Today’s post is all about how I overcame my intrusive thoughts and got rid of my anxiety and mental health issues along the way. Now this is how I overcame them and my ideas and perspective may not be applicable to you and if you suffer from any sort of OCD, obsessive compulsive disorders or mental health problems, then please do seek advice from your doctor immediately.
Check out the podcast above too as this is a slightly different story than the one I will write here in more detail and should give you some further info on helping you understand your own intrusive thoughts too. One of the things I didn’t recognise at first was that just because you are having intrusive thoughts does not mean that there is something wrong with you. Sometimes as in mine it is lots of circumstances put together that just push you over the edge.
You are not alone however and please do not think automatically that because you are thinking these things, that you are crazy either. As some of it is too much overthinking and you need to be kind to yourself along the journey through understanding this.
Now the image above is relative to everything we are going to discuss in regards to dealing with intrusive thoughts but it is just one of the building blocks that eventually will push them to the back of your mind.
I spent quite a few years with serious problems all going on at the same time and I became sucked into a life that I hated. Although seemingly on the outside to everyone else, it looked like I had the perfect life I just got stuck and everything started to fall apart.
My first marriage ended and I had to leave my kids with their mother which was the most heart breaking moment ever in my life. She then moved them 300 miles away two years later. I got remarried eventually and had a little daughter only to be told that she didn’t love me anymore and wanted me out. On top of all of this over 15 years, I had a high powered job, was a great husband and father but just nothing would work out for me.
Several times I have been in the position where those intrusive thoughts have come knocking at my door and I have just wanted to end things. The only thing that ever stopped me was the thought of my children missing me. So I had plenty of conversations with the Devil about leaving me alone and crapping myself every time these thoughts came to pass through my mind.
I also started having anxiety attacks when I was driving and could not drive at all some days. The thoughts just came to me when I was in the car and I would shake and start to feel like I was going to lose control. Then I couldn’t visit my boys and it took me years to overcome this too.
Then I got remarried and things were going great and we had our little daughter. The birth was a horrendous experience and my wife at the time was rushed into hospital with HELP syndrome and she was also the wrong way round. She was operated on and on morphene for days whilst I took care of our newly born little girl. But I strongly believe that everything in life does happen for a reason. Then things were great for a while.
We bought the house of our dreams in a lovely Welsh village with stables and land. My daughter was absolutely beautiful and then I got made redundant after 17 years. I couldn’t get a job for 9mths and this put our relationship under some serious strain.
Then I got a great job but it was working 400 miles away. So I was away from home 4 nights a week and this again put even more strain on the relationship until my wife at the time said. I don’t want you anymore and I don’t need you here as I can cope on my own.
I was under so much stress at work delivering a £13M project with 45 people working for me that everything just hit me at once and I broke down. Visiting the doctor, he signed me off for 2mths from work and that was when everything started to change in my life. Despite my mental health being at its worst, I took control of my life and decided that I would never make the same mistakes again.
Everyday I walked for 3 hours in the hills, I was living in the barn until my ex moved out down to the village and I lost 5 stone and got myself fit. The intrusive thoughts kept trying to creep through but I followed the below and got better in no time at all.
My Top Tips On Dealing With Intrusive Thoughts
- Being bitter – When bad things happen to us for some reason we become bitter and look to blame others for the things that went wrong. When you realise however that we are all to blame in some way shape or form, it allows you take responsibility for the things you do in life. When you hold yourself responsible, you can transfer some of that blame to yourself. Admitting when you are wrong allows you to really dig deep about yourself and learn to become a better person along the way. Bitterness like jealousy is a horrible emotion and can be carried for years if you don’t learn to control it.
