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Intrusive and Unwanted Thoughts

I'm happy to have found this site.
So, I just want to say that I don't want to have these thoughts. I hate them and am really embarrassed of them. It all started this year in January when I dropped out of college. I just sat at home doing nothing for 7-8 months. IMPORTANT FACT: I didn't have these thoughts before in high school or college, I was normal and not obsessive and stuff. 19 years old now. For the last 7-8 months I have intrusive incest thoughts about my mother and other family (so embarrassed to even write it). I even started obsessing if I was gay or something - can't stop thinking about it. I don't want to do what my intrusive thoughts are about. I just want them to stop and to be normal again. I must say that it's better when I play basketball and my mind doesn’t have the time to think about anything else. When I play I feel very much relieved but when I come home I start obsessing again and feeling depressed. Last Saturday I was out with my friends and I didn't think about it. It popped in maybe 2 times but it went away in a couple minutes, so it's better when I'm with my friends. I think about suicide a lot because I hate these thoughts and can't stand them. I just want them to be over. I've signed up for college this year again. It's starting next month and I hope that the thoughts will stop when I start learning and stuff. Although I don't have any will to learn but I will because I want to occupy my mind with something. The reason I dropped out from the last college is because I don't know what I want to do in life. I think I have these thoughts because I am lonely and depressed about my life while my friends are in college and doing well. I hate them for not having to go through this crap like I do and they already know what they want to do in life. I think about this 24/7 and I feel like I'm going crazy! I don't want to have incest!! I'm so bothered with this that I get anxious even when someone in movies says "mother" or something. By the way, I can feel my heart beating really heard in my chest for these last months and I get a lot "pulse in my head" feeling. :((

Reply from Sound-Mind.org
Thank you so much for sharing. Scary, intrusive thoughts are just that…SCARY AND INTRUSIVE. They are thoughts that intrude the natural balance of our peaceful thinking and they seem to come out of nowhere and are usually based on something you would NEVER do. In fact, they are most commonly attached to something you find repulsive or morally wrong. For you, it is incest - Your scary thoughts about incest are just repulsive thoughts that the mind creates to help distract you from what’s really bothering you. Oftentimes, with anxiety and obsessive scary thinking the underlying core fear has to do with the fear of “losing control” – the fear of doing something we would NEVER choose to do. Whether incest, murder, embarrassing oneself, hurting another person we love…. It really doesn’t matter what the scary thought is because they all come down to the same core fear. I understand how scary and consuming these thoughts can be also. The harder you try to push them out of your mind, the more they stay and the louder they become. Do yourself a favor… stop pushing those thoughts out because you will never win the battle that way. Instead the way to win the war on scary, intrusive thoughts is to give them permission to be there. This means to accept them as thoughts and only thoughts. Just because they are there does not mean you will act on them. They are like a “bully” who feeds off of fear and attention. To overcome it, you must not give it more attention than it deserves. At some point, your anxiety fixated on this fear and because you recognized how wrong it was, you began to analyze yourself to the point of making yourself stuck.

There are some very effective techniques you can use to help break this cycle but you must be persistent and not give up. Think of it as making a snowball at the top of the mountain and working so hard to get it big enough so it will roll down the hill all by itself. The same is true, when you work hard at using the skills, the stronger and bigger you will become to the point where those healthy, productive thoughts will take over and run by themselves. Techniques like revisualization, thought stopping, positive/truth self-talk are talked about more in the article Obsessive Thinking: Ending Scary Thoughts. Although the answers seem easy, I assure you that doing the work is a lot harder than it sounds. When you work hard and are persistent, you will begin to notice changes in a very subtle way. Do not focus on the scary thoughts while working those techniques, and don’t go looking for them because YOU WILL FIND THEM. Just recognize they are there, accept them and don’t give them ANY importance by trying to push them out. Instead just focus on doing the work; by doing this you will find they will shrink and become quieter with time until you cannot hear them anymore. I know this may be hard for you to believe but it’s absolutely true.

People who are anxious want to control everything…right down to the thoughts they have. Unfortunately our brains spit out random thoughts all the time. This happens to ALL people. However, when it happens to an anxious person (who is already extra-super sensitive)… their sensitivity in their nervous system picks out those things they find disturbing and puts all of it’s energy into trying to STOP and prevent it from ever happening. The anxious mind is a faulty mind that over-estimates the probability of that scary thing from actually happening…. It’s so draining and I completely sympathize with you and how painfully tormenting it is. Please know that you CAN overcome this but you must be patient with yourself and do the work.

If at any time you believe you need extra help then PLEASE reach out for it. There are so many excellent resources to help you eliminate your anxiety and to help you get back on track in life. You ARE normal! Your symptoms of anxiety are very common. Take the time to learn all you can. Read through the website and check out many of the resources such as book recommendations at your local library, websites, and do not forget that your own family physician or therapists who can prescribe medications if you feel you need them. You are not without help!

There is also a free, non-profit program called Recovery International – Abraham Low/self-help systems which as been around a very, very long time. They offer meetings all over the USA and internationally, over the phone or in group and there are people who you can talk to who can help you learn cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Don’t give up! Hang in there and take it one day at a time. Believe me when I say, things will get better!
Sincerely,
~ Susan

Comments for Intrusive and Unwanted Thoughts

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Aug 08, 2014
Do not worry!
by: Jen

I know EXACTLY how you feel. I've been going through the same thing for 3 months now and honestly I thought I was crazy but as time goes by, I've been learning to cope with it and just let the thoughts go through my mind and try not to pay attention sometimes. I'm also 19 years old and the thoughts started with just having sexual thoughts about my dad and I just kept thinking about it that I started thinking the same thing about other family members. Sometimes the thoughts are stronger than most times and I get really irritated and a little scared, but after a few hours the thoughts go away. I went to therapy and the psychologist said that its normal for people around our age to have these thoughts and that we are not crazy. She also said to not worry, that the thoughts will go away eventually. She said I have pure O (pure obsession) which is a sort of ocd and I've learned that I do not desire these thoughts. It's just the ocd trying to trick your brain. I know it sucks but I feel that I can overcome this and I believe we shouldn't let this get in the way of our lives. The best way to fight is to not try to fight it because the more you try, the more you'll think about it. I heard going taking Cognitive Behavioral therapy helps and I'm thinkin of taking that sometime later on. But anyway, hopefully we can be able to overcome these intrusive thoughts someday, even though I'm positive we will! You can try telling a friend or writing it down to help you relieve anxiety from the thoughts, that's what I do. I hope this helps. Good luck and don't feel bad about the thoughts. You're not crazy :).

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