Oh, Hello Intrusive Thoughts, You're Back
It’s one of my favorite pastimes, really – an impromptu visit from the unwelcome thoughts brigade. They just barge in, quite unannounced, like that one cousin at family reunions who thinks it’s perfectly fine to swipe the last piece of pie when no one’s looking. Rude, right? Who gave them the memo that my mind’s a free-for-all?
“Intrusive thoughts? What are those?”, you might ask.
Allow me to explain: they are unwanted thoughts or mental images that can randomly pop up in your head, out of the blue. They can be disturbing, upsetting, or even just flat-out weird. And what’s more – they are, apparently, quite universal – according to one study, approximately 94% of people report having intrusive thoughts at some point in their lives. That’s right, we’re all in this odd little boat together, folks!
Say Hi to Exposure Response Prevention (ERP)
Just when I thought these thoughts had a permanent reservation in my head, enter exposure response prevention (ERP). My trusty knight in cognitive-behavioral armor, ERP introduced me to a whole new way of battling these pesky invaders.
I’m not saying ERP has ridden me of intrusive thoughts completely. Oh no, my friends, it’s not magic — nor does it come with a snazzy wand. But what it gave me was something even more powerful — the right weapons to fight back, stand my ground, and not let the thoughts control how I feel.
Three Cheers for ERP!
Why am I, seemingly out of nowhere, cheerleading for ERP, you might wonder? Well, because it taught me how to recognize these thoughts for what they are, how to accept that they occur, and how to not let them drive my actions or emotions. It’s like gaining superpowers, but instead of flying around in a cape, you’re mastering your own mind. Sounds pretty cool, right?
So yes, intrusive thoughts still make a cameo in my mental landscape from time to time. But thanks to ERP, I now have the tools to handle them, and that, my friends, feels like a victory. A quiet, personal, but oh-so-significant victory.