Stopping Obsessive Thoughts

I am constantly having the thought, “You’re a horrible person.” or a variation of that theme. And “You’re so stupid.” And anyone who has no clue about intrusive thoughts will try to tell me to think logically through why those aren’t true. That doesn’t work with thoughts I’m not really controlling. And now my thoughts are going toward this ex-employee and what she said about my being demeaning and, in her words, “aggressive”. I know those thoughts are a little more controllable, as I can try to not purposefully let my mind go there, but it’s extremely hard when it really does feel like I’m not really purposefully trying to go there. I would much rather not think about her saying such untrue things. I mean seriously. Me aggressive? I’m a flippin’ doormat and have been my entire life, my husband constantly tells me I let my employees/friends/everyone walk all over me…and I go out of my way to be nice. See, here we go again!! Going down the obsessing rabbit hole!

I am going to try a technique one therapist gave me for stopping obsessive thoughts. It was specific for the bad ones that rationalizing away just doesn’t work. She said that if you engage a negative thought and say, “Hey, I’m not stupid, I have a high IQ, went to college, blah blah blah…”, you give that thought staying power in your mind and it does indeed repeat. I was having the problem where my negative thought and subsequent positive reinforcement was going all sing-songy in my head, “I’m stupid, I stupid, I’m awesome, I’m awesome.” Said in a song on repeat, often times out loud under times of high stress (the last 2 years?)…and what hurt was when I heard my son parroting those words. That’s when I sought a new method recognizing the old one was…not working.

My therapist knew I was an artist (unused Art degree) and went visualization method with me. She said to picture myself as a fish swimming in a stream. The thoughts that are bad and untrue are hooks with worms in the water. I don’t want to engage those thoughts. I want to recognize them for what they are, as untrue, negative thoughts, and swim past, ignoring them. She told me, the more I did this, the easier it would be to do so, and the less frequent the thoughts would be.

Well, she was actually right. Whether by suggestion or practice, who cares. And why did I stop utilizing that technique? I think because in recent months I sunk into a depression and felt the thoughts of being horrible and stupid were true and that I shouldn’t ignore them. They have thus again increased in frequency and intensity to be almost constant. I have essentially done this to myself and ruined my own mental health because I felt like I deserved it.

And why? I don’t know. I’m not a bad person. I try my best to do good all the time and feel extreme guilt for anything I perceive as bad…hence wallowing in the “horrible human being” thoughts. I do know the thoughts do originate from childhood, and I won’t go there… I don’t talk about my childhood. On pain of death.

Needless to say, I am thinking to try the swimming fish visualization again. She said to picture whatever would work for me, but I honestly can’t think of a substitute that really is adequate when compared. Those negative, untrue thoughts certainly do feel like hooks with worms…just a nibble and BAM, I’m hooked and being reeled in. I just don’t stop for hours, then days, then months…you get the point.

This is why it is important to find a therapist with the proper experience and training for handling significant mental health disorders. Bipolar and OCD both are nothing to sneeze at. Perhaps it’s my fault for not expressing the depth of the uncontrollability of the thoughts? I think I didn’t realize the severity of the issues at hand to be honest. I don’t think most people do, usually until it’s too late.

I’m debating on what to do moving forward. Part of me still wants to isolate and give up, and just *try* to be numb and ignore everything around me, but there is the other part that doesn’t want to give up…that part that screwed up the gumption to reach out to my pastor.

I think a few days of trying the swimming fish, maybe my mind may feel some relief and I can make better choices and decisions. Over a month without a day off (not counting Sundays for church) takes it’s toll mentally, plus all the personal and physical issues that have arisen. The never-ending saga.

I guess I can just pray for some relief. God does answer prayers, though sometimes in backhanded ways. Perhaps I should just suck it up (buttercup).

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