Jump to content
brassmonkey

Dealing With Emotional Spirals

Recommended Posts

Happy2Heal
On 11/15/2016 at 8:28 PM, brassmonkey said:

So how can we learn to control such a destructive thought process?

 

There are four steps:

 

1. Identify that it's happening,

 

2. Defuse the situation,

 

3. Change the channel,

 

4. Go on with life.

 

Identifying the situation can be hard at first because it's very easy to fall into The Spiral.  A person needs to go through the entire cycle several times to identify the pattern and understand the progression.  I find that I can be well into the pattern before I realize that it's happening again.  Learning what one’s triggers are is a good place to start and previsualizing situations where those triggers might occur.  That way a person can "keep on guard" when those situations arise.

 

Previsualizing situations must be done with care, because it is essentially setting off a trigger on purpose.  It is very easy for the previsualization secession to get out of hand starting The Spiral off and running.  For a lot of people this could be called overthinking a situation.

 

It's frequently the little things that set a Spiral off.  Getting cut off in traffic, a coworker’s off comment, someone’s tone of voice.  When a spiral has ended, I try to go back and coldly analyse it to see what the trigger was for future reference.

 

Thought processes are a highly individual and private thing.  No one can really know what you’re thinking.  The thoughts we are looking at as triggers are our reactions to various stimuli.  It’s not the stimulus itself, but rather our “perception” of it and reaction to it.  We all have nasty people in our lives, people who will say mean things just to get a reaction.  They’re naturally triggers, we know it and can generally handle them accordingly.  Then there are the people we know who wouldn’t purposefully hurt us or just plain strangers.

 

They’re the unintentional and accidental triggers that can cause a lot of Spirals.  It’s all due to our “perception” of the situation.  You’re standing in line at the grocery checkout.  You made a little effort to look nice this morning because you feel bad and thought it might help your attitude.  The friendly person behind you acknowledges your efforts by saying “My, don’t you look nice this morning.”  You “perceive” a compliment and feel better.

 

However, the friendly person is chewing gum at the time.  That gum causes them to swallow in midsentence so it comes out like “My, don’t you look…….nice this morning.” That little pause, caused by an accidental swallow, changes your “perception” of a compliment to an insult.  It reminds you of the time your Aunt Sally, who had a cold, kept insulting your cooking because something “smelled funny”.  From there the thoughts snowball and The Spiral is out of control, wrecking your entire day and causing a major fight with your significant other.

 

thank you so much for all the work you put into this!
this is just what I seem to be dealing with now.

 

this is one of the best threads here.

 

I need to find a way to print this out!

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mariella

Wow!!! 

I just posted about struggling with this. It's amazing just how lost we get. Thank you for taking your time with sharing it brassmonkey. I've had to do this type of work with my cptsd. I had know idea I would need to do the same coming off AD. 

In a sort of funny way looking forward to the challenge. 💙💚💙

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
YammySteph

Thank you for posting this! I will practice this. 

 

Sometimes I feel when I try and “change the channel”, those negative thoughts will push super hard back into focus. It feels like someone is taking control of my actions. It feels that it’s not in my control. That’s the most challenging part. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brassmonkey

Yea, that happens sometimes.  The trick is to just keep after it and keep after it.  the distraction of trying to change the channel helps to break the cycle so each time you do it you loosen the hold that the negative thoughts have.  After a while I found that using a key phrase like "I've already addressed this situation and thought it through, I don't have to do it again" then let it drop and go on with what I was doing worked pretty well.  It even worked when there had been a several week break in the thoughts.  It did take some time with using the key phrase and changing the channel to get the pattern established.  I also watched for certain times/situations where the thoughts would try to spring up with no real trigger.  Driving home from work was a challenging time for a while, but once I realized that this was a problem time of day I could be more on guard and catch things in the very early stages before they could really get a foothold.

