault). Funny how I’m getting the “do a no show again and you’ll be terminated” letter when she’s the one who cancels on me at least once a month, and since my slot is at 8am, I get almost no notice. Plus, her idea of help is to tell someone to not think about it or talk about it. Yeah, that really works with obsessive thinking. <rolls eyes>

All I do is try to keep busy, but I can’t rely on this forever. I need other skills to help me. Does anyone have any advice? Any good books to read that deal with managing obsessive thoughts?

Thank you.
Hey Eve,

What kind of obsessions are you having? Are they all around self-hate? I’ve had obsessions in the past, due to a tidal wave of fear. I’d obsess about my partner being sexual with past partners and I tried a variety of ways to escape it. So my situation isn’t the exact same as yours but here is my experience.

Some things I tried were to avoid partners who simply ignited my anxiety (due to something possibly untrustworthy in them) build emotional intimacy with my partner, ask a limited amount of questions about her history and to do inner child work with a therapist. I had to see what was driving the fear and also respect the fear. What I mean is that something’s I obsess about could seem ridiculous to someone else but if I invalidate it it only gets worse.

Also in a non triggered state I do some meditation and some prayer too. And I journal and am part of a few 12 step groups. My goal is to get my childhood issues and security issues worked out enough that I have the tools to respond when stuff comes up.
The bad thoughts won’t stop.

Lots of ways in which I hate myself.

You are fat.
You are ugly.
You are toxic.
Everyone hates you.
You deserve to be alone.
You should just die, nobody would care.
This may or may not be helpful. Take what is and ignore the rest!

So, when you say your thoughts are obsessive, like...how obsessive? Every day? Many times every day? Whenever you are not busy? And are they intrusive or do they follow something? Like...looking in the mirror and thinking "I'm fat?"

I have had both intrusive thoughts like this (although most of those are surrounding death) AND the other kind. Busyness is the only thing that has ever helped the thoughts of death, but I've done two things about the others. For constant intrusive thoughts, I use(d) mindfulness. My therapist is a Zen monk/priest and also trained in mindfulness and psychology. It took me awhile to learn and a LOT of practice, but the intrusive thoughts are mostly gone.

Plus, her idea of help is to tell someone to not think about it or talk about it. Yeah, that really works with obsessive thinking. <rolls eyes>
So, I disagree with this, but maybe she knows more about how your thoughts are. For me, though, *focusing* on the thoughts I'm bothered by and really analyzing them is what has helped me.

I have the "I am so f*cking* fat and not good for anything" thoughts a LOT. Like several times every day. So I've started to do something like:

Me: I'm so fat.
Other me: Yeah...so what? I mean, really, what does it matter?

Responses after this can vary. Like...

Me: I'm so fat no one will love me.
Other me: Well that's not true. You were in a relationship that did work for a while, and he didn't care at all what you looked like.
Me: I'm so fat I'll probably die soon.
Other me: Ok, that's possibly true. So what the f*ck can you do about it?
Me: I'm so fat, and I hate myself for it.
Other me: Again, so what are you going to do about it?

My conversations with myself are often longer, but what I find is that it is absolutely possible to challenge those thought and get to a point where, even if I still say them, they are fewer and far between, and I can often shrug them off.

I also have the "everyone hates me" thought. My other me is like, "Seriously? Think about that for a minute." And then I realize that the all or nothing thinking is a cop out. It gets me off the hook for actually doing something about some of my thoughts OR it allows me to feel sorry for myself, which is...to be honest...in the short-run, just easier.

Sorry you are also dealing with this!
among many other coping tools, i like browsing the indexes of meditation readers to balance my intrusive thoughts. typically, when i am drowning in intrusive thoughts, i don't have enough focus to read an entire book and the meditation readers give me single page snippets on whatever theme the intrusive thoughts are playing in any one spin of the not-so-merry-go-round. for a list similar to the one you posted here, i might look up, "self-______."

steadying support while you find what works for you. self-loathing is one mean demon to tame. be gentle with yourself and patient with the process.
I've found books on acceptance and commitment therapy helpful, specifically when they teach you to 'unhook' your mind from unhelpful thoughts and refocus your attention on something that is in line with your values.
Russ Harris books are very easy to read he has a few. And the dtopping anchor exercises you can get free from here, I have em downloaded on to my phone so I can listen whenever I need em.

Listen to the longest drop anchor exercise when you're having a tough time, and regularly

Just to add, am feeling toxic myself, it's really hard not having much in the way of frirnds and family.

Best wishes
I need other skills to help me. Does anyone have any advice?
- Assume the Premise & Flipping the list.

Assuming the premise means I don’t actually attempt to argue wih myself, or use cognitive distortions and core belief skills, or reality check, or anything else. Instead I look at the problem as if it’s a very real thing (it may or may not be), and flip it around to make it a goals list.

For me it’s very very important to not just say “not fat”… but seriously look at what I want. (And, yes, that IS “not fat” 😉) But specifically? What I want is to be strong, lithe, fit, skilled, & sexy as hell. And THAT list??? Has very real steps to take, with dozens of things to do daily to be building the body I actually want. Happy, awesome, amazingly fun things. That take the edge off the loooong term f*cking difficult aspects that need more money, more time, more stamina, more of anything that I do not have right now, and will not (likely) have for some time.

