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What do racing thoughts feel like?

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My psychiatrist asked me if I have racing thoughts. I can't really tell her if I do without being sure. What I have is unwanted thoughts, and sometimes my mind isn't even thinking and it feels like it's weighed down with distressful thoughts. It feels like I'm constantly thinking sometimes when I'm not and sometimes it takes me about 15 minutes to switch off at night unlike before. I don't always have these thoughts. Somedays I'm fine and the thoughts don't always last the whole day. I'm not sure if that counts as racing thoughts. I want to be sure of what I tell her.
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First Helper runningxuphill
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replied June 6th, 2010
My experience with racing thoughts is more about having so many ideas that it seems like you can't write it down fast enough. Your mind will go off on a tangent, and it feels like you are amped up, and it won't shut off
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replied June 6th, 2010
For me it is like I start thinking about things that I should have done things that I need to do everything that is going on around me, at night it takes me like half hour to and hour to fall alseep or sometimes I just cant fall asleep. Its not that Im not tired because I am exausted I have extreme fatigue but yet sometimes I just cant sleep because its like my brain just wont shut down. My thoughts of everything real can mess with my life at times. So thats what it is like for me. I am sure that it can be different with other people because no one person is the same.
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replied June 6th, 2010
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I am bi-polar diagnosed 5 years ago. the way i describe racing thought is your mind is on overload, you go through on one thought to another, its so frustrating. It won't stop, it makes me feel like i want to jump out of myself, one minute i will be thinking one thing, the next minute something else and this goes on and one. It can drive you crazy, (not literally). Usually you will have a hard time falling asleep when you have racing thoughts. You cant shut off your thoughts and then you feel so much anxiety. I think of things like someone is dying, drowning, guilt for things I have done, which is dumbfounded, but these thought keep going on and on. do you ever have times that no matter how hard you try you cant fall asleep. I have been awake for 3 days at a time before i finally was diagnosed. Because this is a mental disorder your doctor can prescribe a sedative to help you get some sleep. The can also give you another when you are feeling anxiety, for me its when i have racing thought. I know now that when this starts to happen I take a drug called xanax which you probably know about. For sleep I take klonopin, something stronger. I usually have to take it when I'm in my manic stage. When i get depressed I usually decide what is making me that way. If their is a reason like losing a best friend, someone passes in your family, you feel like you are misunderstood, you should be depressed, any normal person would be. But if your sad at the time for no particuler reason than that is the depressive state of bi-polar. Years ago they called it manic-depressent. hope this helps
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replied June 9th, 2010
Active User, very eHealthy
I think I get that. Sucks, doesn't it? :/

Tell her exactly what you wrote here. It won't kill her to not get a one-word answer, and it might even help her get a grip on your state of mind. Smile
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replied June 9th, 2010
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Milly, I know it can be hard to desribe, but do the best you can when talking to your doctor, he will beable to give you and try different medications that can help ease that symptom I just explained to my doc i couldnt turn my thoughts off, would try to sleep, buy my mind was drowning if so many thoughts, jumping from one thing to another. It so frustrating when you do that because then you get sleep deprived and the cycle continues, my strong sleep meds really help me. i am sure you are probably feeling depressed sometimes too. no matter how you feel but let your doctor know about all of it. I hope this helps.
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replied July 12th, 2010
what my excpeirence in racing thoughts is like.
i know i have racing thoguhts because that's the way i'
ve alwaysed describe them. racing and never shutting it. you deffinately know you have them, cause they will drive you absolutely insane, like tonight i'm haivng an episode, it started out with a opening song from a tv show replying over and over agian, this takes "that song stuck in your head" to a while new level! while replaying memories of past conversations, a random stream of ideas tht don't peice togather and dont make sense. all the while the thoguht that if my feet rub together it will drive me crazy but i have to do it. just a sht load of crazy going on in your head and there's no way to stop it. when i was a little kid i woudl be kept up for hours with the thought of numbers, counting them, putting them to together, it drove me crazy to the point i'd be crying. that's what racing thoughts are like. it's sometimes like a store selling broken record players all on at the same times playing different records are high speed.
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replied October 4th, 2010
racing thoughts from get go
i have those thought too and i would have never known. but i think back as a kid they call att. span problems but i would be in school trying to pay att. and i would be singing the last song or my fav. song in my head now i have to sleep whit a noise that the only thing that help me.
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replied April 9th, 2011
Mildly racing thoughts
Reckon I have a mild case. Mine are persistent, I can turn from them but they come right back, and want my attention. They usually get me to do something, like solve a problem (for a study I don't need to make), or do something I don't want to do (some old habit, that no longer pleases me).
I found your post because I've been scouting for something for mild cases. Found a few, so far. I don't think (so far!) that I've got enough problem to ask medical/mental help or take meds - maybe journaling, affirmations, taking things slower and one at a time, sorting out thoughts and feelings, might resolve it.
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replied November 29th, 2011
Racing thoughts and my solution
I have racing thoughts often. Usually I have a thought stream that is going so fast from, first, creation to, lastly forgetfulness (thought just fades), so fast that I cannot communicate what my mind is spewing out because, for lack of a better description, I cannot "grasp" or "catch" a part, or parts, of the thought stream before it's already passed out of my awareness and memory. You can imagine how frustrating this can be!!

