Thoughts and overthinking

#1

I don’t really know if this is an ADHD thing, or if it’s just me. When I’m alone I can really overthink things, and have thoughts about pretty deep stuff, like death, morals and the meaning of life. Sometimes, I get anxious because of these thoughts but that’s a whole other story. I get thoughts about these deep, usually philosophical topics a lot. I even overthink my own thoughts. When I think about these deep things, I can get stuck in them, and it makes it difficult for me to interact with others, because it’s difficult to get myself out of it. I can get really irritated when someone wants me to participate in a conversation, when I’m thinking these thoughts. Sometimes, I listen to music or a podcast so I can escape my own thoughts. But the thing that bothers me most is that I get so irritated when someone is interrupting my inner tornado.
And after that I feel guilty, because I was not really nice to that person. I don’t know if this makes sense, and I don’t know what I want advice on. This is just something I’m thinking about a lot recently

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#2

Exchange I had in college:

Friend: “Josh, you think about things too much.”

Me, unironically: “Really, do you think so?”

Just last night, I got wrapped up in overthinking something that’s not necessarily a simple thing, but not something I had to solve right that moment. But I couldn’t let it go and I kept spiraling into more and more thoughts. I finally texted some friends and vented, and they’re response was “It’s okay, you’ve got this more than you think you do.” I still couldn’t let it go, so I decided to distract myself by paying a bill that’s been hanging over my head. I figured if I accomplished some adulting, I could at least have that as a success for the night.

I do think this is an ADHD thing, sort of hyperfocusing on one thought or group of thoughts and emotional dysregulation makes it difficult to calm down and see it rationally.

Thank you for posting this. Overthinking is something I deal with a lot, but it feels like it’s been particularly bad the past week or so.

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#3

I wouldn’t be surprised at all if overthinking is related to ADHDs inability to self-regulate.

I’m currently taking Rispirdone to help with “persistent unwanted thoughts”. I’d be at work and I’d suddenly be consumed with thoughts about how large the population of the world is, how we all are slaves to money, how nobody seems to want to improve life beyond the archaic systems left over from the industrial era, how the 40-hour work week is hurting productivity but big companies refuse to acknowledge or consider shorter work days/weeks, how I’m wasting my life spending my best years working for the man only to be told I can finally do what I want when I’m 65, in pain, and retired if social security is still there and… you get the point.

By the time I got fully wound up, I could barely keep myself from slamming my hard hat on the ground and storming off to my car. I couldn’t regulate the emotions that were feeding the thoughts and the thoughts kept firing up the emotions.

I still have deep thoughts about the flaws in society and long to see things get better, for everyone’s sake. But now I am better able to put those thoughts to the side and do what needs to be done to survive another day. I still hate it, but I’m able to see past the surface emotions now and keep them out of the driver’s seat.

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#4

I agree that over-thinking can be related to self-regulation. “What am I thinking about” is essentially an executive-function-related question, and then, choosing to CHANGE what you’re thinking about is certainly an executive-function-related action. I also think that some of the perseverating (a word which I really don’t like, but it is sometimes a standard term in the psychological and diagnostic literature and community) could be a type of hyper-focus, a dopamine-connected response somehow. So, whether it’s on the hyper-focus end of things or the executive-function end of things, it’s all part and parcel of the same type of mental condition that we all here in the tribe have. I have a similar experience in thinking about mathematics. I like knowing stuff about number theory (prime numbers, pythagorean integer squares, that sort of thing) and often will allow myself to perseverate or hyperfocus on solving a problem in that field. But that doesn’t get me anxious the way you’re reporting. Also, it might be a function of your age and level of awareness of human mortality – later in adolescence, we all learn a new appreciation of mortality and end up focusing on it to some greater or lesser extent. I’d love to be able to tell you that the worries about death can go away once you turn (for example) 35, but honestly, I think we all are somewhat disquieted by the idea, and try to put it away from us sometimes, that we know that we will die. I DO actually KNOW that I will die some day, but often this fact seems “unreal” anyway. I can’t make it go away for you :frowning: but I can suggest that if it’s new for you, it will get more manageable for you soon, even though it never goes away.

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