how to accept thought is just a thought a... - My OCD Community

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how to accept thought is just a thought and live with uncertainty?

Egrets profile image

Hello everyone! I am from Taiwan, now 27 years old. Glad to find this community.

(My English is not very good, but I'm working on it.


I was diagnosed with OCD three months ago. My Obsession is mainly about worrying to harm or having harmed others or myself. When my intrusive thoughts appear, I feel very anxious because I worry what if I am also carrying out the thoughts (or going to carry out the thoughts) while I am thinking. I also worry whether I am think about these thoughts purposely or not because I think intentionally think about these thoughts is worse than unintentionally think about them.(But I think it is very hard to identify thoughts are intentional or unintentional ). Usually my compulsion is to check if anything happen when I have these thoughts. Or tried to remember if I have harmed anyone.

Now I am taking medicine regularly, and also conducting

psychotherapy. However, my psychotherapist doesn't use ERP as a treatment. I decide to find another one with knowledge and experience of ERP to help me. But in my country therapists who know ERP seem to be scarce.

I also bought many self-help books. I learn many useful tools to deal with my intrusive thoughts. I got better recently. But sometimes I failed and did compulsions.

I think the hardest one is to recognize and accept that the thought is just a thought, not a danger. Living with uncertainty is also difficult to me. But I keep practicing and practicing to build the attitude of acceptance . I would like to know how you tell yourself when intrusive thoughts appear and how to keep a strong mind to live with uncertainty? Could you share your experiences? Thank you very much!

14 Replies

You are definitely on the right track. Keep working on accepting that uncertainty. May God be with you.

Egrets profile image
Egrets in reply to Fearnomore

Thank you. You cheer me up. I will keep practicing it and enjoy my life.

Check out this one!

Egrets profile image
Egrets in reply to krube8

I have this book. This book is very helpful. And thank you for the recommendation.

You are a brave, smart, intuitive young lady-- and these qualities will help you achieve recovery from OCD.

Your English is also very good; in fact, it is much better than many English speakers who rarely check/edit their writing before posting. (It is sometimes embarrassing to observe how poorly some folks actually write in these posts!)

Similar to you, I have lived with thoughts of uncertainty since I was a young woman (am now 69). My intrusive thoughts were homophobic in nature and have impacted my ability to form lasting relationships with otherwise loving partners. This disease can be debilitating and isolating.

I have learned that thoughts are like waves in the ocean; they rise up, then crash back down leaving no lasting impact in that vast ocean. A true tsunami only occurs very rarely; every other wave is simply an innocuous rise and fall similar to our individual breaths. Thought action, like wave action, may be observed with interest, but need not be a threat. Perhaps you could meditate on that idea as you breath deeply. Sheila

Egrets profile image
Egrets in reply to cambridgeborn

Actually I am a man. I think maybe the word "Egret" is often used by ladies in English, I guess. I chose the word because I think egrets seem to live the life of Reily.

I feel very happy that you mentioned that my English is very good. That’s very kind of you. In fact, I usually use google search as a tool to avoid using grammars or letters wrongly, and to help me express what I think as much as possible. Google search is very helpful.

OCD can be debilitating and isolating. I can't agree with you more. Before I knew harm intrusive thought, I thought that maybe I was a bad person because I had these bad thought. I felt sad, hopeless and helpless. But now I feel better. Although my intrusive thoughts sometimes make me feel so anxious and unhappy for minutes, hours or days. I still believe I can get over them if I build a attitude of acceptance.

Finally, I think that waves are a very good and elegant metaphor. I will try to meditate on the idea. Thank you very much.

Yes, I had those intrusive thoughts a few years ago and realized that I was never ever going to act on those thoughts. They come from OCD and are fears coming to the surface. I learned to just laugh at them and ignore them. My own OCD therapist told me that he had the unrealistic thought to jump off the balcony where he lived but of course never did. Even people without OCD sometimes have intrusive thoughts.

As for living in uncertainty, this is a situation that everyone faces in life, with or without OCD. We don't know what is going to happen in the next few minutes or tomorrow. What has helped me is that I am a Christian and My Lord Jesus Christ has said in the Bible to not worry about tomorrow since today's problems are enough to be concerned about. He knew of our fears and anxieties as well and is there to walk with us.

Hope this helps.

in reply to HHeerssen

This has helped me. Thanks!

You are already practicing ERP as you know what to do. By understanding Identifing thoughts are just thoughts and not danger you are already half the way, Now you have to just execute it. Enjoy life, socialise, face the fears. May God give you all the strength to come out of OCD. Lots of best wishes to you to sail through this journey.

Hi! I have harm OCD as well. It can be scary. Medication helps me and I started ERP with a therapist. You can do your own ERP. Look on YouTube for recordings by Mark Freeman, Chrissie Hodges and the OCD stories. Living with uncertainty has given me so much freedom. Your brain wants certainty but you shrug your shoulders and say “yes that could happen but I’m going to go about my day anyway”. You learn to feel the pain and move forward. You can and will get better!! God Bless

Hello Egrets: The replies already on here are all very good. I have had unwanted thoughts for many years, and am taking medications for them. Over the years I have tried different SSRI'S, with no good results. About 3 weeks ago my Dr. and I decided to increase the Citalopram (Celexa) an SSRI from 40 mgs. to 60 mgs. daily.

The results so far are very good, and my intrusive thoughts cause much less anxiety now. Wish I would have increased it long ago, but am very happy with the results now. My Dr. says that every ones body chemistry is different, and what works for me may not work for you.

My point is that if you try different SSRI's sooner or later one will work. So keep thinking positive because your OCD will improve. It's nice to write to you in China, as I live in Canada.

I like to call it embracing uncertainty. This is great that you are reading the self help books and practicing ERP. This is exactly what you need to do. More than anything, know that this is not your fault. You are not bad person. You are on the right track. I still struggle to this day with accepting my bad thoughts. We are overly judgmental of ourselves, and we need to let this go. You are fine the way you are. We have been given OCD for a reason, and keep letting the thoughts go. You are doing an awesome job and are very well educated on how to handle it. Keep up the good work.

I also have harm OCD. Actually, I should say that I have an OCD brain, because I’ve had many kinds of OCD thoughts, but harm OCD was the one that scared me the most and, therefore, the one that stuck and caused the most difficulty. Thankfully, we live at a time where there is so much online help. There is even the possibility of finding an OCD therapist online that you could skype with and who could help you with ERP. Keep your eye out for others in your community who have OCD. The statistics show that there are plenty of them. It might just take some time to find them. You could even start a support group, post it on the IOCDF website and see if someone else from Taiwan responds. I facilitate a support group in my area in the US. It is not that hard to do, as I have found the people who attend to be knowledgeable, open and very kind and supportive. You are not alone!

Greensummer18 profile image
Greensummer18 in reply to Tcba

Hi Tcba! I also have had many forms of OCD throughout my life, but like you said, harm OCD has been one of the worst for me. It's good to know that I'm not alone though. ❤

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