Obsessions, Compulsions, Intrusive Thoughts & Deep-Dark-Fears

When I get a new notebook or discover an old one that’s blank or only partially used it’s like the 4th of July in my brain. My neurons must be shooting in every which way spazzing out and if they added THAT scene into a Pixar movie, audiences would be like, “The hell?”. I’ve been dealing with this as far back as I can remember. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE AT A TIME! And it has to be completely filled, there can’t be any nonsense stuff like to do lists or anything. That’ll go on separate throw away paper. Recently I went through the ritual of spazzing out and finding places to more or less hide other notebooks from myself that I’ll just use later. It’s like this huge trauma to have to decide which one I’m going to use and what’ll go in it. Some years it’s very serious diary stuff, others it’s just listing every single thing that happened during a day or accomplishments, other times it’s lists. Right now it’s lists primarily. This is nothing out of the ordinary, but probably less depressing to read about then my fear of my house setting on fire and losing everything or people I love falling down the stairs and cracking their heads open. The fire obsession has been a reoccurring intrusive thought which also spans as far back as I can remember and in times of stress just dominates my cranium.

I want to touch base on intrusive thoughts tonight because it’s something that’s had a starring role in my OCD/mental health stigma research for the past year and almost a half (and absolutely nothing I want to talk about further at the moment because I just got feedback from an anonymous committee member saying in order to approve my experiment he/she wanted me to revise a section of my analysis section which made me enraged and super sad). Since I’m done citing empirical research for the evening and finding where an ampersand needed to go in 21 pages of citations that I had forgotten, Wikipedia’s description of “intrusive thoughts” will have to do.

“An intrusive thought is an unwelcome involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate. When such thoughts are associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), and sometimes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the thoughts may become paralyzing, anxiety-provoking, or persistent. Intrusive thoughts may also be associated with episodic memory, unwanted worries or memories from OCD,  posttraumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, eating disorders, or psychosis. Intrusive thoughts, urges, and images are of inappropriate things at inappropriate times, and generally have aggressive, sexual, or blasphemous themes.” 

A great medium to express intrusive thoughts is to draw them. That wasn’t exactly the intention of artist Fran Kraus, but he is the #1 artist I know whose art captures examples of them. His work is described as being a dark, humorous visualization of irrational fears we have. I wanted to share with you a few comics he’s drawn that I feel capture the essence of fears that for some will pass quickly and for others will play on a loop…unfortunately. For more Fran Kraus, visit his tumblr or check out his book!

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8 thoughts on “Obsessions, Compulsions, Intrusive Thoughts & Deep-Dark-Fears

  1. For me it was going to bed at night, I couldn’t have my hands or feet hang over the side of the bed for fear of something grabbing them. I’m still thinking about that when I go to bed.

    • I totally do that too. Sometimes I leap to the bed if I go to the bathroom. I feel like a goon and am usually glad no one’s around, though I don’t think I’d care if they did see me…too much.

  2. That is some deep dark fears. I have some too. Since I’ve lost my hearing…I fear I won’t hear something that I should when I’m asleep and it will cause my demise….or another’s. What if I don’t hear my husband calling for me because he is hurt in another room? Or my pet is hurt?
    …A deep dark fear…I am terrified my husband will die and I will have no one to care for me. My disability and his life insurance won’t be enough, I’ll end up on the street, I’ll be all alone and sick..I’ll die alone.
    There are so many things I’m afraid of.
    Now. I’m so afraid of having seizures. I can’t be alone. I’m afraid of being alone, yet I’m afraid I’ll never be able to be alone for the rest of my life. I’m afraid they are PNES and I won’t be able to stop them. (psycogenic non epelieptic seizures)

    Good luck on your experiment.

    • Those are totally awful fears 😦 it makes me anxious myself thinking about them for you! I have similar ones…just tailored to my own relationships. I’m always praying for you, so at least my prayers will alert higher powers to keep an eye on you lady.

      • My fears are better when I’m less depressed. I know I can’t predict the future so I need not worry about these things until something happens. it’s not like I can change it now.
        The seizures have stopped, at least for now. Hopefully for ever. It may have been just the medication I was on. if it was because my brain said…screw this! Well it gave up and decided to stick here with it. 🙂
        I’m now in therapy, hopefully things will go well there.
        Thank you for the prayers, they are very thoughtful.
        I send up healing and happy thoughts for you.
        xoxo
        w

  3. First of all, I love those comics- ha. Naturally, I SO get it. I remember a decade or so ago, when I was still bat-&^%$ crazy, I was battling chronic intrusive thoughts (let’s call it ITD) , and I would try to pray, but couldn’t shut down several layers of absolute horrific blasphemy. I had never experienced anything like that before, and I had always had a great relationship with God. I was fairly certain that a bus would hit me at any moment and I’d be in hell- it was 24/7- nonstop. It was really terrifying! It lasted for months and I simply couldn’t shut it off. Your post is the first I’ve heard of anyone (besides myself) experiencing a “blasphemous theme”- it’s pretty remarkable!

    I now know that lack of sleep, stress, depression, and a poor diet all played a combined role to knock me over into psychosis, and after that- I was hamburger meat. Thankfully, I was able to come through those very dark times both alive and sane. I also now know that the pervasive thoughts were just fears that I was keeping under a perpetual microscope. I had to “hug the monster” as its called, and when I did, I discovered that the big, scary boogeman was really a tiny, ittle gnat casting an enormous shadow, and I’d been afraid of its shadow all along. Once I learned that, I knew that I could beat it. (Still working on that. ;0)

    Progress. Not perfection.
    I tell myself that every day. Some days I believe me, some days not, but every day is a victory in the end, eh?

    By the way, if you ever want to run anything by me in the schoolwork department, I don’t mind! I know how stressful this crap is! I have 2 months to go and I’ll be graduating- STRESSFUL……! x

    • It is because we are kindred spirits!!! I’m still working in beating the shadow too. Especially lately. I’ve been drowning in the shadows lately, which is why I’ve been so absent, no surprise that seems to be a pattern for me. I’ll be graduating then too! Assuming that I’m not screwed over by the department…again. BUT YOU’LL TOTALLY BE THE HELL OUT OF THERE AND ON TO THE NEXT STEP!!!

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