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Disturbing Thoughts

Disturbing Thoughts

Teen: Dear Dr. Expert,

I think I'm going crazy! I keep having disturbing thoughts pop into my head. I'm so embarrassed and ashamed! I look at a boy at school, and then all of a sudden I see myself kissing him and then I worry that I'm gay! I also have thoughts of picking up a knife and stabbing my mother! I'll just be listening to music and then all of a sudden I have these horrific violent thoughts pop in my head. Now I don't want to go in the kitchen if my mom is in there, just in case I snap. What's happening to me? Am I going crazy?

Loony in Langley
Dr. Expert: Dear Loony in Langley,

First of all, you are not loony! It sounds like you're having obsessions. Obsessions are unwanted and upsetting thoughts, images, or urges to do things. We all have some intrusive and disturbing thoughts once in a while. But just because you think something doesn't mean it's true or that you're going to act on it.

It may help to think of these thoughts as brain spam or junk mail. The more you fight them, the more these distressing thoughts will return. So when they pop up, instead of running from them or analyzing them, gently remind yourself that they are just thoughts and let them come and go. Don't attach any meaning to them; just file them in your spam folder. Good luck!

Learn more about strategies to address obsessional thoughts.