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Old 11-02-2014, 09:49 AM
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Repressed Memories

I am in my 10th month of sobriety but struggling with insomina and anxiety. I just can't stop my mind from digging up memories from my worst drinking days. I am using CBT techniques as best I can but still find myself getting stuck in ruminating.

I read that ruminating is associated with depression so I may seek out an SSRI. Anyone found a way to deal with rumination and intrusive thoughts?
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Old 11-02-2014, 09:54 AM
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Try writing your thoughts down - it frees them from your mind as you know, that you can go and read them whenever you want Works for me - hope it helps x
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:15 AM
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I havnt tried CBT but well done on ten months your doing well try to not look back too much tho as you wont see whats in front of you

all the best WL
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:24 AM
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I suffer from anxiety myself. I take Zoloft, which seems to help most of the time. The sad truth is that we all have difficult and painful emotions. Most people have their own ways to deal with them that don't involve dangerous behaviors. I like to tell people that I'm not a doctor, but I'm skilled in self-medication. The irony is that the medicine becomes poison after a while.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Wastinglife View Post
I am in my 10th month of sobriety but struggling with insomina and anxiety. I just can't stop my mind from digging up memories from my worst drinking days. I am using CBT techniques as best I can but still find myself getting stuck in ruminating.

I read that ruminating is associated with depression so I may seek out an SSRI. Anyone found a way to deal with rumination and intrusive thoughts?
interesting.... ME TOO!!

I'm having memories from drinking days, from childhood, all sorts of anxiety in various parts of my life. Here's what I posted about it recently;

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...-memories.html



I am seeing a therapist who is working with me on cognitive-behavioral therapy, also working toward acceptance and compassionate self-love through the practice of yoga and just getting started on some simple Buddhist-style meditation.

I believe that it is a phase we need to be patient with. Rather than attack it with SSRI's or more substances, I am choosing to take a path of working with my emotions, being patient, reminding myself that this is temporary, sharing what I'm going through here, at meetings, with my Lady, with my therapist.

It's interesting that we are at about the same duration of sobriety and struggling with similar issues. I bet there is something chemical about it.... the body and mind finally returning to a 'normal' level and balance....

I think it will take time.

Hang in there, share, talk, hold faith!

See a doctor if it worsens or simply becomes unbearable to deal with or to at least rule out any physical issues. For me, I am quite sure that it is emotional and psychological and that I'm essentially having to process long-held pain, shame, fear, self-esteem issues, anxiety that had for so many years just been 'medicated'.
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:44 AM
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10 months was a tough time for me. My thoughts were a mess. Overthinking about the world's problems, depressed, disassociated. Not fun, but I kept at it and it slowly improved. Use all the tools you have but patience is key. Feel good about your sober time, you're giving yourself a chance to heal.
-Ted
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Old 11-02-2014, 10:48 AM
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Have you read this excellent thread with lots of great (CBT) tools?

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...nal-noise.html

I've used most of these techniques successfully. You can never have too many tools in the box!

I am also one who opts for no more pharmaceuticals. I've tried so many different ones for anxiety and depression and obsessions. None of them work as well as internal tools to stop the thoughts.

Good luck. Keep searching, you'll figure it out. Be gentle with yourself - life is a puzzle
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:01 AM
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Hey WL,

Everyone has so many great suggestions. I've been experiencing 'runaway brain' lately at night as well and have restarted the nighttime herbal tea drinking (in the afternoons).

This time of year and the weather change just puts me right back into times other than right now. So I have to pull out all the stops. And tea bags. At night I remind myself that torturing myself by thoroughly examining a painful thought is not going to change an outcome from the experience.

Ditto the sentiment of being gentle with yourself.
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:02 AM
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Mindfulness. Meditation. Focused breathing. Peace focuses on the present whereas depression focuses on the past and anxiety on the future.

Practicing being in the moment has helped me a lot. When I get anxious or find myself ruminating I meditate. The more I do it the better I get at stopping intrusive thoughts about the past or possible future.

