Everyone has intrusive thoughts

For me CBT (Cognitive behavioural therapy) had it pros and cons.  Not all the methods worked for me but one piece of information which really stuck with me and which I believe to be vitally important for anyone battling OCD is that:

EVERYONE HAS INTRUSIVE THOUGHTS!

You are not weird or strange for having them, you are just less able to dismiss them. During one of my sessions I was given the below information which I am now passing on to you in the hope it will help.

normal intrusive thoughts

The table below shows the results of research findings from a survey of 293 students (198 female, 95 male), none of who had a diagnosed mental health problem. The column on the left shows the type of intrusive thought and the 2 columns on the right show the percentage of women and men who said they had experienced that particular thought.

  item female % male %
1. driving into a window 13 16
2. running car off the road 64 56
3. hitting animals or people with car 46 54
4. swerving into traffic 55 52
5. smashing into objects 27 40
6. slitting wrist/throat 20 22
7. cutting off finger 19 16
8. jumping off a high place 39 46
9. fatally pushing a stranger 17 34
10. fatally pushing friend 9 22
11. jumping in front of train/car 25 29
12. pushing stranger in front of train/car 8 20
13. pushing family in front of train/car 5 14
14. hurting strangers 18 48
15. insulting strangers 50 59
16. bumping into people 37 43
17. insulting authority figure 34 48
18. insulting family 59 55
19. hurting family 42 50
20. choking family member 10 22
21. stabbing family member 6 11
22. accidentally leaving heat/stove on 79 66
23. home unlocked, intruder there 77 69
24. taps left on, home flooded 28 24
25. swearing in public 30 34
26. breaking wind in public 31 49
27. throwing something 28 26
28. causing a public scene 47 43
29. scratching car paint 26 43
30. breaking window 26 43
31. wrecking something 32 33
32. shoplifting 27 33
33. grabbing money 21 39

 

  item female % male %
34. holding up bank 6 32
35. sex with unacceptable person 48 63
36. sex with authority figure 38 63
37. fly/blouse undone 27 40
38. kissing authority figure 37 44
39. exposing myself 9 21
40. acts against sexual preference 19 20
41. authority figures naked 42 54
42. strangers naked 51 80
43. sex in public 49 78
44. disgusting sex act 43 52
45. catching sexually transmitted disease 60 43
46. contamination from doors 35 24
47. contamination from phones 28 18
48. getting fatal disease from strangers 22 19
49. giving fatal disease to strangers 25 17
50. giving everything away 52 43
51. removing all dust from the floor 35 24
52. removing dust from unseen places 41 29

Purdon C. & Clark D.  Obsessive intrusive thoughts in nonclinical subjects. Part 1 Content & relation with depressive, anxious & obsessional symptoms.  Behav Res Ther 1992;31:713-20

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