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elsalauren

Repetitive Embarrassing Thoughts

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Recently my brain has been fixating on embarrassing memories from my past (years ago) that I’d rather forget. They enter my head and I focus on them, over and over every single day until it gets to a point that I cry often. I find them hard to talk about - which is the way I usually combat intrusive thoughts - because I’ll just embarrass myself, but they end up bothering me so intensely that I have to and I’m left feeling even more emotional because I’m practically mortified. The memories aren’t big deals in the SLIGHTEST, and can even be partly made up (!) but because my brain fixates, it wears me down as I get increasing irrational guilt for my mistakes. 

I’d really love and appreciate some advice if anyone’s experienced this same thing and for how you managed to get past them. I need some tips/advice for how to be mentally stronger and take control of it all to stop the thoughts before I end up thinking about them over and over for days on end. For reference, I’m a 16 year old girl. Thanks in advance!

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Hi Elsalauren,

The biggest thing I picked up on from your post is where you wrote ‘I focus on them’ so maybe instead of focusing on those horrible embarrassing thoughts, distract yourself, do something you really have to concentrate on until that nasty feeling subsides and when it returns (because they always return) distract again. 

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Hi, thanks for your reply! I’ll definitely try but the problem is it’s not a permanent fix and I’ll have to deal with them again but even worse...thank you for your suggestion though! 

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Hi elsalauren :)

It really depends on whether you're doing compulsions around these thoughts or not on how to deal with them. If a thought pops into your head about something embarrassing and you try to push it away, or block them from happening, or you try to work out if it actually happened then that would be like OCD compulsions and you would tackle these with CBT. 

If you have memories that you find embarrassing of things you've done, perhaps you fell over once in front of people for example, then the key is self-compassion. Making mistakes is being human but sometimes we treat ourselves like we should be superhuman. We can treat ourselves a lot worse than our friends and family too. Self-compassion is treating yourself how you might treat a best friend. If a best friend had made a mistake, what would you do? Would you forgive them, give them a hug, tell them that mistakes happen but you aren't defined by them? The key is to take that loving friend that you are and apply it to yourself, because sometimes we make mistakes, but we just need shown some love and kindness to get over them :)

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