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I've developed a horrible intrusive thought relating to endless suffering, and I feel like it's ruining my life.

Community Member

Hello everyone, I'm new here. I've been trying to recover from my latest bout of depression, but there's a recurring scary thought that keeps me down and makes me feel like I'll never feel joy again. Maybe getting it off my chest will help me at least a bit.

First I'll give some background on my situation. I've suffered from anxiety and depression for as long as I can remember, and I've been finding it extremely hard to move forward in life and be independent. A year ago I had a huge mental breakdown from a long period of stress, sad events, fear and hopelessness and I was basically living in a perpetual panic attack for days on end. It was the first time I've experienced panic attacks and they hit me like a truck.

A few days in, the suffering inspired a really scary thought. I was calming myself down from an attack with the thought that at least this horror can't last forever, for anybody, but of course my overactive brain thought up a concept where suffering can happen forever, and it will happen in the far future, or is already happening "somewhere". It got really weird and science-fictiony and told me I can never recover now that I know that. I couldn't do anything to shut the thought down, it's like the thought made itself impossible to argue with. So that thought alone created many more days of constant panic attacks and what seemed like severe existential OCD. At my worst I felt like I was barely even on Earth anymore and I really thought I was going to end up insane or die.

To my surprise I ended up recovering (I had a few therapy sessions and medication for a while but I'm not sure to what extent that helped) I think from exhaustion and somehow convincing myself that the very fact that this thought is so ridiculously painful and unrelenting says more about my anxiety than actual "reality."

But even so, that thought stayed with me, always in the background but quieter and easier to shake off. Then I had another long bout of stress this year and my mood tanked, and I started thinking about it too much and obsessing over it again. Now I'm depressed about how my brain can't shut it down completely and finally give me peace. I feel like all I'm doing is living a lie when I feel "ok".

I don't know how there are people who truly believe this kind of thing (hell) and are mentally fine with it? I can't live with the knowledge of so much endless suffering. Does anyone have any kind of advice for me?

25 Replies 25

Mark Z.
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Butterfly,

Welcome to the forum, and thank you for describing your story in details. I can't imagine how hard it is for you.

I've experienced some mental health challenge, what my psychologist taught me was, I need to learn to separate my mental illness from myself. I was my illness, not myself. I learnt that I can't shut down my mind, it's not how it works, instead, I monitor my mental illness, accept it, live with it, and become less and less afraid of it. This way the 'devil' gets weaker and weaker. Hope it works for you too.

And as your therapy sessions and medication worked for you, will you considering coming back to your psychologist or doctor, updating your latest status, and keep checking up with them?

Hope you get better soon.


Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hi Butterfly26,

Wellcome to our forums.

Im so sorry you are experiencing this I understand it’s really hard.

I understand intrusive thoughts are really hard to deal with.

I have a lived experience of severe anxiety OCD this condition was very debilitating while I was in the grips of it, it was unrelenting and I felt as though I was living my worst nightmare ( it felt like an internal hell for me).

I have been recovered from this condition for four and a half years….. Im now living my best life in the light…..

My recovery started from seeing a gp through to a psychiatrist who diagnosed me and I also did a 8 week therapy at a OCD clinic this clinic gave me all of the tools and strategies I needed to learn to break free of the grips of OCD.

Im now free!

I understand at times of stress this can raise its head, it happened to me twice in my life both at stressful times.

Through my therapy I learned meditation through doing this meditation I learned that I’m not my thoughts, I am the watcher of my thoughts.

Our minds will always think…. That’s the minds job but when you learn that your not your mind but the observer of it…… it’s a real game changer.

Please seek professional help you could start at your gp and do a mental health plan together.

hang in there

Im always here to chat.