 

Keep practicing, little by little you'll gain control and peace of mind.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
BloombieK

Thank you very much brassmonkey for such valuable information.  I've read  your posts several times and have found that I've been on emotional spirals, several at times, not knowing about it.  I knew about rumination but you explain very clearly to me how they work and that they can be difused.   I'm happy that now I can identify them, the triggers, and  am hopeful to find patterns and to get better at difusing them with practice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Grayskies

Good evening

 

I have tapered down another 10% after starting this process last month. My biggest concern is that I feel so much more sensitive, like my armor is gone or something. I feel like it is much easier to hurt my feelings and I am very easily irritated. I don’t want to flip out at people and I have a job where I cannot lose my cool at all. Does anyone have suggestions for dealing with these emotions that feel like a lightening strike when they happen? I almost don’t even see them coming and then I feel stunned. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mariella

I know where you're coming from Grayskies. You described it so well, the armour has come off.  It's what's going on for me now. I'm afraid to go to the next taper. 

I'm so sensitive to everything, even food, my stomach is shocking. It needs food but it doesn't sit well. 

I wish I could advise you, but I myself need to know what to do to make it a bit easier. 

We are all in the right place to get help and support. 

Hang in there! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Grayskies

Mariella—  good to not feel alone in this, what is truly one of the most challenging things I have done in my life so far. 

So far the only thing I can think of doing is a good pep talk before I start my day.. knowing this will happen and that I should probably just do everything I can to sit with it and not react. If I still feel the next day that something should be done, I can do it... but in that moment generally my decisions are very irrational. I suppose this is just mindfulness. I have also been practicing eft tapping a lot regarding my fear of tapering down— this seems to be helpful and allow me to focus on my strengths and protective factors that will contribute to success. It’s easy to get swallowed up in the fear that “I can’t really do this” or “I will need to be on meds my whole life.” 

Still absolutely terrified at times but this is what I have come up with so far. Sending you strength and support! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brassmonkey

Hi Grayskies-  I love your attitude and perception of what is going on with your taper. It can't be taken lightly but can't be rushed, let's see how tomorrow is before making any decision. That will serve you well while you taper.

 

Fear of tapering is a prime example of Spiral Thinking and can be handled in the same manner.  There is no easy way past the next step, we all know it's going to hurt, but it's a step that  must be taken if we are to get anywhere with out taper.  There are things that can be done to lessen the effect of the symptoms, timing, taper percentage, stability are but a few.  Knowing and  Understanding that what ever happens is only temporary is a major factor in getting through with less disturbance. Psyching ones self out before a drop is a big cause of trouble.

 

I remember giving oral presentations in class back in high school.  I hated it. I would start getting upset several days before and by the time I had to present I would be a total mess.  But I would make it through the presentation and get a good grade.  I finally learned that all the worry was for nothing and would just make things worse, so I started to try and control the negative self talk before hand and as long as I had my material prepared, what use to be torture became a tolerable experience. Since then I have gone on to do many presentations at corporate levels, small gatherings, act in films and on live television.  I get quite nervous before each one, but by knowing that it will all work out I can get through it and get through it well.

 

The same goes for tapering.  Once you've done a couple of drops in the correct manner a person should have some idea what to expect.  They can either be afraid of it and make it worse, or accept what ever happens and ride it out in style. It's all personal choice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mariella

thankyou for your support Grayskies.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Justcope

Thanks for this post. For me, spirals are my main and worst symptom. I had this problem before starting meds - leading to anxiety and so was put in meds. I thought I had developed enough skills to come off ADs with the help of a lovely therapist, but nope- bam! Spirals are out of control! Talk about losing complete confidence in yourself. That’s when the whole “I’m going to need meds forever” speech/spiral is in full force. 

I think a big trigger for me is heart palpitations. For me it just triggers anxiety and then lasts for ages. Then thoughts accompany it to try make sense of the anxiety. I’m not so good at catching it in time though. 

Think I’ll need to read and re read this article over and over to get the concept. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jordidog
On 3/8/2017 at 7:21 AM, LittleBelle1912 said:

This is quite possibly the best essay series out there dealing with ADWD. Thank you!

