Rumination is a symptom of anxiety. We just can’t seem to let go of what is bothering us. There is also a link between rumination and OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Rumination is not a solution-finding activity. It’s not a case of “thinking things through or brainstorming something. For example, my hubby and I are in the middle of a small remodeling job. We’ve had many discussions trying to figure out what to do with the ceiling. That’s brainstorming. That’s looking for an answer.
Rumination would be thinking such things as, “I don’t know what to do.” “I’ll always feel this way.” “I never make the right decision.” There is no natural progression to problem-solving.
- Feels like you’re walking around with a hundred pound weight attached to your heart.
- Never accomplishes anything
- Takes the joy out of everyday life
- Is unhealthy.
- Keeps rehashing with no solution in sight.
- It projects into the future, like you have a crystal ball
- It’s black and white thinking.
- It’s totally self-defeating.
- Can cause hot flashes
- Results in poor sleep
- Impending sense of doom
Women are much more likely to engage in rumination because of the strong hormonal connection. Ask any women mid-menstrual cycle if she’s more likely to be anxious during her menstrual cycle. Or ask a menopausal woman how she’s doing with all the hormonal changes her body is going through. (This is NOT to diminish a woman’s capabilities to be successful in her career.)
One would think that just knowing one is ruminating would be enough to stop it. But that’s the worst part. People who are anxious find it very difficult to turn off their minds. Think of the last time you kept yourself awake thinking over something. Well, imagine that same circuitous thinking on steroids. That’s the reality of someone who suffers anxiety.
The sad part is no one sees it. It’s easy to disguise because it’s such an “inner” demon. Victims don’t limp; they don’t wear a bandage. There are no braces. There are no scars. (on the outside, that is) But the inner self is in agonizing turmoil. They’re working extra hard just to keep it all together. They don’t want anyone to see how they’re feeling because they fear the stigma of mental illness. I know. I’ve been there. I even have notes to prove it.