The way I like to live life is by putting things into categories. I believe in absolutes, black or white, yes or no. This made me, at several times, just take a step back from everything – inside and outside my head – and think of how to categorize the thoughts I have been getting.
I have started off with the following two categories; intrusive and non-intrusive. Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that come out of nowhere. They are involuntary. They just pop in your head. Usually unpleasant and hard to get rid off, many times, they turn into obsessions. Such thoughts don’t need any trigger (You see a red car, you think of a red car. That thought had a trigger. But if you were just sitting looking at the sea and suddenly an image of a car pops up in your mind, that wasn’t triggered). Usually intrusive thoughts tend to vary in intensity, as some may be easily dismissed while others can’t, and may evolve to obsessions. That being said, it’s easy to define the non-intrusive thoughts as thoughts we have control over; control over starting and ending them.
The second category I classified was the obsessive thoughts and non-obsessive thoughts. Differentiating between them is pretty simple: an idea that gets stuck in your brain for a period of time and you can’t but think of. When you try to get rid of it, like a boomerang, it’ll come back. And many times it comes back bigger and more intensified. Simply put, an obsession is a thought one can’t simply discard. On the other hand, non-obsessive thoughts are normal thoughts that come and go with ease and are simple for one to control.
The third category has to do with the types of feelings the thoughts trigger. I am focusing mainly on anxiety and the feeling of panic and impending doom one gets. I have split them into two; positive and negative thoughts. The words Positive and Negative aren’t adjectives of the thoughts; they don’t describe the thought and its content. Simply put, a positive thought leads to positive (good) feelings, while negative thoughts lead to negative (bad) feelings. I have come to the realization that a negative thought is any thought that triggers a negative feeling (mainly felt in the chest area) given that this thought is irrational. AND if one already knows he has OCD and/or anxiety related disorders, then any thought that triggers anxiety and panic is usually irrational disregarding how rational it seems, and that is due to the prevailing condition. In the moment, the thought could (and many times will) sound logical and rational, but if one tries to take a step back and look at it objectively, it would seem totally irrational.
I have discovered that the following sequence occurs; intrusive, then obsessive, then negative feelings.
This has allowed me to manage and get things a bit more under control. When you know, it becomes a bit easier. It’s better to battle something you are aware of.
So long story short, any thought that seems to come out of nowhere, linger in the mind for a period of time, and then cause unpleasant and distressing feelings is usually a thought that should be fought and the only way to fight it is by consciously disregarding it (time and time again, as it will start creeping in, that’s why I say consciously disregard it) and letting the negative feelings take their course without acting upon them. It’s just something that will pass. Although the feeling during this aforementioned process is excruciating, it’s the only way to improve life as with time the thoughts’ effects will decrease drastically (and I mean DRASTICALLY).
That was a piece of my mind, wishing a peace of mind to you all.