I have gotten a lot out of these. Thanks so much BRASSMONKEY and everyone else for being here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jordidog
On 3/21/2018 at 6:39 AM, Happy2Heal said:

 

thank you so much for all the work you put into this!
this is just what I seem to be dealing with now.

 

this is one of the best threads here.

 

I need to find a way to print this out!

 

 

I’m taking screen shots. I’ll then email to myself and then print on our computer 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jordidog

Screen shot method not so great😉

now am going to email to myself. I want to print off to have it and share with therapist and husbsnd

thank you!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brassmonkey

Copy and paste it into a text document. Then it should print fine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yogiem

Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve really been struggling with this lately, I just haven’t been able to break it down as clearly as you did. I tried explaining to my therapist that I just get caught up in negative thoughts, but that doesn’t seem to do it justice. There’s a darkness and ugliness to them that makes it seem like I’ve entered into another realm almost. 

 

Thank you for the helpful tips. I’m already aware of some of my triggers. Now it’s just practice, practice, practice. Which can honestly be a trigger at times because... ‘Oh my gosh I’m never going to be able to do this, it’s never going to end, I can’t deal with this forever I’m just going to have to kill myself.’ I’m laughing at myself as I write that because it sounds so ridiculous, but it doesn’t seem funny or ridiculous when I’m in it. It’s good to be able to laugh at myself. Thanks again!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brassmonkey

Practice being a trigger is a tricky one, but I know exactly what you mean.  The key is to get to the point where you're doing it but not walking your mind through the process, which is where the practice comes in.  If things don't work as well as you'd like, just do it all again.  One of the big problems I had was with endlessly rehashing the past, fighting the same old fights and such.  I eventually set up a key phrase of "I've already worked through this and don't need to do it again", which I would use as part of my changing channels. After a few times it started to work really well.

 

I glad the essay helped pull things together for you

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gardenlady

brass, I have the doom and dread constantly.  There isn't a trigger...it's just always there.  There doesn't seem to be a rehashing of specific past events, just an overall negativity about how I've destroyed my own life and now feel helpless to do anything about it due to the lobotomy effect of psych drugs.  How do your steps apply when there aren't specific triggers or rehashing of specific past events?  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brassmonkey

Hi gardenlady--  That is sounding a lot more like neuroemotions then Emotional Spiral, and that's a whole 'nuther ball game. The technique of AAF (Acknowledge, Accept, Float) is going to be more appropriate for dealing with it.  Best bet is to do a site search on AAF as there are several good explanations  of it floating around the site.

 

In your PM you mentioned feeling worse with each microtaper, that is a sure sign that a good long hold is in order.

 

Brassmonkey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mariella

Read about AAF, brassmonkey. That's how I overcame panic attacks. I think I need to practice it again for my feelings of dread and anxiety. So glad I read this post. 

Can I ask what is microtaper?? 

 

Hope you have some success with AAF gardenfly. Believe me works, i have to be honest it's hard but so worth it. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
brassmonkey

I'm so glad the AAF is working for you mariella, it takes practice but really works.

 

A normal taper is reductions of 5% or 10% every four weeks. A micro taper is usually in the 1% to 2% range and often a lot smaller.  There is a lot of information on them in the tapering forum.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mariella

Thank you brassmonkey 🌷

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
mariella
On 7/31/2018 at 12:01 PM, yogiem said:

Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve really been struggling with this lately, I just haven’t been able to break it down as clearly as you did. I tried explaining to my therapist that I just get caught up in negative thoughts, but that doesn’t seem to do it justice. There’s a darkness and ugliness to them that makes it seem like I’ve entered into another realm almost. 

 

Thank you for the helpful tips. I’m already aware of some of my triggers. Now it’s just practice, practice, practice. Which can honestly be a trigger at times because... ‘Oh my gosh I’m never going to be able to do this, it’s never going to end, I can’t deal with this forever I’m just going to have to kill myself.’ I’m laughing at myself as I write that because it sounds so ridiculous, but it doesn’t seem funny or ridiculous when I’m in it. It’s good to be able to laugh at myself. Thanks again!

