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What are Intrusive Thoughts?

Shannon Kietzman
Shannon Kietzman

Intrusive thoughts are unwelcome ideas, memories or traumatic flashbacks that repeatedly find their way into a person’s thinking. This may include uncomfortable and disturbing thoughts about losing control, committing violent or perverted acts, fearing pain, fearing death or hurting other people. They may also include reliving unhappy or traumatic events and conversations, suffering flashbacks of suppressed memories or extreme anxiety about future events. While it is normal for everyone to have unpleasant, fearful or disturbing thoughts on occasion, intrusive thoughts become a problem when the person cannot dismiss them or distinguish between what is real and what is imagined.

How Common Are They?

Thoughts become intrusive when the person has trouble dealing with them.
Thoughts become intrusive when the person has trouble dealing with them.

Research shows that nearly 90% of people experience some form of unwelcome intrusive thinking. Most people dismiss these thoughts and quickly brush them off as unreasonable, senseless, or too painful to think about for long. Others may struggle more and not be able to let them go so easily. Compulsive, excessive or anxiety-ridden thoughts that overcome a person's thinking can cause a great deal of emotional, mental, and physical stress. These individuals may require professional help.

Causes and Symptoms

A person who cannot let go of intrusive thoughts may have nightmares.
A person who cannot let go of intrusive thoughts may have nightmares.

There are a variety of reasons that someone can have intrusive thoughts, but they often are a result of a extremely traumatic or frightening experience or a mental health problem. A person who was molested, for example, may suffer from painful flashbacks from post-traumatic stress. Some people become consumed by these memories for several days, completely disrupting their life with intense mental anguish, while others may experience intermittent, harassing thoughts that cause short-term anxiety.

Most people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are unable to control intrusive thoughts.
Most people with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) are unable to control intrusive thoughts.

In more serious cases, an individual experiencing a flashback may reverse his role in a painful situation. For example, a person who was molested may see himself as the person doing the molestation rather than as the victim. Others may experience the flashback as if they are a third person watching as the event takes place. This is often because the situation was so traumatic or frightening that the person cannot re-experience it in the first person.

Intrusive thoughts may be related to weight and self-esteem issues.
Intrusive thoughts may be related to weight and self-esteem issues.

A person who cannot let go of these disturbing thoughts may have trouble falling asleep at night or wake up with nightmares. He or she may become anxious and suffer from panic attacks. Some people become depressed because they fear that they will never be free of the thoughts. In some cases, sufferers may try to self-medicate, using alcohol and drugs to try to keep the thoughts from coming back; unfortunately, this often makes the anxiety, depression, and other symptoms even worse. The disturbing thoughts may become so intrusive that a person cannot function normally and is unable to hold down a job or accomplish everyday tasks effectively.

Psychological Disorders

Intrusive thoughts often prevent people from getting proper rest.
Intrusive thoughts often prevent people from getting proper rest.

Intrusive thoughts cross the line into a more serious medical condition when individuals with certain psychological disorders are not capable of living a normal life. Rather than pushing the mental images from their mind, these individuals become focused on them. They are a major symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Obsessive thoughts about germs caused by OCD are characterized as intrusive.
Obsessive thoughts about germs caused by OCD are characterized as intrusive.

People with PTSD have experienced an extremely traumatic event that causes long-term psychological problems. Sufferers often have nightmares, flashbacks to the event, and intrusive memories and thoughts. They often feel angry and hopeless and distance themselves from family and friends; they may try to avoid situations that could trigger memories or flashbacks.

Intrusive thoughts can occur throughout the day and can disrupt a person's schedule.
Intrusive thoughts can occur throughout the day and can disrupt a person's schedule.

OCD is typically characterized by obsessive ideas and fears that become overwhelming. These intrusive thoughts may center on a fear of germs, a need for order, or something more aggressive or sexual. Individuals may act upon violent intrusive thoughts or they may obsess over their fear of following through with them. For example, a person may become consumed with the idea of stabbing an innocent person and go to great lengths to avoid all knives. People who have this disorder feel a very strong compulsion to follow through with their obsessions and can become extremely anxious if the cannot do so.


Soldiers who have experienced combat frequently suffer from intrusive thoughts.
Soldiers who have experienced combat frequently suffer from intrusive thoughts.

Mental health experts say that a small amount of intrusive thinking is completely normal for most people. Individuals who are troubled by occasional disturbing thoughts typically don't need any professional help and are able to rationalize their thinking and move on relatively quickly. People who find that they cannot let go of these thoughts or who are unable to function normally should seek out treatment.

The three most common types of therapy for people who suffer from intrusive thoughts are exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and drug therapy. Exposure therapy helps the patient face his or her fears directly in a safe environment so that the person can learn how to handle it. It is a common therapy for people with PTSD. Cognitive behavioral therapy teaches the patient to face his fears by vocalizing them or confiding the memories to a mental health professional, close friend or confidante. This therapy helps the patient recognize when his or her thinking is negative or inaccurate and figure out how to better cope with situations that trigger disturbing thoughts.

Many patients suffering from underlying mental or medical conditions are also treated with medication to help them deal with some of the immediate symptoms. Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications have been shown to help some people with OCD and PTSD. Anti-psychotic drugs may be used in severe cases, but the patient must be monitored for side effects or complications.

Discussion Comments


I don't know whats wrong with me things keep repeating every single day like words and music. It's driving me crazy.


An intrusive though, is simply that -- a thought that intrudes one's consciousness. The content of the thought can be frightening but I believe them to be heavily influenced by environmental stimuli. Why? Because the way we recall memories is heavily influenced by both conscious and unconscious stimuli, both internally through the biological processes and also through neuronal communication. These processes are not exact and can be influenced.

I have intrusive thoughts about my childhood at random times and I find the experience disturbing. A thought is a thought. Thoughts do not always coincide with an action, but always coincide with emotions. I can expand on this, but my hypothesis on the matter doesn't hold merit until after I get a degree or start undergrad research.

For now people, remember that thoughts are transient, and you must remain ever grounded in reality. My suggestion would be to occupy your senses with a different stimuli that counters the feelings invoked by the intrusive thought.

I read an article that the scent of vanilla is lest likely to be associated with a negative memory, along with a leafy green color and a sky blue color.


Please help. I don't know where to put myself right now. I've got depression and anxiety and just two nights ago, I was on my computer, then suddenly, out of the blue, I had this extremely disturbing thought about me and my dad.

I want it to stop. I've cried the past two nights and I have not spoken to him and want to avoid him because I'm scared in case I do the things that are in my head.

He's my dad and I love him and it's not fair to shut him out because of these disgusting, awkward thoughts about him in my head. I can't tell my mum and I can't tell my sister, either. I'm going the doctors tomorrow to tell them what's going on and hope they can help me. I want to be able to be around my dad again without feeling like this. I feel dirty.


I have intrusive thoughts. I'm a single white male, age 45 and am constantly thinking of meeting a single female age 18-30, who likes breast feeding me, will be my mom and in return I'll be her daddy. It's horrible to have these thoughts.

I've been praying about this. Also I have lots of thoughts about incest. I've been in mental health treatment for over 20 years now. Why do I have these

repeated thoughts in my head? I just prayed about it this morning.

I'm afraid of burning in hell.


@Anon325238, Post 104: I hope this response reaches you.

I've read your post and I care (and I wish I could get in touch with you). My heart goes out to you, and I can understand why you feel scared at school, and I think your fear is rational. There is so much violence in schools, and the only thing I can think of would be… I know so many people cannot do this, because they are a single parent, or neither parent in their household can stay home and their children are too young, but if there is any way that one parent can stay home, or that your child is old enough to stay home by himself during the day, it would be good for as many people as possible to look into free online public schooling called "k12" to try to keep as many children away from mass schooling as possible.

I believe not only does the mass, "mob" environment encourage bullying, but sometimes, children who were bullied wind up later committing violent acts because of their suffering, causing a vicious cycle. Beyond that, we can only do the best we can to raise kind children, to show them that cruelty is not entertainment, and that we all have feelings and should be careful with one another. Everyone here, I feel the same pain, and I am with you. Sending love and blessings.


I am 40. At age 20, I had my worst intrusive thoughts. I was a staunch charismatic and this voice wouldn't let go. It said that I had sinned against the Holy Spirit, never ever to be forgiven.

I am grateful for therapy. I was able to deal with many of the stresses that were detrimental to my mental health which had collapsed to clinical depression.

One of the casualties of my recovery was ditching my fundamentalist faith and dealing aggressively with my dysfunctional family.

Today, I honestly don't care where and if the holy spirit is moving. My mental health comes first. The holy spirit can take care of himself or itself without involving me.


