Intrusive Thoughts – What are they?
An intrusive thought is an unwelcome involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate.
What causes Intrusive thoughts?
Intrusive thoughts may also occur in flashes, and often cause significant anxiety when they enter your mind. … Violent Thoughts. Thoughts of violence and aggression may also be common in those with some types of anxiety, especially obsessive compulsive disorder.
My Intrusive Thoughts Story…
I have had moments in my life where I have experienced intrusive thoughts, things like what if I go out and crash the car. If I don’t do something, it will cause something to happen or the other way around. I was able to manage these intrusive thoughts. I knew that these thoughts were just my brain messing around and over thinking every single outcome of every single event. This didn’t happen very often only normally during times of stress. New job, exams etc…
That was until I gave birth to my son in 2016. I started worrying a lot more. About him catching something and getting very ill, I started to obsess over cleaning the house. Someone stealing him if I wasn’t watching him every second. I would literally sit watching the baby monitor after I had put him in his cot to make sure no one took him. I would constantly worry if I left him with family, would they know what he wanted? What if he really needed me and I wasn’t there.
To start with I did not notice that I was doing this. It was only when these intrusive thoughts started to affect my anxiety did I realise that I was over thinking every single little detail. I was finding it hard to sleep, my appetite wasn’t great and my apparent obsessive cleaning ritual was actually driving me insane.
Intrusive Thoughts Needed to stop
It was when I fell pregnant with our second baby that I realised that I needed to do something about these intrusive thoughts. Before they consumed me! I started cleaning less, kids needed some germs to build an immune system right. This was not as easy as it sounds. When you spend most of the day cleaning even the slightest bit of dirt or dust becomes an annoyance. A cleaning schedule helped me a lot. It meant that I wasn’t cleaning all day every day. I was strict with myself and made sure I stuck to my schedule. I also tried these 7 ways of clearing your mind of negative thoughts:
- Change your body language. Take a moment to observe your body language.
- Talk it out.
- Spend one minute calming your mind of all thought.
- Change the tone of your thoughts.
- Be creative.
- Take a walk.
- Start listing out what you’re grateful for.
This is another way to clear your mind and I still use this now when I am feeling worried or anxious. I even use this technique, when I manage to find a few moments in the day to myself. It really helps me get through the day with 2 under 2.
Here is a great link for Learning to be Mindful: Mindfulness
Do Intrusive Thoughts ever stop?
In my experience no, I still get them. But knowing how to deal with them really helps in reducing their affect on your mental health. Recognising that I have intrusive thoughts and being more mindful really helps. I stopped being mindful for a long time, and I am determined to not let this happen again. Even with baby number 3 on the way I will make sure that my intrusive thoughts don’t get the better of me.
There is a lot more to this story and I will be posting my full story soon.
Here are a couple of books about mindfulness that I have used and found very helpful.