Obsessions, Compulsions, Intrusive Thoughts & Deep-Dark-Fears

When I get a new notebook or discover an old one that’s blank or only partially used it’s like the 4th of July in my brain. My neurons must be shooting in every which way spazzing out and if they added THAT scene into a Pixar movie, audiences would be like, “The hell?”. I’ve been dealing with this as far back as I can remember. THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE AT A TIME! And it has to be completely filled, there can’t be any nonsense stuff like to do lists or anything. That’ll go on separate throw away paper. Recently I went through the ritual of spazzing out and finding places to more or less hide other notebooks from myself that I’ll just use later. It’s like this huge trauma to have to decide which one I’m going to use and what’ll go in it. Some years it’s very serious diary stuff, others it’s just listing every single thing that happened during a day or accomplishments, other times it’s lists. Right now it’s lists primarily. This is nothing out of the ordinary, but probably less depressing to read about then my fear of my house setting on fire and losing everything or people I love falling down the stairs and cracking their heads open. The fire obsession has been a reoccurring intrusive thought which also spans as far back as I can remember and in times of stress just dominates my cranium.

I want to touch base on intrusive thoughts tonight because it’s something that’s had a starring role in my OCD/mental health stigma research for the past year and almost a half (and absolutely nothing I want to talk about further at the moment because I just got feedback from an anonymous committee member saying in order to approve my experiment he/she wanted me to revise a section of my analysis section which made me enraged and super sad). Since I’m done citing empirical research for the evening and finding where an ampersand needed to go in 21 pages of citations that I had forgotten, Wikipedia’s description of “intrusive thoughts” will have to do.

“An intrusive thought is an unwelcome involuntary thought, image, or unpleasant idea that may become an obsession, is upsetting or distressing, and can feel difficult to manage or eliminate. When such thoughts are associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, body dysmorphic disorder (BDD), and sometimes attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), the thoughts may become paralyzing, anxiety-provoking, or persistent. Intrusive thoughts may also be associated with episodic memory, unwanted worries or memories from OCD,  posttraumatic stress disorder, other anxiety disorders, eating disorders, or psychosis. Intrusive thoughts, urges, and images are of inappropriate things at inappropriate times, and generally have aggressive, sexual, or blasphemous themes.” 

A great medium to express intrusive thoughts is to draw them. That wasn’t exactly the intention of artist Fran Kraus, but he is the #1 artist I know whose art captures examples of them. His work is described as being a dark, humorous visualization of irrational fears we have. I wanted to share with you a few comics he’s drawn that I feel capture the essence of fears that for some will pass quickly and for others will play on a loop…unfortunately. For more Fran Kraus, visit his tumblr or check out his book!

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