Don't water the seeds of these uncomfortable thoughts. Posting and reading further into there meaning is only nurturing there growth. Most any form of attention towards them is what they need to multiply and stay alive in your mind. They can potentially enter anyone and everyone's mind by seeing the green vacancy sign. These thoughts briefly have periods in everyone's life.

Once you let them affect you, they can quickly take over. Think of them as the clouds are, they will pass. There will be other cloudy days as well.

Focusing inwardly is a breeding ground. If you are having a cloudy day, do something for someone you care about. Or even for a stranger. Making another person feel happy by your direct actions will have the same effect for you. The smallest required effort to make another happy will produce the same feeling as the largest.

Focus on someone else's happiness, and how to add to it during cloudy days.


I can feel for everyone who posted. I have let down everyone in my life. I am a CD/MI. Mostly I wasted my life drinking, and have little to show for it. I have no life worth mentioning and I see the end.

But for what it's worth, you can have many thousands of thoughts, some of them you can't explain, and they can be repetitive or happenstance, some of them are trivial. But that's okay.

You have thoughts, a mind and consciousness. You receive stimulus, process it, and then you respond. It's whether or not your response is of any consequence. That is what gets people into worse problems. And believe me, if you are under the influence of anything mind altering, you can pretty much say that the response part can be pretty difficult to control because you've seriously disrupted the other two.

Painful thoughts are okay, and god whatever higher power you choose, did not intend for you not to suffer. But remember, simple things that are not associated with people can bring you some relief. What about the planet and its wonders, as well as how well made you are, unique and different. No one like you will ever be on this planet, and every second you breathe, every living moment is a gift. It is not guaranteed. Thank you for letting me post.


I just wanted to share a method, without being awkward. In the eastern theology, there's a virtue called watchfulness.

The sin appears exactly from the thought. The thought may be intrusive, but somehow we developed it from our past.

Now, the order is: I have an intrusive thought; and here's the sin: I produce a meaning from it; I start to fight with arguments, even they are moral, and this is the act.

There's a very irritating phrase but I like it: "You are not so clever as the devil is, to start conversations with him."

Just search for watchfulness (maybe into an electronic philokalia?), at least as a concept, that our mind was made to touch the perfection.

I'm not so religious, but I am open and this is the most practical thing I ever heard when I felt miserable in my mind.When your misery is so intense you have to try everything, and everything means profoundness.


I don't know what's wrong with me. I can't sleep in nights, I'm disturbed and confused. I have so many problems in my life and I feel so trapped!.

People around me are using me and threatening me and it's very disturbing. I dream of hurting myself. Whenever I tell someone, even doctors, they say I should rest, but I just can't rest.

I fight with people, I have secretly hurt myself many times and I'm scared. I don't want to hurt myself. I stopped visiting my friends and my grandma. I stay with my friend, and she is more depressed than I am. I don't know what to do. I'm just 17. Can someone help me?


I have suffered from these thoughts and have tried everything I possibly can to chase these intrusive thoughts away – you name it – everything! Even if they work, they are all so temporary! They eventually come back with a huge rebound punch.

The most effective solution is a conscious effort to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ! Feeling and having these thoughts is not the problem. Make a conscious effort and every time they come, cast them into the obedience of Christ! (That is, remind yourself this is all imagination and is not real). It will be hard, but don't let those thoughts make you miserable and hopeless every single time they come. Make a conscious effort to rebuke them and counter them with good thoughts and whatever is admirable. It's very hard, but better than simply being a sitting duck!i I'll take a lot of time, but don't give up!

Another great thing is to humble yourself and start doing something productive. Your mind will obviously hamper you with negative thoughts, but take the initiative. Take up music or go to a dance class, go out on a date, clean out the house or do something ambitious like something you always wanted to do, for example, sing in public even if you stink and it makes you look ridiculous. That's really a good thing because that'll keep your mind occupied about how stupid you look, but hey, at least those horrible killing thoughts will subside a bit.

If we look at it logically, you have moved from the lone anxiety thought realm to the social realm. I know this is all complicated and I can't write enough on this topic but last, remember the old saying, "An idle mind is the devil's workshop." That's the fundamental because that underlies this kind of irrational, horrible kind of mindset. Ignore those thoughts even if they persist. Keep making a conscious effort to counter them with positive thoughts, and just step on the sunny side of the street! Be sociable!


I have thoughts all the time of being killed by either strangers or people at school. None of my family are involved in these thoughts, thankfully. It comes to mind that people can just so easily kill people. I usually imagine it being gun related, everyone's in a place where it's ard to run away, and many people, including myself, get shot.

The people at school just seem so unstable to me for no particular reason. Strangers just scare the crap out of me. These thoughts make me scared to go to school, walk to my bus stop, and they keep me from doing things such as go to the movies or go to the bowling alley. These thoughts also create trust issues for me and make me almost hate people.

I don't think about harming others, though. It makes me sick. The though of killing makes me sick. I know no one will read this or care, but it feels good to get it off my chest. -- InvaderUnde


I'm a bit worried about my son -- actually very worried. He's only 15 and he confided in me three weeks ago that he couldn't stop thinking about what an actor had said in the programme, "Two and a half men." The actor had advised everyone to stop watching the show as it was full of filth and was the enemy at work.

Since then, he can't stop thinking about it. It pops into his head frequently and he's feeling guilty about what God would think. It's putting him off watching tv, playing his playstation and now putting him off boxing. He is not religious and doesn't believe in the devil, but is feeling guilty that he is doing wrong. The doctor has put him on prozac. Will this help and does anyone have any advice on how I could help him?


What do I do? I've accepted and even agreed that I should not torture myself with needless guilt, and yet the intrusive thoughts get all the more demanding! I have even tried to let go of that bitterness directed toward myself and yet that voice in my mind gets louder and louder, telling me that I should feel bad, and it's almost as if a part of me feels a wicked glee when I do retreat back into that dark place in my mind to mentally torment myself further.

I feel like I'm in a little bubble, and each day I slowly retreat farther and farther into that dark place in my mind. I don't know what to do! I don't feel like it's me torturing myself anymore. I feel as if it is something else. Not only that, but the intrusive thoughts push out any thoughts that I have when I try to figure out what could be making me feel this way, or it redirects my thoughts to something else. And yet, those thoughts seem to do so more often when I try to talk to God or read His Word, even though before my spiritual relationship with God was strong, so I'm not scared of Him. I only fear God in the sense that I fear Him in awe of His power, and His glory, and yet I love Him too with all of my heart, ever since I was three. So I don't understand why these intrusive thoughts seem so bent on breaking me with guilt, and trying to make me hate God. Does anyone know what I can do to stop those thoughts?


I'm so thankful for these comments. I'm 18 and was baptized a few weeks ago, and it was the best thing I've ever done. I started having these intrusive thoughts around this time. Horrible, disgusting, sexual, you name it. Just awful.

I actually broke down to my friend's mum, who told me that no matter what, God loves me, and everyone. He has an unconditional love for us all, and these thoughts really are just thoughts.

It's still been hard the past few days, I get random, quick thoughts that shock me to the point where I just stop and stand still. This website has helped me so much.

And to everyone, don't underestimate the power of prayer. It has helped me a lot in this situation.


I see me killing people in my brain over and over. It's not the ones I hate. It's the ones I love.

I've suffered for 31 years now and I'm 38. I got sick when someone I worship told my granny to drop dead. I keep hearing it over and think I can kill them if I tell them to drop dead.

I'd never hurt anyone, though. I feel God has put me here to save lives, not take them. I've been in therapy for 11 plus years. My kidneys failed two years ago from hadlow. Nothing was done. I stayed in the hospital 30 days on dialysis still doing rituals. I had a baby sitter with me the entire time.

My kidneys came back 80 percent I smell my body odor now and can't brush my teeth. I've got it bad. Thanks to all of you for sharing your stories. I thought I was crazy. God be with us all.


Can anyone relate? I have horrible, disgusting thoughts of sexually harming my daughter and it's ruining my life and making me feel like a sicko.


My intrusive thoughts, whatever you call them, what I think is so hateful, so perverted, so unforgivable. I fight it constantly. I know it's not me. Sometimes it doesn't show up. When I don't want it to show up it sometimes doesn't and sometimes does. I try to listen to music to keep me from thinking, but the problem is I write poetry and I want to pursue some form of arts, so I'm going to have to go back to thinking again.

Maybe thinking poetically has caused my mind to warp chaotically, as if it is forever trapped in a poetic bubble only we can hear. I pray no one can hear these thoughts, uncontrolled disrespect, how I'm forced to be so defensive when I should be comfortable.

