What are intrusive thoughts?

Today we’re going to expand upon from where we left off last post: intrusive thoughts.

According to Wikipedia, an intrusive thought can be defined as “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. When such thoughts are associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), and sometimes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the thoughts may become paralyzing, anxiety-provoking, or persistent”. First and foremost – everyone experiences intrusive thoughts at one point in their lives. Intrusive thoughts can be very mild in nature, something one wouldn’t really be alarmed by, like walking on a path and having a sudden idea to kick a rock on the sidewalk, or they can be quite aggressive.

Aggressive intrusive thoughts can be quite intense. For example, a man is laying in his bed with his wife and has a sudden thought: “I could put my arms around her neck and end her life right now”. These intrusive thoughts can be absolutely terrifying for an individual who has never before analyzed what their thoughts mean, or why they are having them (see: what are active and passive thoughts). Recognizing what intrusive thoughts are can help bring awareness to individuals and help remedy the problem early on, rather than let them suffer in silence.

As with all thoughts, intrusive thoughts begin at the passive thought level: a piece of information projected on to an individual from an external stimulus. Where they become unique is in the subconscious. Intrusive thoughts are particularly alarming because they are thoughts that essentially expose a person’s emotional weaknesses. They then manifest in one’s subconscious until a particular stimulus triggers the thoughts to become active. As with all thoughts, intrusive thoughts, if caught early, can be manipulated by individuals who are well versed in active thinking.

We’re going to end today’s post with a video I’ve seen recently from a channel I enjoy called “CGP Grey”. This video is a great representation of how thoughts spread:

Thanks for reading. If you have any questions, comments or otherwise, please feel free to leave them below.


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