What kind of things to people say when they are in real emotional pain?
People do not generally wander around stating calmly – “you know I think I may be experiencing a functional form of anxiety disorder”, they are more likely to say “I’m freaking out and I don’t know why!”.
One of the reasons for this page is to provide a few examples of things people say, so that if you are reading this and the phrases sound familiar, you know you are not alone, you are not weird, you are a normal person suffering from mental health issues / life trauma / bad stuff happening, and you are reacting like any other normal person confronted by such things, what Jung referred to as the “Human condition”.
For each statement, a few possible linked mental health / emotional conditions are indicated. This is not intended as diagnostic in any way, it is merely indicating typical linked mental health conditions that people making such statements might be experiencing. The statements are derived from real cases over 15+ years of clinical work.
If any of the following ring a bell, then take a look at the Mental Health section of this site for some examples of conditions and therapies that can assist in treating them!
Some things people in mental health pain say
“I do not see the point in carrying on”
“I can’t see the point anymore”
“People would be better off without me”
“if I was gone my partner would be better off with someone else”
Comments like these can indicate actual consideration of suicide, but more often indicate self worthlessness based around learned self doubt and fractured self identity. Obviously a high level of self blame, often known as self-centric thinking and often present in long term, or treatment resistant depression or anxiety, whether identified or not.
“It’s Hopeless, there is no way out of this!”
“I feel trapped, there’s no escape!”
“I can’t see a way out of this, there is no solution”
“Things will never change, I’m stuck”
Comments like these often result from long term struggle. The sufferer will usually have lost sight of the success of having survived, because that just is not enough anymore, because they crave things getting better. Very often the person will have tried very hard in a variety of ways to break free, only to either feel more stuck, or to find another trap holding them. Often there is a link to relationship difficulties or problems with interpersonal relationships.
“I can’t stop thinking about things”
“Bad thoughts keep entering my mind, I can’t get rid of them”
“Awful things I would never do keep playing out in my mind”
“I keep seeing myself hurting myself”
“I keep seeing myself hurting people I love”
“I’m afraid I am going to do something awful / violent / sexually deviant”
“I am afraid people are going to find out I’m actually a terrible person inside”
These are typical examples of a form of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), an anxiety driven condition where the mind gets bombarded by negative thoughts and images. The intensity of the thoughts tends to grow and the mind hones in on the things that will most horrify you. Essentially the mind of the sufferer attempts to communicate it’s pain through choosing the thing that will most horrify them and bombarding it with it! This often terrifies the sufferer and leads them to be afraid they might actually do such a thing, which in practice is not the normal outcome at all. The source of the anxiety is usually deep rooted and can be developmental, trauma, complex and is severe, hence the severity of the thoughts.
“I can’t stop thinking about being ill”
“I keep thinking about death”
“I am convinced that something bad is going to happen”
Often unfairly considered hypochondria, the above tends to happen when something in the past has actually caused an above average logical fear of illness or death. Essentially having experienced, witnessed or heard about a heightened danger of illness or death has occurred at a vulnerable or formative stage, either because of age or perhaps emotional trauma. The result can be a heightened “risk assessment”, which appears bizarre from the outside, but within context makes at least partial sense.
“I am never going to look as attractive as other people”
“I am fat and the weight never shifts”
“I don’t care if you think if I’m thin, I’m obviously fat”
“I am only happy when I’m hungry”
“If I was thinner, people would love me”
“The scales are lying, I’m still disgusting”
“I’m not eating any carbs now”
“It’s OK, I pigged out yesterday”
Generally if you hear any comment like the above from a thin person, or a person wearing baggy clothes, then there is a good chance that the relationship with food is self-destructive. Often there is an actual conceptual distortion where the sufferer genuinely sees themselves as fat, even when they are painfully thin. Eating disorders are now effecting more and more people, not just the typical highly driven young women, but increasingly men too and persons of all ages.
“The red mist falls over me and that’s it!”
“I reach a certain point and then I loose control”
“I always try to say yes, even when I should say no”
“I’m fine apart from if I take a drink”
“It’s always the silly little things that make me lose my temper”
“Once I get mad, it’s like watching someone else”
“Some people just get under my skin and I can’t hold my temper”
“About once every few weeks / months something will just trigger me and I get a rage on”
“I’m fine for weeks, then I seem to always have an angry incident”
The above are all typical of repressed anger and irritation / frustration. Most people are not naturally “nasty”. When we repress our irritation and frustration day to day rather than challenging tings gently and appropriately as we go, we bottle up the anger until there is no more ability to hod it in. One analogy is a sponge. If the sponge soaks up anger day after day, then eventually it can’t carry any more and if you squeeze it the anger all comes out in a flood. It is typical for silly, little or unrelated things to be the trigger, and the anger becomes projected on the wrong thing, often totally disproportionately.
“My mood is all over the place”
“I get a lot of depression, but sometimes I am just mad happy!”
“I can be super crazy sometimes, which is a real break from the depression”
“I can go from suicidal to dancing on the table”
“Being nuts happy is the only break I get from the sadness”
“I go from being down to shopping over the top online to cheer up”
“When I have had enough I just go on a bender to escape from it all and act up”
The medical profession refers to mood disorders as being a combination of two distinct states, one up (hyper-mania or mania) and one down (depression). Psycho-dynamic theory considers the problem t be the depression, with the unconscious reacting severely with manic behaviour in an attempt to escape the depression. The result is often chaotic with substance abuse, exaggerated sexual behaviour, risky behaviour, violent or questionable behaviour and mood crashes.
“I get the sweats and feel shaky”
“My breathing gets fast and I get chest tightness”
“I blush / flush and feel self conscious”
“I wish the ground would open up and swallow me”
“I can’t face seeing people”
“There’s no way I could go out”
“I feel so nervous I feel sick”
“I need a drink to talk to anyone, and sometimes then I get a bit nuts”
The above are typical where anxiety issues are present. Although some of the physical symptoms can be caused by other conditions (you should always play safe and have a medical check up), they are all often caused by the arousal present in a panic / anxiety response.
If any of the above seem familiar and you think they apply to you, take a read through the Mental Health section to see what therapy models might assist you. If you are feeling particularly low or manic, please confide in a loved one and your GP for support and consult the Samaritans if necessary for emergency support.
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