Sometimes I feel I'm just a racist, sexist, sadist, sellout, rapist, but I'm not. My thoughts sometimes scream out don't kill me as if I don't deserve whatever I'm thinking.

I'm going to seek help about this. Hopefully with no pills. I hate the panic attacks and weight gain

the zombie state, and I'm forced to rhyme. I find more errors in my words than anyone could.

Sleep is one of my only luxuries, even though it's painful to even fall asleep with the constant thinking, constant laughing, constant pity, constant reality, screaming at people as I try to be real. My mind hurts.

I can't even look people in the eyes, I'm so ashamed of my mind. What legacy do I want to pass down? Yeah, son. Your thoughts are going to be awful. Forget that. I don't want anyone to deal with my thoughts. If you have what I have, you would have probably scrolled down to just the last few lines.


I have dealt with intrusive thoughts for more than three months now. The thoughts can change from one thing to another quite quickly. The last several days have been about suicide and hurting people. This happened to me 20 years ago and now is happening again. It is scary and overwhelming.

You fear telling the very doctors you see all the details for fear they will admit you. I know over time they will go away, but they sure are scary and overwhelming.


I have disturbing thoughts of disgusting sexual acts that I would never dream of doing. Others consist of me killing random people on the streets in various ways and then just walking off normally after the aforementioned event. The only problem is, I enjoy thinking about killing people; it fascinates me and it interests me. Above all, they make me want to act on those murders I've conjured in my mind. It almost makes me happy to think of killing these weak, pathetic people who have been caught by their society that has led them to their deaths by my hands.

Other than that, I'm normal-ish.


My intrusive thoughts consist of times in my life where I have been embarrassed or felt guilty. It almost feels like they attack me, almost as if they are eating my soul.

I've noticed as I've become older I have become more verbally aggressive and my intrusive thoughts have become more frequent and harder to ignore. My biggest fear is that I will never be able to get over things that have scared me in my past and that they will haunt me for the rest of my waking days. How do you live a normal life when all you can think about are all the moments you wish never happened, all the things you wish you never said and all the days you wish you just slept through? Is that the woman I'm going to be?


Sometimes I have nasty thoughts of killing or being killed in front of others to get sympathy because I feel that would be the only way to get someone's full attention so they would know that I'm for real. d I realized that the more I watched negative movies like “John Rambo: First Blood” where he's dealing with the cop and he's having flashbacks when he was being tortured in Vietnam, the stronger or more intense my feelings got with being tortured or having scars on myself to show what I've been through or even killing other people in terrible ways.

I'm glad I came to this site because I was beginning to feel like I was crazy. Who knows? Maybe I am, but I know that I will never do this to anybody because I'm too much of a nice person. I keep these feelings and thoughts locked on the inside. I handle them by not looking at the negative and laughing at stuff more often. Although, when I come back to the negative it almost feels like the feeling when you're really thirsty and you take a nice, ice cold drink of water on a hot summer day which is not good. I've got to fix that. If we created the problems ourselves, we can definitely solve them ourselves.


I keep having thoughts of killing people who have abused me, hurt me, and now people who just get on my nerves.


@anon170634: I see you have been brainwashed. I say all this once again - God doesn't love any of us enough to stop our unwanted thoughts. If God loved us, He'd stop the unwanted thoughts permanently, but He doesn't. He could have stopped the trauma and abuse, but either didn't love us enough to do so, or was unable. This is true or we wouldn't have such thoughts. He loved us enough to murder His son for us, but not enough to stop our unwanted thoughts? That is twisted.

If God doesn't like what I say, He can either cure me or strike me dead, and I don't care which one. I am waiting for either. God has yet to cure me of the unwanted thoughts, and I've wasted most of my life trying to get Him to love me enough to heal me.


I find that this site has helped me realize I'm not the only one, although I am a bit different. I suffer from depression, insomnia and chronic nightmares.

Recently I've started this obsession with satan. My boyfriend gets me to talk about some of the things I think about. I don't see these thoughts; they're just a contemplation or literally just a thought.

I want to cut myself, and better yet, I want my boyfriend to cut me. I crave the feeling of pain and to see my skin getting cut and bleeding. I want to watch someone die, and I want to know what it feels like to torture somebody but I know I can't let myself.

I've thought of the devil during masturbation and even god and how disappointed he must be and it only makes me want more.

I am at the point where I need to ask for some guidance or help because I want to keep going. I want to get sucked in deeper. I'm too obsessed but I need to get rid of these thoughts and obsession with evil.


The father of lies has his name for a reason.


@anon210819: I suffer from thoughts similar to what you described. A lot of time wasted thinking about what I could have, or should have done, or wishing I did or said something different. I was raised catholic, and in a household that denied the reality that depression existed.

I'm 41 now, and have learned to put these thoughts into perspective. (Am I using them as a tool to abuse myself with?) Thinking about the past in this way is dwelling on regrets.

The only way to break free is to recognize the regret, and move on from it. What can I learn from my mistakes?

This process of self examination is how one grows as a person, and will make you stronger when the thoughts return, and they do.

Once you get skilled at recognizing this pattern, you can then let go, and free yourself from your past.

It's also called atonement, or 'forgiving yourself', or "If you see the Buddha in the road, kill him", or "grow up". They all are the same thing. The point is, you're human, and human beings have to make mistakes in order to learn and grow. No one punishes us more than ourselves -- no one. --Peace and love.


@anon219819: I don't have any advice for you, but I just wanted to say that I've been going through the same kind of thing. It totally stinks. It hurts. But I'm trying my best to have a good life in spite of it. You're not alone, my friend.


Has anyone ever had intrusive thoughts that aren't necessarily frightening? As for myself I keep having the same thoughts over and over again each day about when I was in a relationship with somebody and we are no longer together and everyday I have words, phrases, and places where we were together keep going over and over. It is making me miserable because I can barely function or look at anything without my mind going to something related to this person, even a tiniest detail such as a word.

All I ever want to do now is sleep because I don't want this, because I want to someday have a life with kids and to be happy and if my mind is consumed in this I feel that might be difficult to attain. Any suggestions?


I am 29 years old and had been troubling with so called obsessive scary thoughts or intrusive thoughts or repetitive thoughts, whatever you want to call it. It seems like they are never stopping. The harder I tried not to think of them, the more they kept coming.

To make a long story short, I tell you that I was troubled with this situation for the past nine years. I never discussed this with anyone, not anyone. But three to four months back, I started realizing that I must find a way to get out of this. I started looking for a cure to this never ending cycle of thoughts on the internet. What I found has changed my life forever. I found an article by Mr. Sen.

It cannot be easier than this. All you have to do is just let these so-called thoughts in your mind play. Do not try not thinking about them, or suppressing them, but rather sit down calmly and try watching these thoughts. Let them come into your mind and do not take any action on them.

Remember, you cannot control what will come in your mind but you can control whether to act on them or not. With time, when you stop getting scared of these thoughts, they will diminish automatically, because the more you are scared of the thoughts, the more they come to your mind. Stop getting scared by them, but rather let these thoughts keep coming in to your mind.

I also tried positive self-explaining, like why am I thinking this? It is not true. The thoughts are not reality but all the self-explaining just did not work for me. Remember: to ask yourself why you are thinking such baseless or unwelcome thoughts is also a thought, isn't it? So, when you explain to yourself in your mind, then you a generate second thought, and then the third, then the fourth and you get into a repetitive cycle.

So follow his simple ways to get rid of these scary thoughts.

Cerice Upchurch

My Grandma who raised me died five years ago and my grandpa four years ago. Ever since their deaths I have spent one night that I did not dream of them dying or already dead. I can't take it anymore.

To top it off, I am always thinking about them and the days that led up to them dying. They were both 80 but I can't get over it. I can't even see an elderly person without bursting into tears. It really stinks. I want out of this. Ugh.


You people did have these scary thoughts for many years. Did you ever act upon any unacceptable one so far? No, you didn't because you can't. I mean, there's no guarantee that sun will rise tomorrow because the universe is a very dynamic place. But you're sure it will because it does. Then why do you want a guarantee that you won't act upon intrusive thoughts which everybody does have? Of course you won't.

Don't ask for this guarantee and enjoy your life. These thoughts fade away with time. I'm speaking from my experience.


I have been having these thoughts ever since I had oral sex with a prostitute in 1997. Sexual images of close relatives are coming intrusively, but I love my parents. Somehow these weird thoughts are eating my life.


I have thoughts of killing people in different ways. I also have other odd thoughts and there are too many to write. I try to do stuff to get rid of them but after a while of doing it, they somehow get back into my head. I'd write more, but I am not sure that people will waste time reading this. I just hope someone can help. It's getting hard to cope and I cannot trust any of my family or friends unless I don't mind getting sent to a padded room for the rest of my life.


