Circling America to Block Intrusive Thoughts

For a long time I have been falling into a pattern with mental health professionals (and, let’s face it, general folks as well sometimes) who seem to believe they hold the answer to my blight. The answer, it seems, is to let it go, “it” being whatever it is that is nagging at me for the moment.

Unfortunately, that has been about as helpful as telling me to solve my problems by digging up pirate gold. I have no map, and not one person I’ve asked who has made this kind of suggestion to me can seem to convey exactly how one lets something go. 

No matter how many children I see on the news singing the Frozen theme song I can’t seem to pick up this skill via osmosis. Likewise, I have never suddenly been able to perform an ollie after someone handed me a skateboard and said, “just do it, man!”

Seemingly more helpful suggestions have been to “focus on something else,” or “push the thoughts out of my mind.” I have been able to accomplish the pushing skill about four times out of the several hundred I’ve tried (but at least I know it can work if I put up enough of a strong arm) but trying to focus on something else has also been… spotty at best.

For whatever reason, I seem to live with the voices of all the rude, horrible people who have ever said hurtful things to me swirling around in my head. Try as I best to let go of them, they always seem to linger like flies and fail to allow themselves to be relinquished. They don’t seem to be interested in being set free, not when there is fresh meat (like me) around.

So what do you do when you let go of something that wont let go of you?

Well, first I discovered that if I shouted, “LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!” I could drown them out a little.

From there I moved onto using the chicken dance song as a personal mantra, singing it at various intervals to block out the scathing internal conversations. This helps, but is decidedly obnoxious to anyone around who can hear (as is the random shouting).

Last week I finally met with my new therapist who brought to my attention a technique where you move your eyes in the shape of the United States, along the border all the way around over and over again. I’ve tried it with my eyes both open and shut, and for whatever reason after two passes the noise and horror in my head seems to die down.

I believe this technique is based on the same school of thought that EMDR comes from (a therapeutic technique that uses eye movement to help the brain become desensitized to traumatic experiences), and though I am still looking into this method for my own PTSD symptoms I don’t currently have the finances to be able to afford to see someone who practices it.

Realistically, I can’t walk around and do everything with my eyes spinning around in my head but if this works I am certain there must be other silent, less obtrusive methods of blocking intrusive thoughts. When I find them, I’m sure you will be the first to know…

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5 responses to “Circling America to Block Intrusive Thoughts

  1. could barely finish the last paragraph cuz my eyes got too distracted trying to do the outline!

    thank you for sharing!

  2. For my ruminating thoughts, seroquel has been brilliant! I know it does not work for everyone, but for me it does. And it is frustrating having people to tell you just to push through it.

  3. Yeah I have a huge problem with letting anything go. My mind is far too obsessive to do that. I am lucky because I have an obscenely short attention span I can physically ignore a lot of external things, people, sounds, etc.
    I just can’t stop the internal dialogue, and that is my most harsh critic of all.

  4. Another way of dealing that seems suggested a lot in the UK (but maybe not so much back home) is to just kind of sit with the thoughts. Acknowledge them, try not to make any value judgments (e.g. this is not a good thought or a bad thought, it’s just a thought, regardless of how it makes you feel) and then, once you’ve given it a little air-time, you can move onto something else.

    That eye thing works like it’s getting paid overtime, though, doesn’t it? Might be the only trick like that which ever worked for me. Good luck with it 🙂

  5. This post really hit home for me. I’m glad you’ve found a technique to give your mind a break from all those harmful thoughts. I’m going to give that one a try. Thanks a lot for this!

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