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Handling obsessive thoughts

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Hey guys,

Just wandering how the majority of you go about handling their repetitive obsessive thoughts. Do you find it useful to remind yourselves 'It's just my OCD / this doesn't really matter / this obsession is silly'. Or is it more practical to avoid these justifications altogether?

Also, when repetitive obsessive thoughts arise, is it advisable to gently change the subject in your mind? For me, it seems like harmless common sense to do so, as the alternative seems to be to dwell on the obsessions. But some claim subject changing is an act of avoidance, which is no good.

Any ideas?

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I've asked the same questions as you, and I may not have the right answers, but here's what I think.

I think dwelling is essentially always unhealthy.

I also think subject changing is an act of avoidance if you know you're deferring it.  For me, I feel commitment is necessary.  If you're moving on to something else, you should really move on.  If it's a temporary distraction it does sound like avoidance.

That's just my opinion.  Let's see what the pros say about this.

Edited by ineedahug

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In the beginning of recovery its okay to say, that's just an OCD thought, I'm not going to deal with that right now. Eventually you want to get to a place where you don't even think that much. You give the intrusive thoughts no reaction at all.

Again, in the beginning, you can change the subject. You're washing dishes. You get an intrusive thought of stabbing someone. You gently swing your attention back to washing dishes. No problem.

However, for that second part, eventually you have to start calling OCD's bluff. You get the intrusive thought you're going to stab someone. You think, yeah bring it on! I'm going to pick up the biggest knife i can find and stab her with it repeatedly, right to the hilt! There's going to be blood everywhere! Then swing your attention back to washing the dishes.

It works.

Edited by PolarBear

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I see what you both mean. For me, it's hard to know the best way forward.

Whenever I remind myself of some form of justification (ie 'it's just my OCD / I've been over this obsession X amount of times already), it seems to fall upon deaf ears.

It's almost like justification on any level isn't even relevant to the recurrence of the obsession. I find that responding to the obsession in any way seems to fuel it.

I think the best thing to do is nothing, whilst KNOWING and TRUSTING that it's all just silly nonsense, rather than reminding myself that it is because of this or that reason why.

I also think that changing the subject IN CONJUNCTION with not reacting to the obsessions is useful, if not essential. But only as a by-product of not reacting, rather than an act of frantic avoidance...

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