I’m sorry if this is a stupid question, but it’s gotten pretty bad… whenever I have a moment to think— usually when I’m laying down for bed— my mind defaults to thinking up every single reason I’m a terrible awful failure who doesn’t deserve to exist, and it ends up causing a sort of feedback loop that magnifies those feelings a hundredfold. Do you know anyone who does something similar or might have some advice for breaking the cycle? TIA.
realsocialskils answered:
This isn’t a stupid question. It’s a hard situation to be in, and you’re definitely not the only one.
For me, it helps to have some TV episodes of a show I’ve seen before and like playing in the background when I’m going to sleep. That way, I don’t have totally blank space available to be filled with that kind of thinking.
I also have friends who can help me remember that I don’t actually suck when I’m feeling that way. And at this point, I’ve had that conversation with them enough times that sometimes I can think through what they’d say when I’m in that state of mind.
Some people like things like Calming Manatee, or other cute animal with a positive message sites. That doesn’t work for me, but it does work for a number of people I know.
There are probably better things to do that I don’t know about. Do any of y’all have suggestions?

occasionalfunction said:

It helps to come up with set responses to those thoughts that directly contradict them.

for examples:

“I am a terrible person.” > “I am a good person.”

“I’m a failure.” > “There are plenty of things that I am good at, even if I’m not good at these ones.” or “I’m alive and putting forth my best effort, so I am successful.”

“I don’t deserve to exist.” > “I deserve to be here just as much as everyone else, and nobody, even me, can decide otherwise.”

When those thoughts come up, say the responses. Say them even if you don’t believe them. Don’t let negative thoughts go unanswered, because then they hang around and multiply. Tell yourself the opposite and contradict them, because it breaks the stream of negativity.

realsocialskills said:

Has this worked for any of y’all?

occoris said:

I do not have this exact problem (my brain is less about conjuring up thoughts about how much I suck, and more about conjuring up thoughts about how everything is pointless and we’re all going to die someday,) but i use a similar technique to the one occasionalfunction is talking about. 

When I know it’s gonna be a tough, panicky night, i’ll repeat a set of thoughts that usually goes something like

“You’re tired
you’re going to fall asleep soon
you’re going to dream
it will be a good dream”

until either I calm down or fall asleep.

When i was very little and having pretty bad pre-sleep nightmares/visualizations (and sometimes regular nightmares,) i found that keeping my eyes open (not even blinking) and staring as the ceiling until i fell asleep worked pretty well for helping me avoid both those things. We even put stars up on the ceiling so that i would have something to look at (which helped avoid the scary visualizations I used to have.)

This doesn’t work too well for me now, because it takes too long to fall asleep, but it might be useful to someone else!