I have intrusive thoughts that are so vivid while on the job site. I could not stop the fast heartbeat. I felt like what was going through my head had really happened, like you would feel right before bungee jumping or an extremely strong butterflies feeling. It's horrible.

I've had them to where it made me cry in public, and it's not ones of me killing myself, or others. They're of seeing myself dead, all dressed up at a wake or something, and what I can't stand is I see my little son hiding behind his step mom, my wife peeking in fear or a sad face looking at his daddy, never being able to see me again, and then I feel a frog in my throat.

It's really affecting the way I go out anywhere, work or away from home. I want to stay home. Even now I'm feeling it. Sometimes they are like watching a faces of death film, but the things happen to my son, or wife, any possible situation that could happen has flashed like an unstoppable film in my head. I hate it.

I have ptsd, adult adhd, depression and I need to be checked for bi-polar, because I'm called bi-polar by people. I need to stay home. I have an anxiety disorder and I need help, but have no insurance, and I need reminding of my appointments. I lost two chances to speak to someone about it, but thank you for letting me post my thoughts.


I used to get stuck with intrusive thoughts all the time. For example, if was to take a board exam to get my professional license i used to get tons of anxiety before the actual date of when i got the test results.

I used to get images and thoughts in my head about suicide and any harmful scenario if things were not going well in my life. About a year ago i started a series of I 35 nuerofeedback sessions. I am completely free of intrusive thoughts now. I am living my life under my control and without any intrusive thoughts.

Suffice it to say, I'm not obsessing about anything, whether it be work, relationships, love or the future. I'm enjoying my life one day at a time.


One of the brain's primary tasks is to identify perceived danger and make the organism aware of it in order for life-saving or problem-solving action to be taken. This danger could be a "scene" that is a threat to survival, like a charging chihuahua, or a "notion" that opposes our sense of right and wrong. The imagination is enlisted in this task, and the brain rapidly produces a myriad of thoughts and mental images it "thinks" we won't like, in a valiant effort to protect us.

The brain has the potential to overwork in its loyal effort to alert us to things that might even remotely be dangerous or offensive, or to alert us to things that we would want to change, no matter how unrealistic. The intrusive thought isn't really intruding or necessarily negative; it is simply an alarm(usually a false one).

A highly active imagination combined with anxiety may constantly produce fictitious scenarios that deeply disturb a person because it is frantically searching for things that he definitely won't or even possibly won't like so that action may be taken to remedy the situation. People will never act on intrusive thoughts, and that is fine because no action is necessary for a false alarm.

Going beyond the intrusive thought to the corresponding negative emotion takes fuel away from thought generation/activation and allows the "negative chemicals" time to flush out of the body.


I'm 16 and i was sitting in a bar and was thinking how easy it would be to kill everyone. i kept having visions of me dancing in everyone's blood while they were all dead. what should i do?


@#65: Don't talk about my god like that! Do you even truly know who you are talking about? The creator of the heavens the creator of the Universe. The one being who has always and will always be here. So please do not talk about my God like that.


I've been having intrusive thoughts ever since i went through a traumatic experience three months ago and now it's keeping me from doing anything a normal 18 year old girl would do.

I have thoughts of hurting people like most of you have and it's something that's scaring me half to death. it's hard because, three months ago i was normal and worrying about normal girl stuff and now I'm dealing with this. i just don't get it. i believe its more to do with OCD than anything and i think that's what i should try to do when getting help.

I don't know what to do but i thought id explain and get some of this crap out. Thanks.


I think that intrusive thoughts are caused by fear alone and hold not much truth. It is like they just say hi, I am going to take over your mind now. they do not ask for permission.

The strange thing is that they hold not a single drop of bearing on what you would believe or want or desire. Has anyone ever thought of that? They are a result of a mind that has been through too much.

Try positive self talk and natural herbal supplements to calm the body and mind. Learn to control your mind through relaxation and this will help. Dismiss them, as they are just fears and not wants and they play on the mind of innocent good people. Let them go, and they will let you go.

Confront them, analyze them and say ha – this is untrue and will not happen. Realize that every human has them. They just affect us differently based on our pasts. If you suffer from trauma, then know that it does change your brain. Ask a therapist about emdr therapy and research it online. I am doing it and excited as it is supposed to be very effective.

These can also be caused by unrealistic phobias which I also have from abuse in my past. It cannot last forever and has to let up someday soon. Also, exercise. I cannot stress this enough. Stay positive and remember your thoughts cannot hurt you and if you do suffer from a bad past you are normal. This is supposed to happen. Once it is all over you will be a stronger better person for it.

We are in this together and none of you are alone. Do not lose faith. Things will start to be good. Listen to relaxing music and do good things for others also. Last but not least, do not isolate yourself. Get out and face your fears and say ha, fear, you are stupid and have no bearing in my life anymore.

Remember to laugh because we are all human and somewhat evil by nature. It all started when that damn Eve ate the apple from the tree of knowledge lol. Never lose your sense of humor or forget that you are good in many ways just not all and nobody is perfect, nobody!


I think that relaxation technique is good. I tried it tonight and it really helped my clear my mind. I have also done some other self hypnosis therapy that is effective. I replace every bad thought with three good ones. This negative thought process can actually change neurons in your brain. So it is helpful to tell yourself positive things over and over again throughout the day.

I have ptsd and also anxiety really bad from trauma that I stuffed with alcohol for a long time. I never had a problem until I got sober. It seems so unfair I try to do what is right and get a disorder. I think everyone that says the thoughts will not be acted on and are out of fear are right. Your brain and body is overworked so it misfires and has all this overload of bad hormones. Try exercise and herbs for calming the mind.

I have also developed bad phobias. Just know that they are not something you want to do you just convince yourself you might because you are so scared and then your brain gets overworked. It is not true anxiety is a lie and you are a good person still.

Please, anyone who is depressed and feels suicide is needed, do not do it. It is a permanent solution for a temporary problem that will go away. Anxiety is evil but it cannot last forever. Just say screw you anxiety. I do not have time today. It is a battle but you can win it – just educate yourself. Never feel like you are a bad person; you did not ask for this stupid disorder to invade your life.

The thought intrudes and is unwelcome and not true and holds no value in your life. It is like the stupid anxiety knows your fears so it plays on them it is the work of the devil. If you are spiritual, seek a relationship with Jesus. This has really helped me a lot.

Ask yourself: is this thought relevant to my life? If not, why not, and write down the reasons and then tell yourself the truth. Also, face your fear and try to relieve emotional attachment from it and it may slowly be alleviated. Laugh at it because likely it is never going to happen. It is just a fear that needs a mind to feed it that is all. It preys on minds of people who are anxious because they are off balance.

I hope all those who are suffering like I am get relief soon. Remember it has to get better just stay strong and fight and a better day will come soon.


Try 5htp for your obsessive thoughts if you are not on prescription medication. Also real Depression Free Naturally may help.


Looking a the last post, one of the greatest gifts that god gave us was the power of free will - free will to deal with our issues. that's what determines who we are. Pray for strength, not for god to take all troubles away.


To #63, it is funny you'd mention God. God doesn't love any of us enough to stop our unwanted thoughts. If God loved us, He'd stop the unwanted thoughts permanently, but He doesn't. And He could have stopped the trauma and abuse, but either didn't love us enough to do so, or was unable. I've thought about suicide a number of times over the thoughts.

Just think, we yield more power over the thoughts with a razor blade, pills, or a firearm than the God of the universe seems to have. Yet there has to be a better way. I've tried therapy, tapping, prayer, meditation, you name it, to no avail.


Then how do you stop them? This looks like another garbage site that talks around the issue and suggests nothing that actually works. The other garbage sites give fake cures like meditation and so on or somehow blaming the victim, or commonplace pat answers that don't work.

And to the idiot that says unwanted thoughts will never be acted on, that is crap, too. I've had unwanted thoughts of revenge and have carried them out on a few occasions.


Wow. I am so thankful for the internet. If it weren't for this site and other sites I would think I was abnormal and crazy, but I know that I am not alone, and that tells me a lot. I've been having sexual intrusive thoughts for like two years now and it is very distressing.

It eats away at me and it makes me avoid certain people because I'm scared I might get aroused or act on these disturbing thoughts. Although I would never ever would.

It's so confusing and stressful, I can only pray that one day God will erase them from my mind and let me live peacefully.


I am a 30 year old women who has been married to an awesome guy who has supported me when i go through these living nightmares. I feel bad because that is a lot of pressure for him but i think God has sent him in my life to give me the strength not to give up. I feel a little better knowing that i am not the only one going through this.