Dear Butterfly26   Firstly, welcome to the forums we are so glad that you found your way to this supportive and welcoming community.   We’re sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling with these recurring thoughts, we're know they would be exhausting.   It can make a real difference having someone to talk to, so we’d like to invite you to call our wonderful counsellors on 1300 22 4636, or jump onto a webchat here: https://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/ Our counsellors are available 24/7 to provide care and support.   Thank you again for sharing with our wonderful community members.   Warm regards   Sophie M

Community Member

Thank you everyone for your replies, I really appreciate it. I get some relief from the thought that people have also been through nightmarish times but got through them. I'm trying to convince myself that this thought is just some kind of OCD, which I never considered myself having until recently. But I know it won't be easy to deal with just because of the nature of it. (It's such a weird futuristic fear that I can't even logic my way out of it).

I'm planning on seeing my GP again to speak to a psychologist about it, and to also talk about how I can manage stressful times without it plunging me into such a dark place.

Hi Butterfly26,

Thank you for you reply and we are happy to support you, you are never alone.

You really can get through this………… my mental health condition of OCD felt like a marathon but it’s a marathon I won. Never loose hope even on the hard days because hope is what will keep you moving forward.

It took perseverance to master my OCD but it was well worth it.

Through the therapy I did I learned how to challenge my thoughts which was useful. I also learned what my OCD cycle was and then how to disengage from it.

When you have the intrusive thoughts try to redirect your attention onto something in the present moment.

I think seeing your gp and seeing a psychologist is a great idea.

A clinical psychologist can diagnose but a normal psychologist can’t….. if you are wanting a diagnosis maybe see a clinical psychologist.

Always here to chat to you….. hang in there.

Thank you 🙂

I didn't even know there was a difference between a normal and clinical psychologist. I guess I should try and see one of those.

I have a question though, last time I saw a psychologist I got given a certain amount of very discounted sessions a year (I can't remember how many) but I can't remember if that was because of my Health Care card or my Medicare card. I no longer have the Health Care card, so will I have to pay full price for each session?

And does that discount even apply for a "clinical" psychologist?

Thanks again for all your help.

Hi Butterfly26

Medicare will cover you up to 20 sessions per year in extreme cases and up to 10 if not clinically diagnosed. i believe thats right but don't quote me. it will cover up to 80 to 100 percent depending on the physiologist. i myself have a physiologist and a Psychiatrist and i have to pay for them long story but with medicare i know you get huge benifits

Hi Butterfly26,

A clinical phycologist has different training to a normal phycologist.

When I saw a clinical phycologist I had 10 free sessions because I did a mental health plan with my GP, it was all covered under medicare, my psychiatrist appointments where also free. ( My Clinical Psychiatrist and Psychiatrist worked at the same practice).

I was diagnosed with OCD by my Psychiatrist.

If it is OCD that you have I just wanted to let you know that I believe that this condition is a specialized condition and we need to see the correct health professionals who know how treat it.

When I did my therapy I went to a clinic that specialized in OCD, at this clinic they knew exactly what it was and how to treat it.

Please remember OCD is very treatable and you really can recover from it, I'm living proof of this.

Hold onto hope.

How have you been feeling?

I'm always here to chat to you, and I understand.

Thanks for the info Petal 22. I'll ask my GP more about that.

I've been feeling a bit better these past few days, thank you for asking. About a week ago I was feeling extremely depressed and was uncontrollably ruminating on all kinds of philosophical questions. I'm still sort of doing it but my mood is better for some reason. But I'm still upset that I have to struggle so much just to feel peaceful and happy. I think the reason I ruminate is to try and find a "solution" for every bad thought, to convince myself that there's no reason for me to feel sad for the rest of my life. The only thing that I just can never seem to move past is that fear that somewhere something is suffering with no end, or will someday. That concept is just the worst thing imaginable and I can't find a positive thought to offset it.

Also today my boss asked me if I had my license in front of everyone, and to "get myself together, I have money now!" Not in a mean way, but it embarrassed me. I'm 25 so everyone keeps telling me to get it. To be honest I'm both terrified of the road and just don't want to put myself through that effort and stress... since I don't feel like I can give much mental effort these days and I've seen what stress does to me.

Thanks for reading.