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LeahMSWuofm, Clinical Social Worker
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 641
Experience:  10 years post-MSW experience
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Greene It has almost been 2 years now that i keep getting

Customer Question

Hi Dr Greene
It has almost been 2 years now that i keep getting repeating unwanted thoughts and images that are in my mind all the time and no matter how hard i try i just cant get rid of them.It started off from an unwanted gay image that poped into my head then i started to get doubts etc. But i am straight.And i didnt want to have thse kind of thoughts.And it went from there and then after a while of ignoring them they didnt bother me anymore but then i suddenly got another silly unwanted thought repeating into my has almost been 2 years and since these repeating thoughts happened i dont feel like the same person anymore, i cant think properley and straight like i used to.i just feel completley different after these repeating thoughts started. How can i get rid of these thoughts and what can i do to get back to the person i always was as in to be able to think straight and be normal again and stop these repeating unwanted thougjts, Please advise
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 1 year ago.

Hello, It does not appear Dr. Greene is online and i'd like to help you as you have been waiting awhile for an answer. Would you prefer to wait for him or do you mind if I answer? My name is ***** ***** I work as a clinical social worker with expertise in mental health. I look forward to hearing back from you.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
i wouldnt mind you giving me an answer.
Thank you
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 1 year ago.

Thank you for the opportunity. Having recurrent and wanted intrusive thoughts is a hallmark of obsessive compulsive disorder. In what you describe, you are suffering from a version called "Pure-O" where the obsession is in the form of thoughts as opposed to compulsive behaviors like checking, counting, washing, etc. OCD is a very tricky and manipulative condition and one of the biggest things is that the more you fight against the unwanted thoughts, the more they become stuck and impossible to get rid of, It sounds like you are already learning this as the harder you try to let go of these ruminations by invalidating them, even ones you realize to be false (such as doubts about your sexuality), the more pervasive they become. Actually, concerns and intrusive doubts about ones own sexuality is common among sufferers of OCD and often termed Homosexual OCD or HOCD.

in order to get rid of these thoughts, you should consider medication as well as professional assistance. Ask your primary care doctor to start you on an anti-depressant such as Lexapro, Zoloft, Paxil or Lucox. All of these medications can help with the treatment of OCD to help the thoughts lessen.

The second thing you should consider is engaging with a therapist who specializes in OCD and offers a form of cognitive behavioral therapy called "Exposure and Response Prevention" (ERP). Under the guidance of a therapist, you will get up close and personal with these thoughts while developing ways to cope with them that do not involve avoidance, rituals, validations, etc. This type of therapy helps you safely confront the thoughts rather than run away from them, which is the common response for people when the ruminations are occurring.

In the meantime, the best way to help ease the OCD is to do exactly as you mentioned and to simply let the thoughts go. Directly concentrate on observing the thought as only a casual thought that your mind has, and then deliberately let the thought pass without giving it much care, pause or concern. Our very active brains are throwing at us lots and lots of *(often" useless information all the time but things that concern us tend to get stuck and are not easily released from our conscious. So again, when something pops ion your mind that causes you distress, literally acknowledge "oh hey there thought. I see you have popped back up. Come again some other time." And then get on with life. You describe this as ignoring and that is exactly what to do. These intrusive thoughts do not warrant your attention and should just be dismissed as meaningless, fleeting thoughts that are no longer allowed to affect the way you feel or behave.

I hope this is helpful. Please know that with the right treatment approach (ideally, a combo of an anti-depressant and therapy), you can free yourself from the taxing process of these unwanted thoughts. So have hope! And don't give in to the OCD by letting it control you. Thoughts are often very meaningless and you just need to get back to a place where you remember that these tricky and manipulative thoughts are meaningless as well.



Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your reply. I understand what you are trying to tell me about ERP or medication.I have never experienced any of these thoughts in my life. They started all of a sudden and i tried to dismiss them and i still get the thoughts.I would not consider medication as i never had any mental health problems before and its not a cure.I tried ERP and have done this since i started getting these thoughts and i done ERP online.Which helped but the thoughts didnt go away completely and until this day i still have the thoughts.And i also want to mention is that i dont feel normal anymore like i used to? Its hRd for me to explain it to you but i don t feel like the same person i always was.i dont know in what way these thoughts have affected me.i cant think properly anymore.I dont have a compulsions and i dont repeat stuff.its just the thoughts. How do i stop these unwanted thoughts from repeating.what could be the cure?
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 1 year ago.

