Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts

Man suffering from OCD while sitting on white metal bench during daytime

The Birth Of OCD

They come through like raining bullets; unwanted intrusive thoughts become stronger the more you experience them. This is because we usually fight uncomfortable thoughts and apply resistance by pushing them in the back of our mind; the unconscious vault does not stay locked indefinitely.

When we attempt to ignore unwanted intrusive thoughts, we are suppressing them into our unconscious mind; this temporarily removes them from our day-to-day awareness. The problem is that the unconscious mind is not a permanent storage vault for unsatisfying thoughts; they leak back into our daily stream of thoughts at unexpected times. The pattern then repeats itself.

When this pattern persists, we begin to become compulsive: we start to perform actions or ritualistic behavior with the hope of suppressing the thoughts. At first, we might notice some improvement; the thoughts are not as persistent. But over time, we must perform the compulsions more frequently in order to suppress the thoughts more consistently. The pattern then repeats itself.

The natural way of overcoming unwanted intrusive thoughts and the accompanying compulsions is to master the act of willpower. Willpower, is this case, is allowing the thoughts to be present without them affecting you; their intrusiveness no longer bother you. It is a mind state that only you can apply; a change in character that you must adopt. By becoming indifferent to intrusive thoughts, your compulsions will also start to decrease and you will start living life again without interference.

It is a wonderful feeling to overcome intrusive thoughts, compulsions or OCD altogether; it brings you joy to experience freedom again. But if unsuccessful, do not become discouraged or give up! Many people suffer from OCD and benefit from antidepressants and psychotherapy. The most important thing is to try your best and to know when to seek help; you are not in this alone!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Torture Of OCD

White male with OCD wiping his tears

OCD Is Treatable

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are defined as recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges or impulses that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, and cause anxiety or distress.

Compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors (i.e., checking or ordering things, excessive washing, excessive tics) or mental acts (i.e., repetition of words, counting, praying) that an individual performs to attempt to neutralize the unwanted thoughts.

The compulsions aim to prevent or reduce anxiety or some dreaded event or situation from occurring. They are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize.

The obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming and may cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning. They are not due to a substance, medical condition or other mental disorder.

OCD can be very debilitating to the point of causing individuals to lose their job or marriage. Some individuals may shower 7 times a day while others have to return home multiple times to check if they turned off the stove. Spouses, family and friends can be greatly affected by an individual’s behavior; it can be very hard and painful to witness someone struggling with OCD.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from OCD, please seek immediate treatment from a medical professional! Antidepressants and CBT are the first-line treatments.

Lastly, The DSM Ready Movement is always available for mental and emotional support; together, we can overcome any hardship!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)