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Obsessive Strange Thoughts About Life And Existentialism

Question:

I have a very serious problem that maybe you can explain. I have been having these ‘episodes’ where sometimes I forget where I am at and I have these obsessive strange thoughts about life and existentialism, usually it comes out of nowhere and I think about how weird it is that our language is compiled in to the words that we use. I think about how weird that is, and then I start to panic because I don’t understand what is happening to me. Like I will look at a word for example ‘question’ and I will obsess on how weird it looks and sounds when we communicate and read it in a sentence. I know it sounds bizarre, but it is really scaring me! I also am afraid to go to sleep at night because when I hit REM, I am half aware, and forget who I am or where I am at. I also ponder how strange life is and how it is definitely strange that we exist and are self aware. It is horrible and is freaking me out. I must say that I have been under the most stress that I have ever felt in my life for the past decade. I left the military because of this issue and after hearing stuff about the 2001 attacks that seemed like something out of a horror film. I take Prozac for depression, Xanax for anxiety (although my doctor is not nearly giving me enough) and have been on Seroquel before. (I stopped those, because I CANNOT stand the way they make me feel). If you can help it would be greatly appreciated because as we speak I am having immense trouble concentrating and am pondering why and how I came to be, and why our lives and looks are the way they are. I need to go to sleep, but I know what is coming. Please help if you can

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Answer:

Explanation is a funny thing. Understanding what is or might be happening is not something that is curative. It may not make you feel any better or change the experience you are having. However, it can be enormously calming to learn the nature of what is happening, or at least to know that what is happening has been seen before and is not lethal or freakish. So, keeping this in mind, I will offer an educated guess as to what might be happening for you (emphasis on the word “might”). If you want a definitive answer – in the form of a valid and actionable diagnosis – you should make an appointment with your psychiatrist so as to talk about these symptoms, if you have not done that already.

Here’s what comes to mind for me, however, reading what you’ve provided here. These thoughts may be something frightening but essentially normal and non-clinical in nature. Alternatively, they may be evidence of a mild dissociative condition, possibly related to the stressful conditions you’ve described, and possibly not. They could be part of an underlying anxiety disorder such as OCD. They could be related to some of the medications you are taking (and if you are taking any “recreational drugs” to their use). More far fetched, but not possible to rule out from this distance would be the possibility that these episodes represent some mild thought disorder in the psychotic spectrum, possibly related to your underlying depression. I’m not leaning towards the more severe possibilities based on what you’ve described, but they can’t be ruled out either based on this limited information.

One of the more likely possibilities to consider is that you’re essentially okay but just now coming to grips with the weird and fragile nature of human existence which is presently freaking you out. Life really is strange and fragile and improbable and odd. Many people don’t notice this, because they remain deeply embedded in our culture which encourages us to focus on mundane things such as are presented to us on television and on the grim reality of the need to provide for one’s family or to get ahead in a career or some variation on the same. Thoughtfulness is not encouraged, and neither is noticing the strangeness and arbitrariness of life; these things frighten people so they learn to not look. But some people do look at the strange, and think about that which is discouraged and frightening. They may be considered odd by their peers but this does not mean that they are mentally ill or wrong or inaccurate in their concerns. So – your fear may be an understandable reaction to real mysteries; less a sign of disorder, and more a sign of a different way to cope.

The concerning thing that doesn’t fit well with the picture I’ve drawn above is that you report forgetting who you are or where you are. In clinical terms you are reporting disorientation, and this part isn’t so common among the “normal” (non-disordered) population. A mild dissociative process may account for this sort of thing, however.

Dissociation is a mental phenomena that has to do with how attention and memory and emotions work. When you dissociate, what happens is that a part of your experience gets cut off from the part of you which is aware. Everyone dissociates to one degree or another – it’s a normal part of mental experience – but most people do it very mildly only, in the form of “spacing out” or daydreaming, or by intellectualizing when faced with a disturbing feeling. More severe dissociation is associated with amnesia or even multiple personality.

