“You’re not a voice, you’re just a ringing in my ear.”- Elsa, Frozen 2, Into the Unknown
I’m sure I’ve probably mentioned that we’ve watched Frozen 2 a lot. We have also listened to the music a lot because M.J. always wants “big” songs to listen to. This part of this song reminded me of intrusive thoughts. Even though the voice Elsa was hearing was real (oops, spoilers) this part reminded me of how we should treat our intrusive thoughts.
When I was first learning about how to deal with my intrusive thoughts I was told to say, “It’s just a thought, it means nothing.” One therapist said to just think of it as a wave just passing by. This is much easier said than done. How can we say our thoughts mean nothing when they are often horrible, scary, and distressing? How can I say it means nothing if I have thoughts about killing people? How can I say it means nothing if I am trying to worship God in church and I have scary blasphemous thoughts? How can I say it means nothing if I have a sexual thought about someone inappropriate? How can I say it means nothing if I’m worried I gave people food poisoning from not washing my hands enough or not cooking food well enough?
Let me tell you it is VERY hard. Especially because intrusive thoughts are still not understood by many people. I had them for at least 10 years before I told anyone. Because I waited so long to tell anyone I tried to deal with the thoughts on my own. I tried as hard as I could to not think about them. That made it worse. Let me give you an example: think about anything you want but do not under any circumstances think of water. Anything else but not water. Wait a couple minutes…
Did you think of water? Was it extremely hard not to? That’s how it works with intrusive thoughts and of course that’s what most people try to do because who wants these horrible, scary thoughts in their head? The examples I listed above are some common intrusive thoughts but there are many others. Many people struggle with these and don’t get help because they are afraid to even tell their therapist. I was afraid to tell my therapist but when I did she did not seem disturbed at all. It is extremely difficult to talk about intrusive thoughts. It is still hard for me to talk about with my therapist. It is a little easier now that I know they’re intrusive thoughts but I don’t know if it will ever get easier to talk about. If you are struggling with intrusive thoughts tell a professional you trust before it is too late. You can get help. You’re not crazy and you’re not a horrible person. Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that come into your brain that you DON’T want and you DON’T choose. A lot of people struggle with them. You are not alone.
“God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. This is real love- not that we loved God, but that he sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins.” 1st John 4:9-10 NLT
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