My intrusive thoughts focus on everyone that i care deeply about. I am one of the most loving, caring person in the world and do not understand why this disorder targets people like us. I blame the media and disturbing movies that i have watched throughout the years.

Now that i know what evil is from these types of mediums, my intrusive thoughts build on that. My mind then takes what i saw and twist it even more into disturbing images, then when i have five minutes of peace from say working out, my mind sabotages me by making these images pop up again and again.

I do not have any kids as yet but my husband wants to and so do i but what kind of mother will i be if i have these thoughts and continue to go through this mental agony?

I have been on prozac for six years and that has helped quite a bit, but now and then there are triggers that will make my mind race with all these disturbing images and awful things i see myself doing. I hit my head, i sometimes pray i would get run over so everyone would say poor girl died in a tragic accident instead of having to kill myself and having my family be traumatized by that.

There must be a cure. I pray to God to wrap his hands around my head and squeeze all the toxins out. God please help me and all of these hurt souls who write on this blog because we are good people and just want to have a peace of mind. I would do anything for peace of mind.

I have realized that i need to meditate and exercise to calm my mind. I want to be able to have that will power to say, screw that thought, i have much better thing to think about.

Thank you for listening, and don't feel like you are alone because whatever your thoughts are, believe me mine is either similar or worse, it would make Tarantino cringe, vomit and skin crawl.

One more thing: i do feel like my blood is boiling and my skin itches when i go through these constant thoughts. These effects leave me weak and helpless. I have been seeing a therapist who is very good, but sometimes i think it is not enough and wish they can operate on my brain and make me forget everything.

God help us. I live in Texas, and will be looking for groups with people who go through the same thing we do.


i can relate to many on here. i have bad thoughts for two years and i truly believe that what's causing the ocd. I read the bible out loud and it helps me putting on the armor of god. it's not God, but the devil and the spirit of fear. When you read positive things or experience them this anxiety may come, but feel confident in knowing you are pushing the evil out.

You will most likely feel a tremble in your stomach. call it out in the name of jesus and when you feel better and you will some may still get these thoughts just remember that you're good and that's why it's tormenting you.

Don't lose your right for happiness. Just remember thoughts come not from our minds but our hearts and you have some pain there. When i get scary thoughts of hurting someone i will look at them and remember they could feel that way toward me. We have to trust each other. I go up to the person and talk or give a hug. I don't run from it. I confront it with an attitude. I say in my mind hurt them, but that's horrible. Say jesus i love you. Remember the commandment thou shalt not kill. no one has the right to do that and remember we all have the right to live out our days and when you're thinking about a loved one think if you got the news they died, how broken you would be. it is all lies in your head. i just say to myself forget that thought straight up.


I have been going through this same problem ever since high school. It almost consumed my whole life. I was too afraid to tell anyone because i though it would get worse, or they would think i was crazy. And it really affected my sleeping patterns at night, that's when it would get worse. By then i would sleep with the lights on.

Now, I've been doing further research on what i am dealing with, and so far it talks about thoughts of violence or sexual issues. But what about seeing images of people, bad people? The first thoughts i had were of Adolf Hitler, and i know he was a really bad person. It took me almost half a year to get over it. i was even so afraid to mention his name. after that i was leading a normal life again. until it all happened all over again, but this time it was someone different, someone far worse. This time it's a terrorist figure, you know who I'm talking about. Again, too afraid to mention his name. But he is far worse than Hitler.

I tried seeing a therapist about it, but it was really intense at that time. I tried facing my fears myself, but it was like pouring salt on the wound. but i do get over it at one time or another. but i know it's not easy. If it gets any worse I'll try again with the therapist, if not then medication would be a somewhat last resort.

But i try to think to myself in these situations that i am a strong person, this i my life to control. No dictator or terrorist is going to ruin it or interferer. they have no right, no reason, no authority to be here in my head. and hopefully i will get through life like everyone else. I have friends and family to help. that i know.


I did see a doctor the other day and feel much better about these, and everyone else should too. I know it doesn't help because they still exist but when you find out that you're not at crazy or abnormal as you thought from a doctor, it makes you feel better.

So my advice for everyone is to see a therapist and tell them everything on your mind and be completely honest; it helps so much. And meds can too. We can conquer these thoughts; we just need some help!- A lost girl


To anon 130092: You're not alone believe me. Have you heard of demonic obsessions? well I'm going to see an exorcist priest and I'm going to tell him about this. I have been dealing with this demons as you said for about two years. I'm still in disbelief about this illness. I don't believe your mind can create things that seem so real.

I'm going to find out this month if this is an obsession created by the devil because this seems like a nightmare where I haven't been able to wake up. i know how you feel. I read about that is not that you're being aroused. they said is anxiety causing that, since you're focusing so much in your body, is horrible I know. I prayed.

I do wish I could meet you since like you I don't have nobody who understands. My only relief is to know that someday I'm going to die and that I'm going to be close to God finally no pain! Just happiness for eternity!


I too, as all of you suffer as well. The thoughts in my brain never seem to stop. I always refer to these thoughts as demons since that is what they are right? It is all too overwhelming and I do not want them. I don't want these demons to own me. I have had thoughts about children as well but I love children I care about them none of these thoughts are thoughts I want or would ever act on.

I have had thoughts about family members, which again I would never act on. I'm scared that I am getting aroused from some thoughts but I know I would not.. yet I fear this and can't stop obsessing. I feel like I have, I have had certain feelings but I think they were caused by the anxiety that the anxiety in itself created stimulation which felt like arousal at the time.

I am disgusted by the thoughts they torment me. Why would I want them? If I hate them so much how could they actually make someone aroused? I do not understand I felt so alone until reading this. I have never told anyone the specifics but I would love more feedback. I have so many wonderful things to do in this world, so many dreams but I feel that if these continue I will have to put an end to my life.

I hope that I can find a way. I don't want to be abnormal, I don't want to be some freak, but I feel as if I am not a terrible person.

Please pray for me and everyone here. Thanks for listening. - a lost girl


I want to talk with the ones who has the thoughts about abusing kids sexually. well today I get anxious and then i thought that maybe i felt aroused around them then i talked with some guy with ocd and he says that those are temptations! no I'm not being tempted into that. I never would do that.


Intrusive thoughts consume me for most if not for the entire day. I have been having horrible thoughts of hurting anybody. I can't even talk to a person while holding a pen or knife or screwdriver in my hand.

I pray that I will never act on any of these horrible thoughts. I am not a violent person. I am a very caring loving person. Why do I have such thoughts?

I think of suicide almost on a daily basis but will never go out the way my father did when I was just a young child. God bless us all.


I found my way here by searching 'I think about suicide and hurting myself and others on a daily basis'. I know I suffer from intrusive thoughts, and have been for maybe a year now. Not that long, but I can't remember when. I can never tell distant time without a calendar.

For me, the ITs last but a split second, but I get a mental picture, a vivid Polaroid of whatever kind of torture that decided to invade my mind. Afterward, to get the image out of my head I think of smashing my head into a nearby wall, or starting a fight with anyone close.

I never act on these, but to be honest, I believe one day I will, not out of choice, but out of an uncontrollable impulse. When someone happens to get under my skin at the wrong moment, I momentarily lapse and just respond. Luckily, I have been able to stop and direct my action enough before harm is done, but it's been close lately,

And reading comments seems to lend towards 'fearful' thoughts and 'past' thoughts. Mine are always in the past, and event, some not even traumatic, just with a twisted view on it.

Also, has anyone thought about something not occurring often because it hasn't happened often yet when you broke down how often it happened, it turned out to be quite often? Yeah. Sometimes it better just to not pay attention to detail. Ignorance is bliss, no?


I have had thoughts for at least 10 years now that bother me. My counselor said that she has them too and that they are called intrusive thoughts. She said that something like 3-7 percent of the population has to deal with these thoughts.

I have been hesitant to get married or have children, too. I have had thoughts of children being harmed and of others being harmed as well as many unwanted sexual thoughts. I have been having a lot of suicidal thoughts lately. I am seeing a counselor and hope I can get better soon so that I can function in life better.

Oh, I am so thankful for these comments that all of you have put on here. It is helpful to know that I am not alone.


I can relate


when i first started with the disorder it was really hard for me to get close to children because i thought could abuse them sexually but after i found out those were just thoughts i feel more relaxed around them.

I have three nieces and sometimes i pushed them away because i don't want to be too close to them.

Yesterday, i checked my body to see if being close to them provoked in me any sexual desire. I though if I did, I would kill myself to protect kids. God is going to understand and take me to heaven. i can't get rid of these thoughts and maybe i would never be able to get rid of them so why keep living like this?

