Anxiety 2 – Intrusive Thoughts

intrusive thoughts

Let’s continue talking about this mental disorder that it is more common than most of us think. 

I am going to be talking about a particular part of the anxiety:

INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS

What is an intrusive thought?

I am going to describe different situations so you can understand what I am referring to.

 

FIRST SITUATION:

You are waiting at a bus stop or a train stop. There is someone near you, and suddenly this image appears in your brain: You pushing that person in front of the bus or the train.

SECOND SITUATION:

You are in a park, sitting down on a bench, a dog comes near you, and this image appears in your brain: you are kicking that dog.

THIRD SITUATION:

You are in a car with family or friends. You look out the window. And you see yourself jumping off of the said car.

FOURTH SITUATION:

You are at a party, maybe a restaurant, with people that you love, that you care about. And you see how you are stabbing that person that is so important to you.

 

With all these situations that I just mentioned, I do not mean that you actually do it. Nor that you actually want to do said actions. You only see these things in your head. You can’t control when or how they appear. They just happen to be there.

It is not a problem to have this kind of thoughts, as long as they are just thoughts.

Everyone (and I do not mean just people with an anxiety disorder, but EVERYONE), has had an intrusive thought at some point in their life, even if they can’t remember. Why? Because the anxiety creates them. And everyone has felt anxious at some point. Even if it was during an exam.

It doesn’t just apply to images where you are doing stuff that you wouldn’t do. It also refers to those thoughts where you see that something BAD has happened to someone.

I am going to narrate one thought that I keep seeing in my head.

My dad works as a truck driver. He spends more time on the road than at home. Everytime that he is later than usual this image appears in my head: The truck on its side, sometimes I even see fire around, from time to time, the image changes, and the truck is falling off a cliff, and most of the times he is not really… alive.

This is one of the thoughts that I have almost every week.

Does it mean that I want him dead? Absolutely not! I love him dearly. But we can’t control these thoughts.

Sometimes thoughts like these come to us precisely because we do not want to act in this way, nor we want that thing that we saw happening. They are merely the most inappropriate thing your mind can imagine.

I also discovered that the more you fight for that thought to get out of your head, the more that feeling is going to stick around.

Like that game: Don’t think of pink elephants. (And you failed, right?)

This kind of thoughts can also be altered if you suffer from OCD (which funny enough, I do).

You will find yourself trying to avoid certain things, actions, places, objects… because you are afraid that you are actually going to do the action that you saw in your head.

I used to be like that long ago. I used to be afraid of myself all the damn time. But you know what? I tested myself. And nothing happened. One of my intrusive thoughts was me throwing my cat off the window. I picked her up, petted her, approached the window, and stood there in the Sun.

I must say that at first, I was petrified. It took me like 30 minutes to convince myself that picking up my cat wasn’t a bad idea, I did that all the time. But since that day I was going to approach the window with her, I was terrified.

I was shaking until I reached the window with her in my arms and I saw that nothing happened. (Irrational fear? Yeah, well. That is the result of Anxiety disorder + OCD).

I will be probably talking about OCD in another post since I think it is a fascinating topic to talk about. And if you have any questions regarding this post from today, don’t hesitate and ask!

To see my first post regarding Anxiety, follow the link below:

Anxiety 1 – General Information

OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder): Trying to Understand

Post made possible thanks to Montse M. 

60 thoughts on “Anxiety 2 – Intrusive Thoughts

  1. I have these sorts of thoughts, especially when I’m trying to be gentle, like holding a baby, or petting my dog. I wonder if psychologically it’s us wanting to dominate the situation, kind of like if the case came to it, we could overpower this thing. I can find myself literally gritting my teeth when I’m trying to be gentle and it makes you hold your breath. Definitely something to make you think you’re some sort of psychopath.

  2. I am the first situation EVERY FREAKING TIME especially going to and from Office. But as you said, I do not want them to hurt or abuse them, I just want rest of the people just stay off for a while, so that I can have a seat. I can overwhelm this feeling saying, but then I think I have both of it. I need to have a place to sit until I reach home. Maybe I do have OCD and Anxiety mixed. Still sometimes think what should we do about it?

