How can I derail thought loops?

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    • #101479
      Ranma
      Participant

      I get thoughts stuck in my head, sometimes they can go on for days, over and over, when it’s something mundane it’s just annoying, but when it’s something disparaging or cruel that someone has said or done (And there’s been a lot over the years) it really takes a toll.
      It is really difficult to put on the fake smile and act like there’s nothing wrong, when I have, for example, my mother several times before I was diagnosed got so upset at something ADHD related I did that she screamed “What did I do to deserve a child like you! ” having something like that playing over and over in your head for a few days is very painful.
      I’ve tried distractions, they rarely work for long, trying to think of good things is exhausting.
      I’ve tried talking to my brother and all I get is “you need to just let it go, and forget about it”
      HOW! HOW do I forget I’ve tried, I have no problem forgetting important stuff like where I parked or that my doctors appointment was yesterday.
      But every bad thing is locked in my memory and without warning, will start playing over and over.
      Does anyone know how to derail them when they start?

    • #101536
      Laurie
      Participant

      Oh, my heart aches for you! Trying to tell yourself to “forget about it” can make the thoughts stick more–pain doesn’t just go away. I try to practice mindfulness to help pay attention, and forgiveness for when I don’t. I am clear that my brain works differently than most of the world–and have figured out (most of the time) when to forgive myself for oopsies, and when to find a new way to remember stuff. Carrying around hurtful episodes doesn’t help anyone, but can make us grumpy and resentful. We can’t change the past, but can change the way we handle the memories when they arise. Acknowledge them, and then tell them that we don’t need them to needle us anymore. The memory won’t go away, but we can change how we react to the memory. Stewing in it is awful for our minds and our bodies. When I can’t shake something easily, I try to find a positive action or thought to focus on–counting true blessings, reminding myself what I am am good at, doing something physical like go for a run or a walk,healing the relationships I can–forgiveness takes real work, or to go do something for someone else. I can use my distractfulness to my advantage at those times. And most important is to not internalize other’s words. We need our own healthy helpful voice in our heads. When we hear the old hurtful words coming at us, then it is time to deflect them. I have several short sentences that I use: “Just keep moving”, “Breathe”, “Breathe again”, “Yes, you can”, “It is OK”, “YOU are OK”, “What is next?”, “Settle down–find some calm”, “Focus”, “Do your best and leave the results to God”, and the spiritual part of my life takes God’s name close to my heart when I most need it. It takes time and practice. Annoying thoughts can just be thought of as “just so many irritating gnats”–let them flit about, and focus on something else. Begin by realizing that YOU are in control.

    • #101539
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      It sounds like some Cognitive Behavior Therapy could help you. That approach works on changing your thoughts and taking control of your thoughts.

      Challenge Your Thoughts, Change Your Life

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

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