Telling myself rational thoughts makes things worse?

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Nununu
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Hi so I've had anxiety for a while. I went to a phsycatrist a few years ago, and she was like you need to challenge negative thoughts when they pop in your head. However this seems to make things worse.

An example is if I think "oh god you're going to make a fool out of yourself in front of that new person" instead of challenging that thought with a more rational thought I would try to ignore it because whenever i challenge with a thought like "you'll be fine" this has made me visbly more nervous and end up doing what I told myself not to. Can this be true? Or is this a myth I have made up in my head. I've tried it a few times and each time the rational/positive thought seems to leave me worse off then ignoring the thought. Help.
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Nununu
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Ask questions if none of this makes sense.
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Ethereal World
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I think in my experience this can be true. People who don't understand mental illness or haven't experienced it think you can just be fine with a bit of positive thinking. Ummmmm no.

One of the best books I read was called 'at last a life' by Paul David who had suffered with anxiety.

The main premise of the book is coming to accept your anxious thoughts and letting them go. Basically trying to force yourself to push out the anxious thoughts and think 'rationally' is counter intuitive.

If you accept how you're feeling and start to see it as something that you think but don't give it power it's more effective than trying to be rational. Hope that helps.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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Tbh what your psychiatrist SHOULD have done (ideally) was sent you to cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, to learn the techniques to truly implement the ideas and rationale behind the advice she was giving you. It's very hard to change thought patterns by oneself - it's best off tackled in therapy.

I found cognitive behavioural therapy very effective for reducing my anxiety levels. It's not for everyone but the model does work and there is good research behind it, so I'm told! It's very hard work but it's worth at least trying
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Nununu
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Tbh what your psychiatrist SHOULD have done (ideally) was sent you to cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, to learn the techniques to truly implement the ideas and rationale behind the advice she was giving you. It's very hard to change thought patterns by oneself - it's best off tackled in therapy.

I found cognitive behavioural therapy very effective for reducing my anxiety levels. It's not for everyone but the model does work and there is good research behind it, so I'm told! It's very hard work but it's worth at least trying
Yeah this is where she gave me the advice in cbt sessions, I think I had an idea what worked for me already before I started, so was sceptical of the stuff she was telling me. Do you think it makes sense rational thinking can make you more nervous in the moment or is it just something i've convinced myself of.
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Nununu
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You guys should know my symptoms are not a problem for me just my thoughts.
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Nununu
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(Original post by Ethereal World)
I think in my experience this can be true. People who don't understand mental illness or haven't experienced it think you can just be fine with a bit of positive thinking. Ummmmm no.

One of the best books I read was called 'at last a life' by Paul David who had suffered with anxiety.

The main premise of the book is coming to accept your anxious thoughts and letting them go. Basically trying to force yourself to push out the anxious thoughts and think 'rationally' is counter intuitive.

If you accept how you're feeling and start to see it as something that you think but don't give it power it's more effective than trying to be rational. Hope that helps.
But isn't this just a short term solution, don't you have to change the way you think in the long term.
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Nununu)
Yeah this is where she gave me the advice in cbt sessions, I think I had an idea what worked for me already before I started, so was sceptical of the stuff she was telling me. Do you think it makes sense rational thinking can make you more nervous in the moment or is it just something i've convinced myself of.
Do you mean a psychologist then? Psychiatrists don't do CBT, hence why I said her advice was not appropriately given!

I think rational thinking can definitely be difficult to implement and can therefore make you more nervous at first. I'd encourage you to keep pushing yourself to do this though, to improve your overall quality of life. Life isn't meant to be hard or inducing this much anxiety :nah:

Obviously if CBT is genuinely unhelpful for you, then you might want to explore other avenues. Mindfulness is a big fad in mental health services atm but I suspect if you were sceptical of CBT, you would be even more sceptical of mindfulness, tbh
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Ethereal World
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(Original post by Nununu)
But isn't this just a short term solution, don't you have to change the way you think in the long term.
Well maybe. But from my experience you can condition yourself into ways of thinking. If you realise that accepting and letting go of your anxious thoughts is the way to go and it's better for you then keep doing it that way. Then eventually you will probably stop even thinking that way.

What perpetuates the way of thinking is telling yourself it's bad to think like that and actively trying to think more rationally.

Some people have a more pessimistic disposition naturally and some are more realistic and some are optimistic. There's no right or wrong and it's difficult to change your natural way of thinking unless CBT as lonely goatherd suggested.

But if it's not actually affecting you symptom wise then it's probably just that you think negatively which isn't necessarily a terrible thing.
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furryface12
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I think it's not so much telling yourself it's not true, but reasons why it's not or why the thought is not rational? That's how I've always understood it anyway, I'm rubbish at it though. So like if you think 'I'm going to fail' then think of the reasons why it's unlikely that you'll fail, or how many times you've done it and not failed before. They should have practiced it with you in CBT anyway though probably.

Not sure if that makes any sense but hope it does!


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Rock-Sophie
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(Original post by The_Lonely_Goatherd)
Tbh what your psychiatrist SHOULD have done (ideally) was sent you to cognitive behavioural therapy sessions, to learn the techniques to truly implement the ideas and rationale behind the advice she was giving you. It's very hard to change thought patterns by oneself - it's best off tackled in therapy.

I found cognitive behavioural therapy very effective for reducing my anxiety levels. It's not for everyone but the model does work and there is good research behind it, so I'm told! It's very hard work but it's worth at least trying
How do I get this help? I really need to work on my Confidence and Social Anxiety
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The_Lonely_Goatherd
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(Original post by Rock-Sophie)
How do I get this help? I really need to work on my Confidence and Social Anxiety
:doctor:

CBT is best accessed via a GP (tjough waiting lists can be long), your local IAPT, or through charities that offer reduced-price therapies

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lustawny
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(Original post by Ethereal World)
I think in my experience this can be true. People who don't understand mental illness or haven't experienced it think you can just be fine with a bit of positive thinking. Ummmmm no.

One of the best books I read was called 'at last a life' by Paul David who had suffered with anxiety.

The main premise of the book is coming to accept your anxious thoughts and letting them go. Basically trying to force yourself to push out the anxious thoughts and think 'rationally' is counter intuitive.

If you accept how you're feeling and start to see it as something that you think but don't give it power it's more effective than trying to be rational. Hope that helps.
I totally disagree, personally.
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Ethereal World
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(Original post by lustawny)
I totally disagree, personally.
Well mental health is no exact science that's for sure. I found positive thinking helped me with depression but not at all with anxiety and trying to force myself to think and be different made it worse.
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