A mild form of dissociation, but one severe enough to be classified as a clinical diagnosis is known as depersonalization or alternatively derealization. In depersonalization dissociation, a person enters into a trance-like state where they feel alien to themselves; as though their body is not their own or has been altered in some fashion. When the experience is slightly different and what seems to have been altered is the world, rather than one’s body, it is called derealization. Though definitely disturbing, depersonalization and derealization are not really dangerous. They are typically transient stress responses, meaning that they are more likely to occur when someone is very stressed out and to be less of a problem after the stress subsides. Depersonalization and derealization can happen in the aftermath of a traumatic experience, or for some people, it’s just something that happens to them. It’s possible that your excursion into this existential line of thinking has occurred because of some mild dissociation process that has called your attention to the weirdness of things.

It is possible that your frightening thoughts are part of a larger diagnostic picture that resolves to be Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, or OCD. OCD is an anxiety disorder in which the primary symptom is obsessions: troubling and unwanted repetitious thoughts, often of an irrational nature but which share a fearful theme such as an over-concern with contamination, or a fear that a door has not been locked and a burglary will result. Compulsions are the behavioral consequences of obsessions. They are the behaviors people find themselves forced to act out so as to diminish the urgency of the obsessions. So – if a person has an obsession about burglary, they may find themselves actually checking locks.

It is not necessary to have compulsions if you have OCD; there is a “Pure O” form which has been discussed of late characterized by obsessions only. Your troubling thoughts may have an obsessional character. If this is the case, you will be best served talking about these obsessions with your psychiatrist, and also with a behavioral therapist, both of whom can help you, with medications and with therapy respectively, to work on ways to reduce the urgency of obsessions.

A forth possibility is that what you are describing is the leading edge of a thought disorder or psychotic process. Psychosis is commonly thought of as something that is exclusive to schizophrenia, but this is not the case. Some severely depressed patients will become severely psychotic at times, and bipolar illness is associated with a form of psychosis as well which is known as mania. What you’ve described doesn’t sound like this is the case, but only a psychiatrist who follows you locally will be in a position to really make a definitive statement one way or another. If it is the case that you are becoming susceptible to a psychotic process, typically this needs to be addressed with medication.

The key thing I hope to emphasize in my response is that though your thoughts are frightening you, they are not necessarily dangerous thoughts, and I do not believe they sound weird or unusual. I think if you start talking about your thoughts with thoughtful non-superficial people who’ve lived for a while, they will probably tell you that they have had occasion to think similar thoughts. You may want to read books that address some of your concerns to help you get a sense of how normal they are – not normal really – they are uncommon, but they are not odd. For instance, existential philosophy books, or books on the nature of language. In my experience, the usual reaction is to experience a little while of panic after experiencing something that gets at the core of life – such as really understanding that you are going to die, or suddenly realizing that words are in part arbitrary. You get over your fear as the newness of these thoughts passes. If you find that you aren’t getting over the weirdness of these thoughts, or if you are thinking that my descriptions of dissociation seem to fit you well, then my recommendation would be to make an appointment with a psychotherapist so that you can talk about this stuff and get to the bottom of it better. Good luck.

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Comments
  • GM

    For 4 months now I have been suffering from OCD and I'm seeing a psychiatrist who was trying CBT and later on recommended me to go to an OCD center. The OCD therapist is working with me on exposure therapy but its still early on the program to really gauge the progress.

    My OCD is more hurtfully thoughts about my love ones but it started just with thought about then my unborn baby. When I first got the thought I tried to shruged it off and at it worked for a little bit, but some how I started analyzing my thoughts and it became a fear then then gradually became so bad that I was dreading seeing my wife. I then went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with OCD. After that I saw the psychiatrist who admittedly said she was not an OCD expert, but since I was desperate I signed on. Never really gotten a consistent progress but just the short leaved re-assurance feeling.

    My OCD morphed to the thought that what if I really wanted to do the bad thoughts, then I struggled with the concept of choice - Are our choices just a product of chemical signal in our brain? Other questions such as why do we do things that way we do. It scared me since I am afraid that the other hurtfully thoughts might merge with the existential questions.

    Years ago I encountered concept labeling awareness and choice to be just a chemical triggers and when I heard that I freaked out and started to bury the idea deep within my mind not to be seen again. I don't know if my current OCD bout is related to this.

  • Missy

    I'm not sure if anyone can help me but I feel like I've exhausted all my resources and I don't know what else to do.

    For the past three months, I've been suffering from this terrible anxiety. It's not even so much physical anxiety... it's more like constant, racing thoughts. I constantly feel afraid of myself and my own existence. It's like being alive scares me. I feel like I don't know who I am and I am not comfortable with myself or being in my own body. I have tried so many things: I take Effexor, Risperidol and Remeron, I've tried counselling, CBT, hypnotherapy.

