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Why do I bother reading the news?


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My mood was actually doing OK this morning. So I figured, hey, I'll check the news! I go over to boston.com and am greeted with stories about the Washington Navy Yard shooter, and how he was receiving treatment for mental problems. Well, great. I've been struggling with violent intrusive thoughts lately, and here's a guy who has mental issues and went crazy and shot up the Navy Yard. Now I'm super anxious, and depressed, what if I would be capable of something like that?

 

You'd think I'd stop there, right? Nope. I went over to CNN.com and saw a story about this guy who is accused of plotting to kidnap, rape, kill, and... eat children. It was a pretty horrific scene, he had built a dungeon in his basement. Now I'm over-analyzing my thoughts. Was I disgusted enough by the story? Was I disgusted at all? What if I would be capable of something like that? 

 

Intrusive thoughts fucking suck. Now my morning is ruined.

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Don't compare yourself to these people. Intrusive thoughts are the opposite of what we really want to think/imagine. We try not to think these things so hard that we can't help but think them. It isn't any reflection on you. You think/"see" these things because you find them abhorrent and try not to see them. 

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A few years ago, I decided to stop listening to and reading most news. I figure if I really need to know something I can go research it or it will trickle down to me eventually.

 

It's done wonders for my sanity.

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I try to skim the headlines, but don't read about the tragedies. They disturb me and, to be honest, typically are sensationalistic and part of the problem with our capitalistic news industry. The press appeals to emotion instead of focusing on information. That's what sells, though, so we get what we ask for. Sad, really.

 

I've read a few of your posts and keep wondering how long it's been since you explained all of these intrusive thoughts to your pdoc - what they are, how intense, how distressing. Some antidepressants and antipsychotics have a track record for helping more people with O than others. They also help with depression. It can be a twofer. I'm not very knowledgeable in this area, but I suspect that you may not be on the types that typically help the most. Perhaps a med adjustment will make a difference. I'd have a serious discussion with your pdoc soon (because it sounds awful, not that I think you'll act). Post a question here on meds that work the best for intrusive thoughts. Perhaps you'll get some useful treatment info to talk over.

 

Just because we think something doesn't mean we have to act on it. That you are so bothered by your intrusive thoughts suggests that the thoughts are contrary to your desires, and not how you want to act. Still, they sound awful. Get some help. If your pdoc doesn't take treating them seriously, look for a second opinion. These are clearly disrupting your life.

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I try to skim the headlines, but don't read about the tragedies. They disturb me and, to be honest, typically are sensationalistic and part of the problem with our capitalistic news industry. The press appeals to emotion instead of focusing on information. That's what sells, though, so we get what we ask for. Sad, really.

 

I've read a few of your posts and keep wondering how long it's been since you explained all of these intrusive thoughts to your pdoc - what they are, how intense, how distressing. Some antidepressants and antipsychotics have a track record for helping more people with O than others. They also help with depression. It can be a twofer. I'm not very knowledgeable in this area, but I suspect that you may not be on the types that typically help the most. Perhaps a med adjustment will make a difference. I'd have a serious discussion with your pdoc soon (because it sounds awful, not that I think you'll act). Post a question here on meds that work the best for intrusive thoughts. Perhaps you'll get some useful treatment info to talk over.

 

Just because we think something doesn't mean we have to act on it. That you are so bothered by your intrusive thoughts suggests that the thoughts are contrary to your desires, and not how you want to act. Still, they sound awful. Get some help. If your pdoc doesn't take treating them seriously, look for a second opinion. These are clearly disrupting your life.

 

I don't have a doctor, for my medication I see a psych nurse practitioner. I was talking to her about the thoughts last week, and she increased my Prozac to 80mg. She says that higher dose should help with the obsessing. It's only been 5 days on the new dose and I know SSRIs can take a while before you feel the effects. So for right now, I'm just waiting.

 

I am also working on these thoughts with my therapist. Her background is cognitive behavioral therapy. I'd like to look into exposure and response prevention, as I've read that ERP is one of the most effective treatments for obsessive intrusive thoughts.

 

You're right, they are absolutely disrupting my life. They started about 6 weeks ago and haven't let up since. I don't know what made them suddenly start, but I'd really like them to stop.

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Many years ago, when I first went into therapy, my tdoc flat-out told me to stop watching/listening to the news, at least for a while. His logic was basically that I had enough of my own problems to be dealing with, and there was no reason to torture myself if I felt that strongly about what I was seeing. He was entirely right, and I've never hesitated to take breaks from the news since, whenever I felt like it.

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They started about two weeks after I started the Prozac. I had asked if they could be caused by the Prozac, but she didn't seem to think so.

 

I have no professional expertise. So this is fwiw.

 

I'd change to another antidepressant unless you have some serious other improvements going on, and especially if you have not had similarly strong symptoms before. I'd be adamant about it, too. Prozac might not be the cause, but the timing is suspicious. That said, I most definitely would not simply stop taking it. I'd just go back to your pnurse and say that it is time for something else.

 

If it turns out that you are on the bipolar spectrum and not "just" straight MDD, antidepressants in general can have negative effects including hypo/mania and exacerbating other MI symptoms like OCD. I only get obsessive when I am up. An antidepressant made it worse. However, I have bipolar, not MDD.

 

Like I said, this is just my own, totally non-professional opinion.

 

ETA: I'd take a few minutes to read a little about bipolar II to see if you have any other symptoms. Not saying that you have it!!! (I was particularly burned by antidepressants and Geodon, to be honest, so am somewhat sensitive on the issue.) Extreme anxiety and agitation and obsessiveness can be signs. The article gets into that part about half way thru. At any rate, it can't hurt to be a little more informed. This would not be for you to self-diagnose, just perhaps to broaden your frame of reference for discussion with professionals. http://www.psycheducation.org/depression/02_diagnosis.html

Edited by AnneMarie
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I tend to avoid stories like the Naval Yard, because I think they are predictable, pointless, and sad. Not really "news," except for the victims and their families, of course.

 

I eat up politics. I remember staying up late to hear the returns on the Nixon-Humphrey election (I was 5). My parents voted for Eugene McCarthy, after Bobby Kennedy died. And George Wallace ran!

 

Any "hard" news I read is about DC, or Wall Street. Which is politics.

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typically are sensationalistic and part of the problem with our capitalistic news industry. The press appeals to emotion instead of focusing on information. That's what sells, though, so we get what we ask for. Sad, really.

 

^THIS ... I also hate when they say only what they want to say; they don't say everything, or give other point of views (at least from what I watch).

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