Thursday, March 9, 2023

Intrusive Thoughts


Intrusive thoughts are the unwanted thoughts, images, impulses, or urges that can happen by either internal or external stimuli. These thoughts can be disturbing and distressing to the person having them. Intrusive thoughts can happen to anyone at any time. 

Some common intrusive thoughts can be: thoughts of hurting a baby or child, homicidal thoughts, thoughts that cause you to doubt yourself, or unexpected reminders about painful past reminders, just to name a few. They can happen due to stress or even a smell. For me, intrusive thoughts come on hard and fast. They can consist of thoughts of failing or at times even feeling like a burden to my family.

No one can control intrusive thoughts, and no one is immune to them. Some are less severe and some can even be violent. What we can do is be open and honest about them. Find someone that you trust and can talk to. Be honest, don’t omit things. Sometimes having that person can make all the difference. Find a family member, friend, or even a therapist.   

Don’t try and take on everything alone. Don’t shut people out. Don’t isolate yourself alone in these thoughts. Don’t be like me. These thoughts do not define you. They are normal. They are called intrusive thoughts for a reason. The more people talk and are open about these thoughts, the more normalized they can become to people that want to reach out. 

Intrusive thoughts shouldn’t be stigmatized. They can not be controlled. One of my worst intrusive thoughts is that I am a burden to my family. Now deep down I know this is not true, but sometimes these thoughts are hard to shake. I start to believe they are true. And I'm so ashamed of the thoughts that I keep them to myself. Start isolating myself and then start a hard spiral downward.

This is why intrusive thoughts need to be normalized conversation and not something that people should be ashamed of. Hiding these thoughts can make people feel alone in the world. That they are the only ones that feel like this, that have these thoughts. And they try to hide them, isolate themselves. 

This is why talking about mental health is so important. Letting people know they aren’t alone. Check in on your family and friends. You never know what someone is going through until you ask. Be there for each other, take care of each other, and listen to each other. Because we are all in this together.

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