Feeling like you are on the edge of losing control over your own mind, thoughts, or actions can be a distressing symptom of anxiety. It is common to have a fear of losing your sanity or becoming overwhelmed by uncontrollable emotions. You might also worry about unintentionally hurting the people you care about or feeling embarrassed due to extreme fear, the urge to run away, fainting, or experiencing other physical reactions that seem beyond your control.
Associated thoughts include: "What if I lose control?", "What if I do something terrible?", "What if I embarrass myself?", and "What will others think of me?" These thoughts can vary in intensity and frequency, sometimes arising without any apparent cause or in response to heightened stress and anxiety.
Stress and anxiety activate the body's stress response, triggering the release of stress hormones that impact physiological, psychological, and emotional changes. This includes increased activity in the brain's fear centre and decreased rationalization abilities. As fear escalates, the stress response intensifies, leading to heightened urgency, a sense of danger, and impaired rational thinking.
When experiencing these intense fears and thoughts, recognize that the body is responding to perceived danger and that losing control is not a possibility. As your nervous system calms down, your thinking patterns will return to normal. Remember, you are always in control of your actions, even if your impressions seem chaotic. If your body remains stressed, you may continue to experience various symptoms of heightened stress, including the fear of losing control. Therapy will help in changing the fear response triggered by past experiences, resulting in changed reactions.