This is hell on earth and i would always say that this can be caused directly from the devil but I'm not sure.


I just want to talk to anon77030. I had the same thoughts as you: hurting children sexually. I didn't know what was happening to me. I thought that the only solution would be killing myself. I would cry or i would panic every time i would see a child until i started realizing that there's other people who go through the same thing. i couldn't live at peace in any moment.

I go to God and i ask him for healing. one time I was really anxious and i went to be with a group in front of the church and like 50 percent or more of the anxiety was lifted up off me. I'm catholic. i don't know, but i feel that this is the devil's work. Sometimes i ask God why he lets me and other people go through this. But I feel it is because he wants us to be closer to him.


I'm going through the same thing. I feel extremely depressed and unlike myself. I have always been a person who never judged anyone no matter what and always reached out to other people and would relate to their problems.

It's exhausting, 24/7 for the past year and a half almost I have been virtually eating myself alive with these thoughts. Before I walk into any situation I think about all the thoughts that could impede on my enjoyment of it. My thoughts can take on anything that I don't want to think about or do anything. As soon as it pops into my head, I immediately go into the panic because so much anxiety fear and panic has already been associated with the thoughts.

As I try to eliminate them by explaining what's wrong with them. I can immediately put myself in the panic again by thinking, "wow I had to go through all that to answer something that should be so obvious to me". The way not to do it is to understand that I have nothing to solve except a mental process that I have played in to way too much.

Another thing that helps is stating that "No matter what I'm about to think about or where my mind takes me it will never change my beliefs, but only enhance the fear of having the wrong perception of beliefs." I have been thinking about this in a panic state for almost a year and a half and my perception of the morality of them have always stayed the same so instead of saying, "I have been thinking about this so long I must be going crazy or want to do them" say, "I have been thinking about these things for so long and they still can't shake my beliefs. I must be a good person."

We wouldn't feel such shame and embarrassment for these things if it's something we wanted to do. The correct emotions for those are excitement and desire. These aren't fantasies, they are nightmares. If you can take the fear out of them they hold no power and the more time and energy you give to them the more it will exhaust your brain making you more susceptible to them.

There are some times when I am so exhausted that I can't even battle it and feeling so hopeless and thinking that now that the defense is down there is no choice but to think about them. But that's the key: there's no battle to win. I've gone back and forth on what's right and wrong about every thought I've ever had and it always comes down to thinking what a waste of time because you'll never disprove or prove your beliefs, but only prove that you fear these thoughts and severely exhaust your brain.

Every single person who is on this Earth has had an intrusive thought because no one can control what they think of only how they relate to it. A good example of this is if I tell you don't think of a pink elephant, what do you think of? so if the first thing you say before you go into a situation is I better not think these intrusive thoughts, you will inevitably think of it. It is so clearly a response to fear, the opposite of desire.

So don't try to eliminate the thoughts. Try to eliminate the fear and panic associated with them. Understand that it's a reflection of your fears, normally your greatest fears and not your values. Sorry I wrote so much lol. I just thought it might help some of you and it definitely helps me to explain it more than just in my head.

I am not medicated and came to most of these conclusions before looking anywhere but my own head. I have sharply opposed medication for a long time, but now understand that all the stress and worry from these depressing things has depleted my serotonin significantly, and you can't just think you're serotonin levels up, you need some outside help to increase the amount of receptors in your brain, something I have come to accept now.

Stop trying to get back who you were before these thoughts started taking you hostage, and start moving forward to who you want to be. Keep in mind that today was one of the hardest days I've had with these thoughts and that I still found a way to feel empowered over them.

You're not alone and are only helpless if you think you are. This has brought me to rock bottom emotionally and I have felt as much guilt as if I actually did these things, but all we can do is pick ourselves up and say this time will be different. -NoFear


I have severe ocd and ptsd. I keep thinking about of what this terrible person has been doing to me since 2005. then i am traumatized because I have been raped. then i have a lot of bad memories of this 2005 person who had got me put away and in jail. then people keep telling me to forget about all of this and go on with life. this is impossible for me to do until justice is served with the person who has been doing bad things to me since 2005.


KMG, thank you for validating that intrusive thoughts won't be acted on.

I have experienced multiple accounts of sexual abuse as a young teenager and continue to have intrusive thoughts as I work to help people whom I see myself in.

I have pulled myself through many aspects of the sexual abuse but guilt from the intrusive thoughts is something that eats away at my conscience on a daily basis. Differentiating these intrusions from who I really am is incredibly helpful.


I hate these thoughts. I've told everyone from pastors to church members and they probably thought i was crazy. They pray for me and i even went through a deliverance prayer.

I pray to god about it but i feel bad already because i think he's mad at me or turning his face from me because of my many sins in the mind. In the bible it even says that god will judge you for your thoughts. I know I’m wrong for having these thoughts but i need help. I don’t even want them.

Or maybe because i used to take Prozac for the anxieties I use to have from five years ago but i stopped taking them after a year. I even had lustful and nasty thoughts about anybody, anything or men of god who i don't like in that way or even want.

It's so embarrassing because the holy spirit showed them that i have these thoughts, (and no I’m not lying. One time without even telling any of the pastors my business they prayed for my mind during a deliverance service) thoughts about them. They don’t talk to me anymore I guess they feel embarrassed for me.

Another time a pastor discerned that i was having thoughts about him and he prayed over it without me even telling him about the thoughts I had about him. This all started when i sinned before god by allowing a prophet who i thought was a man of god take advantage of me and before i gave myself to him he was trying to use me by using his gift, watching me in my house even if he wasn’t in front of me (spirit of discernment) and calling me to tell me what I'm doing and I was doing this very same thing. He even knew when i was leaving out of town. He was a false prophet.

Ever since then i went out of my mind. I've been having wicked thoughts ever since I hate these thoughts. If there was a camera in my mind and you guys saw what I was thinking, you guys would have been saying that something is wrong with me.

And no, this story is not a lie or me going crazy. It's the actual truth. I'm just a girl who needs help from Jesus.


I think I have had ocd like symptoms for a long time but eight years ago I met a man who turned out to be a Satanic cult leader. I did not know this at the time and was deceived into believing his distorted and deceiving perspective on the Bible.

The verses were twisted and I lost my mind and almost killed myself. I went to a mental hospital for help. Some of the intrusive thoughts that I had were terrifying. Thoughts that I was the antichrist or a vampire or a wild beast. My skin lost color and my hands and feet and face were ice cold.

Whatever I did I could not get warm. Intrusive thoughts are rape upon the mind. You did not ask for them nor are they what defines you. These thoughts are meaningless and should be treated like the bully they are. By simply letting them be there and ignoring them they can become as background noise.

I do not believe most people will act on these thoughts. Our hyper sensitivity shows that we hate these thoughts and are different from them. People who do evil things usually premeditate it and have hardened their heart to the point of not caring. Everyone I have talked with who has this is very compassionate.


i suffer from ocd and i would never want to act on my thoughts, they frighten me so much! you fear these thoughts and that is why you become anxious, etc. Somebody who wants to act on them would not be aware of stress and anxiety that happens.

I also hate the news or any scary films! i have seen many people like doctors, etc. You will never act on these thoughts if you have ocd, so people stop freaking us ocd suffers out. we have enough to battle with.


i thought I was so alone! I have been thinking these intrusive thoughts- but they scare the hell out of me, which is what upsets me the most.

i do not want to die and will not kill myself but why do I think that I will think about suicide? I was so afraid to say my thoughts out loud for so long in fear that someone would lock me up or take away my kids. I love them and want to be the mother I know I can be.

I worry that I will never feel normal again and freak out when I have to try a new medication because I have had a couple of bad experiences. However, I see that there is hope and I will feel better again.


I am posting this while in the grip of yet another attack. It's always the same thing and despite having successfully dismissed these thoughts many times in the past, they still come back and can still exert a frightening hold over me.

It starts with me thinking about something I am about to do, or thinking about a situation. If I don't get the thought straight in my head I fear that I will become physically distorted. I then feel that in order to dismiss this thought I have to go over what triggered the distortion thought in a careful, ritualistic way.

While doing this, a second thought saying that I will harm someone I love comes into play. I then try to dismiss this second thought in the same ritualistic way which leads to a third thought saying that demons will take me over. No more thoughts are added to the mix; it is just these three. I then feel as if I must consciously dismantle these thoughts bit by bit in reverse order.

However, it always ends with me being stuck on the middle one: I fear that I may harm someone I love. The fact that I have carefully dismantled the other two thoughts then serves to compound the anxiety I feel about the thought that is left. This happens many times a day. I am very tired.


