Intrusive Thoughts

Photo by K. Mitch Hodge on Unsplash

One of my least favorite symptoms of depression is the intrusive thoughts. (For the record, I don’t actually have any favorite symptoms.) Intrusive thoughts probably happen to everyone from time to time. I can’t be sure because of the problem of other minds and such, but psychologists claim it happens to everyone sometimes. There’s a chance that if it only happens occasionally, people might not even be aware that they are happening. In case you don’t know, intrusive thoughts are when unwanted and unintended thoughts creep into your head and once there they want to stay.

According to what I’ve read, they can take different forms. Sometimes the thoughts are sexual or violent. Sometimes they are bizarre or paranoid. That’s not what I get, though. I specialize in negative intrusive thoughts, and they often result in negative self-talk. When I’m driving, I can’t help but think about the risk of car accidents. When I’m working, I can’t help but think about getting fired. When I try something, I can’t help but think about failure. It’s not fun.

If the thoughts were less consistent, it wouldn’t be so bad. Being aware of risks can be beneficial. Dwelling on them is not. One thing I find myself wondering about is whether these thoughts can be self-fulfilling. Thankfully, so far, they haven’t been. I would never do any of the things on purpose, but I spend a lot of time worrying about them.

So, that’s intrusive thoughts. One of the many reasons it’s so hard to pull yourself out of depression. I’m told they’re common, but one of the negative thoughts is that I’m the only one having them. Even though I know better, my brain won’t let me believe differently.

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