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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
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Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hiya I am constantly having intrusive thoughts and they are

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Hiya I am constantly having intrusive thoughts and they are so bad they stop me doing things i wonder if you could help me please?

I think that im going to die from a heart attack or im going to be raped or attacked by someone with a hammer or stabbed in the street.

I have been suffering quite alot over the past couple of weeks. I am irritabel, moody and on edge!
Hello, I'd like to help you with your questions.

There are many things you can do to help yourself cope with these thoughts. The trick is trying many things to find what works for you.

Intrusive thoughts can be handled through a variety of ways:

Learn to relax- this helps a lot because one of the main issues with intrusive thoughts is the anxiety you experience with them. You can feel so distressed that you become anxious, irritable and on edge as you describe. So learning how to keep calm when dealing with these thoughts can help. Here is a link to help you learn Progressive Relaxation, one of the best ways to control your anxiety:

Write down your thoughts- by keeping a journal so you have a place to express your thoughts when they do bother you. It can also help to go back and see your progress or look at repeating patterns and how you handled them.

Make a list of activities- things you can do to distract yourself when you do experience intrusive thoughts. Exercise, calling someone or watching a movie for example. Because these thoughts can be strong at times, it may help to also think of activities that are intense as well so you can "lose" yourself in them to give yourself a break. Things that occupy your mind or that are so distracting that you can't help but pay attention, such as being in a very busy shopping mall, holding an intense conversation with a group, etc.

Give yourself a break- You mentioned having Bipolar disorder so it helps to realize that what you feel is caused by physical imbalances in the brain as well as anxiety. So telling yourself things like "This is just a physical response and it is not my fault" or "I can control this any way I want" and doing another activity instead of giving in helps as well.

Do not give your obsessive thoughts meaning- The more you focus on it, the more importance you give it. So treat it like it's nothing. "It's only my thoughts. It does not mean anything".

Cognitive behavior therapy can help a lot as well. It assists you in "retraining" your brain to think other thoughts and calming yourself so you don't feel the need to respond to the thoughts as much. And a therapist can help with exposure response prevention as well. It helps to have the support.

Also consider medications if you are not already on them. Sometimes you can find relief from a medication that changes the chemical imbalance in your body so you feel better and control your thoughts better.

Read as much as you can about intrusive thoughts and Bipolar and how to address it. The more you educate yourself, the better chance you will find things you can do to help yourself.

I hope this was helpful,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Hiya Kate

Thanks for your reply. The information you have given is good advice but it seems too generalised. i wonder if you could be more specific to me?


I am always so nervous of going to the white flats by me and jumping off them. the thoughts never seem to leave me. I am on abilify 15mg although i was on lithium 1000mg,but i took an overdose on it so have been taken off it.


i dont feel like i can write a journal incase someone finds it but id like towrote down my thoughts. Im 23 but soo held back by the way i feel. I was raped in 2010 and since then i have been really nervous going outside. I dontknow if thats where my insecurities about going out are but i feel im more on the down than the up at the moment. I feel sick and am really down about my weight.


Do you think abilify is the rightdrug for me to be on when i still have these horrible intrusive thoughts? Also will things get better?


Thank you


Thank you for the additional information, Frances.

Yes, things will get better. You are dealing with many issues all at once and it is not surprising that you are feeling as you do right now. If you have been raped, then you may also suffer from PTSD which could explain some of your symptoms.

Also, intrusive thoughts are often the mind's way of avoiding pain or unresolved issues from the past. The repeating patterns help to "block" other thoughts that bother us. If you have experienced rape, that is a trauma that causes deep pain including shame and self hatred. It would not be surprising that you experience these thoughts and that you feel down about yourself.

Therapy is an excellent way to address your feelings in safe environment with someone who can offer support and guidance. It can also help you to work through your thoughts and get rid of them completely. Consider talking to your doctor about a referral.

I understand your feelings about writing things down. Some people feel that doesn't work for them and that is ok. You can always reconsider later if you feel it would help.

Why you were prescribed Abilify is unclear. A doctor usually does a complete exam before prescribing and bases that prescription on your unique situation and current health so it is hard for me to determine if it is right for you without actually seeing you face to face. If you feel the drug is not working, talk to your doctor about trying a new one. It is not uncommon to try several before you find one that works for you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.


Hiya Kate

Do you think i could be sufffering from PTSD even if i feel happier sometimes? Also i was bullied my an ex into giving him money once,he suggested that if i didnt give him money he or 'someone else' would kill my family.


I dont think i have ever explored these issues or spoken about them properly or in depth especially not with a mental health professional or family. I am too embarrassed and ashamed to to be honest.


At the moment i am tired all the time even though i get about 12 hours sleep a night. I dont wake up feeling refreshed and am worried about whether i could cope with a job getting up early and spending several hours there when im just so tired all the time.Do you think i should talk to my psychiatrist about hypersomnia?


I was prescribed abilify to help with the intrusive thoughts but i dont feel its helping me anymore.My psych said she might start me on an antidepressant but i was also told this could swing you back into mania? Is this true?


Is there anyway i could meet you face to face?


Thank you



You could have PTSD, especially with the trauma you have been through in your life. Rape and having a boyfriend threaten you are both significant traumas.

It is very common to feel embarrassment and shame when talking to someone about your issues and how you feel. But therapists are trained to understand a wide range of issues and they do hear things like you describe more often than not. They know to keep your situation confidential as well. You can always try to start of on topics you feel safe with then proceed from there if that helps you build trust.

I would certainly talk with your doctor about your sleep issues. It may affect what he/she prescribes and your diagnosis as well.

An anti depressant is not a safe medication for someone with Bipolar. It can affect your mood swings. Your doctor is correct. There are many other medications to consider that can help you.

I would love to meet with you face to face. However, Just Answer is a question and answer site only and we are not allowed by the site rules to go outside of the forum here. Sorry about that.


May I please request that if you find the service I provided helpful at all that you rate me with three or above? Your rating is the only way I am reimbursed for my answer. Thank you so much!
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hiya kate

I will definitiely rate you!


Do you think PTSD can be delayed? I was raped in 2010 so i dont understand why i feel the way i do at the moment.


I just feel a failure in some ways, i dont have a boyfriend, i had to come out of un iversity and i messed up a crucial time in my life when i could have had a boyfriend but i was dri nking too much!


What type of drugs are available for people with a diagnosis of bipolar? I am unsure about it to be honest. im not sure i agree with the diagnosis.


My psych has said to try the ' mood on track ' course before starting any one to one couselling or therapies on a 1 2 1 basis. Its for people with bipolar and they go through and tell you lots of informationa bout it with coping mechanisms etc...


thank you



I willl rate you, i just have a couple more questions


You can have PTSD for life if you never treat it. Therapy is the best way to address it.

To go through all the medications for Bipolar and explain them would take a while (and a very long response!) so here is a link that can help you:

I am not familiar with the Mood on Track course but if you feel it would help, it's worth the try. Therapy is the best option beyond that.

I do have to go for an appointment so I cannot stay on Just Answer much longer. I may be able to answer one more question but then I do need to sign off. And thank you ahead of time for the positive rating. It is very appreciated!

TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you