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Stop Over-Analyzing Meaning Of Life And Complicating Things


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#1 Curious George

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:22 PM

I was wondering what over analyzing would classify as in terms of mental illness. I have always been interested in philosophy and psychology. I actually received my bachelors in psychology with outstanding grades. However, I have trouble turning off over-analyzing my thoughts, emotions, and behaviors of myself and others as well as life.

Even before I was a psychology major, I have always felt a deep sense of always questioning the meaning of life and existence. I also always seemed to question everything when trying something new even if I knew the answer. I have had depression in the past and taken Prozac, and it seemed to help me be more in the present or carefree instead of in my head. However, I felt it taken away some of my analytical abilities as well as empathy and intuition.

As of now, I don't know if I am depressed or just suffering some ocd spectrum disorder or if it is just my personality. I am pretty sure it is just my tendency to overanalyze because I have my whole life, and I just lack the self-discipline or poorly execute coping skills that I need to (CBT/Meditation). I think I am just naturally a neurotic.

If it is depression, it is mild because I do stay involved and try to not be avoidant. I exercise often, try to eat well, and sleep well. It helps a lot with sad and anxious physical feelings, but I still do have random obsessive "philosophical quotes" or epiphanies that constantly repeat in my head. It sometimes gets to the point of annoyance, and I have to tell someone about it. I have trouble focusing on the now unless I live purely by logic because my emotions always seem to gravitate towards wanting to know "truth" even though I know that the feeling is irrational. It is exhausting to constantly use logic to beat these subtle feelings. I honestly just want to be more carefree from these obsessive questions and live more in the now without resorting to medication. It be nice to stop thinking sometimes...

Plus, I am pretty sure Prozac gave me a hypomanic episode in the past because I had such good clarity that I never even bothered to ask these existential questions. I really don't believe I have bipolar though because I seem to manage through life just fine. Any suggestions/advice would greatly be appreciated. Thanks.


#2 DreamAgain

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Posted 04 June 2012 - 11:35 PM

Hi Curious_George,

Welcome to the DF. This is a great place to hang out and vent. I have found that just expressing how I feel and putting it in writing allows me to let go.

I analyze everything and get myself worked up as well and often cannot turn off the over thinking and processing. This happens at night. What I have started to do is take Vitamin D3 2000 IU, Valerian, Calcium/Magnesium and other stuff blend and Rescue Remedy. This combination allows me to sleep. I still am up having to visit the bathroom constantly but at least I can rest and relax a bit easier.

I encourage the exercise as it will help with endorphins, breathing helps...Also try not to overstimulate just before bed...Maybe light reading...listening to music....meditational recordings help.

I wish you the best, hang in there and keep posting.
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Post and let go...DreamAgain

#3 alpheus

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 01:07 AM

It seems to be a common problem with depressives. I've got the same problem. I don't know if it's more of a personality trait that often leads to depressive thoughts and feelings or its more so of an actual symptom. There does seem to be a personality type like this that is overrepresented in depressives, but I've no idea if it's more of a cause or a symptom, or of both.

People tell me to stop over analyzing all the time, but I don't know of any other way to be, I don't know if there's any other way I can be. One thing I am sure of is that trying to explain it to non-depressives is usually a big waste of time at best and at worst results in alienation and repulsion. The pervasive bias that everyone thinks & feels like they do really sticks out painfully when I try to explain.

#4 StoniumFrog

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 06:10 AM

I think we all know the dangers of over analyzing stuff, especially stuff we cannot and should not explain ... the latest one in my head is - if there is no limit to the maximum size of existence, is there any limit to the minimum size of existence - like ***??? And I do find it gets to me when I am really down and then I start thinking of the futility of everything. But then I get a bit of clarity and it all makes sense - why? Simple. Man has somehow deluded himself that he is top of the foodchain and must know the answer to everything. Well guess what? He ain't! I am not even talking God or anything like that, but there are forces beyond our comprehension and control. This extends to our personal lives - we are on so many paths and whether or not they will collide could depend on whether or not you get up and make that cup of coffee or wait a minute or two. This even includes the cr@p that goes on in family and friends - if you overanalyze you'll soon be reduced to mono-syllabic conversations, afraid what ever you say will be misconstrued as offensive.

I think its healthy to question (after all the alternative is a world of X-Facor watching automotons) but there is beauty in simplicity. Its like using space within music - you don't necessarily need to fill up every second with sound to appreciate it.

