What should I do when I feel like I am so stuck in my own thoughts and struggling to cope?


Today has been the best example of what normally ends up happening to me. I had a cultural studies exam and I really wasn’t prepared (ALWAYS HAPPENS) so I just threw some words down on paper and gave that in (barely making sense). I didn’t even show up to the exam on time (whereas everyone did). Afterwards I went in the toilet and checked there was no one there, then I just spoke out loud to myself just how much of prat I think I am, and continued a self directed negative dialogue. Not sure this is normal for a start… Just that I always start talking out loud to myself about how frustrated I am, etcetera and feel its unhealthy, because I can’t repeat these things in the company of others. Not that it doesn’t continue to happen with others, but its just internal. Then I spent the rest of the day in a fucked up mood, if anyone talked to me I barely heard what they said, even though I made an attempt to do so, but my internal dialogue was to loud about how I am really behind, how will I tell someone that I am really struggling, and will they even understand. I am just so forgetful, people tell me things and I make an effort to listen (or at least appear as though I am) when in actual fact I don’t really retain any of that information because I am far too preoccupied with my internal thoughts and anxieties. Sometimes I just get so frustrated trying to express myself and I just feel angry and out of control. I felt like I wanted to throw up at one point. And I always feel an enormous amount of guilt that I am letting people down, like my Tutor (who I think is only partly aware about my failure to submit work on time). And my new ‘friends’ (inverted commas because if they knew how screwed up I feel I am, I’m not sure they’d find my friendship quite so appealing) who think that I am very capable because I haven’t let them know the extent of my fears. Though they must be annoyed that I keep showing up late and asking about missed work. I keep making excuses that they still mostly accept. Tonight though I have decided to be disciplined and really focus on my work. So I am staying in and missing out on a fireworks display in town. Whys is there always better alternatives and whichever you do you end up regretting!? Anyway, I guess I just want to hear some perspectives on all of the above to try to understand. Maybe I just think too much, but I have done it for so long that it has become problematic. Any words of encouragement or advice gratefully accepted. I want to be present and capable, not absent minded and incompetent…..

Category: asked November 7, 2014

3 Answers

Hi DuvetSister,

It looks like you're struggling with focusing on whats important and letting your fears and anxieties take over but you can't let that happen. Although it happens to most of us, some are better at controlling and while others have a hard time with it. You really need to take a break to collect your thoughts and try to compile a to-do list, it will help you alot.

Start small and develop yourself from there and as you pass through each small obstacle it will help you further with your next one. Its easier said than done but your mind is a silver mechanism, the more it knows what exactly you want, the easier it gets. And if you find yourself lost too much then ask yourself if you the following symptoms:-

feelings of inner restlessness, agitation.
tendency to take risks.
getting bored easily.
racing thoughts.
trouble sitting still; constant fidgeting.
craving for excitement.
talking excessively.
doing a million things at once.

If you think thats what you're going through then you might be going through Hyperactivity and you need to consult some doctor to get some professional help.
I hope it gets better for you soon.
Classic case of "stinkin' thinkin'".

First, you need to acknowledge that there is a difference between reality and the thoughts in your head. The thoughts in our heads are based on how we interpret reality and they reflect our experiences, self-judgments, and feelings. When we give these thoughts too much credence, it chips away at our self-esteem and can ultimately cause stress, anxiety, and depression. It sounds like you're already feeling these terrible effects.

Next time you find yourself having these self-depricating thoughts, try this-

Stop. Consider that thought. Is this really true, or are you just upset? This self-judgment reflects something that you need, so what is that need? How can you meet that need, and take a negative thought and make it into a positive thought?

For example"

"I'm so forgetful." -----> Are you really, though? You forgot this one thing, but does that mean you walk around forgetting everything all the time? Probably not! Perhaps you're frustrated with yourself because you want to be a person who's more considerate/supportive/disciplined. Great! Now that you know that, how can you achieve that?

"I feel like I'm letting everybody down." ----> I'd be willing to bet that's not true either. Sounds like it's pointing to a need you have for accountability and maybe self-discipline. If you have that knowledge, you can easily turn it into a positive!

The fact that you have this awareness about yourself is MAJOR. I recommend the book Nonviolent Communication by Dr. Marshall Rosenberg- he'll give you some great strategies for coping with these negative thoughts. Good luck!!
Hello to the both of you, And thank you kindly for taking the time to send me a reply to my melt down. I think the advice you've given me is just great and didn't expect such a thoughtful response. My current status with trying to improve with where I'm at at the moment is to read lots of written texts, whereas I used to look a lot at the negatives i.e searching the internet for stories of people who feel the exact same way as me, I have realised that this was doing me more harm than good. It didn't offer anything constructive and didn't provide a solution. The action I am taking (tho it sometimes feels like it isn't making a difference) is to read this book called Overcoming Social Anxiety. I feel like I avoid people, and its got to the point that I'm not sure if its the cause of my problems or the effect of my problems. If that makes sense, so it seems hard to resolve. Though I am tirelessly working hard to fight my demons and in an ideal world, I'd love to have a more active social life. But for the time being It feels safer to just read about how to improve on socialising (as opposed to doing it) because I don't feel I have the skills... Its such a hard conflict to be battling with. Cos if I go out and try to socialise, I may start to make progress, but if I do it before I'm ready I'l just want to retreat further in to a hole. So yea, I'm reading, trying to study (which I have trouble with when I can't make the deadlines cos my minds preoccupied with worry) I spoke to my course leader the other day about how I feel, but it just felt like I was making excuses, so now I'm not sure about how valid my place on this course is. Though I know its better than being stuck with nothing to do. At the moment I find that all I can do is just read what interests me, and talk to people on line but I feel I'm missing out on life sometimes...