Recently someone who I consider a friend had some rather unfortunate things to say about me, including that I’m narcissistic. This, I do not believe to be true. Not even a little. Nevertheless, this particular insult echoed inside my brain over and over until I was sure it was stabbing the inside of my head with heated spikes.
I couldn’t let it go.
I tried, really I did. I told myself it’s not about me. It’s just one person’s opinion at one moment. It isn’t true. And so on, and so forth. But my brain had a death-grip on the insult and refused to let it slip.
So what do you do when you’re obsessive, bipolar brain turns to thoughts of crazy?
Thoughts of Crazy
The reason why this was such a crazy thing for me is because I know, with every fibre of my being, that it isn’t true. And yet I couldn’t get past it. And the more I knew it wasn’t true and the more I knew I couldn’t get passed it the more obsessed my brain seemed to become with it. Narcissistic, narcissistic, narcissistic, it would chant in the background as I watched TV. Narcissistic, narcissistic, narcissistic, it would chant as I made cheese soufflés. Narcissistic, narcissistic, narcissistic, it would chant as I tried to write articles for clients.
Stupid, crazy, obsessive brain. Drives me bonkers.
And Then She Apologized
And then the person in question apologized for her remarks. She had her reasons for saying them and I accept her apology, of course. But still the word chants in the back of my mind. It’s quieter now, but it’s still there. Now it’s saying, sure she apologized but she really meant it when she said it which must mean it’s really true.
Did I mention that’s a nutbar train of thought? Well it is. I know it. My brain knows it. We all know it. But there it is, happening anyway.
Letting Go of Obsessive Thoughts
So somehow I have to consciously work on moving that thought out of my consciousness. It’s sort of like telling someone not to think of pink elephants. As soon as you say it, you can’t think of anything but pink elephants.
So obsessive thoughts are quite the pain.
I recommend deep breathing, self-talk, thought-stopping and thought-switching. These are techniques therapist can teach you if you’re not familiar with them. But basically when the thought appears, take a deep breathing, consciously remind yourself the thought is not rational and purposefully think of something else. (Like pink elephants, maybe.)
It works. To some extent. But the only thing I really know that works is time. Over time the obsessive thoughts fade. Of course, they’re usually replaced with other obsessive thoughts. But one pink elephant at a time.