Thoughts are just thoughts

Sometimes our thoughts can get out of control or maybe they’re just at a constant high speed. I know for me mine don’t stop until I’m asleep, 24/7 they’re on full blast and don’t let up until my brain shuts down. Even then – my subconscious is having a field day, giving me the most bizarre and random dreams. But that’s a topic for another time.

When thinking about recovery, or the journey through it, it’s almost like we’re given a prize at the end of the line, a golden incentive to keep going, and that is the promise that our thoughts will go away. I know for me, that’s all I’ve ever wanted, for the thoughts and images to stop. Because once they cease, then there’s no rituals, and if there’s no rituals or thoughts then there’s no OCD and it’ll bring everything else toppling down like jenga blocks if you can simply remove the foundational component of the thoughts.

But what if it’s not about that? These thoughts are intrusive and out of our control, there’s no way to tell when they’ll appear or not. They’ll pop up at the worst of times and stick around like a bad smell. But what if it’s not about getting rid of them? At least not in the short term. These thought patterns and images have taken years and years to build up and get to the habitually engrained status that they currently are, so they’re not going to go away immediately. It takes a long time to break a habit and replace it with a new one, the same goes with thoughts.

My poetry – #ScribedBySabrine

It’s about understanding and observing the thoughts. Completely detaching from their contents and realising they’re not who we are or what we think. They’re simply representations of fears, anxieties and worries manifested as random sentences and images in our minds. It’s about lessening the importance and attention we give to them. Like a barking dog trying to get your attention, it will give up eventually when it knows you’re not responding. The thoughts cannot survive without our participation. As long as we continue to dismiss them as simply passing things in our head and nothing more, we take away their power. And without that, they will gradually disappear.

There’s no use resisting and fighting because that is giving them traction, that’s giving them the attention of you they do crave. People with OCD and anxiety, myself included, often think that acceptance means you “like” the thoughts or you’re “approving” them when this couldn’t be further from the truth. We’re simply coming to terms with the fact that these thoughts are present in our minds and they are not us and are out of our conscious control. Acceptance is about letting them be there without fear or judgement to what they mean. But to understand that their contents is meaningless and irrelevant to you as a person in your life in reality.

15 thoughts on “Thoughts are just thoughts

  1. Luana Spinetti says:

    I can relate to this. I live with anxiety and constant thoughts (and worries) have taken away a lot of my ability to work and live. Having psychoses also doesn’t help but that got better with meds. Your advice here is similar to what my therapist gave me, and I started to live better since I applied it to my life. Sometimes I need a reminder, and your post feels like a consolation. Thank you for it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Rebekah Charles says:

    Our thoughts are so powerful that it can interfere with our daily functioning and prohibits us from having a meaningful and fulfilling life. It’s tough, but everything happens for a reason and we are strong. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. mkwpublishing says:

    I can relate, constant thoughts and images have been a feature of my life. Just recently discovered Hyperphantasia which is what I believe I have. Not everyone has images in their head, or an internal monologue, or constant thoughts it turns out, and others do to a different degree. I too have had OCD, anxiety, depression, PTSD, eating issues and wonder how much has been influenced by the constant stream in mind. Sleep is often not restful for the dreams and vividness, and can carry in wakefulness. I manage them better now and have tried to understand personally what is really going on in mind.

    Liked by 1 person

      • mkwpublishing says:

        I’m not sure I did get over them, I just learn to manage them better, understand what was internal and what was environmental and take action with things I could control and change. Now i know that not everyone has lots of imagery in mind with constant narration, I understand why some of my therapists along the way might not have really known where I was coming from. I’ve tried to be my own counsellor now, separate the emotional from the logical and work through each issue at it presents itself or when I identify it. I recently wrote a book about my experience of hyperhantasia and how i think it has affected me and my view on things. Also it’s comparing it to Aphantasia, which is what my husband has and it the complete opposite, no imagery or visualing anything. So, new variations of some of my old issues popped up. As we change, so can our problems. Sorry for the really long reply, not sure if it’s helpful at all, but i am happy to answer any questions.

        Liked by 1 person

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