It feels weird to actually put proper names to things which have been part of me for so long. ‘Magical thinking OCD’ is, I think one of the hardest parts of OCD for someone without it to understand. For someone with ‘Magical thinking OCD’ it is one of the most terrifying parts, there is no rhyme or reason to it. You are aware as someone with OCD experiencing the thoughts that they are completely irrational but the feelings inside our so strong you can’t not believe the thoughts somehow.
With a very quick google this definition came up, which for those who don’t have ‘Magical thinking OCD’ I thought summed it up quite well:
” Magical thinking is an illogical thought pattern characterized by the linking of unrelated actions or events. Individuals may become preoccupied with lucky or unlucky numbers, colours, words, actions, sayings or superstitions and link them to catastrophe or ‘bad things’ that might happen”
I have had lots of these ‘magical thoughts’ over the years. I hated the colour red (blood, contamination etc) and certain words like AIDS (still hard to even write it here). I have also had massive issues with the ‘finalisation’ of things. Such as thoughts associated with leaving somewhere for the last time (maybe a holiday cottage) or clicking the ‘buy’ button online, as if a horrible thought comes into my head whilst I was doing it, such as: ‘You’re going to die from cancer’ then because I can’t repeat the action (compulsion) it creates anxiety and all the associated OCD baggage.
I still get a lot of these ‘Magical thoughts’ but it has been a long time since I’ve given into any of the associated compulsions.
Over the years it has made doing almost anything particularly stressful and taken the pleasure out of pretty much everything. Wedding dress shopping, venue picking, holidays, travel, work, driving, well everything.
It is one of the hardest aspects of OCD to kick and it’s one of the most embarrassing to talk about because you know in your heart of hearts that the thoughts are irrational but you just can’t get your mind to believe that.
Getting over ‘Magical thoughts’ does take some determination and will power I’m afraid. You have to ignore the horrific outcomes that your brain is throwing at you and just do things. It’s unbelievably hard and getting over the anxiety afterwards is also hard but
IT IS POSSIBLE!!!!
You can do it and I am living proof.
Little tricks that have helped me include:
- Mindfulness – I cannot express enough how amazing mindfulness is at bringing you back to reality and away from the irrational thoughts.
- Acceptance – That you cannot control everything and bad things as well as good will happen, this is life after all.
- My little trick from a good few blogs ago of opposite thinking
‘If I go back and repeat the action then does that make the outcome more likely to happen?’
You could argue that this is still magical thinking in a way but it does seem to nicely mess with my OCD thoughts and in a good way!
- Like yourself: It depends a little on what the associated thought is but if it’s something you’re scared you will do like say:
Then learn to like yourself and so know yourself incapable of the thought/action and therefore you can dismiss it more easily.
- Talk to someone – no matter how out there the thought may seem, by voicing it out load – this can even be initially to yourself – it will start to loose it’s power over you. This sounds like it wouldn’t work but it definitely does.
- Let the thought be – Do not query it, question it, poke it, anything. Just distract yourself and get on with the next task.
The more you let the thoughts be, the easier it becomes every time. Even though the thoughts still come, you will be able to dismiss them quicker and quicker, like a ‘normal’ person would (I put quotes around normal as I don’t actually think normal exists) and an hour later you won’t even remember the thought you had, hard to believe I know but this is true.
If I’ve had a bad nightmare, then in the morning I consciously make an effort not to think on it at all when I wake up. If you then asked me at midday what the nightmare was about I wouldn’t be able to tell you. However if I go over and over it in my head when I wake, I will definitely remember. This can be used with intrusive thoughts just as well.
You really can beat ‘Magical thinking OCD’, it’s hard but anything in life worth having is hard right?
You can do this!
Stay strong xxx