My therapist thinks they’re the same thing, but I don’t agree. Intrusive thoughts are negative. Obsessive thoughts don’t have to be.
To get down to it, intrusive thoughts are ones that come like “I wonder what would happen if I drove off of this bridge” or “I could totally slit my wrist right now.” They’re the thoughts that make you stop and think what the fuck, brain? I get these more frequently than I’d like to admit. But that’s what this blog is for, isn’t it? To admit to all of the cracked out things my brain puts me through?
Anyway, my therapist claims that everyone gets these, and I will submit that that’s probably correct, but my dark bipolar brain takes things to a whole new level. It’s not so much what if I slit my wrist, but more of “if I take this razor blade and start scraping away the skin, how far can I dissect my wrist, avoiding tendons, arteries, veins, etc. before I either pass out or die.” Down to the point where I can picture what my wrist would look like, skin gone, and down to base anatomy. I dream about this image. It pops up randomly during the week. I need to stress something – I have no intention of actually doing this. The thought makes my stomach turn. But, there it is. At least once a week.
The driving off a bridge thought – it isn’t just a random thought. I can see my car going through the barrier, in midair, hitting the water. I can see the car filling with water. I can see myself injured and drowning. Or it can go another way – the car hits the barrier and doesn’t go through. The airbags go off, my neck breaks.
I asked my husband, and he says he gets these thoughts occasionally, but not nearly in the amount of detail that I do. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just because my brain is really such a dark and vivid place. I don’t know what to think. People keep claiming this is normal, but some of these thoughts and images are scary as hell.
Ok, obsessive thoughts. In my opinion these don’t have to necessarily be negative. They can be positive, or even just totally innocuous. Things like music – spending time curating the “perfect” playlist. Or… Ok, now that I’m thinking about it I have nothing that could really be positive or even neutral. Sometimes though I latch onto an idea, or a thing, or even a person. My mind runs through a thousand scenarios, I research things to no end, I’ll have ten tabs on my phone’s browser opened to different variations of the same thing. I read into things more than I should. Not in the the universe has a special message for me, kind of way, but just… I don’t know how to explain it.
Now that I’m putting this all down, this is starting to sound a little like mania.
Son of a bitch.
This actually leads well into the next topic.
So the change from winter to spring, and the change from summer to fall tend to be rough times for me. I rapid cycle between mild depression and what I call baby hypomania day to day, sometimes from one to the other in the course of the day. My shrink and therapist both know this, and I generally just have to ride it out unless things progress from mild into the Houston we have a problem territory.
I see my shrink next week. I think we’re going to have a lot to talk about.
There are times that I wish I could be neurotypical. This is definitely one of those times.