What are disturbing thoughts and how to get rid of it? Part 1

Mental Wellbeing Sadaf Riaz
disturbing thoughts
Photo by Gagaz Adam from Pexels

Most people at a certain point in their life experience some disturbing thoughts. The same used to happen with Winston Churchill, who was famous for his urges to walk in front of oncoming trains. And his disturbing thoughts used to urge him to jump from balconies.

In a current global study of 700 students, 90% of them showed similar tendencies. In fact, the impulse to leap from a high place is so ordinary. It has its own psychological term: the phenomenon of high place. According to psychologists, our brain has an ‘idea generator’ which helps in solving the problem. In such a situation, we often choose all potential options for a problem however it may be far-fetched. While this theory is not proven, according to some evidence, disturbing thoughts appear more often in a situation of instant stress.

Where these intrusive thoughts come from

A question always lurks in the mind that where these thoughts come from. We can have these thoughts without our will to act upon them. For example, you are not a murderer if you are having an urge to kill someone without your desire to act on it.

Some people with intrusive thoughts are consistently dismissed and disregarded. These thoughts cannot be ignored and can lead to mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or OCD (Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder). Severe OCD can be incurable for a lifetime, not only by mental aspect but also by habits that consist of repeated hand washing or movement of certain objects.

Some people are plagued by useless thoughts that closely mirror mass media coverage, government advertisement as well as pressure. For example, there was considerable ridiculous fear of asbestos during 1960’s and 70’s.

Similarly, this fear had moved onto HIV in the 1980s and ’90s. The recent reports of climate change have set off a new era of obsession. A person with OCD suffers from intrusive thoughts regarding climate change. For example, OCD sufferers think that if they leave milk or water in a bowl, so due to rising temperature it could evaporate. That’s why they check their bowls again and again.

Disturbing thoughts and how to avoid them

About 2-3% of people who experience disturbing thoughts may have suffered from OCD at some point in their lives. Considering these disturbing thoughts can lead to OCD. Here a question arises as that why more people are not affected by OCD? Psychologists are of the view that it depends upon the dysfunctional beliefs they often adopt in their childhood. It also depends upon the thinking of the people; these harmless disturbing thoughts are then converted into OCD. For example, if a person is a perfectionist he will feel the need for symmetry. Similarly, if one finds a high level of threats within an environment this leads a person to a compulsive need to check for outdoor disease.

While OCD sufferers may try to get rid of such disturbing thoughts, many researchers have considered it very difficult. Hence with the struggle of useless thoughts, OCD sufferers often change their developing repetitive actions and behavior. For example, if a person has a fear of being infected by a disease, he should never leave his home till he is cured.

(To be continued)


(Written by Sadaf Riaz)

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