I want you to be completely honest with yourself - have you ever had an extreme thought pop into your head and wondered where it came from or why you had that thought? Did it frighten you, maybe even freak you out a little bit? You tried to quickly dismiss the thought and move on with other thoughts but every so often you came back to thinking, why did I have such a bizarre, extreme thought?
What am I talking about? Have you ever stood on the edge of a tall building, bridge, or cliff and thought - I wonder what it would be like to step off, or, you feel drawn to just falling? When this happens, you jump back with a fright and don't trust yourself to go near the edge again.
Perhaps your thought might be more extreme - I wonder what it would be like to watch someone die, or, maybe to kill someone? Just a fleeting thought that comes and goes in an instant so you try to bury (excuse the pun) that thought deeply for fear you might be going crazy.
There are other similar thoughts about; religion and wanting to shout out something inappropriate during a church service, of harming children you love, of a sexual nature, hurting animals, and even about your own death. These are termed 'intrusive thoughts' and they are normal, truly they are. You are not going crazy.
Where do these thoughts come from, like everything with the brain there is no single nor clear answer for each of us. For some it might be genetics, biological, environmental, or a combination of these and many other things. The best I can come up with, and this is just my opinion, the intrusive thought is a survival mechanism designed to remind us of what is right and what is wrong.
More so, intrusive thoughts are to remind us that we are in control of our thoughts otherwise we would have acted on them.
So, what should you do about it if you have an intrusive thought, dismiss it as normal and quickly move on without another thought about it. This can be difficult to do if the uninvited thought hits at your core values. For example, you might love animals and you have this sudden thought that you could kill the cat laying asleep on your lap, the one that you love so dearly. Those thoughts are harder to dismiss because they frighten us to the core.
Nevertheless, you must move on quickly.
We know that we learn things through repeated actions, if you pay attention to that fleeting uninvited thought you are just adding fuel to the fire. Neurons that fire together wire together and you are forming a neural pathway that is hard to break. For example, if you have that fleeting thought about hurting the cat, we either become anxious about the thought and keep thinking about why we are such a bad person, or we over-compensate for that thought by lavishing affection on the cat.
Worse still, we might dismiss the intrusive thought and then every so often 'check back' with our thoughts to see if it is still there!
All of these responses will hold that thought in your head thus making it stick in your mind. Let it go immediately and know that it is normal, that you are normal. If you don't do this, that continued thought might eventually take you down.
Know this, the more that you think about something the more we start to believe the thought.
Rather than dwelling on the negative thought, replace the intrusive thought with a more positive one. Instead, start telling yourself that you are better than you think you are because it's just that, it's a thought that you aren't. Better still, start telling yourself (thinking) that you are stronger than you think you are, because you are, that intrusive thought has simply reminded you of that because you didn't carry it out.
Go with your heart, not your head, because your head is full of nonsense at times.