Psychology and Mental Health Forum

Author:  margharris [ Thu Apr 02, 2015 2:42 am ]
Blog Subject:  Body dysmorphia: The battle with intrusive thoughts.

It is a battle we are in. The intrusive thoughts can be relentless. What makes them so potent and continually coming. In the last few days I have put my mind to analysis more closely. This is what i have come up with so far.
1. The intrusive thoughts are what you fear and not what truly has happened.
2. The intrusive thoughts seem to be telling you answers when really they are only questions. You don't realize they are questions because in your brains haste to provide context for your alarm, it hasn't added, "What if." to prefix the thought.
What you really should be hearing in your head is...
"What if I left the tap on?" rather than.."I left the tap on?"
In reality your brain knows that your thought is a question. Your brain knows you really don't know so you have to ask someone who might. But then the thought comes again and you get confused.
So what you should be hearing is...
" What if my hair is thinning?" That question connects to my son's fear that baldness is ugly, embarrassing and his responsibility to avoid. It is a weakness, needing nerves of steel to tolerate. But his thinning is only minor. He responds as though he has total loss.
I can extend this way of thinking to all OCDs and BDDs.
" What if my jaw is crooked?" is heard as " My jaw is crooked?"
" What if I am ugly? is heard as "I am ugly?"
" What if the surgery is botched?" is heard as " The surgery is botched?"
The alarm has truncated the sentence so you fail to recognize the thought is a question and is not a statement of fact. This thought then seems like an answer but it is an answer that never sticks. And it never can stick because it was always a question.

My son has repeated his, " If you move from Dute to Fin, you get loss" He both asks as a question and then repeats as a fact. It is impossible to debate because it is only an opinion. He is trying to find the answer to why but only comes up with questions. This keeps him continually searching and in distress.
3. Intrusive thoughts are a search for certainty as a way of reducing anxiety. There is so much anxiety about not knowing for sure that answers are continually sort as a way of reducing anxiety.
But real freedom comes when you accept not everything is known. Some things are accepted as normal even though they are not desired.
4. The intrusive thoughts are overvalued as meaning something really important. They come with such authority that you are sure that you have the right answer. The punch of anxiety alters your perception of reality so much that you fail to recognize you have created the worst case scenario in your head...
"What if the woman at the photocopier thinks I am ugly?" heard as " The woman at the photocopier thinks i am ugly?"
Then all the 'add ons' flood in that link to your concept of ugly..You are worthless, hopeless, inadequate, a failure, never going to find love.
All those thoughts are enough to give you a panic, leaving you hiding under the desk.

So from my experience with all my son's OCDs and BDD, intrusive thoughts are really questions in disguise. They are all fear questions that link to your worst fears. They are overvalued because you feel they are meaningful and telling you something important. They are telling you what you fear. They are your attempt to manage anxiety by finding certainty and maintaining your high need for responsibility over life.
Liberation will come when you take the risk that you are OK not knowing. Some things are just not known. Most things are managed with a level of uncertainty. You can do this life. It was the life you were born to do. That is not a mistake. So let the thoughts come as they may. They are just thoughts and not reality. Don't be alarmed by the questions they raise. They aren't meant to be answered. Remember you just forgot to add,"What if?"

Hope this analysis works for you all. Marg

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