- Stopping the thoughts – I had a million questions I wanted answering and my wife gave me none at all. Just that it was over and that I would never understand and that I wasn’t the man she married anymore. I had loads of horrible thoughts, I hated myself, I hated her, I hated everything at first. If she left the house I was convinced she was going to visit a man and the jealousy would kick in. But every time I tried to talk she would just cut me off. Looking back this was the best thing she could do and then I read a book called clarity. It made me realise that I was causing myself all this pain unnecessarily because there was nothing I could do to change it.
- Acceptance – When you accept what has happened and that you have to move in life, is one of the best things that you can do. If you think there will be chance of changing things, or put off the decisions you have to make. Those thoughts will just stay with you. This will cause increased anxiety as you will always be waiting for the answers you are never going to get. So accept the situation whatever it is and make a decision to move forward in life.
- Looking after yourself – We forget sometimes that we are the most important person in our lives. If you have watched any of my videos or listened to the podcasts. You will know that I am an extremely kind person and will do anything for anyone. The problem was that I had lost myself and had stopped doing the things in life that made me happy. So the biggest thing I did was to start walking, training and looking after myself from a fitness perspective. As soon as I started doing this and the weight dropped off my mental health started to improve dramatically and I could think more clearly.
- If you can’t change it move on – Some things in life we just cannot do anything about because we are not in control of it. When we are reliant on someone else and in my experience once they have made their decision you will never be able to change their minds. So rather than having all these intrusive and obsessive thoughts about the situation you have to accept it and move on.
- Be bigger and better – It is so easy to retaliate in situations because you are bitter, feel rejected in life and just kick back at everything. But take control of those thoughts and stop the negative questioning coming in. Listen to them but do something to stop them by making a life for yourself that is full of fun and based around a life that you want to lead. Because when you live for yourself in life you are putting your own mental health first and foremost. When you are happy those thoughts won’t exist and everyone around you will be in a better place too. It is not selfish to look after yourself as it is your mind and the OCD and obsessive thoughts that you have to deal with if you don’t look after yourself.
- Nothing is real unless you make it real – Life and people can be cruel and sometimes the thoughts you will be having will be inflicted by others. We have to learn not take these things personally, we all make mistakes, we all do things wrong and we are never going to get everyone to like us. When we accept these things and surround ourselves with the people that do love us, are kind to us, are there for us then we can accept the crap that everyone else throws at us. So if your thoughts are brought on by other people then it might be time to get rid of them from your life. Because the damage you are doing to your thoughts are not necessary when that person is probably an idiot anyway. We make those thoughts real by questioning ourselves and then believing that is the case. My wife’s ex was horrible to her in ways that made her feel devalued. No one should be able to make you feel like this. So empower yourself to push these thoughts out the way and the old saying, sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me, will always ring true.
- Do everything you can to be kind to others – This is really important because karma does exist and it does come back to you when you least expect it as well. I studied a lot about manifestation and the laws of attraction and like really does attract like. So if you are unkind to others, then expect them to be unkind to you too, if the thoughts that trouble you are one’s that you question yourself over and over about. Then be kind and help other people, then when someone is unkind you don’t have to question yourself because you know you are a good person and would have done everything to make the situation better. Being kind to others is a great gift and we should all try and add value to other people’s lives.
- Enjoy life – We all have a choice to get up in the morning with a smile on our face, whether we hate our jobs or our lives or whatever. We have the choice to change the way we feel about things by finding pleasure in the small things in life. Believe me that you can have all the materialistic things you want in life but they will not make you happy. What will stop the intrusive thoughts is when you have a life that you are content with and that you enjoy waking up to every morning.
- Live in the future and not in the past – Learn to let go of the past as it is not a true reflection of the future. Just because something has happened or someone has let you down does not mean that this will happen again. If it does then you will be prepared for it better this time. See life as a challenge and overcome shitty situations with a positive result and do something about them. Do not let people or situations walk over you, learn to build your confidence and not take any shit from anyone in life. When you are in control of your life and doing everything you can to make a great life for yourself then the thoughts will come to an end.