    I try to go out and distract myself with my friends but I can't stop thinking about my own thoughts and the fact that something feels wrong with me. I feel as though I can't handle anything. I want the days to fly by and they feel like they are going at a snail's pace. I can never settle and enjoy anything. I sometimes pace and smoke cigarettes for hours.

    I should mention that I used to have a completely normal life. I was very high functioning, had some great relationships, used to love to party and spend time with friends and achieved top honors in university. This has only just come about recently, when I broke up with a bf of three years. I was hospitalized back in March for depression and anxiety and these strange, ruminating thoughts which the doc at the time said were a form of depersonalization. I got much better in hospital but after I came out, the feelings came back.

    I've been back to psych emergency here in my city multiple times. The doctors there will not readmit me and tell me that I have to sort this out on my own. I try so hard but nothing seems to work. It's like at all hours of the day, I feel this sense of dread, of panic and I just want to scream, "HELP ME, SOMEBODY!" I go out with friends and try to talk and laugh but I feel like I'm watching myself. I don't like the sound of my voice. I take no enjoyment in activities anymore. I am only relieved of this in my sleep, where in my dreams I feel like a normal person again, only to wake up and start another day. I am just barely hanging on.

  • colette

    I don't know if its depression or anxiety I wake up very sad. Recently married. Every thing makes me sad I don't know how to shake it. I run before I go to work so I can function but by the afternoon I'm back to being sad again. I've gone back to drinking heavy to mask the feelings but I'm usually sick a few hours later. I used to be a very happy out going person. With lots of friends very social. Now I'm very stand of fish missing in action. I've had a lot. Of life changing ordeals in the last 3 years. I should say I'm a 45 year old woman that was single. Until recently and move in with a with my now husband 2 years ago got pregnant and miscarriage had a miomectomy(removal of fibroids tumors) in lest than 3 month since we move in together. In which the operation deformed me they had to cut my stomach muscle and now I have a gut (I've ran 5 marathons I can now nearly run 5 miles!). I know that's all superficial but it was important to me. I don't want to take any type of drugs to exists but I spend to much time on why am I here and is it better just to end it I'm trying to see the light at the end but its very difficult. Sometimes I just want to break out in tears cause everything makes me upset family , work,and home issues. I thought it would all work its self out once I got married but I find myself thinking about the lost of the child and the operations... Is this what life has to offer and am I not living up to my lifes potential? I'm also too sympathetic to other people causes what's wrong with me and can I ever be the person that I was ? There are more but I would be writing a book.

  • Valen

    Sometimes i have the same problem especially when i dont have anything to do or when im laying down. I get really nervous and scared about life in general and start to question a lot of things sometimes dealing with Christianity such as eternal life, how can the universe be infinity, does it ever end, what would happen if an incurable virus was to form, etc. If i began to think about these things for to long, then i began to panic.

  • thecure83

    Im at ease when i read these posts!.. i always googled trying to find answers and when i found certain posts i felt that im not the only one experiencing these thought/emotions/feeling. I was never brave enough to write my own post but maybe i can help someone else out there as they help me. Ive always struggled with anxiety issues since i was 18 and had a very bad reaction to smoking pot. Ive had ocd thoughts of hurting loved ones and myself and it was scare the bajesus out of me to the point that i was telling my sister i thought i was going to be a murderer and /or suicidal. i had the panic attacks every once in a while. My hands and feet were always clammy and i had terrible social anxiety.I obsessed over the fact of getting hiv or any disease for that matter..it almost ruled my life. i was always for the most part was able to live a normal life.. in terms of going out with friends and enjoying life..my down time was always the problem though.

    NOW for the past year and a half i no longer obsess over catching a disease or for that matter any of the above that i listed ..seems like those days never even existed compared to this..i feel like i was placed here out of nowhere and my past life never existed even though i clearly remember it. I question human beings, their skin, their color, life, earth, you name it i question it and its such an uncomfortable feeling it drives me insane!.. when i first starting feeling this way i was put on zoloft and just recently i got off of it because i felt as much as it stabalized my thoughts and feelings they were still there and the weight gain was making me more depressed. Im currently seeing a pyscholgist and with hopes i hope he can help me through this because "social workers" havent seem to have done the trick. Most of the time i cant even express what exactly iam feeling and what exactly is bothering me, its like being an infant and when they cry and cry and adults are clueless as to what could be wrong with them they just assume "prob gas" lol.. or maybe their hungry.. its like i cant speak..it really is so weird. im scared im going to die but i dont know of what.. actually prob from going insane!! i dont make plans to harm myself but at the same time i dont want to live feeling this way, unease, unanswered life. i want to be a normal 25 year old woman enjoying life, not obsessing over these bizzare feelings and thoughts and perception of things. If anyone knows what i mean, id love to hear about your stories.