George - have you read "The Tao of Pooh and the Te of Piglet" - If not, do! Forget about that copy of "Chaos Theory"

#5 Spiritual_Wanderer

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 09:52 AM

I can relate to this. I have existential and spiritual OCD and I am always questioning life/reality and the meaning of life, what happens after death, etc. All the unknowns... I have monologues in my head a lot about these types of topics. I am on a low dose of Prozac and it helps some. Antidepressants can give me mania at higher doses, and I have not been diagnosed with bipolar. Some bipolars are "high-functioning," though and can usually live fairly "normal" lives. But I also take a low dose of a mood stabilizer to prevent mania from ADs, and it seems to work pretty well. I still have the thoughts, but the intensity and regularity of them have been helped.
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#6 Curious George

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 11:51 AM

I have not read the Taoh of Pooh. A friend has recommended me it before. I have to check that out. It isn't like I have a morbid sense of depression. I am still functional, but I just feel like something is consistently missing from my life. Only time this feeling seems to be helped is when I am on medication or have a new goal or hobby to be obsessed/motivated about or I generally feel lost or confused about my direction in life.

#7 LibraryLady

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 02:28 PM

Ohhh! The Tao of Pooh! One of my favorites! Great suggestion!

Curious George, I've been reading a lot on OCD and there are a bunch of different types. One is a rumination type, and I think I have a tendency towards that myself. Like you, I do think a lot about life, it's meaning and all that heavy duty stuff. Over the years I have tended to lean more philosophically toward Buddhism than anything.

But, yes, some types of rumination can be considered OCD. Have you talked to your Dr about it? There is a difference between having an actual OCD (disorder) as opposed to obsessive/compulsive tendencies, or traits.
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#8 Curious George

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:41 PM

Yes, I have talked to a psychologist and psychiatrist my junior year of college when I was in an episode of depression. According to the psychologist, I live inside my head a lot. I am pretty sure I always had a mild dysthymia or cyclothymia that brought upon periods of social anxiety with periods of confidence my whole life. I know I don't have ocd, but I have always had ocd tendencies. I am pretty sure I get this from my mom because me and her can both be obsessed with some topic and have really good focus. I think my ocd tendencies are what make me successful and intuitive like Howard Hughes. It contributes to my intense focus and motivation when I have a goal, but it is also a double edge sword because it can be detrimental to relationships because I have trouble enjoying the moment. I think the obsession causes unnecessary stress sometimes, but I do think this mental condition allowed me to have more empathy and not fall susceptible to groupthink mentality. I always been able to see the big picture of things. However, as a result, this sometimes made me feel unrelateable because some of my friends were more about the now, whereas I was more focused on the meaning of life. It is my gift and curse.

#9 LibraryLady

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Posted 05 June 2012 - 05:57 PM

That's a good way to look at it: a gift and a curse.

I can really understand where you are coming from George. I have quite a few OCD tendencies myself. :-) When I get to researching on some topic I can get super focused on it to the point that everything else just falls away. That stood me in good stead when I was in college. I not only did my research, but I helped a lot of other people do research too! I guess that's why I became a librarian - I like to find out things! LOL!
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#10 Curious George

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 11:56 AM

The goal is to be a psychologist. I think people in human services have a tendency to pick up on negative emotions, but also have a tendency to be problem solvers. I can't see a predominantly hypomanic person having good empathy...

#11 jacqui41

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 12:09 PM

I have existential depression/anxiety it drives me mad!
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#12 LilyRain

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 03:05 PM

I over analyze to the point where it confuses me. I'm really good at breaking down ideas, but run into trouble when I get into simply theoretical. For instance, I'm pretty good at science (chem especially) but when I started to break down ideas and processes down into the WHY, I'd think myself in circles.

Also, I can't make decisions because I over analyze. I lay down so many pros and cobs because I just keep over thinking it, and eventually I've over thought it so much I can't reach a conclusion.
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#13 Insidious

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 06:24 PM

I used to obsess about death. I would imagine myself getting old and then wondering what the moment will be like when I kick-off. Then I would get depressed and anxious knowing that someday I too will see the inside of the ground. And every time someone dies, I go through the same thoughts, especially when they are my age. My best friend died a few months ago at age 35, and it really got me to thinking again about this stuff.