Oh my goodness, this is so me!!! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
yviroundtheworld

I am new here and I stopped medication from one day to another. The first 2 months were quite good but since like 3 weeks I am really not well. Spiralling like crazy! Only I did not know any of this!! Thank you so much Brassmonkey, this was so useful and so insightful!! I will lean on this and will try to apply. Many thanks! 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
kirby

This post is awesome! Thanks! I just realized I was in an emotional cycle - I started to think and I realized what is my trigger: the past, loud noises, my exams coming up, cars passing by. Also, writing too much causes me to experience regret, because I can't get all the words out and I feel like .. you know. To resolve this 1 I am going to be mindful of when I get stressed (and therefore think about my past the good and bad parts), 2 stop editing my writing 3 stop thinking about my thinking. googablyblahfsudhf I am not thinking about anything now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Rachellynn
On 12/8/2016 at 11:36 PM, JanCarol said:

Insomnia spirals - the more you ruminate on sleep, the deeper the insomnia hooks go.

Huge. Huge. Huge. Started with one night and then another night and now all of a sudden it’s just here, trying to stay. Nothing quite like this one 😕

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
eboyd

Very helpful post.  This happens to me all the time.  My fuse is super short most days and I dwell.  It will be nice to try and implement some of these techniques to avoid working myself up, because that is what happens everytime.

 

On 1/9/2018 at 2:23 PM, minu said:

I hope this is ok to post. I’m kind of a newbie here. But I found a guided meditation video that has really helped me during my rumination/spiral episodes. It also has helped me fall asleep several times. It seems to work pretty quickly too. 

 

 

Michael Sealey has been a god send through this whole process.  Excellent hypnosis tracks which are great to help you sleep.  It forces your brain to pay attention to something other than the racing thoughts.

Edited by ChessieCat
removed video from quote - click on link to view original post and video

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Orangeblossom77

This has really helped me today, as it also affects my husband. he isn't on AD's / withdrawal but he does struggle with anger, and 

work stress. We have discussed it in the past and he does something in a similar vein called "Stop, breathe, leave'...to try and control

angry outbursts. So this is also useful to me too. and of course if you are in a couple there is the additional problem of both triggering

the other one. Not easy. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
getofflex

This is very good - thank you.  I have found great help in a little book called "Mood Therapy" by Dr. David Burns.  It is cognitive therapy.  It teaches you to retrain how you interpret and think about all the things that happen that can trigger you.  I've used the exercises in there, and it really helps.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tweet

Thank you so much brassmonkey. This really helps.

This is exactly what I have been trying to get a handle on lately! 

When the spiral begins, it literally hits me so hard and sudden it takes my breath away!

I have been trying to tell myself to stop but it is like telling a tidal wave to stop! 

It makes me feel so out of control and defeated😔

I have been getting so angry at this “thing” that hits me.

The knowledge I have after reading your post gives me confidence I can stop this.

I have been crying all day over doing it this morning— right after my 1 hour Bible study and “truth notebook” review.....😳

I even told my husband I hate him!!!(he irritated me by singing happy songs and hymns in the shower when I am feeling miserable and in a severe down wave....) Never in my life have I said this to him!😥

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tweet
On 7/30/2018 at 9:01 PM, yogiem said:

Thank you so much for sharing this. I’ve really been struggling with this lately, I just haven’t been able to break it down as clearly as you did. I tried explaining to my therapist that I just get caught up in negative thoughts, but that doesn’t seem to do it justice. There’s a darkness and ugliness to them that makes it seem like I’ve entered into another realm almost. 

 

Thank you for the helpful tips. I’m already aware of some of my triggers. Now it’s just practice, practice, practice. Which can honestly be a trigger at times because... ‘Oh my gosh I’m never going to be able to do this, it’s never going to end, I can’t deal with this forever I’m just going to have to kill myself.’ I’m laughing at myself as I write that because it sounds so ridiculous, but it doesn’t seem funny or ridiculous when I’m in it. It’s good to be able to laugh at myself. Thanks again!