  • Anonymous-1

    Listen to Eckhart Tolle and meditate. Do this it helps!!!!!

  • Chelsey

    if any of you want to talk, email me. ive experienced the same thing, racing thoughts, depersonalization, derealization all of the above. and ive got out of it...feel free to contact me at any time! idk how long ago this was written..but hopefully i can still be some help to anyone of you-chelsey

  • Karin

    Last night as I had a whole range of thoughts going through my mind, wondering what to do with the rest of my life, (I have just resigned from my job. AGAIN), I recognised this is my old pattern. I know it is the same behaviour that has been a part of my life for a long, long time.

    The feelings of being different, too emotional, too sensitive to cope with the reality of everyday systems and pack mentality in our society. Within the workplace, the bullying, the ego's of individuals in power who can make your day, week, month, year, a hell. The sense of powerlessness to change or compete within this game we call life. This existance that seems sometimes to be so futile and based on greed.

    It is a comfort to me to read all the thoughts and concerns of you all. Just like me you struggle and it's because we have lost our way. So far removed from the beautiful earth we live on. We have lost touch with our roots, with the water, air and trees. We are no longer one but have separated ourselves and become frantic and afraid of this concrete jungle that is cold and hard and indifferent.

    We are focussed on 'things', to own more 'things', in an attempt to be respected, to be considered 'successful'. This strange desire is driving us to despair. Because it doesn't fulfill the depth of our loneliness. We try so hard, run so fast but we're running around in circles wondering why we aren't getting anywhere.

    Thing is, we have what we need, right in front of us, just need to stop, get off the speeding train. It's our choice, just make the decision to stop.

    When it gets too much and I wish for peace, I lay down with my dog and hold him close, I snuggle him and smell his fur, feel his warmth and look into the love of his eyes. He shows me the peace, he is the silence.

    He just is. He needs no words. He is happy, he is life.

    As my breathing matches the rise and fall of his chest and my body becomes as warm as his. I realise that I am one with this other being. Nothing really matters but the moment. It's like I have no body anymore to define me, just a sense of feeling safe and free and no longer alone.

    Hope some of you know what I mean. God bless you all.

  • Wani

    These experiences have just started in the last 3 weeks, first time it happen i was smoking weed...i just zone out and think way too much and i started to notice some really strange SCARY things which sometimes put me in a mental trance state that makes me feel like im not living in reality anyway i cant tell you the details because its too frightening for me. now i hate being alone just to avoid me thinking im even too afraid to read the other's experiences because i dont want these to effect my thoughts when i have another episode, im afraid ill wake up somewhere else so i cant sleep or eat its destroying my life and my mum wont let me see a doctor because i dont think she understands and thinks im doing it for attention. Help me please

  • Kat

    I am so glad I found this forum. I have had the same experiences for years (I call them "episodes" too) but never found anyone who had felt the same thing. Its kind of like an extremely existential panic attack. I had my first one when I was twelve and remember it vividly. Now I get them rarely, only when I am alone and inside the house. For some reason they never happen when other people are home or when I am outside or driving (perhaps because I'm distracted by the environment/conversations/concentrating on driving???). But every time I have them I get this weird panicky feeling and I know its about to come. Then I start obsessing over all sorts of ridiculous existential stuff like who am I, why do humans even exist, how is it that i am self aware, how is it that i can think to my self, the universe, (then my mind freaks me out...sort of like i am scared of myself...sounds a bit ridiculous when i put it into words). Then I start freaking out that i am going insane and are gonna develop some sort of psychosis or schizophrenia or something. The irony is that it is probably just the anxiety making me feel this way, but at the time the sense of impending doom/mental collapse is so strong. Tv/facebook/reading help to make the feelings go away. I have no idea what i'd do if i was somewhere alone with no tv etc to distract me. Makes me scared just thinking about it!

