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I liken my intrusive thoughts to a visual “ear worm”. Does anyone have any tips on how to deal with a constant “visual worm” of , without going into too much detail, an unpleasant scatalogical nature?  

 

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One thing that has helped me is to keep in mind that they are only thoughts. Thoughts are not reality. So I let them happen and don't put emotional weight on them. Together with medication I have found that this causes them to go away after a while. It's kind of like some bullies - once they see they can't get to you anymore and you ignore them, they go away.

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at an intellectual level i can understand the idea of cognitive distancing. I appreciate and know the truth of what CBT says about the nature of thoughts, but it doesnt seem to lessen the impact of them. They can still punch me in the gut and leave me winded. Must try harder i guess.

thanks for replying 

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One thing that is helped me, is instead of trying to fight the thoughts, let them happen and let them pass. This was initiated by my psychologist. Ive noticed now two years later I barely have intrusive thoughts at all. Its very hard at first because our natural reflex is to push the intrusive thoughts away. Over time though it becomes easier.

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I’m not a master at this but I learned one thing from a nurse in a Drs office. She said “if someone tells you not to think of an elephant, all you’ll think about are elephants “. And meaning trying to not think a thing just seems to cement the thought there, which is true for me. So what I have is a thought to substitute for the intrusive ones and I switch my mind to that as best I can. That usually works for me. (I usually think about my dog, which is a neutral thought, but everyone will have something unique to them). Any time I try to ignore an intrusive thought or try to just watch it go by or one of those techniques, it’s not effective for me. Maybe you could find something like my plan helpful, I don’t know, but it’s totally been the key for me. I have never done cbt so I don’t know if they use that or not. 

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