If someone were to interrupt me while this is going on and ask me what I was thinking about, which happens, I can't recall what my mind was so engrossed in--very frustrating--and I tell them that I simply don't remember.

These racing thoughts make it impossible for me to utilize all of my conscious mind to think, speculate, and communicate at full, normal capacity; in effect, I literally appear less intelligent, and I know I come off as spacey. Also, I have noticed that when this is happening, my pupils tend to be fairly dilated.

Another type of racing thoughts (that I think also qualifies) is a state where my thoughts are so fast that it feels like I'm not thinking at all; it's as if my brain is "locked" into a "stream of consciousness" type state where so much activity is going on that I exhibit a short of blank stare.

I have been checked out by a neurologist since this started happening in my early 20s. The neurologist found that, during the entire EEG test (measures brain activity), my brain showed signs of seizures, especially seizures that would be both "simple partial" and "complex" seizures, rather than the "tonic clonic" (a.k.a. grand mal) seizures.

He put me on a drug called Depakote ER as the primary anti-convulsant (I now take 1500mg at night), and he also put me on Keppra XR 1000mg at night, and 1000mg at bedtime.

The change was incredible; I stopped losing track of time (apparently a sign of partial and complex seizures). I had NORMAL control of my thought stream--it was slow enough now for me to be able to "work with it" so to speak--I could communicate what I was thinking to the full extent of my thoughts, and they didn't fade from my memory nearly as quickly. Overall it's been like getting half of my mind back, or at least unlocking a major part of it.

I also sleep much better and a normal 8 - 10 hours instead of the usual 4 - 6 hours I could only get before treatment.

I also found out from the neurologist that, what I thought had been normal for vision my entire left since it had always been this way, seeing vibrant "clouds" of colors blending into each other and swallowing each other at night was not normal. Neither, it turns out, was the extent to which I saw, for lack of a better word, "auras," around people especially when lost in thought and in racing thoughts.

So, basically, the Depakote ER and Keppra XR helped me to be able to live my life to the fullest. If it hadn't been for a car accident that led to the EEG test, I would probably still be having these racing thoughts and inadequate sleep--only half a night's worth and with frequent waking.

I would recommend seeing a neurologist, not just a psychiatrist, if you have this problem. An EEG can really troubleshoot things gone awry in the brain!