My therapist has taught me a couple of things, too, that probably work in normal situations. And they do work sometimes.

But some spiral events seem to be powered by alot of neuro emotions that make it hugely worse and harder to handle!

It is like irrational triggering thoughts on steroids!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Tweet
On 3/11/2019 at 3:52 PM, getofflex said:

This is very good - thank you.  I have found great help in a little book called "Mood Therapy" by Dr. David Burns.  It is cognitive therapy.  It teaches you to retrain how you interpret and think about all the things that happen that can trigger you.  I've used the exercises in there, and it really helps.  

Thanks getofflex, just ordered it on prime!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
bunchesofoats

Thank you so much @brassmonkey for the super helpful write-up as well as everyone else contributing to this thread. I printed out the essay so I can have it easily on hand as well as show it to my therapist. I wanted to contribute a worksheet that I frankensteined from CBT handouts my therapist has given me that has really helped me:

1. have a productive action to take when spiraling and

2. have a record that allows me to see patterns.

 

I print them out and have them within easy reach so I feel like I can take a step towards gaining control of the situation when it arises. I've been doing this for a couple of years now I think. I took a break when I felt sort of over it for a while but went back to it because it's still helpful and I still need it. Seeing the patterns in my triggering situations as well all the other questions has been eye-opening and reassuring while giving me a great sense of being in control of myself.

 

It's geared towards thought-triggered spirals.

Thought log.pdf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
getofflex

brass monkey this is wonderful stuff.  I copied and pasted and created my own document to print, and I"m going to read it, and put it into practice.  This is an issue for me, definitely. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Onmyway
On 8/14/2018 at 8:38 AM, gardenlady said:

brass, I have the doom and dread constantly.  There isn't a trigger...it's just always there.  There doesn't seem to be a rehashing of specific past events, just an overall negativity about how I've destroyed my own life and now feel helpless to do anything about it due to the lobotomy effect of psych drugs.  How do your steps apply when there aren't specific triggers or rehashing of specific past events?  

Hi @gardenlady. I have this as well. Often. And I think in this case the trigger are the automatic thoughts themselves. But they can also be neuroemotions as BrassMonkey has said. I think both are at play in my case specifically. Try to work with the thought log below (new post) by bunchesofoats.  It is excellent. See if it helps. Sometimes it helps to just think about these feelings (rather than just feel) as then you engage your prefrontal cortex and that gets you out of the amygdala loop. Acceptance here is also key - it is what it is, the past can't be changed but you can learn to live the best way you can with the situation you find yourself in. I know it is easier said than done when your receptors are screaming for more serotonin. 

 

Edited by ChessieCat
removed @ tags

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Onmyway
On 8/18/2019 at 10:40 PM, bunchesofoats said:

Thank you so much @brassmonkey for the super helpful write-up as well as everyone else contributing to this thread. I printed out the essay so I can have it easily on hand as well as show it to my therapist. I wanted to contribute a worksheet that I frankensteined from CBT handouts my therapist has given me that has really helped me:

1. have a productive action to take when spiraling and

2. have a record that allows me to see patterns.

 

I print them out and have them within easy reach so I feel like I can take a step towards gaining control of the situation when it arises. I've been doing this for a couple of years now I think. I took a break when I felt sort of over it for a while but went back to it because it's still helpful and I still need it. Seeing the patterns in my triggering situations as well all the other questions has been eye-opening and reassuring while giving me a great sense of being in control of myself.

 

It's geared towards thought-triggered spirals.

Thought log.pdf 45.68 kB · 4 downloads

 

@bunchesofoats Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing this. I have not been able to find as comprehensive  thought log work sheets anywhere. I try thought log apps but I like your sheets better because they have the core beliefs/ importance/ friend reference - all the techniques!  I will share them with my CBT therapist as well so she can pass them on if it's OK with you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

Terms of Use Privacy Policy