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Dr. L
Dr. L, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1168
Experience:  Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist
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How do I get my mind off of these horrible thoughts

Resolved Question:

How do I get my mind off of these horrible, horrible thoughts, I'm trying everything and have nobody to talk to. I've had these issues before and they scare me so much, about "hurting" my loved ones, only worse. I don't like saying it or discussing it, I fear I've gone completely crazy and don't know what to do.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. L replied 5 years ago.

Dr. Levang :

Hello,

Dr. Levang :

I would like to help you with your question.

Dr. Levang :

I can understand the sense of fear you have when your thoughts trouble you and scare you.

Dr. Levang :

While it may be embarrassing or even difficult to talk about, I am here to listen and to help you sort this out.

Dr. Levang :

It's unlikely that you have gone completely crazy or you would not have been able to reach out on this website.

Dr. Levang :

The things you have tried all sound like good coping strategies. Good for you to think of these things!

Dr. Levang :

I am available to chat.

Customer:

Thank you

Dr. Levang :

You are very welcome.

Dr. Levang :

Tell me, if you can, a little more about these horrible thoughts.

Dr. Levang :

I've been a clinical psychologist for 30 years and so nothing you say will shock or horrify me.

Customer:

I'm just really scared and hate bothering people with my problems, but when I started getting these thoughts about 4 years ago when out of no where the thought of hurting my mom came in to play. It scared me so much I didn't tell her for days

Dr. Levang :

Okay. And when you told her what happened? What did she say?

Dr. Levang :

Did you see a psychologist or physician to help you and your mom understand where these thoughts came from and try to manage them?

Customer:

She got me to see a therapist of sorts, I guess, he would come to my school and talk to me about things, but then I went to another therapist, one that could prescribe medication for me and he put me on half a tablet of zoloft and it seemingly worked for me. My mom went through something similar with my sister only she was suicidal so I guess not to the length she had to go through with me.

Dr. Levang :

And are you still taking zoloft? And are you still seeing a therapist?

Customer:

i went off of it for probably a year or over a year. but i just went back on it a few days ago hoping it would help me again. i don't see any therapists anymore, i didnt feel i needed help anymore because i really was happy and was able to keep my mind away from everything horrible.

Dr. Levang :

So it seems to me that you have a good plan. Getting back on the medication will help with the horrible thoughts. It will take a bit of time for it to get working in your system...so please be patient with that. However, if these horrible thoughts continue, or get worse, please let your mother know so that you can get back into the doctor right away. They will be able to help. Also...and this is vitally important, if you begin to feel suicidal or begin to have thoughts that you will hurt someone...you will need to be seen right away.

Dr. Levang :

Are you having those kinds of thoughts right now?

Customer:

Yes, they started a few days ago, I let my mom know anytime it happens but she doesn't know what to do to help me other than find therapists to take me in when their office is open. I know I'm a good person, I hate violence so I don't know why my brain does what it does and pretty much ruins my life.

Dr. Levang :

When you have those thoughts of hurting yourself or others you need to see the physician who wrote the prescription right away. If that is after hours, then I encourage you to go to an urgent care of emergency room. You are not making those thoughts happen...it is the medication. Sometimes it takes times for the medication to start working and in the meantime people can and do have this type of side-effect. It is particularly common in children and adolescents.

Dr. Levang :

Please tell your mom about this. If she wants to check back with me, she is welcome to do that. She can also call the physician's office in the morning and speak to them about this or call 911.

Dr. Levang :

Yes..you are a good person. This is about your brain not functioning properly. It is not about you as a person.

Dr. Levang :

Do you understand what I am saying?

Dr. Levang :

This is what we call a brain disease. Medication together with therapy is the best treatment.

Dr. Levang :

I am sorry you are feeling this way. It is very unpleasant and scary. Please know that once the medication starts working, you will feel much better.

Customer:

Yes, first thing in the morning, if I can hold off that long, I want her to help me find a therapist similar who put me on the Zoloft, I believe he retired last year or is going this year, so I'm going to have to find someone else. I just wish there were ways for me to get my mind off of it, because for sure if my mind is wandering elsewhere and I'm happy, the thoughts are gone, I guess obviously. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX hoping it will start working again soon, I've taken it for a few days now waiting for it to work.

Dr. Levang :

Are you alone right now...or is your mom home or other family member? I have a few suggestions to get your mind off this and to help you feel better.

Customer:

My mom is home but I'm trying to calm myself down and not bother her since she has work early in the morning, I don't like bothering her even though I have to sometimes.

Dr. Levang :

I understand your point. But...don't you think your mom would rather now that you are having a difficult time...than not know?