Hope this helps

-Francisco
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replied February 11th, 2012
I dont know that these are racing thoughts. I woke up in the middle of the last two nights, and my head is functioning like a crackhead. I force myself to stop thinking for the sake of getting some sleep, and its only quiet for like two seconds. I have no control over what I am thinking, and feel like my brain is working without my consent. Luckily, the voice is my own, but is on fast forward. I hear every word being said, which seems like an INFINATE ammount. But, I didnt absorb any of the information. I cant remember one word, just endless noise. I am not sure how long this lasted (I never looked at my clock), but it felt any where from five minutes to five hours. While these thoughts clearly go in one ear & out the other, it was impossible ignoring the NOISE. Is this a description of racing thoughts, or a symptom of insanity???
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replied July 31st, 2012
I am 19 and have been having the same exact thing that u have discribed happening to me since i was 13. I remember the first time it happened when i was getting on my bus for school and i couldnt controlwhat the hell was going on in my head. It was like just a buntch of scrambled thoughts and my own voice talking to me and it was like my head pressed fast forward but everything around me was going normal pase so it almosr felt like i was walking in slow motion basically feeling like a crackhead like you said. This happens every once and a while. And ts completely out of my control.
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replied April 4th, 2013
I realize that the original post for this topic is nearly 3 years old, but as I read through the very detailed and descriptive posts of members who have undoubtedly suffered and endured their own personal hells battling this dreadful and tiresome illness I am intrigued, for I too have struggled with this fatiguing foe for the last decade . I believe that I can offer an easier approach to the question ..."What are racing thoughts?". A simple analogy to explain racing thoughts is as follows: Think of your mind as a television and your thoughts as the many different channels. The television's remote is being controlled by someone other than yourself who is aggressively surfing the channels while you have no comprehension of channel content before it is again rapidly changed to the next. During which time you are forced to watch helplessly until the instigator decides to rest the remote peacefully on a single channel at which time you are finally allowed the chance to fall asleep. *It is my hope that this sheds light on a small part of a dark illness...never give up hope!!*
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replied April 25th, 2013
Everyone in awhile my mind also races like this. I always say my mind is racing a million miles an hour again cause that's what it feels like. For me, it's like your normally thinking in your head but its just super fast and you can't stop. Your thinking and the words are coming out in your head a million miles an hour. I can focus on whatever I want to think about. It will just be the fastest thinking of my life. Drives me insane. I have learned though that when this happens, I can now stop it pretty quickly by reading post like these. Just reading anything makes it stop for me and slows it back down within minutes. So glad I learned this trick!
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replied May 9th, 2013
I think for me it's caused by my Anxiety disorder,it's just a mild case of Anxiety disorder but I'm pretty sure I'm having it.It all starts before I go to sleep.So what's happening is really hard to explain,it's like a stream of thoughts that are either something from the past or something irrational.It could also be like a song stuck in your head,visualization and there's the part that really makes me feel crazy-it's like your mind is having some kind of a conversation that's kinda dreamlike-you're not sleeping but you have some awareness of what's going on.I know that what's going on isn't real but it just makes me more and more anxious and makes me thinks I'm crazy or am going be crazy in the future.With the anxiety disorder this is being like an endless loophole=>racing thoughts - anxiety attack (think I'm crazy) - no sleep- racing thoughts-anxiety attack<= As soon as I try to stop thinking,the racing thoughts start.I'm afraid visiting a neurologist in my country because they'll say I'm crazy.The funny thing is I'm a psychology student...
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replied July 13th, 2013
I wish I could find something that works.
I found Francisos description of racing thoughts very well written and thought out. My doctor has had me on Depakote XR, I take 1500mg at night, but it doesn't really help. What it does do is makes me tired the next day, sometimes, so much to the point where my brain seems to "shut down" and I partially lose consciousness. It seems like my body will go on auto-pilot on the Depakote.

One thing I do to try to "stop" the racing thoughts is either read a book or watch tv/movies I enjoy and can get into. And while it does help stop it then (for the most part), once the program is over, or the book is done, away my brain goes. It's gotten to the point where if I do not distract myself with TV or a book during the waking hours, time seems to both drag indefinitely as well as rush past (since nothing gets accomplished).

I've been dealing with this for many years, and it has had a very severe negative impact on my life.
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replied September 25th, 2013
Exactly what I suffer from, especially in the afternoons when it's about to get dark. It goes on into the night and stops me from falling asleep, sometimes I have to read just to fall asleep. My thoughts would even feel completely blank but exhausted at the same time. Additionally I always feel a heavy band around my forehead, almost weighing my eye lids down. Has anyone experienced this band around their forehead? When I try to think about something logical, it becomes illogical and I struggle to find a sane thought. I even try finding something worth worrying about but I couldn't find nothing, just the presence of these stupid racing thoughts and the heavy band around my forehead! Anyone with the band?
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