    1. Every OCD sufferer has Anxiety. But not every Anxiety Sufferer has OCD. I am really sorry that you are going through this. I know it is not a pleasant feeling. But just remember that you are enough, and that you are not alone.

  3. It’s important to raise awareness. It’s also important for people to seek help to address these thoughts and feelings of anxiety. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

    1. I agree. There is nothing wrong in seeking for help, but most people won’t do it because they are afraid of what family and friends might think of them.

  4. This is probably the reason why we don’t have the ability to read minds. These may be in our minds but it doesn’t mean we would act on them. But if it gets out of hand, yes, seeking professional help is the best option.

      1. You’re absolutely right! There are some thoughts that are better left hidden in the recesses of our mind.

  5. This is such an eye opening article. I personally have never had those thoughts, but the way you’ve written it helps me understand what people suffering from them are going through. Thanks for sharing!

    1. There are many ways to handle this, and not everything works for everyone. In this same blog, we have some coping mechanisms. Sometimes changing your diet and exercise habits can make a huge improvement. Other times, you just need to know how to relax. In this blog, there are a few posts regarding muscle relaxation, meditation, and breathing. There is also a 5-Day Detox Challenge that it is supposed to help with anxiety levels.

  6. I have suffered anxiety for all my life and only in recent years I have managed to “heal” thanks to a greater awareness of myself … of these situations are happy to say that never any of the 4 happened to me and that anyway they are all important signs of a problem in progress …

  7. I have recently started taking meditation classes and such a big part of it is acknowledging thoughts to enter your mind, but then dismissing them, rather than getting frustrated or upset when intrusive thoughts come in. It’s such a powerful gift to not feel like you are being controlled by your mind taking you to a negative place, but it’s something that has to be worked on every single day!

    1. I agree. I actually mention something like that in one of my other posts. It is like a boat. You know that at some point or another, the boat has to go through the river. You have two options, let it go as it normally goes, or make it go slower, but it will eventually go through the river anyway. So one is faster than the other.

  8. Anxiety is a beast and affects so many people… I know it effects everyone different and racing thoughts that you can’t get rid off and then feel guilty about… It’s great to get awareness out there!

  9. Have you tried meditation? I used to suffer from severe depression and self-harm and meditation has changed my life. whenever anxiety strikes, Meditation is my go-to.

  10. I have anxiety and I suffer with intrusive thoughts. Like you said, I never want the image to actually happen. I am on medicine for my anxiety and it does seem to help some. It is hard to talk about anxiety, so good for you for bringing light to it so others can understand.

    1. I know it is hard to talk about how you feel to the people around you. You are always afraid of telling them and then realizing that those close to you don’t understand how you feel. But you are not alone. And you are enough.

  11. I think this is part of our sin nature. We were born with a heart that wants to do wrong at times. It think a way to replace our bad thoughts is to be constantly putting in good. This comes with reading the Bible and watching what goes into our minds. I am glad you were able to get pass the cat test. Poor kitty!

  12. I had such thoughts about my ex-husband. I do not even know if they are casual. Whenever I trained in a gym, I imagined I’d hit him. Anyway, they used to throw my anger out of myself.

  13. I think it is important to post this and remind people that everyone has in fact had thoughts like this before, whether they admit it or not. No one is alone in having intrusive thoughts and I agree, it does not make you awful for having them 🙂

  14. I think it is wonderful that you are raising awareness and understanding. I also love that you are normalizing the conversation and remind people that everyone has these.

    Intrusive thoughts can be down right crippling. I have dealt with Intrusive Thoughts for most of my life, although most of mine are self-directed.

  15. This is a very eye opening entry into the mind of someone who suffers from anxiety. I haven’t experienced these types of thoughts myself, but I commend you for sharing and helping others who may also be battling anxiety.

  16. This is quite a deep topic you have in here. It raises awareness and gives knowledge. I guess we have similar types of thoughts sometimes.

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