  • JF

    I've going through this too. It can get deeply disturbing and disorienting. My best friend also had this type of thing go on, and his answer is to just find peace, in whatever way you can. For me it is in having fun, or being engaged in life and with people. Being involved in your life quiets the questions. My friend says it evenually goes away.

    I'm also getting out into nature a lot (I'm lucky to live near beautiful creeks and lakes and bike trails). I think natural things help to re-set the mind and balance it. Do physical things and excercise, too. These are just some things that help me.

    These questions got much worse for me when withdrawing from a benzodiazepine medication--these withdrawals can cause obsessive thinking and depersonalization/derealization, so you might want to consider if a medication or medication withdrawal is causing this or making it worse.

    I hope you all take care--you're not alone in all this.

  • noel

    I also have these weird thoughts, its like out of body experence,the one that really freaks me out is the thought of dying and going into nothingness, i also worry about my kids and hope and pray that they dont have these crazy thought's when they get older, i wonder was it some kind of disorder passed from generation to generation, xanax help but i cant stay on them forever,im attending phycologist and she diagnosed me with post tramatic stress , i am just glad that i am not alone and God bless each and everyone of you that goes through this horrible sensation.

  • Anonymous-2

    i am so glad I read this because within the last two weeks I have been experiencing this exact same thing. I keep getting frightening and uncomfortable thoughts that question what human life is, who I am, what I am doing here, what is the human body, etc. etc.(weiiirddd stuff). anyways, reading this post makes me feel 100000% better knowing that others are going thru what I am experiencing.

  • JR

    I too slipped into something similar about a week ago and it's been utterly terrifying. I do have treated OCD and it's not my worst episode, but it is the STRANGEST...

    I traveled home for New Year's and had an utterly boring week compounded by stress. My alcoholic sibling was a no-show for everything so that was disappointing. It rained like crazy and I started to ponder the idea od PREDISTIANTION. I became bothered by it, even though I'm not particularly religious. And after reading scientific articles by Stephen Hawking and about quantum physics, it was basically posited that life is predetermined. Well, I did get over that because I just plain don't believe it. Instead I believe that humans have free will and that the future is a whole lot of NOTHING right now.

    However, due to the stress of the week, the last night I was home, I was lying in bed, dreading the trip back. I felt stuffed with food, lethargic, tired, and FLAT. Suddenly, I was struck with the the concept of my own existence. Or more specifically, that existence was somehow terrible and that I did not want to exist. I thought about the darkness of the room, not being able to see anything, about being in limbo. It was a $hitstorm of contradictory feelings.

    Needless to say, in the week that I've been back, I have not felt any kind of reprieve. I feel weird, queasy, unsettled, and now practically have a phobia of the bedroom in my parents' house where I was sleeping because of the awful things I was feeling. My appetite is normal, my sleep is not disturbed, and I'm dong things with friends, but I do not feel normal. My self-perception is disjointed and..."un-whole" if you will.

    Has anyone experienced this particular kind of existentital dilemma?

  • mmgldvdl

    I am no expert, but having read through the original post as well as Dr. Dombeck's response, the latter's suggestion that one might find benefit in reading philosophical texts confirmed my inclination to recommend Sein und Zeit (Being and Time) by Martin Heidegger. However, that book is not something that one casually decides they are going read through a sheer whim. This is a very serious and rigorous philosophical text, having more or less served as the guide for the development of existentialism in the 20th Century. Even with a sophisticated philosophical background, were someone to go about trying to read this book independently, one ought to expect spending more than a year absorbing the concepts and determing the implications of what Heidegger puts forth--essentially challenging the entire history of philosophy itself (as most existentialism claims to do).

    Having said that, I think the person who originally posted their concerns on this forum would find great benefit from reading this book, insofar as his concerns with language, the correlation between one's mood and understanding (being thrown into the world and projecting oneself into the future), and existential Angst are matters that Heidegger tries to contextualize in terms of the living experience of the "Who (as opposed to the what) of oneself" that cannot be sufficiently explicated without a complete and authentic recognition that one is essentially being-unto-death.

