Do People Without OCD Ever Try to Stop Their Thoughts?

I do not think that most normal go around trying to stop thoughts all the time. Most people just think about whatever they want to, and aren’t resisting unwanted thoughts all the time. I asked a friend of mine if she had ever tried to stop a thought, and she said she had never tried to stop one thought in her entire life. She acknowledged that she worried about things sometimes, but these thoughts were not resisted as unwanted or alien intrusions.
I asked another friend whether she resisted or tried to stop her thoughts, and she told me that she never did. She said sometimes she gets unwanted memories or thinks about stuff she doesn’t really want to think about, but she doesn’t try to stop the thoughts.
Before I had OCD real bad, did I try to stop thoughts? Not much, but I did have obsessions from time to time.
The first one that I remember was when I was 12 years old. I was in Sunday school and they told us that God can hear every single one of your thoughts. Well, that set my mind off. Mind started saying, “Fuck God! Fuck you, God!” over and over. This went on for 10-15 minutes while I panicked and tried to stop the thoughts. They didn’t return that I am aware of.
The next one that I am aware of was about the garbage grinder. Not sure when it started, but I would get very strong urges to stick my hand down in the garbage grinder when it was going. That would be a catastrophe if I did that, so of course I never did it. For a while, I even stuck my hand in my back pocket while the grinder was going to keep from doing it.
I also had some gay thoughts, but those were obsessions and not real feelings.
They started around 1979. I would be sitting there talking to some guy, just him and me together, and all of sudden I would think, “I want to suck your cock!” That thought would just repeat over and over for 30 minutes to an hour. I would try to stop it, but I couldn’t. I seemed to able to carry on the conversations anyway, though it was annoying. I’ve always been heterosexual, so the thoughts didn’t make any kind of sense. They were not accompanied by any erotic feelings or anything like that.
One time I was interviewing a very famous rock star in a record company office in Hollywood when the gay thoughts started up. They went through the whole interview, but he was nice enough anyway. I still got good notes. He just died the other day.
One time when I heard about Hinckley, the guy who shot Reagan, and that he was in love with Jody Foster, my mind said, “I’m in love with Jody Foster!” I thought, “Whoa! Weird thought, man,” and I just dismissed it. I later mentioned this to my father and pointed out that just thinking something like that doesn’t mean you’re insane, but he just glowered at me and shook his head contemptuously. I guess he thought I was nuts.
Another time I was reading about the Lawrence Bittaker and Roy Norris case, a truly horrific case of serial murders that rocked Los Angeles in 1979 and 1980. They tortured one woman to death by stabbing her in the ear with an icepick. When I read that, I got an image of the stabbing with the icepick going into her ear repeatedly while she screamed. Every time the pick went in, my mind said, “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!”
It was extremely disturbing to have those thoughts, but they only lasted a short time, maybe less than a minute. I was panicking out and furiously trying to stop them the whole time. They didn’t come back, but for a long time afterwards, I was really worried about myself even for thinking that way for 30 seconds one time.
All of the above are more or less OCD symptoms, or obsessions. Science has proven that ~80% of humans have obsessions at one time or another, so in a sense they are normal. But I don’t think it’s normal to fight them for an hour or so at a time.  On the other hand, if OCD symptoms are mild, only going on for maybe 3 hours or less out of a whole year, there’s not a whole lot to worry about.
There were other times when I just felt uncomfortable, but that didn’t feel like OCD. It just felt like a crappy feeling that I wanted to get away from.
For a while there, I was hanging around with people made me uncomfortable because they were ignorant and not that smart. At the time, I was in college. It was annoying to hang around with these people, who struck me as idiots, so I would get uncomfortable a lot of time when we were hanging out. They would come over to my place and put the latest retard Hollywood blockbuster on the VCR and sit there and laugh and cheer while I put my head in my hands.
Another time I was on a date with this 16 year old girl who was wildly in love with me. I was 20 at the time, but I used to screw all kinds of underage girls back in those days. I stopped when I was 21.