About 5 years ago I got to the point where my thinking made me lose grip with reality and I began having a psychotic break (the only way to describe it). Not only would I obsess over death, but I would think about the opposite path -- immortality. I then began thinking about how awful immortality must be -- like imagining what it must be like to live an infinite amount of time either in this life or in the "hereafter." Even if the "hereafter" were as wonderous as the world's religions made it out to be, I concluded that anything that is infinite must de facto be torturous. I concluded that neither death nor immortaility looked very attractive, so I was stuck in this existential rat-cage of sorts. Both paths were equally horrifying and my mortal mind didn't know how to process it. It was like informational overload.

I went and hospitalized myself as I just simply had to have some sort of strong medication to bring me down from this obsessive state of mind. I was almost literally climbing the walls like a mad man, so I needed help but knew I would never get it without saying I was suicidal. I must admit it was quite weird going to the ER and walking up to the front desk and saying "Hello, I am suicidal." That's what I ended up doing and they took me back to a room to see an ER doc. As I was waiting, I heard one of the nurses say loudly out in the hallway "This guy says he is suicidal, I think I will go get a gun and bring it in here to see what he does with it. He is doing nothing but wasting our time." Normally I would have gotten up, walked out there and knocked the guy's teeth out, but my mind was so far gone I didn't even care (plus I knew I would get arrested and get no help in jail). This goes to show that even trained professionals often times do not take mental health issues seriously. Many of them think we are either attention seeking or drug addicts looking for a fix. I have been to the ER several times for crises like this and I have not only received the snide remark about suicide but I have had other nurses accuse me of drug seeking. I have never been a drug addict in my life (I rarely even drink), so naturally I took offense to it, but what can you do? You are at their mercy. But I digress...

Nowadays, it's not so bad. With a lot of self-reflection (and help from meds), I eventually accepted my ultimate fate and am now no longer fearful of death. My epiphany came when I rationalized that death is equivalent to non-existence. I began to ponder what I remembered before birth, and obviously it was nothing which made me conclude that death is just a reentering into that state of non-existence. Since I felt no pain or sorrow before my birth, I can accept that death isn't to be feared (that's not to say one should embrace it, however -- if you do that then you need to see your pdoc immediately). I am just saying that on a philosophical level, there is no need to fear the inevitable.

Edited by Insidious, 06 June 2012 - 06:30 PM.


#14 Curious George

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 07:19 PM

I over analyze to the point where it confuses me. I'm really good at breaking down ideas, but run into trouble when I get into simply theoretical. For instance, I'm pretty good at science (chem especially) but when I started to break down ideas and processes down into the WHY, I'd think myself in circles.

Also, I can't make decisions because I over analyze. I lay down so many pros and cobs because I just keep over thinking it, and eventually I've over thought it so much I can't reach a conclusion.


I can see the pros and cons in almost everything too. It gives me an "analysis paralysis". Would this be considered more on the anxious side or depressive side?

#15 Advy

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 09:42 PM

I would disagree about the fear of death. I think it is good to fear death and seek life. The realization of dreams is most important to life. When something realizes a dream it is alive in that moment. When you are not realizing dreams or visions you are not living, just breathing is a part of you staying alive because of some dream or hope. Philosophical thinking and rationalization should not be the enemy here even it seems unfruitful, it is always beneficial if you have the methods and do it with others. Go on the meet-up site and join a local discussion group and keep posting your thoughts here. When you are stuck with an issue then learn about how other people solve it. I am concerned with the meaning of life so I did research and found a philosophy all about it called existentialism and its related psychotherapy. Know you do not need to be alone in your reflections on life.

#16 Curious George

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 10:01 PM

Advy, I read the book Man's Search for Meaning. I agree with you, but the mind is a very hard thing to tame. Medications make it easier and maybe cut the edge off or the cyclical nature of thoughts. Some argue this dampens personality; I think it does somewhat. However, I feel much more control and able to think deep when I want and am not always thinking about life automatically. In my opinion, I think a lot of mental illness is just society's way(the norm) of pathologizing the individual's human experience. Medicate to change the person's tendencies or use personal will to change the attitude and situation. However, I sometimes think medication is necessary if the person's tendencies or symptoms seem dysfunctional or unpractical. I sometimes think my over-thinking is unnecessary stress for my brain. It be nice to turn it off every once in awhile.




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