I think everyone that has experienced regular panic attacks has had this thought at one stage or another. It is directly connected to fear of losing control and freaking out. People’s imaginations run riot with ideas of losing mental control and doing something totally out of character and then as a result get locked up in a padded cell because of their strange behavior.
When you experience high anxiety and panic your mind is not able to think rationally. The idea of being committed seems ridiculous to the non anxious mind but when your mind is operating from a high level of general anxiety these scenarios seem like potential outcomes and need to be worried about.
If you feel this way, remind yourself of this. People with anxiety disorders do not get locked up. It is not a mental illness and you will not lose control. The reason you feel out of control is because all the chemicals connected to the flight or fight response are causing you to feel on edge and think irrationally.
A simple way to combat these anxious thoughts is to remove the emotional impact they have on you.
Next time you imagine yourself losing control or getting locked up, imagine a cartoon character telling you these fearful ideas. Make the cartoon character small and give it a squeaky voice. How can you honestly take this character’s opinion serious with its big feet and squeaky voice?
Then in your minds eye, see the character getting smaller and smaller until you can’t hear it anymore. This exercise reduces the emotional response you have to the anxious thought.
Practice this a few times and soon you will feel less disturbed by ideas of getting locked up or losing control.