Recovery from obsessive thoughts depends on many factors. It begins with understanding what thoughts mean and what they do not mean. Here we are talking about how some thoughts get stuck in the mind and begin to repeat. In addition, it is important to know why your obsessive thoughts, not fraught with any danger, seem so disturbing and threatening. This means that you need to learn to replace your current (useless) ways to deal with them with an approach that will train the body and mind to react differently. Your goal, of course, is to get rid of the fear, frustration, guilt and suffering that can cause obsessive thoughts. Each of these factors corresponds to a step on the road to recovery that starts right now. Every step brings relief.
Almost everyone has obsessive thoughts. These are uninvited thoughts that invade consciousness and do not seem to be related to the current flow of intentional thoughts.
Obsessive thoughts – a common phenomenon, but most people quickly forget about them, and they do not cause almost no discomfort. For those who do not struggle with obsessive thoughts and do not worry about them, these are only strange, uncomfortable or even funny moments… that pass as quickly as they appear. Sometimes they scare me. Most obsessions, no matter how strange or disgusting, last only a few moments. People rarely talk or think about them. They’re simply not worth mentioning (unless they actually turn out to be funny).
Almost every occasionally there are obsessive thoughts.
At the time of writing this section, I had the following obsession: “I Hope during a thunderstorm we will turn off the electricity, so I do not have to work now.” This thought continued to spin in my head and I could not do anything with it. But here’s the thing: if I had concerns for my own sanity, my motives, or my thoughts, it probably wouldn’t be so easy for me to write about it. I’d be worried about what those thoughts might say about me. Don’t I enjoy my work? Does that mean I have to retire? Is this professional burnout? Have I developed depression if I need excuses not to write this book? Why am I not focused? Do I really want the power turned off? What is wrong with me if I have such thoughts? Or I might have a suspicion that maybe I’m getting a special message and my thoughts mean that the power will be cut off, and in that case I probably need to go get the candles right now. Instead, I take no action. A few moments pass. It turns out that it was just a thought, the meaning of which was not worth to think. I’m going back to work.
There are situations when anyone can have memories of past obsessive thoughts that will make you shudder: “I Remember perfectly well that this is the same Elevator in which I was visited by an incredibly strange thought that I would suddenly shout obscenity.” Sometimes – for a while – thoughts of elevators and shouting obscenities are temporarily linked. One thought is associated with another. It doesn’t mean anything. Thinking establishes such associative links automatically. The experience itself, no matter how strange it may be, is not important and is erased from memory.
Obsessive thoughts arise in the same way as ordinary thoughts – strange, funny or disgusting. But the fact that they turn out to be undesirable, alarming, or a desire to fight them, prevents them from disappearing as quickly as they appeared. Perhaps you seek to get rid of them because their content upsets you or they seem disgusting. However, this is only the beginning. Because they are disturbing, you deny them and try to force them out of your consciousness, and they tend to come back, becoming obsessive thoughts or images. After a while, they begin to draw the focus of your attention: their appearance becomes rapid, and they cause horror, disgust or fear. There is a strong feeling of need to get rid of them. The content of many obsessive thoughts is aggressive, sexual or taboo, provokes anxiety, and in some cases is perceived as an impulse to commit undesirable actions. Sometimes it seems impossible to get rid of them. You spend on fighting them all the strength and energy, and the quality of your life is significantly reduced. Obsessive thoughts tend to repeat themselves all the time, and it seems that over time these manifestations become more intense. Ultimately, when the frequency and intensity of anxiety increases, you may have concerns about your own safety, intentions, morals, self-control, and mental health.