Losing track of thoughts

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SharpAndBlunt

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Losing track of thoughts
« on: August 27, 2018, 08:35:39 AM »
Hi,

This has been bothering me for a while. I wonder if anyone can tell me if there is a name for what I am experiencing?

I can describe it like this. It is like the thoughts in my head are a radio I am listening to. I am working through some train of thought, it is like I am listening to the 'radio' and responding with my own thoughts.

Then it is like the dial has turned and the radio has gone to a different station. I didn't choose to turn the dial but it definitely has, like an invisible hand has done it.

The train of thought I was engaging in has gone. I feel a sense of panic and I know 9 times out of 10 I won't be able to get back to the thread I was on.

This unpleasant experience, I would like to know what it is. Does anybody recognise it or know how to label it? I don't know if I am I triggering myself, experiencing disassociation or depersonalisation or being avoidant? Sorry - I am not familiar with all the terms so I find it hard to describe what I am experiencing. I told a therapist once it felt like my thoughts were being projected onto a screen and I was only watching them. He didn't seem too interested in exploring that.

Thanks in advance for any thoughts on this and sorry if its an obvious question that I should know about already. I feel a lot like that, like there's so much I don't know. I think I am certainly not used to discussing things like this openly so I feel a lot less practiced than I could be. I read a lot of posts on here and the insights people have on themselves is impressive. Impressive to be able to calmly acknowledge and work with aspects of yourself like that. I'm still trying to get to that point.

SaB.

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SharpAndBlunt

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Re: Losing track of thoughts
« Reply #1 on: August 28, 2018, 09:35:15 AM »
Starting to think that tiredness and stress are a cause of a lot of my symptoms. Need to be better at recognising stress in particular. Think I have become so used to it I'm not aware of it anymore. Workplace worries, money worries and relationship worries all are stressful and feel overwhelming at times.

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woodsgnome

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Re: Losing track of thoughts
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2018, 12:39:47 PM »
Hi, SharpandBlunt  :wave:

What you describe sounds a lot like what's known as dissociation, which is apparently quite common in those who've been traumatized. Sometimes this almost avoidant tendency where the thought stream goes blank is really a defense mechanism, it's speculated. I used to freak when this happened until my t explained its normalcy and it's not my fault; and she advised that at least I have come to recognize it for what it is. And that while it's frustrating, it tends to be temporary (but can still occur frequently, depending on triggers).

It can be irritating, for sure; also disorienting, which is what you've referred to. The triggers aren't always obvious either, or if they are they kind of mush together in the dissociative state. Indeed, it is like a fading radio station. It's especially noticeable for me when in social situations and as I have a pronounced people phobia to begin with, I'm prone to dissociating in reaction, I guess, to someone's looks, mannerisms, speech patterns, who knows but it's like I encounter a silent trigger that can turn my usual composure to awkward confusion.

The stress from this can indeed contribute to the sense of fatigue. Again, just in my observation, the normal hyper-vigilance I have around people can be exacerbated as it's so easy to slip into some degree of dissociation, as mentioned above. That's discouraging, and bound to be tiring.

Self-care and self-compassion, like on so much of this journey, can be of infinite help. If I notice or feel like the mind's 'shut-off valve', as it were, is about to set in I'll do a brief inner mediation that goes like this--inner breath, I silently say peace; outer breath, silently say love. It works for me, if I recall it quick enough, but...well, like all of this it isn't foolproof.

However you are with this, hope it cleared up some of the confusion. Perhaps the most important takeaway concerning this is it is entirely normal, even if extremely annoying, troublesome, and even tiring. Wishing you the best... :hug:
« Last Edit: August 28, 2018, 12:43:10 PM by woodsgnome »

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Kizzie

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Re: Losing track of thoughts
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2018, 05:44:31 PM »
We can only make suggestions based on what we've read about or experienced S&B, the best idea if it's concerning or causing you problems is to see your physician as it could actually be something physical. 

If a GP rules out physical causes and stress increases your symptoms you may need to work with a T, to find out what exactly you're experiencing (one who is knowledgeable about dissociation, derealization, depersonalization, etc), and can help you deal with your symptoms.   In the meantime, as WG suggests some self-care would probably be helpful, especially reducing the stress you're under as much as possible.  It's one thing you can do right away to help yourself.

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SharpAndBlunt

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Re: Losing track of thoughts
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2018, 08:34:51 PM »
Hi,

Thanks to you both  :)

Kizzie, I'm looking in to private therapy options now.
I'm in the UK and I'm more or less giving up on the NHS for now. I have tried to explain many times what is going on with me but I always seem to fail to communicate it. Their final question always is - Are you suicidal? I always reply no and they seem to put me on a back burner. I can understand this given the financial strain they are under.
At 60 a time private therapy won't be cheap but at least I can go straight to someone who has experience with disassociation - I have someone in mind and I just need to contact them at the first opportunity. So I will try somebody trained in this instead of bouncing around the mental health nurses trying to explain again and again.
I have bought the book you recommended to me and I will work through that. I wondered, have you thought about starting a referral scheme with Amazon UK so that those of us from there can buy it and benefit the board the same way you do with Amazon USA? Just a thought.
I also just want to say I know this is not my personal drop-in board where I can just unload my symptoms. I've been working to reduce stress as much as possible. Self-care is something I take seriously, doing meditation and looking after my physical health. I just need help sometimes with the other stuff and probably I need to consider more what I want from an answer before I post.

Ironically, moving somewhere more rural - to enjoy nature, a quieter life - has definitely worked against me in terms of the NHS.
I had much better services in the urban area where I used to live. I can't rule out a physical cause and will mention it again next time I am with the psychiatrist but afaik they have already ruled that out.

Woodsgnome, the way you put this - "it's like I encounter a silent trigger that can turn my usual composure to awkward confusion." - really resonates with me. That's exactly how it goes. It confuses people around me and upsets me. Identifying my own triggers is a massive goal for me as I still can't tell what they are.
I know I definitely am hyper vigilant and sometimes too defensive and I give myself a hard time about that.
I think if I can learn to identify these triggers and what is stressing me I won't be as exhausted without knowing why. If I can get a grip on why I am disassociating I think I will come closer to coping with it.

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Kizzie

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Re: Losing track of thoughts
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2018, 05:43:40 PM »
Sounds like you're on it and have a plan S&B  :thumbup:      :applause:      :cheer:

Note - I do plan to add in links to buy books through Amazon UK & other countries, my own included, I just haven't gotten to it yet. 

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SharpAndBlunt

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Re: Losing track of thoughts
« Reply #6 on: August 31, 2018, 04:08:24 PM »
Hi, that's great news about the books  :thumbup:

And I hope to have some better progress to report in a month or three or six or whenever  :)

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Kizzie

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Re: Losing track of thoughts
« Reply #7 on: August 31, 2018, 05:20:28 PM »
 :thumbup: 

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Boy22

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Re: Losing track of thoughts
« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2018, 07:17:27 PM »
It is also a common side effect of some medications - at least thats for me and a few others I have talked to.