Dr. Levang :

She's your mom...she wants the best for you...she would want to be helpful and take care of you.

Customer:

She is aware I can you tell you that, I've been battling with this for the past few hours since something triggered it earlier in the afternoon, and she mentioned taking me to this hospital mental-help ward but I'm afraid to go there.

Dr. Levang :

Okay.

Dr. Levang :

So let's look at a few things you can do right now to calm yourself down and to shake these feelings. Okay?

Customer:

okay

Dr. Levang :

I would like to teach you a way of breathing that very quickly stops the anxiety and panicky feelings. It's like right now you have your foot on the gas pedal of a car and you are speeding very fast. What I want to teach you is how to put the break on. Does this make sense?

Customer:

yes

Dr. Levang :

Okay.

Dr. Levang :

so to begin.

Dr. Levang :

Imagine that you have a tube going from your nose down to that little v spot in your neck...just under your chin. Can you feel that soft spot?

Customer:

yes

Dr. Levang :

Ok.

Dr. Levang :

so now I want you to take 4 breaths or so. In and out through your nose to the bottom of that tube. Okay?

Customer:

okay

Dr. Levang :

Now...I want you to imagine that the tube goes down to just under your ribs. If you put a hand in the center of your chest, just under your ribs you will find a soft spot. Can you find that spot?

Customer:

yeah

Dr. Levang :

Okay. This time I want you to breath in and out your nose to this point. Down the tube all the way to the bottom where your hand is sitting in that soft spot.

Dr. Levang :

Did you notice that the first time you were breathing, you didn't get very much air. It was more like panting...like a dog does.

Customer:

yeah

Dr. Levang :

This is what we do when we are anxious or upset or fearful. We pant and don't get very much air. Because we are not getting air, we can't relax very well...and also we can't think very well. Our brain needs oxygen to work properly. In fact, about 1/3 of the oxygen we take in is used to make our brain function properly.

Dr. Levang :

Then this 2nd time, you got a little more air.

Dr. Levang :

Now, I want you to put your hand on your belly button and to imagine that the tube goes down to that point.

Dr. Levang :

Again...take in about 4 good breaths.

Customer:

okay

Dr. Levang :

So you got a little more air...right?

Dr. Levang :

Now I want you to imagine that the tube goes all the way down to your pelvic floor - that is, all the way to the very bottom of your chest.

Customer:

yeah

Dr. Levang :

Again...breath in.

Dr. Levang :

And now I want you to put your hands on your back - right behind your belly button. And then I want you to breathe again...but this time breath all the way down and push that air to the back so that you can feel the air pushing against your hands.

Dr. Levang :

Can you do this?

Customer:

okay

Dr. Levang :

When you breathe this deeply and this fully, it's like putting the brakes on your feelings. It slows down your emotions by bringing air into your body.

Dr. Levang :

Are you feeling any calmer?

Customer:

i am, actually

Dr. Levang :

When you do this in the future...you don't need to go through all those steps. That was just to help you tell the difference between the different ways we breathe when we are scared or upset. So...from now on when you feel anxious or panicky...breathe deeply and imagine that tube and how you need to take the air all the way down - not just part way - but all the way down.

Dr. Levang :

Let me tell you about one more way to get calm.

Customer:

okay

Dr. Levang :

One of the best ways I know to calm yourself down is to get a blanket or towel and to wrap yourself up in it fairly tightly. It helps if you can put the towel or blanket in the dryer to heat it up just a bit. Then wrap yourself snuggly in it and think about all the people that love and care about you...imagine they are there holding that blanket in place for you and saying calming and loving things to you.

Dr. Levang :

I also really like what you are doing by watching a funny movie or video or putting yourself in a happy place. You might also consider doing a crossword puzzle, suduko, a card game..or something which forces you to concentrate. Distracting yourself is a good coping strategy.

Dr. Levang :

How does all this sound?

Customer:

okay, I will try my best, XXXXX XXXXX need something to keep my mind off of it, I just need to be distracted. thank you

Dr. Levang :

You are very welcome.

Dr. Levang :

Is there anything else I can help you with tonight?

Customer:

I'm not sure, I'm going to try and find things to do, possibly attempt going to sleep, try and get back to how I normally am. But thank you, XXXXX XXXXX got really desperate this time of night to find help, I'm glad I found this.

Dr. Levang :

I am very glad I could be of some help.

Dr. Levang :

Please know that you are on the right track...the meds will take some time to "kick - in " but they will work.

Dr. Levang :

Take care.

Dr. Levang :

Let me know if I can help you in the future.

Dr. L and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you