Is it Normal to Have Intrusive Thoughts?
Is it normal to feel anger, fear, or despair? Is it normal to fantasize and be obsessed? Is someone in our family drinking too much? When does sadness turn into depression? What is the meaning of those thoughts about the wife of a best friend?
Here, in thе article, we are going to provide answers to many questions about what is normal, odd, and pathological. We want to get a remedy for shame and worry by giving a piece of authentic information.
So, let’s start with this: A new mother who loves her beautiful and cute son could not stand on the top of the stairs without imagining dropping her baby down the stairs. She imagined his little body in pain. This is a scary image. Is it normal? Yes, it is.
Probably you wonder what this was. These are called intrusive thoughts and can happen to anyone in many different forms. Maybe, it has happened to you to imagine how you are pushing someone off a train platform, kicking an animal, screaming in church, jumping from a moving car, or hurting (stabbing) someone you care about.
Having these thoughts is normal, but let’s be clear, doing them or wanting to do them is not normal. At times, we get these thoughts because we do not want to act like that. In fact, those thoughts are the most inappropriate thing your mind can imagine.
Interestingly, by trying to get rid of these thoughts from your mind, you can make them stay. Researchers from the University of Harvard asked some people not to think of a white bear. The people could think of everything except a white bear.
Now, the problem with this challenge is that our mind continually wants to see how we are doing. When we try to check if we are thinking about the white bear, the bear appears.
Observing your thoughts in the absence of some thought can make it happen more often. When a person gets too upset because of intrusive thoughts, does many things to remove them from their mind. This thing can become some form of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
And, people with this kind of OCD thoughts frequently stay away from the situation in which there may be a trigger to those thoughts. For instance, some people may avoid getting on a train, avoid utilizing knives, or avoid holding a little baby.
But, when there is a situation they cannot avoid, they try to do their rituals like repetitive counting, a compulsive praying to prevent something bad from occurring. If you are familiar with this, you may have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
How Do You Get Rid of Intrusive Thoughts?
Having intrusive thoughts sometimes can be exhausting. Luckily, there are some ways that may help you deal with them.
Try Not Paying Attention
In a situation when you get intrusive thoughts, for instance, while cleaning the house, just continue doing what you are, doing and do not pay attention to the thoughts.
Another way to deal with intrusive thoughts is to write them down. And, later when you read what you have written you may laugh at what you were thinking about.
If a thought pops up while you are just lying in your bed, you can try doing something fun. For instance, you can start reading a book, watch a movie, arrange your clothes, play a game, etc.
Focus on Something Else
In a situation in which you get intrusive thoughts while holding a baby, take its hand, and try to focus on it. While you are concentrating on the baby’s hand, you are coming back to reality.
Do Not Analyze Your Thoughts
Trying to answer your thoughts and analyzing them would make them even worse. While some things may become better when you focus on them, intrusive thoughts do not. So, when you pay them less attention, they become powerless.
However, experiencing intrusive thoughts is normal. When it happens to you to have an intrusive thought, remember that thoughts and actions are different. So, do not try to push them out of your mind.
Also, you can share your thought with someone, a friend for example. These thoughts can be fun, as well as sharing gets you closer to finding out what is normal or not.