How To Overcome Intrusive Thoughts OCD


How To Overcome Intrusive Thoughts OCD

In this episode, I discuss a high-level overview of how to overcome intrusive thoughts. Generally speaking, intrusive thoughts fall into the following three umbrella categories: violent, sexual, and religious. I also discuss a good analogy to help you defuse from intrusive thoughts and become a more mindful observer.



alright hey there everyone and welcometo this episode where we're gonna talk
about intrusive thoughts and how to
overcome them so my name is Matt Codde
I'm a licensed clinical social worker
and in this in this episode, like I said
what we're gonna do is we're going to
talk about intrusive thoughts because
it's a question that I've been getting a
lot recently you know both online and with you know
with my one-on-one clients as well and
so I thought it would be useful to make
in an entire series on this because you
know I I just feel like they're more and
more common and it's just questions that
I'm getting more and more so what I
wanted to do first is kind of talk about
the idea of intrusive thoughts and so
intrusive thoughts are really this these
thoughts that kind of occur in your mind
that that you don't like right they're
intrusive they're not something that you
want right and you know usually we
define the thoughts as what you would
call ego-dystonic meaning they don't
they aren't a good representation of who
you know you are right or who you
believe yourself to be and intrusive
thoughts fall into usually three
categories and so the first category is
the violent or harmful thoughts right
and so some examples of this could be
thoughts of you know hurting yourself or
hurting others someone you love in this
the second category is the the idea of
sexual interest of thoughts and those
can be things that you know doubts about
your sexuality or sexual orientation or
a relationship in general right so as
thoughts about your relationships all
that and in the third category is the
religious or existential thoughts and
those thoughts you know really are the
idea of you know it could be doubts
about God it could be doubts about your
religion it could be just just kind of
existential thoughts like you know the
meaning of life and whatnot and what
happens is these thoughts you know enter
your mind your consciousness and then
replay again and again and again and the
reason they replay is because we engage
with them right and so what I want to do
today is I want to share a story or
analogy with you that that I that I've
that I found really helpful in my own
personal life but also on that I know
I my clients have reported being really
helpful in on their journeys as well and
so it's the story of a fly fisherman and
so when when I was learning to fly fish
it's not like I'm some master fly
fisherman I'm only gone you know handful
of times but when I was learning you
know I like to learn the intricate
details of stuff you know so I can
really understand it and the gentleman
was teaching me it was like okay so what
we're doing is when we craft our flies
which are the bait right what we're
doing is we're really we're trying to
create a bait that's very similar to the
bugs that are on the water at that time
of day so morning is certain bugs
afternoon evening so on and so forth and
what we do is you know you basically
craft it and you throw it out there and
obviously the whole point of it is to
catch a fish right the idea is to have
the fish you know think it's real food
bite it hook it bring it in and when we
talk about OCD I think it's it's such a
perfect parallel to how OCD works and
anxiety works in the mind and what I
mean by that is is OCD is always
crafting and coming up with thoughts
that you know are gonna be tailor-made
to your specific fears and doubts and
worries right so it's very likely that
you've had a bunch of intrusive thoughts
right but most of them you're probably
able to dismiss but there's certain
usually themes that plague certain
people so some people get locked on you
know a religious theme or a harmful
theme or a sexual theme right or a
relationship theme right and it will
just replace and replay in or play and
the reason that it replaced is one
because it's a it's a sensitive area to
you right and and also is because you've
been on the bay and so like any good
fisherman if if a fish bites on a bait
you're gonna keep using that bait right
you're gonna and then eventually you'll
even probably tell your friends like oh
hey you know this bait worked really
well here and then all of a sudden and
so so what happens is is when you bite
on the bait initially when when your
brain produces a thought right when it
when it produces some thought you know
that's intrusive and you react to it
like it's a real threat and you do those
mental compulsions right like thought
suppression analyzing ruminating you
know uh you know
thought replacement counting mentally
praying about it you know all of that
stuff what you're doing is you're
showing your brain that that thought was
really it was was dangerous right that
it's something that it's actually a
threat and you're conditioning your
brain to essentially produce more of