It also trains my mind to be actively seeking/employing solutions, rather than shredding myself with my problems.

- Arguing With Myself

No one on the planet is better at arguing with me, than me. Because I know myself, the chinks in my armor, what exictes me, what shuts me down, what I’m not willing to listen to &/or blow off as bullshit, my hopes/fears, etc.

My absolute favorite book for this is 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, and whilst there’s durn good info throughout, very specifically trying to find the win/win solution, and conflict resolution.

- Cognitive Distortions & Core Beliefs

Not everything I’m beating myself up about is going to be a distortion, nor be a core belief. Some things will have aspects. Some will be flat out f*cked up thinking with little to no basis in reality. No matter where XYZ falls on the spectrum? The skills used translate all over the durn place.

MOOD Management

MOOD is a mnemonic for helping people remember their mood altering framework. Construct a table with the following as headers:
  • Monitor mood
  • Observe thinking
  • Objective thinking
  • Decide what to do
The questions that assist you in documenting your mood (first column) for review are:
  • What am I feeling?
  • What mood am I in?
  • What effect is my mood having on others?
  • etc etc... think laterally.
The easiest question to ask yourself to fill in the second column (observe thinking) is, "what have I been saying to myself to feel the way I do?". Answer that honestly, and record your answer in the second column. This is generally the area of most concern as you may not be capable of identifying the actual appropriate thought, however; sometimes the thoughts that are causing the problem could be more at the edge of awareness, ie. a day dream, upcoming event, an anniversary of event, etc. These thoughts are just as relevant, though often harder to identify. If troubled, discuss this on the forum for feedback, as something someone else says might just identify the actual thought for you.

The third column is asking you to be objective in your thinking style, which in essence could be a problem, so you may require others opinions to help you with this. Appropriate questions could be:
  • How true is it?
  • How useful is this way of thinking?
  • Would others be looking at this in a different way? (ask others)
  • etc etc...
The fourth column is about you now putting into practice your more objective way of thinking.

- Music As A Tool / Art Evokes Emotion

There are a lot of times where words can just f*ck right off. If I’m not in a headspace to find solutions, argue with myself, reality check, etc. It’s all just too thinky. So I shift gears and use music, art, animals, for background emotional monitoring and regulation. What music I’m listening to? Matters. As does the rest. Find what speaks to me where I want to be, and lean hard into that.

- Never A Complete List

I have a lot of disorder specific tools I use in addition to my PTSD bag’o’tricks (like sensory overload, to get a break from overactive senses), caffeine to calm down / soothe / get a clearer picture in the static) are a few ADHD things; disordered eating tricks = meal replacement shakes + hedonistic food choices to make sure my body is getting what it needs, whilst priming desire / enjoyment / “mindfulness type” awareness + future planning; a few other things. PTSD, ADHD, ED, Personality driven, Life things.

Because when somehing is coming from multiple areas, or being made worse by multiple areas? It just makes sense to hit it from every angle. If I want to find any real traction.
Thank you for the replies.

I’m not going to respond individually as I don’t want to come across as argumentative, which I have a history of doing. (Which is why I don’t really respond to my own posts anymore.) (I can’t answer the questions without agreeing to everything.)

But I want to say thanks to those who responded.
The thoughts just keep getting worse and worse. The meds were helping I think but now they are not so much. I feel like I need to talk and I don’t have anyone to talk to. The thoughts about myself are bad, now leaning towards being a failure as I made so much less money this year than last. The mind loops about my group therapy situation are bad, too. I keep getting told that I just shouldn’t worry about it BUT MY MIND WONT STOP! It’s a situation where the leaders won’t give me support in regards to a man who won’t leave me alone. This is the second incident ie last time was pre-pandemic and lasted months. This time it started in July and I stopped going by the beginning of November because it never stopped. I have been told that my access to therapy will be restricted if I complain again. Well I’m not going anyway so I decided to just bite the bullet and file the complaint. It’s a big statewide organization so I’m demanding it be escalated beyond our location as I’m not going to be brushed off again. But OMG can you SEE my thoughts? I just want my brain to calm down. 😩
So I went to Amazon and bought 2 books on obsessive thoughts. One has a release date next week but it’s somehow available now. I bought it and another book as well and the author is actually in the huge hospital system I’m going to write a complaint about so let’s hope his book is a much better experience! (It had good reviews). The first one didn’t have any reviews but I’m going to take a chance on it as it uses ACT. the best part is that it’s delivered TONIGHT! Yay! Amazon is still pushing out delivery dates on almost everything else on their site by a week.
What are the books called? Wouldn't mind looking them up. Hope they help you.

I've been stuck in a bad head space a fair bit recently. Yesterday getting out for a walk helped a little aa did doing dropping anchor. I heard somewhere recently someone saying move to change state.

Ok I found it, putting here in case any of it is helpful.

Anyway, wish you well with figuring out what works for you
My brain loops like that after I get triggered as well. And I also have (had) a therapist who shuts it down, which doesn't help and just drives it inside, although I'm sure it's how they're trained. I think there's a difference between rumination and these acute spirals.

I too have a minimal support network, but for those lucky enough to have one, I find processing with a friend helps, then I can move on. Since I don't often have that option I journal the feelings and then try to move or do something else. It's not great, but it's better. And it has the benefit that I can look back on my entries and see the looping patterns, which helps add an "observer" perspective.
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