I'm a therapist who specializes in OCD and related disorders, treating patients across the US. But this isn't necessarily about my patients....this is about me. A wife, mom of 2, who does not have OCD, but still has intrusive thoughts. Actually, we all have intrusive thoughts, right? This isn't probably something we go around sharing with one another but, if we were to be honest, we've all experienced them. While it may seem overly simplistic, just one of the reasons those of us who have intrusive thoughts don't develop OCD is because we don't give the thought much value. Maybe we notice "hmmm, that's interesting" and move along with our day. We may even laugh at the absurdity of the intrusive thought...but we don't respond or react to it in any way....we still move forward in answering the email, changing the diaper, washing the car, or whatever else we were up to.
Recently, when telling a patient that I also have intrusive thoughts, they were floored and thought that I must be making up this BS just to normalize their experience. To take it a step further, I offered to keep track of my intrusive thoughts for about a week, until our next appointment. Below are my unedited thoughts. There were many more that I just didn't have the opportunity to take note of. You may notice that I prefer to use the language "my brain produced a thought" because, this is how I view these experiences, as often meaningless chatter of the mind. For those of you that do have OCD, please keep in mind that reading on may be triggering for you:
- While running, my brain produced the thought of jumping into oncoming traffic.
- While driving here in the mountain, my brained produced an image of me swerving off the cliff.
- My brain produced the thought "If I killed my husband and got caught, do I still get the life insurance money?!
- While using a port-o-potty on a trail, my brain produced an imagine of me falling in and drowning in the poop.
- While chopping vegetable, my brain produced the image of me stabbing our dog.
- While passing a homeless man with apparent mental illness, my brain produced the thought of potentially taking on his characteristics simply because I was near him.
For those of you who don't struggle with OCD, are you willing to share some of your "bizarre" thoughts?......