Hi Can't Deal:
I was reading your introductory post and I was moved reading that you see a sad person and think of them for weeks on end. I honestly think this just makes you a very caring person. I understand that it is an issue because it is interfering with your life. But, I wanted to try to offer a few suggestions. I spend most of my time on the Crohns board and read her occasionally because I have situational anxiety. I tell you that because while I enjoy giving some advice here, I do not have the pervasive, every day, life altering anxiety many deal with. So if my suggestions won't be helpful to you, just ignore them.
Anyway, I was first wondering if you were at all religious. If so, when you find yourself thinking about that sad person, stop and say a prayer for that person. And if that alone doesn't work, maybe stop by a church, light a candle, and say a more "formal" prayer for them. Then you could rest assured that you did your part and it is in God's hands now.
If you are not religious or if you want to do something else, do you enjoy writing? When my anxiety was high I started journaling. So, you could come home and if you find someone stuck in your mind, stop and write about them. For example, "today I saw a soaking wet teenager at the mall with a rose." Then write what scares you: "what if his date never showed." Then you could write alternate endings. Start with his date showed and they are happy. Or, his date didn't show but he met a new girl while waiting. Etc.
Third, if you are out-going (I'm anxious but outgoing so it does happen lol) maybe you could try to subtly help the person you see that you know will haunt you. Stop and make conversation with the anxious teenager or the sad lady at the bus stop. See if there is anything you could do to help. Offer to buy the depressed looking business man at Starbuck's coffee.
If this is way too out there maybe try just random act of kindness. Help someone w/ their groceries. Donate to a charity. Then, when the sad things in life won't get out of your mind, think about the good things you did and try to balance it. I find I get an adrenaline rush from going out of my way to do something really nice for a stranger. You can ride that "high" for days.
27 Year old married female. Graduated law school this year and waiting for results of the bar exam. Start a new job sometime in September. Diagnosed w/ CD 4 years ago, IBS for over 10 years before that, which was probably the CD. I am sort of lactose intollerant too but can handle anything cultured and do well w/ lactose pills and lactaid. For crohns I am currently on Pentasa 4 pills/4x day and hysociamine prn. I also have bad acid reflux and have been on PPI's since age 13. I have been through prilosec, prevacid, and nexium. Currently I am on Protonix in the morning and Zantac at night. I take xanax prn for situational anxiety (aka no easy bathroom access).