I am happy to hear all your honesty and come across this site. I have had intrusive thoughts my entire life.

Over the years I have met other people with this and other disorders. What I always come back to is are we the truly sick and evil ones as we sometimes thought of ourselves, or are we the sweet, truly sensitive people who just beat on ourselves?

I guess what I am trying to say is bad, horrible, evil people who do harm do not analyze themselves to death and feel bad about thoughts, they act. This is how I calm myself down by trusting in my heart and how I feel. I have learned to separate thoughts and actions.


I suffer from intrusive thoughts. it's part of my bipolar disorder and no, I would never act on them.


Intrusive Thoughts will not be acted upon, should not be acted upon and whenever the thoughts occur in your head, think of Christ. Think of what he went through in the garden of gethsemane. see, the devil wants us to give in to despair. Continually fight and resist him. You will see a renewed appreciation for the "true life" he does not want you to see: Saved by the Blood of Jesus Christ.

I for one suffer with a lot of intrusive thoughts about harming loved ones, self harm or the dreaded word "suicide".

I will face you "suicide" in the face and tell you that you have no hold over me. I will not kill myself. No matter how much the intrusive thoughts frighten me into thinking it is the only way out.

Pray continually, fast, read the bible. Plead the blood of Christ and the Holy Spirit will be your helper.

We are all in this together. Every day is victory!


i also have intrusive thoughts of hurting someone i care about a lot. the gut wrenching panic attacks and the fact that i care about her and couldn't bear to see her even cry help me get through these thoughts.

If you let them bug you, they will, knowing that it pains me when these thoughts come into my head shows that i could never do anything to harm her, "why would i want to hurt someone i love" continuously is playing in my head, tormenting me, but i wonder if i ever get over this and i believe i will, is there something else i will start obsessing about?


All I can say is that these intrusive thoughts are exceptionally cruel. It's as if someone has sneaked into your nightmares and gathered all the fear and things you detest and then planted them into your head at random intervals, but relentlessly. If I were to hear voices I am convinced they would be laughing -- so very cruel.

They serve no purpose except to destroy the good in life. I am sick of them and am upping my meds to try and eliminate them. They interfere with every aspect of my life and I am exhausted battling them.

I hate taking meds but I hate the power of these thoughts more.


It's really a sad thing. I have gotten better over time, but my initial intrusive thoughts where about killing people.

The part that hurt me the most,(and still does at times) is the fact that, no one knows what I'm thinking. My dad doesn't know what I'm thinking, my two year old nephew doesn't know what I'm thinking, and the 20 others don't know what I'm thinking. Its sad to be have a face to face conversation with someone i love and they don't know that I'm having an evil, sick, demented thought about them. It's a very uncomfortable thing.

I love my family. When my boyfriend spends the night, all of a sudden, i get evil thoughts about him, i mean *evil* thoughts. I stay away from scary movies, news, and anything else that could trigger the thoughts.

As i stated before, i have gotten better. Now i maybe in the car, and at a red light, i may feel like driving out into the intersection, into traffic. I also have felt suicidal, at times, Thinking of gruesome ways to kill myself. All of this is disturbing.

I remember it started in sept 2004,while i was in a state of depression. Again it has gotten better, but i still need to work on myself. I'm afraid to have kids, husband, pets, because they don't deserve me having evil thought about them.

When I'm alone, I'm fine, at times, but when i get alone with someone, there go the thoughts. Truly sad.


I suffer from intrusive thoughts but am very surprised how many are too.

This is my first time looking online for an answer. on one hand it makes me feel better that I'm not the only one, but at same time makes me fear even more so that there's people out there just as screwed up in the head as i am.

my thoughts have been so horrific it has actually made me vomit at the thought that i might do something like that. other times i find myself in a emotionless haze, here, but not here. finding myself fantasizing about what i would do and how i would do it and then in a moment of clarity, a deep sickening feeling comes over me and a great fear that one day i will, in fact, react on these thoughts and feelings.

This is followed by thoughts of suicide in order to save the world from what i might be capable of doing. the thought of actually doing such a act is completely contrary to my morals and loving nature. where do these thoughts stem from, and what demon is whispering in my head? can someone please make him stop?

i really don't understand how i can be one person with love and life and great morals and knowledge of right and wrong and feel as strongly against what my thoughts are and yet at same time have these horrific thoughts of murder in ways only Steven King and Quinton Tarantino could possibly understand.

My wife tells me i should write it out in books and become famous lol but i fear putting words to my thoughts as then everyone will look at me in judgment and I'll be and outcast for an evil i don't even want in my life nor be able to control.

today was really, really bad and the only reason i haven't killed myself yet is i don't want to die because i love life too much and don't have the guts to end it quit yet.

but i fear even more so that death is the only thing that will stop me once i finally snap and succumb to my evil thoughts. and once you have acted upon them, well, there's no going back.

no, OK I'm fine now after meds and therapy. nope, just the soul-eating guilt of what you did and the lives you ruined. so no matter what, everyone who feels like i do, please find the courage to seek help before it's too late. Even when no one will help, like in my case.

i even told a therapist who played it off like it was normal and OK as long as i don't act on them. Forget that. Nothing about this is freaking normal.

Get help, and now. i know i will be.


I'm 24 years old I have one son three years old and I have been having sicking intrusive thoughts lately of doing inappropriate things to him! in the thoughts I'm not getting pleasure, it's more of a blank feeling.

It pops up out of the blue and as soon as I think of it, I feel horrible. I would never do anything like that and don't understand where it is coming from. I'm worried to see a doctor as I am scared they will take him away from me. I would never do this to him.

I have also had intrusive thoughts about a friend's baby who I am godmother to and also love dearly. I can't shake the sickness in my stomach about it. I would never do anything like this. I'm so scared and don't know what to do?


I'm 21 years old and have been suffering from intrusive thoughts for three years. I'm at my wits' end with my mind. I'm tired of fighting these off. When will they end? I just want things to go back to normal so I can enjoy my last month of college. It's not fair. The only cure in my mind is isolation.


I have had intrusive thoughts for many years now, on and off, and lately they've been about suicide. I completely agree with K.M.G. Intrusive thoughts do not lead to action, quite the contrary. The fear you experience will keep you from doing any of the feared acts.

You do not go snake finding if you fear snakes. You do not shoplift when you fear the law to an obsessive extent. To people with anxiety, depression and OCD these thoughts are stressful and panic-inducing, but be sure that you will not go "crazy" and act on any of them.

By the way, I'm scared as hell of going nuts and killing myself, but the fear itself and the conscious knowledge that I don't want to die will eternally keep me from attempting suicide (and the fact that it's just ridiculous. How could death, a possible nothing, be better than life, which is a something, even in suffering?).

People who actually act on said thoughts are either mentally ill (with a different condition than anxiety or OCD) or are simply weak-minded in the sense that they would actually carry out doing what they fear the most. Get help, everyone. -Lio


I can almost guarantee that "K.M.G" does not have intrusive thoughts. The intrusive thoughts I have do go against my values and morals, thus seducing such fear in becoming it, it consumes me, like a cancer. the idea sparks and I began to obsess with it.


I had many problems in my life which I overcame by doing self-hypnosis. For me it works 100 percent! I don't want to sit here knowing what I know and keep that secret for myself. I want to be generous and share how I overcame intrusive thoughts and changed my life.

I'm not proud to confess that I also had thoughts of hurting or killing or other very non nice intrusive thoughts, but I am proud of confessing that they are not longer there in my mind and if some intrusive thoughts are left, I will work on it.

I have the power over my life, like all of you! Maybe this can help somebody out there.

This is how you take control over your life and thoughts:

First you write a question to yourself. Ex: How I forgive --? How can I react calmly? how can I have positive thoughts, etc.

You make the answers and write down the answers. Be concrete and avoid using negative words like ex: will not, no more etc. Use only positive terms. Very important: be positive!

Answers to the following question can be like: How can I have positive thoughts? I decide what I put in my mind and from now on I will think thoughts that make me more healthy, healed and relaxed.

My thoughts are always creative.

I believe in my capacity to heal my thoughts.

All right, those are some some examples. You make the answer and the questions.

Next step: You have it written on a paper and now you put your favorite music and dance some 5-10 minutes (you want to get in an enthusiastic/excited mood).

Next step: You read it (the question and the answers) three times.

Next step: make a symbol (ex a rose) see (Visualize) the rose in your mind and put your hands somewhere in your body (ex. head) or hands together. now you have a symbol and a hand mudra (hand position) and you tell yourself, "Sleep now." You close your eyes and see mentally a watch that's on the 12, and you tell your mind that at 12.15 you want to wake up (you should remain 15 minutes relaxed without moving, you should be sitting or lying down).