You're welcome. The best way for you to continue to gain control over these intrusive thoguhts is through continued ERP or a different variation on CBT. Medications can also help dramatically so for the best outcome, you may wish to consider adding a medication as ERP has not proven effective enough for you in the past. please talk to your doctor - the class of medications i am mentioning (the SSRI's) are very safe, non-addictive, and overall well tolerated. Just like any other medical condition requiring medication, OCD is a mental health disorder that can be treated using meds. if your doctor told you that you had high blood pressure and advised a medication, you probably would go along with. Think of mental health the same as physical health. It is important.

In general, there is no "cure" for OCD but instead treatments designed to help lessen the intensity of these thoughts and their impact on your life. These treatments include ERP, acceptance and commitment therapy (where you begin to accept your brain's own workings and commit to living a well-purposed life anyway), and cognitive restructuring. If ERP has not proven effective for you, try seeking out the acceptance model, which can help you move forward without feeling so broken and frustrated.

I am sorry - I wish I could tell you there is simple cure. The treatments for OCD take time and erffort and sometimes, there are recurrences which require a reengagement in treatment. Don't give up - keep yourself enrolled in therapy with someone who specializes in the treatment of OCD and strongly consider adding an SSRI to boost the chances of your success.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
there is no cure for these repeating thoughts?
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 1 year ago.

Unfortunately not. There is no way to definitively stop our brains from thinking. The treatments available help modify the brain to attempt to process information differently, to stop the ruminations by allowing the thoughts to come and go without needing action ,and to learn to ignore irrelevant information. The treatments should help with the goal of certain thoughts no longer playing as powerful a role, but to turn them off the repeating thoughts completely would not be achievable.

Try not to despair though. Just like cancer does not have a cure but has a treatment, so does OCD. Keep seeking treatment and you can absolutely find this condition to be manageable.


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Ok. I dont think its OCD as i dont have compultions and i just have thoughts which i can ignore.and the thoughts have almost dissapeared but i just dont feel normal like before.I do not think i have ocd as i just had thlughts and no physical cumpoltions. And i also never had any health problems before.The problem now isnt just about the thoughts but since the thoughts started i cant think like before and i dont feel the same like i used to.What could this be , advise
Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 1 year ago.

There is a form of OCD called Pure-O which involves only unwanted and repetitive thoughts and does not include compulsions/compulsive behaviors. If you feel like you can ignore the thoughts, however, then you may not be suffering from Pure-O because they would not be causing you much distress if they are easily ignored.

As far as you not feeling normal, it is possible that you are suffering from "depersonalization disorder" which is marked by feeling generally out-of-sorts, like you are without emotions or thoughts or somehow disconnected from these, or feelings like you are not the same person you once were. Depersonalization disorder is sometimes associated with anxiety, depression or other mental illnesses, and is commonly associated with trauma or times of great stress.

If you have been feeling this disconnect and "not normal" for a lasting time, then it is necessary to seek out therapy to help you "reconnect" your thoughts anf feelings to your body. This type of disorder often causes people distress as well, so treatment of the distress associasted with this off feeling can be helpful. You should explore CBT for this although many types of therapy have shown helpful in helping people that feel this way. Also, if there was an identifiable trigger, stressor or trauma that caused you to begin to feel not normal, that area can also be addressed in therapy.

If this is a fairly new feeling or it doesn't play a huge role i your daily life, you may wish to just ignore the symptoms with anticipation they will clear on their own, much like you would an unwanted thought. When the thoughts of not feeling normal creep in, simply ignore them and go about your day. Oftenn, symptoms of depersonalization disorder will resolve on thier own with no specific treatment needed.


Expert:  LeahMSWuofm replied 1 year ago.

Hello! I noted this question was still open and wanted to know if there is anything else you need from me before providing a rating for my work thus far. I hope you have a great weekend,