Yes I accepted I had intrusive thoughts, I knew that, they were in my face 24/7, but how was that to help me?
That’s not what acceptance is about and this was something I was to learn over the following years. Acceptance doesn’t mean to know you have these thoughts, but acceptance means letting go of the fight with the thoughts, to allow them to be present and to not get into an argument with them, to not analyse them, not to get entangled with them.
The latest book by Sally Winston I added to Resources is a great read and describes just exactly what our mind does when we have these thoughts, and explains what we should not be doing and what we should do instead.
You cannot stop these thoughts because your mind creates them, but its what we do with these thoughts and how we react to them that will eventually bring us peace of mind, and for the thoughts to leave us alone.
Intrusive thoughts can be about anything, and they’re all personal to each of us. Particular thoughts will terrify one person and won’t bother another, but that other person will be battling their own specific thoughts. Whatever your intrusive thoughts are about, they all frighten each of us to the same degree.
You are not going insane, becoming psychotic or about to suffer with schizophrenia – you are simply a normal person who has become trapped in the cycle of fearsome thoughts.
Thoughts usually accompany anxiety or panic – and often people will just have thoughts about the anxiety feelings themselves or they could be strange wacky thoughts. Sally’s book describes lots of these thoughts in detail and I certainly recognised some of my thoughts in them.
As discussed in other posts, we have to first accept that we have these intrusive thoughts and you must understand that you cannot get rid of them in an instant. The more you try and stop them, suppress them, avoid them, try to think of something else, replace them with positive thoughts, distract yourself, pray, meditate etc then the more they will stick and the more they grow.
If you’ve struggled with intrusive thoughts for years as I had, then whatever you’re doing must be wrong – because you’ve still got them. Correct?
So what do we do?
We leave them alone – and that doesn’t mean carry on with what you’re doing, but it means literally leaving them alone with your mind.
Let those thoughts come and let them be present in your mind – but we must not start that inner dialogue with them, not get entangled with them.
Example – a thought will crop up and that inner voice will start ‘oh gosh, what can I do, I’ll always have this thought’ and its accompanied by a whoosh of anxiety. You’ll reason with it ‘you won’t always have this thought, it will go, don’t despair’. The other voice responds ‘but what if nothing works, what if the medication doesn’t work, what if I actually carry out my intrusive thought, who is to stop me’? The other voice replies ‘but you won’t carry it out, its not you, stop worrying, it will go’.
And so this is often how the inner dialogue will carry on in your mind (it certainly did with me) – one voice that is full of doubt and anxiety and other other voice that tries to reason with it.
All this does is make you worse and you never find a solution.
If you actually stop having this inner conversation with yourself you will slowly break the cycle. Stop getting involved.
First equip yourself with the Paul David and Claire Weekes books so you have a background of where the anxiety, panic and thoughts have come from – then start stopping getting involved with your inner dialogue.
To keep head chatting about the thoughts, feelings, urges etc then you are keeping yourself trapped in the cycle. Each thought is probably accompanied with a whoosh of anxiety, which just keeps the fire burning.
Acceptance means letting all those thoughts be there, acceptance means to stop trying to fix yourself, acceptance means stop looking for relief, acceptance means stop looking for reassurance, acceptance means stop searching the internet, acceptance means understanding this takes time – and acceptance means stop getting entangled with the intrusive thoughts.
Leave them alone and they will go. Not yet – it takes time for this new approach to take effect.
Acceptance can be applied to feelings of anxiety and panic too – leave alone, let them happen, do not get into that inner dialogue about why they’re there.
Acceptance is the way forward.
It a simple method, but it certainly is not easy. Its difficult, but 1000’s of people have done this and recovered. They are not special people, they also thought the same as you that other people can do this but not me – you are one of those people who can do this too.
Take a look at the Resources page for books and links on this method.
Acceptance ….. accept it all.
#Acceptance #Anxiety #Cycle