If you’re a panic attack sufferer then you may be in the habit of obsessing over the minor details. I call them anxiety obsessive thoughts. When you’re anxious you might be more likely to let the little things get to you that ordinarily you’d let pass by.
An example of my anxiety and obsessive thoughts happened when I was battling panic attacks.
Now someone with anxiety might realize that even something as benign as this situation could stress someone who is already feeling anxious. Someone without anxiety wouldn’t likely understand what the fuss was about.
Here is the situation ….
I’d picked up a prescription at the pharmacy. When I got home I realized that the pharmacy had made a mistake. It wasn’t anything really that dangerous but rather they had made an error in recording the quantity on the official receipt and consequently undercharged me.
I guess my upbringing as an honest person played a part here and, for whatever reason, I started obsessing. However, in general, I was already anxious because of my panic attacks that had been happening quite frequently.
Well I called the pharmacy and the pharmacist was not helpful. This of course made me more anxious. She did not view the mistake as a big deal. In retrospect it was not really a huge deal, but at the time in my anxious state, little things were getting to me.
I convey this example of my anxiety and obsessive thoughts because I want to make the point that often anxiety sufferers may be worried over things that others may not see as a big deal at all. We can experience a variety of thoughts. Other times your thoughts might surprise you. They could be crazy and disgusting. Perhaps they are completely unrealistic. Stick with me here for a moment…
According to Dr. Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D. in his article:
“Research on people without anxiety disorders shows that almost 90% of them have ‘bizarre’ thoughts––thoughts about contamination, harm, religious impropriety, losing control, sexual ‘perversion’––you name it, we all have thought about it before. So, your ‘weird’ thoughts might mean nothing about you. Join the crowd. We are all a little weird. I like to think of this as ‘we all have an imagination’.”
Dr. Leahy points out three rules are important.
1. Everyone has crazy and disgusting thoughts
2. Thoughts are not the same thing as reality
3. Thought-suppression doesn’t work.
R.L. Leahy. (2009, June 1). Those Damn Unwanted Thoughts. Retrieved October 15, 2012, from Psychology Today website: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anxiety-files/200906/those-damn-unwanted-thoughts