It takes work, though.
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:11 AM
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There is a book called Peaceful Mind by John McQuaid that people have been trying to get me to read for 2 years. I plan to buy it soon because it's had great reviews. Maybe it will help you? Worth a shot! Hang in there!
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Old 11-02-2014, 11:27 AM
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What I personally tend to have problems with is not rumination per se (thinking about past things too much), but that my brain/mind sometimes goes on overdrive in all directions. It's like a multidimensional hyperspace with thoughts crossing over all over the map. Past memories, future anxieties, and everything in between, including some really bizarre thoughts that I have no idea where they come from at times. As though all the filters were gone from my mind... When I'm like this, usually it lasts 2-3 days and then it passes. I do believe that it has some sort of chemical cause, but can definitely be further triggered by cognitive and emotional overload, and stress. I think all the suggestions here are good. I would add physical exercise. I am also a fan of meditation but there are states of these where it just does not work. I find that talking about the stuff that goes on in my head helps a lot - when I was younger, I used to be afraid that I would scare people away... but I tried first, then second time, and realized it's actually the opposite... there are always lots of people attracted to craziness

I also try to get me not to worry about these states too much if possible. But sometimes it's just not enough. I've visited doctors being in these states several times in my life and was told all sorts of things from generalized anxiety to panic attacks to bipolarish episodes, to just being a human being with an active mind... oh, even sleep disorders when this happens at night in half asleep states...I was evaluated for those twice and they found nothing unusual. I just decided that I will try not to worry about this much anymore and won't try to put a name on it. Just call it being me, "haennie unspecified"...

My suggestion is to experiment with whatever method seems interesting and helpful to calm your mind, just like for recovery. Except alcohol and other self-medication drugs.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:00 AM
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Yep, FreeOwl I think you nailed it with this statement:

"For me, I am quite sure that it is emotional and psychological and that I'm essentially having to process long-held pain, shame, fear, self-esteem issues, anxiety that had for so many years just been 'medicated'"

So much raw emotion. Guilt is killing me. I pushed away a lot of people in my life by my drinking. Friends, girlfriends, and even family have distanced themselves. My self-worth is at an all time low right now. I didn't think about it when I was drinking.
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Old 11-03-2014, 07:11 AM
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sit with it, embrace it.... try not to guilt yourself with it. Just observe it. Go into it - not to sulk but to have empathy and compassion for yourself.

Look upon your memories as you might look upon a good friend whom you love very much, understanding that your friend behaved in those ways because your friend was hurting, suffering, struggling.

Recognize that the friend you love very much is YOU.

Be there for your friend... without judgement, without trying to "fix" or run away.... just offering comfort and compassion.

That's what I'm working on anyway.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:05 AM
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Hi, just want to send you good wishes. I'm struggling terribly with obsessive ruminations about the past, so I think I have some understanding of what you're dealing with. No helpful advice, I just try to accept that the thoughts will pass. Be well.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:24 AM
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Writing, meditating - those two help me!
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Wastinglife View Post
I am in my 10th month of sobriety but struggling with insomina and anxiety. I just can't stop my mind from digging up memories from my worst drinking days. I am using CBT techniques as best I can but still find myself getting stuck in ruminating.

I read that ruminating is associated with depression so I may seek out an SSRI. Anyone found a way to deal with rumination and intrusive thoughts?
Glad you are here and posting! 10 months is 2 x me! Good for you, that's awesome!!!

I deal with this through the program of AA working the steps. We will not regret the past nor fear the future. I had to find a way past all the crap - step 4/5 deals with it.
That is the only program I have experience with. This is really a confession step - the process is as old as man himself. Even if you have no thoughts of AA, you might try listing your regrets and finding another you can trust to not judge, but just listen to them. Even if your not religious or spiritual - a priest is trained in this as well.

AA members here may light me up for suggesting this - SPONSOR ISSUE - but I feel it may be done this way and help deal with the past. One could read online more about these steps on their own if not big on AA. Just a suggestion......

Good luck, as with all of us - on your sober journey!!
I welcome your shared experience when as you work through these issues.
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Old 11-03-2014, 08:53 AM
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What to do in a state of anxiety and depression. When most likely there is a physical reason, not only emotional. If neurons are firing and the nervous system is shot it is nearly impossible to fully process any of those traumas and repressed emotions.

What has benefited me the most during my recovery was none else but eliminating caffeine from my diet. I also know that many people get diagnosed with bipolar and other stuff but I never believed this on my part. Meaning that it was a neurological phenomenon caused by booze and caffeine, not much else.

Great job on 10 months Wastinglife. I've noticed that trying something too hard, say that CBT you've been applying might make the stress worse. You know that PAWS is stress-sensitive and so are many other things related to the nervous system, especially recovery. Good luck anyway... hopefully that sorts itself out.
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