The first date was ok, but she was so stupid and idiotic teenage girl girlie that I was almost cringing. We had sex anyway, and it was lots of fun. She was horny as all get out. We planned a date for the next weekend, and that week, I was a wreck.
My friend was over visiting me at my place, and he asked me what was going on, and I said I had a date with girl, and I didn’t even like her. He was outraged. “You’re going out with a chick and you don’t even like her! You’re an asshole!” He shrieked. I felt horrible, like the worst person on Earth, crushed with guilt.
Well, the hottie was even hornier before the second date, so I figured, “Why not, let’s get laid. What the Hell man?” I went out with her, and I felt so uncomfortable, I was almost squirming the whole time.
We tried to have sex, but I had an impotence problem, which made me feel really awful. I relaxed more and an hour or so later, we tried it again, and this time it worked and we had wild sex. But I was still really uncomfortable with her. I am not sure if I was trying to get outside that feeling or what, but I was just stuck with it, and it didn’t feel good. I wanted to fake it with this chick, but my body was just saying,  “No way, dude.”
I dropped her off at her place, and she said her parents were going out of town in a couple of weeks, and she wanted me to come over every time so we could fuck constantly. I was like, “Oh my God. No way can I do this.”
I saw her later, and I dumped her just like that. Her face melted right in front of me, and she burst into a vale of tears like a little girl, then she ran inside her house really fast, like a little girl once again. I stood there feeling like the worst scum on the face of the Earth, just devastated with guilt.
Later she told all her friends about me, and some of her teenage friends saw me one time. They came up to me and said, “We heard about what you did. You fucked her and dumped her! You’re an asshole!” I felt like a sack of worms once again.
Later I was with a friend at some park fair, and she was at a booth. I gingerly walked up to the booth, greeted her apologetically, and maybe bought something. She was pleasant enough. I walked away, and her two teenage girl friends were all over my ex girlfriend, swarming their lips in her ears the way girls do. She was apparently telling them, “Hey, I fucked that guy!” Her friends looked at me like I was a Fillet Mignon.
Another time we were on a bus going to Colorado. We had a keg on the bus and we were getting wasted. Most of us were totaled, and some of us were stoned on weed from a bong. The driver was laughing about the keg, but he was mad about the bong.
This girl was in the lap of this total idiot, and he was doing much about it. I looked at her and worked my magic. Her eyes saw me and went to Heaven. I reached my hand out and she reached out hers, and I pulled her away from the idiot. She was happy to be rescued, a damsel in distress.
We had a hot and wild messing around session for while, and we even had some weird kind of sex, or as much sex as you can have on a bus seat in a bus full of people. My friend came by and saw us messing around. He leaned over, the chick left me, and then he and her made out for a while, him leaning over her while she was in my lap. Weird and almost group sex but not quite.
I woke up the next morning with a hangover, and I looked at her and I thought, “Damn! She sure looked better last night when I was totaled!” She looked like Hell. I went back to a couple of seats where a couple other chicks, friends of mine, were sitting, squeezed in between them and smoked some weed.
Then I went back and felt more and more uncomfortable. I could not wait to get away from this chick. We stopped for breakfast, and she went off with her giggling friends in a whispering gaggle as her friends pointed at me. Some idiot “friend” of mine said accusatorily, “You blew it! You got involved too early in the trip!” I felt crushed. A couple I was friends with came up to me and basically said, “Good score!”
We went back on the bus, and I got more and more uncomfortable. I did not want to be with this chick! Finally, she read the writing and moved to another seat, and it was all over.
So sometimes we struggle with our feelings for this or that reason, but that isn’t the same thing as resisting an unwanted thought, feeling or urge that you get in OCD.
Qualitatively, it’s completely different. I can’t put it into words, but it’s like the two experiences are from different planets.
Bottom line is I just do not believe that normal folks go around struggling with unwanted thoughts, feelings and urges all the time. It’s just ridiculous.