    However, and to corroberate what Dr. Dombeck said, I would not regard this book as if it were going to provide some sort of "answer" to one's concerns. But I do believe that there is much to be had in knowing that one's own experiences, however uncomfortable or concerning they may be, were nevertheless matters that great minds sought to contextualize and explicate in terms of a fundamental ontology (i.e. a basis for knowing what is and how it is). Saving the possibility mentioned by Dr. Dombeck, that the person who posted their concerns may in fact need phychiatric counseling, and depending on the amount of dedication and determination that one would be willing to devote to working through Sein und Zeit--and I myself had my own concerns that led me into reading this text--I think the original poster would stand to gain great insight into their own experience, and perhaps even gain a sort of "existential appreciation" for their own capacity to be "burdened" by their existence.

    Hopefully this helps.

    Dr. Dombeck's Note: I never did struggle through "Being and Time" so I have no idea how valuable it is. However, it is absolutely one of the greatest hits of philosophy (and I mean that with no hidden negative agenda) taught in graduate level university courses on the subject and therefore surely a useful book to read if you can manage it. The barriers are double in that the concepts described are not only difficult in themselves but it is also a translated work (originally in German) which never helps things.

    A lot of knowledge happens thorough the process of relationships or contrasts between a figure and a ground. In this case, the figure is one's self and the struggle is to simply find the appropriate and reliable ground(s) against which to compare one's self and thereby understand yourself better. Existential philosophy concerns the nature of the ultimate grounds which apply to everyone and which shape everyone whether they realize it or not. Death figures prominantly here as an ultimate ground, with identity and meaning and suffering (or not) arising from the interaction between the individual aware of his or her own extinction. The threat and reality of death has been identfied by *many* well regarded thinkers as a great source of anxiety in life, with many cultural and religious institutions having evolved to manage that anxiety. What many identify as a specifically existential position (or contribution) towards death is the use of the knowledge of pending extinction to motivate one's self towards productive ends. This is the starting place of Viktor Frankl's insights, for instance, as popularly illustrated in his excellent book Man's Search for Meaning. If you want to see this in the form of a movie, I can recommend Akira Kurosawa's absolutely fantastic film Ikiru (生きる, "To Live").

    In other words, don't get hung up on the fact that you will die. Use your impending death as motivation to avoid anxious paralysis and procrastination and instead make progress towards helping the world to become a better place and yourself a better person.

  • Mike, Connecticut

    Ive always been a very open minded, creative individual. Most would take that for being a good thing, but it seems it has its negative side as well. Its never been diagnosed, but im positive i have a form of OCD that manifests itself in a form of constant rumination and cycling of thoughts, causing stress, anxiety, and depression.

    It started when I was in middle school, but I didnt know what it was of course...a homosexual thought happened across my mind one day, innocently enough...Even though I am a straight, it was that fact and the emotional attachment I had to the thought itself that allowed it to snowball into a line of questioning and over time, eat me alive. Why did i think this? Was i gay? What a terrible thought at the time...everyone would surely make fun of me and I would be even more socially scrutinized than i already was.

    Over time, it grew worse, as the attempt at acceptance didnt hault the torturing, lingering thoughts assaulting my mind. They presented themselves everywhere, everyone i saw, loved ones...if they only knew, i thought! What a terrible, perverted fuck i was for thinking these things.

    This would come in waves over time, usually when I was not preoccupied with school or work on extended vacations (awesome huh?) Until one day i decided to, instead of attempting to push the thoughts from my mind, to accept them, to actually picture them in all their fucked up glory, every time they came to the surface...little did i know that I had just discovered by accident a form of CBT, and sure enough, the thoughts disseminated. It wasnt til years later taking abnormal psych in college that these symptoms of thought cycling were a symptom of OCD.

    Its come round again this time, in a different form...that is existential OCD. All the things youre describing...the breakdown, the depersonalization, the searching, the anxiety and emotion and the feelings...all a result of overanalyzing and picking apart the self, the catching of the mind in this endless paradox...down to the core....its all there. But i at least now know how to go about arming myself and getting through this. Im slowly but surely crawling my way back, driven by this purpose....because I know I cannot allow anything to steal the joy from MY LIFE.

