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Heidi LPC
Heidi LPC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 278
Experience:  Licensed Professional Counselor
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Worried about my mental health.

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So I'm 19 and I've been having a pretty rough couple days. I see a pshychatrist regularly, and he has told me what I have been going through is just Anxiety/OCD and that I need to change my thinking patterns. I havn't been able to accept that, I am always searching my symptoms online and convincing myself that I either am Bi Polar, or have Schizophrenia. Even though I know I dont.. I do not hear or see things, and I've been worrying that I have been going to for months. And for Bi Polar, I know I am not because as soon as I stop thinking about these thoughts I feel much better and get spurts of happiness. The main symptoms I suffer from are Derealization & Depersonalization. These sensations feel so weird, and make everything around me look forign and unreal, and also make me feel like I'm loosing tocuh with reality. They scare me SO much. It's the weirdest sensation, I can't even explain it. They get better when my Anxiety goes down, but when I have major Anxiety I feel completely trapped in my own mind, In a brain fog, and I especially feel like when this happens that I am going to completely loose it and go crazy. The sensations frustrate & upset me.. But I have heard I just need to accept them for them to move on. As I write this, I feel so emotionless. Just blah. I feel down in the dumps and dont feel like doing anything at all. For the last 24 hours I have felt like I'm going crazy and about to loose it at any second. I know that this is a classic symptom of Anxiety, but it feels so real. These sensations bring me down completely, but I know if I could just change my thought pattern I would feel much better. I just can't accept that this is "just" Anxiety..


Heidi LPC :

Hi there! I can feel your frustration in your question, and I wonder a few things; maybe you can fill me in on the answers first and then I can offer my thoughts? First: what type of treatment were you getting with the psychiatrist? Have you tried CBT (cognitive-behavior therapy)? Or did he prescribe any medications? Also, have you had a full physical; for instance, is there anything about how you feel that would suggest something physical, like seizures or such? And last, have you suffered any trauma/abuse/etc. in your past? Once you share more information, I will check back and offer some ideas... :-) Looking forward to hearing back from you!!


 


 

Heidi LPC :

p.s... I will be on and offline throughout the evening; if I don't answer right away tonight, I will get back to you as soon as I can tomorrow!! Thank you for your question!

Customer:

I am going to try CBT very soon, but right now I am becoming very busy as school is starting & also very busy at work. I have had a full physical. Acctually, before all these worries about my mental health started, I was worrying about my heart & that I would have a heart attack. Thankfully, those fears passed but left me with other fears as I have stated before. I have not suffered from any abuse/trauma in my life. Although, my mother has OCD ( I am adopted, not related to her ) and it has been pretty hard living with her throughout my life because of the way she acts, it's upsetting sometimes.

The psychiatrist I am currently seeing, has known me pretty much my entire life. My mom used to work for him back in the day. My parents, friends, and also psychiatrist of course, are pretty certain that what I am going through is nothing more than my mind creating these thoughts and me reacting to them. I have been told that in order for these weird sensations to go away, I shouldn't react to them.. But it's kinda hard not too, haha.


 

Customer:

 


 

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Heidi LPC :

Ok... I see what you are saying. Are you taking any anti-anxiety meds at the moment?


 


 


 


 

Customer:

Nope, I am not. I don't really like taking meds. I would rather get through this myself rather than having to take medication preferably


 

Heidi LPC :

Yes, understandable. Well, let me offer my thoughts here: You were taught, and your mom modeled through her OCD type behavior, that the world is a scary place. You have absorbed her view and are now reacting with fear. Simple fear... probably wanting to be in control of most things and situations, creating thoughts in your mind of what might go wrong, etc... and reacting to it all mentally and emotionally in a negative fashion. Does this ring any bells for you?


 


 

Heidi LPC :

And, also, one more question, what types of things have you tried to gain control over your body's physical sensations/reactions to stress? Have you been working out or doing any other physical exercise?


 

Customer:

Rings a bell somewhat, she is pretty severe though. I don't find myself wanting to be in control of most things or situations, I love letting things play out because that's the way it is supposed to be. and I don't believe I am anything like my mother at all. Also, I don't find myself wondering about if things will go wrong. I just worry about my mental well-being. Don't get me wrong, I'm still a very happy person and have many things going very good for me right now. I have an great girlfriend of almost two years, chasing my dreams for the future, school, and also sports. I just don't really know how to deal with these sensations and fears.


 

Customer:

And yes I am very active in sports. I workout daily & am on crew in college


 

Customer:

I can just tell, If I changed my thinking, most of these fears/sensations would disappear


 

Heidi LPC :

This is good news! The sensations you are experiencing, if any physical issues have been ruled out, are probably simply the physical manifestations of stress, which with a few steps that you can take to learn stress management, can be dealt with quite easily. What is stopping you from changing your thinking?

Heidi LPC :

Here is some great info from Dr. Larry Camaratta:


For me, the key to self-mastery lies in practicing mindfulness on a daily basis.


