The first time I was asked, “Do you have racing thoughts?” I had no idea what they were asking me. I just stared at this stranger, hounding me to talk about how I think. She tried again, “Do you seem to have a hard time focusing?” I told her that I didn’t know what to say, my thoughts are my own and that I would like to keep them the way they are. She said, “But look at what that has done to you thus far.” I wanted to lash out at her and get angry, but I was suck there. No one was going to save me or let me go home anytime soon, so I broke instead. I began crying and just sat there with the tears. She waited for what seemed like forever, but she just let me cry. Then she asked again, “How many racing thoughts did you just have.” I said, “12.”
Racing thoughts are not just fast-moving thoughts, but they are the hard thoughts that stick over and over again. They will consume you to the point of breaking, like I did in this story. They also don’t come one at a time, they stack up. These thoughts seem to be up against you, pushing you to a point you can’t stand any longer. Then it’s the mood that is created. Depression, highs, chaos, emotions. Any one of these can hold you for hours, days, or even weeks. A few of my racing thoughts at that moment were: How did I get to this point? Why did I do this to myself? They can’t help me, no one can. She doesn’t even think I’m worth her time.
There is doubt, guilt and assumption in these thoughts. Many ‘different thinkers’ have similar thoughts all day long. Someone at work or school might give an encouraging hand or motivation, but it’s difficult not to assume they mean what they say. We question their motives or just down right think they are lying. We never really know their perspective.
A few years ago, I thought, “This isn’t just me, other people think like this, right?” That question made me extremely paranoid for years. I hid the fear with anger and pushed people away. Afraid that they would figure out who I really was and leave me behind anyways, so I’d always make the first move.
Going down that road alone wasn’t what I thought it was at first. I was hard headed and honestly, sometimes just plan mean. I found myself thinking I was so independent that I wouldn’t need anyone to deal with me and what I was.
My mom was the only one that stayed close, because she was my mother. She wasn’t going anywhere. She knew I needed her, but didn’t know what way I need her. She was my enabler for a while and I beat myself up for that, also. Another pushing point. How could I do that to my own mother? Then guilt took over.
This went on for years. I let these racing thoughts switch from emotion, to distant thoughts, to negative perspective. When I finally realized I had to change the way I thought, I was on medication. Yes, I will have to take meds forever, but there are thousands of people who do so. Diabetics are a perfect example. They don’t want to deal with that, but they do. And so do I. It turns into part of your new habits that you must continue, for the rest of your life.
If you need help, if you need medication, don’t let that stop you from changing your mind. Only you can do that. Only you can get the help you need. For me it works. It helps the racing thoughts stay to a minimum and I can recognize when it’s a racing thought, or if it’s something important that I need to slow down and focus on to gain control over again. It’s not difficult after practicing for so long. It becomes a habit and there is always support out there, you just have to reach out.