- Have a purpose or meaning in life – Find out who you are and what you are great at. What you enjoy doing and this will give you meaning in life. When your thoughts are actively thinking about how great you can make your life, what goals you can achieve and people recognise you for who you truly are then the horrible obsessive thoughts will start to disappear. Everyone questions themselves but you just have to be comfortable and happy with yourself.
- Be you always and believe in yourself – Never ever try and be someone you are not and never lie to people. If you do this those obsessive thoughts will always haunt you. You have to be completely honest with yourself and others and not try to impress people by having in a way you think they want you too. No one should be in your life that doesn’t value who you are and want you around. We waste far too much of our time giving to people that don’t deserve it. You are an amazing person, we all are, you just need to be reassured and told that you are and the intrusive thoughts will start to recede.
Frequently asked questions about intrusive thoughts
- Is it normal to have intrusive thoughts? Yes perfectly normal, we do all have them it is just most people are embarrassed or scared to say anything about them. There are varying degrees with OCD and obsessive compulsive disorders but in general most people do have them. From my perspective it is also linked into the overthinking processes that can cause these to rise in the mind too.
- What are examples of intrusive thoughts? There are lots of different examples and it could be something as whether you have had an argument with someone and are thinking they are an idiot, you hate them, you will never be their friend again to having thoughts about hurting people, or suicidal thoughts. There are varying degrees of these types of thoughts but they are just thoughts and that is what you have to bear in mind.
- How do I overcome obsessive thoughts? You need to be at peace with yourself and content with your thoughts and feelings. We all get angry, upset, are anxious at times and that is when these intrusive thoughts tend to rear their heads. When they come into your mind however you do need to label them as that and sometimes they may seem crazy and the thing is they actually are. Just because I have visions of doing something bad is very different to actually doing it. I generally just say to myself now that was weird, put it to the back of my mind and move on. Also I talk in the podcast about fitness and its contribution to improving your overall mental health and also having a goal in life to keep your mind busy and occupied enough to be able to revert your thoughts to something more positive instead.
- Are intrusive thoughts a mental illness? Not necessarily but if you are worried at all then you should seek help. I nor anyone else can really tell you this unless you go and speak to a professional about your given situation.
- What are intrusive suicidal thoughts? These are not nice and I have been caught with these at numerous times, from hanging myself of the balcony or in the woods, to putting a glass to my throat. That is how weird some of these thoughts can be sometimes. When I overlook them however and say that is just weird, move on with what I am going to achieve today and this week, how my kids and wife love me and would miss me then I can push them to the back of my mind. If you are having suicidal thoughts please do go and get help immediately though and do not leave it. Your life is precious and people will miss you no matter what you think.
- Can anxiety cause obsessive thoughts? In my experience anxiety came from too much stress and a lack of confidence that built up over time and they absolutely contributed to my situation. I have been far less anxious since I started my fitness routine and am building a great life for myself. I always take the approach that nothing is important enough anymore to do damage to my own mental health, it doesn’t matter what it is, I take a much calmer approach to everything.
- Will my intrusive thoughts ever go away? The will get less and less and less disturbing over time if you follow some of the tips that I have given. This worked for me however and might not work for you however and you should seek help in the first instance. With anxiety, ocd, mental health and obsessive compulsive disorders I don’t think you get over them completely as there is always an element of your thinking that might question whether they will come back or not. The thing needed is to brush these thoughts to the side and statistics are best. So writing down if you have any episodes and how far away they normally are will give you an idea of how you are getting on.
So that is everything I have to say on intrusive thoughts and now in life I have remarried and it is now nearly 3 years since I put my video program you can find together below. I quit my job, got remarried, took control of my life and I don’t look in the past.
I just believe that by being kind and giving love, working as hard as I can and trying hard in life that I cannot expect anymore. I hold myself responsible for how I act and think and the intrusive thoughts have gone for good and I hope they do for you too.
Join the program below if your interested it is free and I wish you all the very best in life and your future Scott