After you've programmed your mind to be in hypnosis and relaxation for 15 minutes, there is nothing more to do than to just to stay where you are. You don't need to think or try anything. The hypnosis is working subconsciously. After 15 minutes are over, you say to yourself silently that all this has made a permanent and total effect and mark on my subconscious. every day I am closer to reaching my highest potential.

Last step: Visualize the rose (or the symbol you choose) make the same hand mudra. And tell yourself, snapping your fingers, to wake up! That's it! You are ready. Go and drink little water and you will see for yourself the miraculous effect it will have in your daily life.

Do this every morning and evening and make sure nobody disturbs you. If you have faith and are open, your life will be changed for the good. I learned many tools to work on myself, but this method is really, really, really amazing! Give it a try. You have nothing to lose.

I apologize if you find spelling mistakes in my text but english is not my mother language.

I wish you the best good luck and life journey. All of you can make it! Just believe it! the power of our minds is amazing!


Make questions and answers, and write it down.

Do some activity like dancing (get enthusiasm)

Read three questions and answers three times out loud. Tell yourself to sleep, visualize symbol, hand mudra, and program your mind for 15 minutes and consciously sleep.

The last step: visualize your symbol, do your hand mudra and tell yourself wake up. Snap the fingers. That's it!


I have intrusive thoughts where a person who broke my heart keeps coming into my head. These thoughts keep saying, "Kenny loves you very much", when I know he really doesn't.

I find these thoughts really odd. In my insanity, I even believed these thoughts were a "sign", when in fact they are just part of a sickness of which there is no cure. I am ignoring those thoughts.

I can live with this, but it's annoying, like and itch that cannot be scratched away. Oh well.


i am suffering from intrusive thoughts about hurting others. i know people with ocd who had this fear for most of their lives. people with intrusive thoughts would never act on their thoughts because that is there worst fear of life like people fear their own death.

all these people who never had intrusive thoughts need to shut up because they don't know what it's like. we would never act on these horrible, horrific thoughts.


I have been having intrusive thoughts about hurting my son for a year now. I am still struggling with this and it is so scary that I have had anxiety attacks to where I almost passed out.

I avoid stories on the news about parents hurting their children because it provokes the intrusive thoughts. I have been in therapy since the day they started. It's hard to not fear these thoughts because it's someone i love dearly and would never want to hurt.

This is something i have never experienced before and it's really scary. i keep reading about how if you let them scare you then you are more prone to these thoughts but it's really easier said than done. i know that i could never hurt my son (i feel bad for spanking him most of the time) but it's just the thought of "why would i think this" that is so scary.


I think that it is more than possible and probable that depending on the individual, they will act on their thoughts.

Please bear, keep and maintain in mind that I said 'depending on the individual,' meaning that we are all different and therefore our perception of things is different and our response mechanism is different.

We also live in a world that is morally bankrupt and as to values-what are they to most people?

I think Punjab2007 needs to awaken from slumbering awareness and step out into the world that is not just in his or her mind.


Please the woman who was talking about her 2 daughters do not fear OK? you're not the only one who has had those thoughts!


I have the worst intrusive thoughts daily. they haunt me all the time and can't control them. I know I don't want to hurt anyone. However the thoughts of death and murder and all these intrusive flashbacks kill me emotionally. I look at people and suddenly get terrible flashes of terrible things happening. I'm scared all the time aboout these thoughts. Then to top it off, there are the intrusive memories of embarrassing moments and I can't shake any of it. I have gotten better and worse in some ways. The intrusive flashbacks just don't stop and lead me to talk to myself and say things that just don't make any sense. I just wish they would stop. I'm afraid of myself and now I'm terrified I might just lose my mind and end up locked away in a psych ward. Problem is I can't get any help because of the wonderful world of no insurance.


I have had intrusive thoughts of suicide complicated because of my father's suicide when I was a baby. They have come and gone for the past decade and tend to come on when I am especially stressed. I have *never* attempted it, and I don't want to. I just fear that one day I would I want to. It is irrational and I work on observing the thought without wishing it away or holding onto it. (Right now I'm kind of holding to it which is why I got to this site.) But I'm pretty certain that intrusive thinking does not lead to action. It's been 10 years, and still, I haven't done anything.


I am someone who's still suffering of intrusive thoughts about suicide, and I should say it's more complex than what someone might study in psychiatry. I actually got addicted to suicide attempts, since a paradoxical response seemed the only way to deal with the anxiety (which is actually what they taught me in treatment of OCD- to not suppress intrusive thoughts).

Plus, I felt very misunderstood in therapy when my therapist would also stress how nobody ever acts upon compulsive thoughts. I should tell you, even if it's rare, suicidal thoughts can be different. It's a matter of life and death to take them seriously in any case.


people who struggle with intrusive thoughts are actually *not* very likely to act on them because they find the thoughts disturbing and distressing.

you may not be able to control your mind, but you can control your body.

if you struggle with these thoughts, get medical or psychological help immediately. don't let it hurt you anymore.

i am going to the doctor *today*.


i m afraid that i may change my DNA with my thoughts!!!


So I have 2 beautiful little girls and I want to get help because I have intrusive thoughts of all sorts of them being hurt accidentally or intentionally and oh, my God, what if it was from me, that fear consumes me! If I get help are they going to be removed from me?


Never say Never.


I experience intrusive thoughts. Some people in this article do seem to have the wrong idea on what these are exactly.

I saw the phobic trust who were very helpful in making me understand what was going on with me as I thought I was going crazy. U are in control of your behavior, but not always of your thoughts. Something intrusive is something you don't like or want to happen so it is very unlikely that you would act on it.


this article does help me to understand what's been going on in my head. i loved someone very very deeply. we are no longer together, and i know, much to my heartbreak, that we never will be again.

now i know that these unbidden images of our time together that flash through my brain, and cause me a lot of additional pain.. have a name. sometimes putting a name to a thing seems to help...


To K.M.G 'Friend', intrusive thoughts cannot be created or invoked.....if they could be then they are 'not intrusive' thoughts. This can only be understood by the people who have the problem. The fear & anxiety comes with intrusive thoughts, but intrusive thoughts does not come because of fear.


I have intrusive thoughts, i was not abused but they continue. They are driving me to distraction. I found my teenage daughter engaging in sexual relations with a much older man while camping. I do not purposely bring them up, but i have nightmares and for awhile after these incidents i do not try to think them, but they persist. I feel as a father i let her down. I have never experienced such a situation, and am at a loss as what to do. S


To K.M.G.

I disagree with you...

I used to suffer from suicidal intrusive thoughts to the point they consumed my entire life...I've made about a dozen attempts on my life. Three or Four were very serious. While being consumed with these thoughts, I welcomed death.


I think the person who "studied" psychiatry is wrong. I *have* intrusive thoughts and this article is exactly what goes on with me. My intrusive thoughts rarely involve things I fear happening, but are more about things that have already happened, whether 20 years ago or earlier today.

textbook definitions vs. real life experience

Also, because not all intrusive thoughts are distressing, just unwelcome or even uncomfortable, I can easily see how someone under certain mental conditions could act upon them.


The above article is not primarily about acting on "intrusive thoughts". That concept was only half a sentence in this article. This leads me to believe that both of the above respondents may have missed the point of the article.

Intrusive thoughts are defined in the article, either as "unwelcome" thoughts or as repetitive flashbacks. In either case, they are "intrusive" partly because they cannot be readily dismissed by the individual.

People often act on what is most familiar to them, whether or not they actually agree with that behavior. Using the definition of repetitive flashbacks as those thoughts which are disturbing but not easily dismissed, a person may act out the intrusive thoughts when they are emotionally or mentally unstable or simply out of habitual familiarity.


I for one agree with very little of this article.

I have studied psychiatry and find this article very misleading.

"Intrusive thoughts" will NEVER be acted on. Why? BECAUSE they are intrusive! If a person has intrusive thoughts that are unshakable and recurring lets say about suicide, it is because he or she has an enormous fear of suicide. Hence you will find that suicide will be the one thing missing from his/her ' to-do list'.

Also it is wrong to believe that intrusive thoughts are what the name says they are. Remember that you conjure up and create your intrusive thoughts. You think them. Because you fear the subject, (this can develop into an obsession). The point I'm making is intrusive thoughts will never be acted on. If they were, they would be 'welcomed thoughts'. The thoughts a person acts on are not intrusive, or frighten them. Intrusive thoughts are the result of an intense fear of an event occurring (etc.), hence they go hand in hand with extreme anxiety.



No, a person is not likely to go through with their thoughts because they find them so distressing. They won't go ahead with it. That's false it mostly goes against their values and morals.

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