When people think of OCD, they will most often think of people hoarding, washing their hands, and checking locks repeatedly- the visible signs of OCD. There is another side of OCD, though, that isn’t visible- obsessional thoughts. While it’s possible for someone with OCD to ruminate on neutral thoughts, the one’s that can make lives miserable are ones of violence, sex, and blasphemy.
These aren’t thoughts that just come and go. They become fixed in the mind of the sufferer, repeating themselves- and horrifying the person. That’s key to these thoughts- they are of things that the person would never conceive of doing. Thoughts of harming or even killing their babies may come to young mothers. A person may be driving and the thought comes that they might hit someone. People have images of themselves performing sex acts they have no interest in – and sometimes are revolted by. People with deep religious feelings may find themselves imagining yelling obscenities in church, defiling the altar, or having sex with Jesus or Mary. And while most everyone has a few thoughts like that drift through their mind sometimes, the majority of people are able to dismiss the thoughts as just thoughts. To the person with obsessions, though, the thoughts are signs that they are intrinsically bad, and that they represent a real threat- even though the person is repulsed by these thoughts.
This short book goes over the three classes of these thoughts, and them presents ways of dealing with them: medications and exposure therapy (it *is* possible, even though thoughts are not physical things), the same things that work on regular Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The author even gives self-help instructions- very valuable since people with obsessive bad thoughts rarely want to confide in anyone, for fear of being thought a menace.
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