  • Miguel

    I cant believe i have found a forum like this. A year ago i ended up going into a really bad depression because of prolonged stress, ive had depression before but this was different. A few months into the depression i was out walking when all of a sudden i realised that i was a living being and for some reason this really freaked me out. Because this new perception of things had grabbed my attention i couldnt think of anything else, my thought process then took me on a journey i didnt want to go on but it didnt seem like a had a choice. For months i was freaked with questions like, is there a god?, how did we come to be here?, why is the universe the way it is?, What happens when you die? and loads of other unanswerable questions. When i looked into the sky and realised i was on a planet floating around in space in the middle of nowhere i was immediately paralyzed with fear and all of these questions would run through my mind. My doctors were not sure if i had scizophrenia or some other form of pychosis, the very fact that these conditions were even being considered scared the life out of me and i thought that was it for me, my life was over, i was just going to be this strange messed up guy that was always freaked out about weird things. Thankfully over time i have become more accepting of these mysteries and im not bothered as often anymore. I think when we go through times that are stressful and we are possibly suffering from depression our mind switches off to protect itself, i think our mind just dosnt want to think anymore because its tired so things that wer once normal become strange and alien to us. The trick is to not worry about these thoughts as they are merely just a sign of a tired old mind that needs to rest, by worrying about these thoughts you doing exactly the opposite of what your mind needs. life is the means by which the universe understands itself, and the universe is beautiful.

  • Ken

    Without going into detail,, I have gone through alot of the same things many of you have written here..You start to question life,,and alot other strange questions to yourself in regards to everything that exists..you start to trip out..so to speak...fear sets in..and thoughts of losing control of your mind ect,,,I know it the scariest feeling in the world,,You think your the only one,,or mabye one of few that experience this,,I guess since your reading this,,,and your here like me,,,you now know that alot of us are in the same boat,,,and Im sure there are probably a million people around the world who have had these experiences but never say anything,,,

    My suggestion,,and what has helped me...If first..work on the physical health,,get in phenomial shape!,,take supplements ect,,work hard at it,,,

    then keep active,,,associate with poeple..dont stay isolated...get out in nature...do things to calm your mind,,,,you will find alot of this is just plain fear and panic of the unknown ( which is pretty much everything)..you have to try to laugh about it,,,dont take life so seriously,,just live it! Re program your mind POSTIVE,,,fill with positive thoughts everyday...

    once you and your mind start to realize that ,,there is really much you can do about anything,,you'll never find the answers your looking for none of us will....your mind will begin to settle back into life...your fear will subside,,,once you see nothing is really going to happen to you,,,,We have to beleive there is a reason for existance and everything that happens,,,,Try you best to play out role...

    if you have to take meds,,its ok...Xanax works well to calm you down,,and doesnt make you tired,,,Hang in there...we are all the same..and we care about and support each other,,your never alone! and I wish you all peace of mind...

  • amy

    This sorta sounds simalar to me like i would all of a sudden point things out this all started a almost 2 years ago i would think about how iks it we can hear than i got over that and then it was seeing it would drive me crazy because i would say to myself why am i getting anxiety about this. its weird its like when ever i would feel better about one thing it was always another i was told to have ocd anxiety disorder. stuff that no one things twice about. i would also point out how we think before we talk or this that idk i to this day get silly stupid worries about things in everyday life which sound silly and crazy. but this sorta sounds similar to me. its like the worst stress i ever felt in my life. it's horrible.

  • victor

    i feel the exact same :(

  • Anonymous-3

    this sounds like depersonalization to me. Derealization goes alone with this. It is triggered by anxiety. Look it up. I have had this happen as well.

  • jo jo

    i get anxiety sometimes, i get panic attacks, sometimes. i focus my mind like a tiny imaginary white clad mental ninja, blocking the sneak attacks from all sides. i never let bad thoughts snowball, thats where it goes horrible if it gets that far. crush bad inklings before they arise. force proper breathing and heartbeat. rationalize all feelings like ''oh i just have a bit of energy because i ate good food, there's nothing wrong''

    bottom line i tell myself so i'm scared all the time. so what? nothin new here. ride the lightning! let's do this thing, headlong dive into the massive ocean wave, soon you're swimmin in the pacific :) happy happy

  • Clay

    I believe these obsessive existential thoughts are a symptom of stress and/or depression. When I'm not depressed, I'm fully engaged in life and such thoughts might occur to me, but since most of these types of questions are unanswerable mysteries, I don't spend any time with them and focus back on whatever activity I was engaged in.

    But I stress myself with caffeine, alcohol, lack of sleep and anger...and then crash. big time. And the obsessive thoughts come. I won't describe any of them because I'm sure none of you want any more fuel for the fire.