Daily mindfulness practice reorients body and mind to anchor deeply to the present moment. Here are my suggestions for enjoying a daily mindfulness practice that will help move you in ten mindful steps to a place of self-mastery, and reduce your stress significantly:


Step 1: Realize that life is only found in the present moment, so when you find yourself stressing about the past or future, or something is distressing to you in your current life, allow yourself to say “STOP” to activities of the mind and body, and “return to the present moment, the only moment where life is found.”


Step 2: Observe the breath going in and out of your body, noticing other thoughts, feelings, sensations, distractions as just temporary mental formations, and return again to the breath.


Step 3: Observe the body and allow the breath to go to any tight or tense places to nurture and partner with that part of the body that may be in distress.


Step 4: Practice non-judgment and gentle compassion to yourself and the temporary images, feelings, thoughts, and sensations of mind and body. When you do this, you are de-centering, which means you are seeing yourself as bigger than temporary present moment difficulties or worries about the past, present, or future.


Step 5: Allow for both healing and distress to be together peacefully, just toggling back and forth and seeing that both can co-exist at the same time. Healing begins to take care of the distress in no time!


Step 6: Bring metaphor to your present moment experience. For example, you can imagine yourself as a loving parent or friend bringing kindness, love, and patience to what is a fragile and distressing part of your present moment experience.


Step 7: Observe, notice, observe, notice. When you practice observation or noticing instead of judgment, you can just watch, notice, and witness, and not become overwhelmed and victimized by any distress.


Step 8: Allow yourself to notice the healing aspects of your present moment experience little by little, as you gently allow yourself to notice what is pleasant in the here and now. Examples can include thinking about a loved one, enjoying aspects of nature, reciting a prayer or meditation, enjoying your breath, the gift of life, and creation.


Step 9: Move closer to self-mastery by going towards, and not away from what is distressing so you are noticing how you are able to better self-regulate and withstand distress; notice that you are more empowered than you think and can handle anything, just allowing distress to dissipate gradually over time.


Step 10: Notice the neutral things in your present moment experience and transform what is neutral or distressing into something very nurturing. Examples include experiencing gratitude as you are taking a shower, brushing your teeth, taking out the trash, sweeping the floor, eating a meal, or the non-toothache. Thich Nhat Hanh, a famous Buddhist monk who was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in the 1960’s by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., shares that an awareness of what is not hurting you or causing you irritation in the present moment, can deepen your enjoyment of the present moment, and allow you to live life more fully and deeply in the present moment.


As you practice the ten mindful steps to self-mastery and lessen all forms of distress in your life with daily practice, you will begin to enjoy life at a deeper level, have more fulfilling relationships, develop better boundaries around what is distressing and feel empowered in your life.

Customer:

I wish I knew, I just find myself is a cycle. I worry about it, then the sensations appear. I have days that are great where I don't worry at all and I just feel so fresh and relieved. But then I'll just think out of nowhere.. "What if this is something more?" and it starts all over again


 

Customer:

Keeping busy really, really helps I can say that. And being outside around friends/people. When I'm alone my mind tends to wander & google symptoms and convince myself I have something more.


 

Customer:

Thankfully, I have alot of great friends and I'm outside alot and I'm in great shape/athletic. If I didn't, I don't know what I would do


 

Heidi LPC :

What if's are simply fear; ask yourself what the probability is that you are just stressed and need to learn to master your physical feelings of stress? "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself". Remind yourself that you are safe, healthy, and change the channel in your mind immediately from the fear channel to a channel that makes you feel happy and safe. The channel-changing activity has helped many, many people to gain mastery over their own created fears.


 


 

Heidi LPC :

Exercise stimulates the flow of "happy" chemicals: endorphins, serotonin, etc... that your body has a natural reserve of. Anti-anxiety, antdepressant meds, etc, are simply used to increase serotonin levels, but you can help your body create more naturally.

Customer:

Yeah I agree. I'm sure the probability is very high, SO many people have told me that what I am experiencing is just Anxiety/OCD. But, I always find myself not convinced. It sucks. From now on I'm going to try and not worry so much, also use the steps you gave me


 

Heidi LPC :

And here is a great article that offers many helpful ideas, as well... http://www.helpguide.org/mental/anxiety_self_help.htm

Customer:

Thank you so much for the steps/article. I am definitely going to use them. You gave me more confidence that what I am going through is acctually just Anxiety and that I'm not going crazy or loosing my mind. I have to stop looking up other Illnesses thats for sure


 

Heidi LPC :

It is a simple choice to begin changing that channel. Life is filled with uncertainty. But, we have the power within to stay in the moment, don't think ahead or behind, and allow yourself to feel stress (college is stressful!) but to know what to do to relieve the symptoms. You sound intelligent and well-balanced... don't focus on what might go wrong!! Focus on what might go RIGHT!! ;-)

Heidi LPC :

I have two college-aged daughters and went through those years, myself. Learn what you can about stress-management. Search the web, and take time to release the stress chemicals in physical activity rather than brooding. I wish you all the very best! You WILL get through this!

Customer:

Your completely right, and sooo many things are going right in my life right now. I just need to focus on them. I know deep down I will be alright, I guess I just need some reassurance at times. Thank you so much for all of this :-)


 

Heidi LPC :

I am happy to be of service; hang IN THERE!! ;-) And, have some FUN!! :-)

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