them right and just like a you know the
and with the fishermen parallel what
your brains gonna do it's gonna start
throwing it more and more and you're in
your awareness and the more and more you
react it's kind of like you're taking
the bait each and every time you react
so the the trick is is to essentially to
not take the bait right like that's just
the kind of overall you know concept
when it comes to dealing with intrusive
thoughts is to not take the bait and
what I mean by that is not react in a
way that's gonna reinforce the thought
and keep your mind producing it right we
want to just you know like and so
essentially if you're a fish and a
fisherman's you know coming after you
and throwing bait all you need to do to
not get caught is not take the bait and
you can just wait it out right you can
just keep going and keep going and just
kind of let the bait keep coming let the
bay keep coming and what happens is is
eventually if you don't take the bait
the fisherman will give up right just
like and that's what happens all the
time right if a fisherman is not
catching something in a certain spot he
moves he gives up he lets go and in the
same thing holds true with intrusive
thoughts right if we just if we just let
the present you know let the presence of
the thoughts come and we don't react to
them in a negative way and try to
control them or get rid of them what
happens is is that it we're teaching our
mind that those stocks aren't really
that important and we can let them go
and move on right and that really is the
parallel that I want to share with you
here in this episode is this idea that
hey look you know you don't you don't
need to react in fact everything you're
doing to try to control and get rid of
the thoughts is actually what's keeping
them going and keeping them and making
them worse so when it comes to you know
how to deal with intrusive thoughts it's
actually it's that the whole question is
backwards because thinking that you need
to do something is the problem right and
if you actually are willing to accept
their presence and just let them be
there and not not react to them that's
actually what will cause your brain to
produce them on a lower frequency and
ultimately you know there's just
that will just pass over time and in
that that is kind of the the overall
trick you know when it comes it's a
paradox right it's like the harder you
try to get rid of them the more and more
they're gonna come and when you actually
stop trying to get rid of them that's
what actually kind of lets you let your
mind you know like process them and then
realize that it doesn't need to keep
producing them and so that that
fishermen parallel is is so perfect
because you need to realize like OCD and
anxiety it's it's crafting that perfect
bait for you right it's like okay I know
this is gonna work and then it work last
time and it's tossing it out there and
every time it tosses it out there you
just need to look at the bait okay
realize that's what it is and just not
bite and if you don't bite and you you
keep not biting eventually it will give
up and it will ultimately stop right and
that's that's the that's the thing you
have to trust the process but that
doesn't but that means you can't like
not bite for you know five thoughts and
then all the sudden the next thought
comes and you bite it again it's just
reinforcing it so make sure the trick to
not getting caught is to not take the
bait right in that that is like that is
so crucial when it comes to intrusive
thoughts and so what I'm gonna do is we
move forward here as I'm actually gonna
create an entire series on very specific
intrusive thoughts you know so all the
different thoughts or you know common
themes from harmful from sexual
relationships and from religious and I'm
gonna talk about you know different case
studies and kind of things that the
thoughts and like and then how to deal
with specific thoughts because I know
I've been getting a lot of requests for
that so you know again I hope you found
this episode helpful and I really hope
that this idea that fishermen I hope
it's something you can take with you on
your journey because I know it's been
helpful for me and I know I've gotten a
lot of feedback that it's really helpful
for others on their journey as well so
you know again I just I hope it's
helpful I didn't please take it with you
use it and again if you like this this
content and this has been helpful we
really appreciate if you'd subscribe and
like our channels because across all our
social platforms because you know it's
just as helpful for our support and then
also I have some more free resources for
you down in the notes here you know
where I have some free downloads and
resources on my site that you can check
out and against totally free it's yours
to have and it's just again stuff to
help you on your journey so thank you so
much for tuning in this week and we
we'll see you as we continue on this
series and next episode we're going to
talk about different types of intrusive
thoughts so I'll see you soon and again
my name is Matt and have a wonderful day

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