    The thoughts, for me, coincide with times of the day. 3:00-6:00pm is the worst. Come about 8:30, it's as if I've never even had this problem. This, to me, is further evidence that they are symptoms of a physiological problem.

    If your case sounds like mine, it might be good to look into adrenal fatigue and how it is treated, even though it's not a condition many doctors recognize as a "real" syndrome.

    And it does help to know I'm not alone. God bless all of you.

  • capone

    I had the same strange realization, more or less about the idea that im thinking and that my thoughts can have ramification. thats how it started at least(if i remember correctly). BEcause of this mental blockage(or opening the wrong door) i have left medical school and am currently trying to make myself hole again).It was kind of cool at first, having this strange epiphany. UNfortunately these thoughts began to become parrelel with what i would think to be as psychosis. I had this sensational thought that thought and mind itself was like another realm and that somehow we are all connected somehow. THE THOUGHT OPPRESSED ME FOR YEARS. If i oppose it i get massive migraines or moree confusing thoughts. This has been going on for so long i just let myself drift away, it has brought me to the conclusion that my thoughts are seen and heard, and that my thoughts can be inflluenced by others. At first i said its not real(my mind made it more real by adding strange out of space visual perceptions), then i said ok its real(BAD IDEA), so i decided that i cannot decide whether it is real or not. and for the past year or so i have been living my life 24/7 trying to figure out loopholes/codewords or phrases, trains of thought to help myself escape this hell. things just repeat in my head sometimes... thoughts come out of nowhere that i am completely unfamiliar with. I wonder on how thought come to be, so much so that i have seen them multiple times before i can actually think them in a normal way(if there even is one). sometimes i just think im missing something that everyone else knows...worst thing is in my head alot of people just mock me saying your soft, weak etc... Dissociation sounds very likely, taking benzos surley helps, but litterally my mind has been on this without break for a year(violent episodes) and i mean LITTERALLY EVERY MINUTE...I am even in this state in my dreams(which makes me not want to sleep due too more improper questions. I feel like my only solution would be amnesia or developing another personality, if conciously possilbe. any advice would be greatly appreciated. BTW (2 questions)...does anyone else feel like electroconvulsive therapy would snap you out of it, and was there ever a moment that you felt you were finally free but somehow for some reason you put yourself right back into the terrifying loop(i did, for the reason that i thought(and maybe true) it gave me a stronger faith in God. sorry for the very long comment...and if there was any advice i could give...just litterally pour out your heart to God the Creator.

  • Bruna

    It started to me with these existencial thoughts. They made me feel bad, a lot of agent and I just couldn't get them of my mind. A few months later, I started overanalyzing any thought and feeling and that makes me seriously freaked out. I don't know what to do, I think about killing myself all the time and can't find a way to recover a normal path of thoughts. I'm really scared about the idea of being like this for the rest of my life...

  • Dax

    this all started for me around the age of 7.

    It's been an on and off struggle for, virtually my whole life. I am 36 now. And can say i am very comfortable with myself, and have been for a few years.

  • Evelyn

    I have always had OCD obsessive thoughts, not the usual worrying about germs type of OCD, but just annoying, intrusive thoughts like endless analysing, making sure thoughts are in even numbers etc...it pretty much rules my life but I have learnt to manage it somehow...usually too embarrassing to talk about as they are things that have no justification for worry. I also analyse the meaning of life and get weirded out by how life works, reality being an illusion, self-awareness and all that stuff. Don't let it scare you...it is designed this way...maybe look up non-duality and you will see that it is nothing to be afraid of...we are just part of a game, the main purpose being to express our consciousness and experience bliss through the experience of the opposite of bliss, so that we have comparison and keep 're-discovering' bliss by experiencing various forms of suffering...it's necessary so that we don't take happiness and contentment for granted! That is why there is no utopia on Earth...because in a nut shell it would be boring...you need the contrast of light and dark. Analysing it is part of the process...embrace it. Though I would say being in the military has messed you up as the military is just a glorified mind control centre...where you are not encouraged to have your own independent thoughts....just take orders. Sorry if that caused offence and hope some of it was helpful.

  • Lynne

    Hello,

    I am just curious if any of you recovered from your existential concerns. I know Chelsey you mentioned you did. If so, how?

    Thanks, Lynne

  • RickA

    Compulsive thoughts about religion, cosmic concerns and existencialist subjects and feeling of depersonalization often indicate seizures in the temporal lobes.

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