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25 thoughts on “Do People Without OCD Ever Try to Stop Their Thoughts?”

  1. I recently became religious (about 1-2 years ago) and ever since last year I’ve had bad thoughts intruding in my mind: thoughts such as what you have said, the cussing out of God. Sometimes I even have very disturbing thoughts, such as obscene thoughts that involve religion and even religious icons, which are the worst type of bad thoughts I have had. I do admit I used to be a pervert, but have gotten much better (aka much less sexually perverted). I always ask for forgiveness or tell myself to stop when I have bad thoughts against my religion, I do not know if I am OCD… well I am a bit I guess. But, I never know why I have these annoying and blasphemous thoughts, I am glad I see that it may be more common than I thought.

    1. How old are you, if you don’t mind my asking? I used to experience that when I was younger.
      I think it shows there’s a problem with the personified concept of God and the structure of theistic religious feeling. In religions like Buddhism and Taoism it’s a stated goal to get beyond dualism of subject and object, God and the individual soul, sacred and profane. That’s because their goal is liberation, not enslavement to concepts. I think Christian mysticism can work, but that religion has a built-in stumbling block in in the form of extreme conceptual and affective dualism.

  2. Robert, i really appreciate your explorations and willingness to probe uncomfortable subjects. you’re a strange, good, imperfect prince of a dude, and in my opinion you are doing what i think is our highest calling.

  3. Robert
    Everytime I look at a woman, I get thoughts about laying her on my lap and spanking her. This is magnified with women wearing professional clothing. I also have random thoughts on the different ways I can screw over someone I don’t like professionally. But then, sanity prevails and I’m able to reason it out.
    Is it hereditary? Possible. Could be my mother’s genes. My dad is too straight for all that and so is my brother. My mom can be a bit vicious in ingenious ways if provoked sufficiently. I inherited that part.
    You may believe it or not: there could be an astrological correlation (Indian astrology) between the wavering mind and the position of planets (especially the north lunar node called “Rahu” which is depicted as a serpent) in different houses. It explains my condition to a minor degree but obviously is not entirely reliable for consistent explanations or predictions.

      1. Its as if the thoughts possess me. I open up another line of thought after another and it goes on: sometimes for an hour or so. I have given up on stopping these thoughts and I get some weird pleasure from them too. Thankfully, I realize the importance of a paycheck more than living out my fantasies of spanking each woman that I see so that is what breaks the whole thing up during daytime. Being in a social environment also helps so I spend more time at bars with colleagues or friends than alone at home.

  4. The spanking ones, definitely. However, I still harbor vicious thoughts against some of my colleagues but reason those out of my system quickly. But I can only repel, I cannot completely wipe out and exterminate those thoughts. They come back next time, I reason them out of my brain the next time. See? It is a constant fight coupled with pleasure.

    1. Oh I often think vicious things about people I hate. I never try to stop them, not even once, not ever. Why would I? I enjoy thinking such things. If I don’t want to think them, I don’t think them. If I do, I do. It is a matter of choice.

        1. Hmmm. One time I put a baseball bat through a guy’s door. I had plotted it out for some time beforehand. Another time I pulled a knife on someone who was menacing me all the time. I had fantasized about that too.
          I have had a ton of such thoughts about physical attacks and even murder on people I hated, and I never acted on even of them, ever. I pretty much knew I was not going to carry them out, so it was no big deal, just fun violent thoughts eh?

  5. Wow. At least you are not carrying them out which means that you have self control. I’ve heard that yoga is a good remedy for thoughts like that but it was too boring for me and could never master it.
    I was more violent during my days in New Delhi. Once during my teenage years, I banged a classmate’s head on the ground repeatedly because he fouled me pretty bad at a soccer game. I had been waiting to hurt him for a while then. He was bleeding pretty bad. I liked that. I’m much more mellow now.

  6. Is music a thought, Robert? Sometimes I get what are called, ‘ear worms,’ wherein I will continuously experience the repetition of a short phrase from a piece I know much too well. It can last a week, and get quite annoying. I try to stop it by will power, but that doesn’t work. For this reason there are some pieces of music I try hard to avoid. Usually the ear worm fades away, but even writing about it here gives me the willies, lest I recall one of those musical phrases. Shheeezus, I’m out of here. Good Luck.

  7. Not so much interested in the OCD aspect but you sure had an eventful life in your youth, Rob!

  8. I have had simuliar experiences , and constant unwanted thoughts. I have found thought the years that they are spiritual ( psychological attacks against truth) in nature. I do have slight OCD, as well as ADD, but labels are only that, in my opinion. Those of us who are analytical in nature , have a gift of deep creative thought. The secret is to find a way to use it for good. If you starve the negative thoughts, better ones will fill the space. Like a vacuume. This works the opposite also. If you fill your mind space with negative bad thoughts, there is no room for the good.

  9. If you are trying to control a habit, such as smoking, eating, surfing the internet, watching TV, or whatever, you have to try to control the thoughts and impulses that follow from the habit. For example, you think, “Turn on the TV, let’s see what’s on….” and you push that away because you are trying to reduce your tube time, let’s say. Like trying to stop thinking about a recent ex-boyfriend or girlfriend or that person you have a crush on…. I think that is normal. (Right?)
    So OCD thoughts are then thoughts that intrude into your normal life and are not associated with it and that seem to you a problem? The difference might be that the thoughts seem to have lives of their own and don’t even really come from your normal mind?

