What kind of thing are you obsessed with right now?
Until where the headache is healthy & when you should start worrying
photographed by Erin Yamagata; produced by Julie Borowsky; produced by Lorenna Gomez-Sanchez; modeled by Shaliqua Alleyne.
When a very good friend stopped calling me overnight, I did something that probably annoyed my other friends incredibly with: I became obsessively involved in the whole thing. I kept wondering why she was ghosting me and whether I had done something wrong. I knew I was slowly but surely boring everyone to death with it, but I just couldn't stop. I was obsessed with talking about it all the time. It just kept bubbling out of me - like verbal vomit.
"Even people who are not mentally ill sometimes worry too much or are obsessed with something," explains Dr. Chapman and adds that these are character traits that people with, but also without, anxiety disorders can have. Often people get into things that have a tendency to be a little "neurotic". "The term 'neurotic' has a negative connotation, but in principle it just means that you feel negative emotions more often and more strongly than others". When you are afraid, angry, or sad, you experience these feelings up to ten times more intensely than other people. So if there is something that is really bothering you and triggers one of those emotions, then chances are you'll become obsessed with it at some point.
But that doesn't answer the question I ask myself several times a day: Why?
According to Dr. Chapman can be a solution for some pure climbers. “Uncertainty scares many people. If you don't know how a situation might turn out, then you worry about it. However, this attempt to solve the problem is futile ”.
Even people who are not mentally ill sometimes worry too much or are obsessed with something.
Or to put it another way: when something is uncertain in your life, you think about what is happening all the time could. This is how you prepare for the worst possible variant - even if there is nothing you can do about it and there is no point in worrying about things that haven't happened yet. It may be counterproductive, but for some of us situations seem less stressful when we step into it.
"If you have the impression that it lowers your stress level, then headaches can even be positive," says Dr. Chapman.
But even if it can have a liberating effect at first to think about every little detail, the whole thing can also be eye-catching. Why? Because you may get even more nervous or fearful when you think about a bad possible outcome. If that's the case with you, then according to Dr. Chapman might be helpful in asking yourself: How likely is it that something negative will happen and is there any evidence? “Most of the time we find that the probability of a negative result is very low. Then try to imagine an alternative outcome and then use this idea as your mantra ”.
A practical example: You made a mistake at work and are now wondering what the consequences could be.
Variant 1: You could get fired, no longer be able to pay your rent, get kicked out and end up on the street. Okay, that sounds a bit exaggerated and is probably not that likely. But dr. Chapman says it can help to imagine the worst possible scenario and prepare yourself mentally for it - if it really happens.
Option 2: In the best case, your boss is understanding and helps you iron out the mistake. After all, you are only human. This approach can also be helpful.
Many people get into things and then become obsessed with them. This doesn't have to be a sign of an anxiety disorder. However, if this behavior is affecting your life, then maybe you should seek help from someone after all. According to Dr. Chapman are signs that could indicate an anxiety disorder, such as physiological symptoms that may make you inoperable at work or in your private life. You should also watch how much time you lose because you worry too much. It shouldn't be more than an hour a day.
If you (or someone you know) have an anxiety disorder, you can call the telephone counseling hotline on 0800 111 0 111 or 0800 111 0 222 or use the telephone counseling chat.
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