OCD Intrusive thoughts are extremely debilitating and can lead to many years of suffering if not addressed at the early stages of symptoms. From my own personal experience of suffering from OCD intrusive thoughts, I have tried many therapies to get some sort of relief. While each therapy has its place and I advocate all forms of therapy it was not until I learned to regulate my nervous system, did major real change start to occur.
What are OCD Intrusive thoughts?
OCD Intrusive thoughts are thoughts that are disturbing, frightening, and distressing. OCD intrusive thoughts stem from deep fears which are stored at the subconscious level deep in the psyche of the individual.
The subconscious controls 95% of our feelings, reactions, actions, and behaviors. The conscious mind controls 5% of our feelings, reactions, and behaviors. Therefore as much as we rationally know these thoughts are not true, it is the subconscious that holds fears that make us feel like they are true as the subconscious regulates the autonomic nervous system.
So what does this mean to you, this means that every time you have an intrusive thought, strong sympathetic activation occurs physically, emotionally, and psychologically ie, (the flight, fight and freeze response that lets you know you are under threat and this is the sensation of panic, anxiety, overwhelm and the urge to run and avoid.
When we are in that over-activated response we will try to run and avoid however if that is not possible we will establish coping mechanisms called compulsions.
What are Compulsions?
Compulsions are behaviors established when we feel high amounts of anxiety and overwhelm and are really coping tools. Compulsions take many forms and are not limited to checking, reassurance-seeking, and touching certain things, there can also be mental compulsions, repeating certain words and phrases, analyzing the thoughts and ruminations. This then creates an association that every time you have these thoughts, you have to do the compulsion and the loop begins and continues in this cycle.
How do you break this loop?
In order for you to change this repetitive loop and the constant cycle of obsessive thoughts and compulsions, regulation of the nervous system is needed. This is a process that takes time but creates lifelong changes and the peace you have always been searching for. This process is not about managing symptoms and in my own experience with OCD and with the thousands of clients I have had the privilege of helping is the key to unlocking long-lasting change.