    1. That’s different. In that case, you think, “Come on, don’t think about her. Think about something else.” You just try to shift your thoughts over to something else instead. I don’t have a lot of expertise in addictions because I am not an addictive type, but if I saw a line of coke right now, a part of me would say, “Sniff it!” but another part would say, “No, don’t do that!” But that would not really be trying to stop a thought. I don’t have a lot of real life type thoughts that I try to stop all the time. If I want to think about something, I think about it. If not, I don’t.
      OCD is completely different. OCD is like, “GET THIS THOUGHT OUT OF MY HEAD!!! AHHHHHHHH!” It’s like that.

  10. It is very apparent that Robert Lindsay is a racist. The ancient Egyptians were not black, but neither were the ancient Nubians. Every
    group except for one are different shades of brown. Caucasians are the only group that aren’t a shade of brown because they simply lack hue. He pointed out that modern Egyptians are 91% Caucasian. But, he won’t say that the 9% are part of the ones who didn’t flee after the many invasions in the latter years following the 18th and 19th Dynasties’. I’m sure Mr. Lindsey know where the term caucasian originated from. Some Africans walked out of East Africa many millennia ago and settled in the Caucasus Mountains and the vast area that surrounds them. This is where the term caucasian originated. And this is probably when they lost their hue and their physical appearance changed over the many years because of the different geography. The one thing that rules out the ancient Egyptians as being Caucasians is circumcision. Nowhere did Caucasians practice circumcision. The ancient Egyptians did, so did other Africans. The ancient Hebrews and Arabs did after Abraham was circumcised, at least 2000 years after the ancient Egyptians practiced it. The Greeks didn’t the Romans didn’t. There are physical characteristics of the royal Egyptians that can’t be mistaken for those of a Caucasian. Amenhotep III had lips that no Caucasian can claim, so did Amenhotep IV(Akhenaten) So did his 6 daughters and Tutankhamun whom is believed to have been Akhenaten’s son by a woman other than his wife, Queen Nefertiti. Tutankhamun had very large eyes which is not a characteristic of a Caucasian male. Even if we go back to the IV Dynasty and King Chephren(Khafre) , the Great Sphinx of Giza and it is not one of a Caucasian. As a matter of fact I have three books on ancient Egypt. Two are of ancient Egyptian Art and the other is a timeline of ancient Egyptian History. What I did was, I took images in the books and enlarge some of them as much as 800% and it is clear that the enlarged images weren’t those of Caucasians. King Ramesses II one of the most prolific builders if not the greatest in ancient Egyptian history is a prime example. He was king for almost 67 years and produced almost 100 offsprings. He is said to be the pharaoh during the time of the Exodus out of Egypt by the ancient Hebrews. But his many statues show a man with prominent features which can’t be mistaken as those of a Caucasian. If “a picture is worth a thousand words” then the ancient Egyptians wrote or spoke in great volume. And the Amarna Period of Akhenaten put an explanation point on how he portrayed himself and his family. This to the point out that those who claim that the ancient Egptians were Caucasians would say hell no the ancient Egyptian were not Caucasians. The greatest bit of irony is that the ancient Hebrews of the the Bible who have a great written history do not compare to the art history of the ancient Egyptians. We can only speculate on how Noah, Abraham, Moses and Jesus looked but we have a great idea how some of their Egyptian contemporaries looked. But we really know how the ancient Hebrews looked we just don’t want the world to know. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses and Jesus all spend time in Egypt to avoid persecution, death, were sold or given up, were students of the Egyptian ways or to avoid drought. They fit into Egyptian society until they were exposed in one way or another. And all except Joseph fled. They felt comfortable because they had physical characteristics similar to those of the Egyptians. How could anyone explain how Moses lived in the house of Pharaoh for forty years when he was a Hebrew Levite? Joseph attained great status in Egypt. Whenever a
    racist of even an Egyptologist say that the ancient Egyptians were caucasians I take with a grain of salt.

  11. Hey Mr. Lindsay,
    I’m studying at a University and have learned that lack of Serotonin 1B receptors maybe responsible for OCD. Also, you definitely seem brave and I was wondering if you have tried out a therapist from the international obsesive compulsive behavior foundation if you are still struggling this could help you. Also, about pure o with a pedophile theme you do a really great job of writing how to identify pocd versus pedophilia and I would ask if you would write a more thorough article about recovery. About the apparent arousal for some people a study conducted in New York reported 40 percent of people diagnosed with POCD and not pedophilia reported feeling signs of arousal. Thanks,
    tm1993

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