Whirring. Whirring. Whirringwhirringwirring. Round and round we go. I can’t get these thoughts out of my head. I keep replaying scenes, scenarios, and situations over and over. Each time slightly different. Events tweaked ever so slightly creating wildly differing outcomes. None of them are any good though. They’re all unhappy. At worst they are emotionally vulnerable and devastating. At best they are angry. Very angry. These run away thoughts can spiral me down into an even deeper depression than I’m already in. They can also work me up into a rage-tastic frenzy.
A thousand thoughts going in a million different directions at approximately the speed of light, all at the same time.
I’m talking about mental ruminations. I have no idea why I do this. I have no idea why I can’t control this. The harder I try to focus on something else, the more rebellious my brain tries to be. Thoughts of walking to the corner store for an ice cream run me straight into some situation of insanity walking into me, out the door, and confrontation abounds. I beat myself up as I beat in someone’s face and dig my own mental grave either way.
Ruminations are a way of responding to distress. They’re composed entirely of repetitive thoughts that only focus on that distress; the causes and the potential consequences.
Usually my ruminations are far worse than anything that happens in reality. They’re destructive fantasies that bully their way into the forefront of my mind. I know these things will never happen, but the emotional connection created by them is very real. And very unhealthy. They make me doubt myself. They make me see ulterior motives in the people around me. They make me paranoid.
Not only is there a monster under my bed, but it’s plotting with my best friend behind my back, has an uzi stock pile and is holding my cat hostage. All I wanted was to have a polite conversation~
This is something I’ve always done. Ever since I was young.
Rumination is more common in people who are pessimistic, neurotic, and who have negative attributional styles. The tendency to ruminate is a stable constant over time and serves as a significant risk factor for clinical depression. Not only are habitual ruminators more likely to become depressed, but experimental studies have demonstrated that people who are induced to ruminate experience greater depressed mood. There is also evidence that rumination is linked to general anxiety, post traumatic stress, binge drinking, eating disorders, and self-injurious behavior.
Thanks, Wikipedia! You’ve just described a good chunk of my existence. Ick.
With all the repressed emotions and pent up resentment that I’ve been harboring towards Friend and his wife, and my attempt to actually talk about this with him, I’ve been unable to stop the mental tailspin.
Generally I have two ways of dealing with this. 1. If the thoughts make me depressed, I drink. I know it’s self-medicating and unhealthy, but I NEED my mind to slow down. 2. If the thoughts make me angry, I run. I lace up my awesome bright orange Saucony’s and hit the treadmill. This is constructive and a healthy way to release my emotions. I prefer the angry ruminations. They make me feel stronger. They charge me up. They fuel my desire to make things better. The depressing ones just make me sad and I have a much harder time getting unstuck when I’m mired in a thick grey cloud of depression.
Fortunately I recognize that these thoughts aren’t actually based in reality. I may have a mental fight with Friend, but it’s not one we’ve actually had so I don’t interact with him as if it is. This hasn’t always been the case. Especially if I’m paranoid and second guessing someone’s motivations with me. It’ll make me withdraw. Or trip my hair line trigger of a temper just a bit quicker. I’m prepped and ready to react already before something has even happened. That sucks. It’s not good for anyone.
It helps for me to write them down. To see where my mind is going, get it out, and let them go. The more important the situation is, the more emotionally charged, the harder it is to release though. And right now, I’m pretty charged.
It makes it so hard to focus. Concentration is nonexistent. I feel useless.
There has to be a better way. I’ll look into and let you know what I find.