What does it mean if I get the urge to gouge my eyes out or jump out the window?
What does it mean if i get the urge to gouge my eyes out or jump out the window?
Hi there and thank you for contacting Ask Alex!
You are asking us about the meaning behind having an urge to gouge your eyes out or jump out a window. Thank you for sharing those worries with us, we know it doesn’t come easy to take a step forward and ask for help.
It seems like you may be experiencing what is known as Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts. These are stuck thoughts that can cause great distress. They seem to come from out of nowhere, arrive with a whoosh, and cause a great deal of anxiety. The content of unwanted intrusive thoughts often focuses on sexual or violent or socially unacceptable images and ideas. People who experience unwanted intrusive thoughts are afraid that they might commit the acts they picture in their mind. They also fear that the thoughts mean something terrible about them. Some unwanted intrusive thoughts consist of repetitive doubts about relationships, decisions small and large, sexual orientation or identity, intrusions of thoughts about safety, religion, death or worries about questions that cannot be answered with certainty. Some are just weird thoughts that make no apparent sense. Unwanted Intrusive thoughts can be very explicit, and many people are ashamed and worried about them, and therefore keep them secret.
There are many myths about unwanted intrusive thoughts. One of the most distressing is that having such thoughts mean that you unconsciously want to do the things that come into your mind. This is simply not true, and, in fact, the opposite is true. Paradoxically, it is the very effort people use to fight the thought that makes the thought stick and fuels its return. People fight thoughts because the content seems alien, unacceptable, and at odds with who they are. So, people with violent unwanted intrusive thoughts are gentle people. People who have unwanted intrusive thoughts about suicide love life and those who have thoughts of yelling blasphemies in church value their religious life. A second myth is that every thought we have is worth examining. In truth, these thoughts are not messages, red flags, signals or warnings–despite how they feel and as mentioned before, focusing on them and giving them too much mental and emotional energy can actually fuel these types of thoughts.
Unwanted intrusive thoughts are reinforced by getting entangled in them, worrying about them, struggling against them, trying to reason them away. They are also made stronger by trying to avoid them. Leave the thoughts alone, treat them as if they are not even interesting, and they will eventually fade into the background.
Here are steps for changing your attitude and overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts:
- Label these thoughts as “intrusive thoughts.”
- Remind yourself that these thoughts are automatic and not up to you.
- Accept and allow the thoughts into your mind. Do not try to push them away.
- Float, and practice allowing time to pass.
- Remember that less is more. Pause. Give yourself time. There is no urgency.
- Expect the thoughts to come back again.
- Continue whatever you were doing prior to the intrusive thought while allowing the anxiety to be present.
This can be challenging to deal with by yourself, so sharing with your loved ones is a very important move to make; they can help you out finding a mental health professional if need be so you can work on the anxiety that is triggering these Intrusive Thoughts.
If you need to talk to someone about this, know that Childline is here to listen to you at any time that you need a listening ear. We can be reached through the free number 1800 666 666 or by using the live chat on our website: www.childline.ie.
You may find this mindful meditation useful too as it’s all about letting thoughts go, about noticing thoughts without fusing or attaching to them: Leaves on a Stream Meditation.
We hope this answers your question! Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you need to. We will be happy to support you!