Do You Have Wild Thoughts?

Posted by | September 11, 2021 | Human Thinking and Behavior | No Comments

Individuals who have obsessive-compulsive disorder often have wild thoughts. They may think that they ran over someone and feel a compulsion to go back to check. 

Or they may think that they will shout out a curse word in the middle of a church service. Or that they have been contaminated by germs.

These thoughts distress the person and often lead to ritual behaviour to undo or counteract what they fear.

Psychotic individuals also have wild thoughts. They may think the devil is chasing them or that their thoughts are being broadcast. These wild thoughts often lead to misery or to maladaptive behaviour. The person may not be able to function.

I have wild thoughts, but only rarely.

One wild thought I had occurred the day I returned to work after staying home a few months to care for my newborn child. As I walked, I heard a baby cry, but when I looked around there was no baby, no house, nothing.

A wild thought I had while at the dentist sticks in my mind. I imagined that while in the dental chair I had an instance of flatulence. The distinguished looking dentist said “For the love of God!” Then he and his assistant hustled out of the room. Remembering that thought always leads me to laugh.

Another wild thought I had occurred when I temporarily served as an administrator. In my imagination, I attended a committee meeting of academics and said, “I am not sure why I am attending this meeting. I suppose it’s to keep an eye on you monkeys.” The absurdity of my saying that at a university breaks me up whenever I think of it.

The difference between my wild thoughts and those of individuals with psychological disorders is that my thoughts do not drag me down psychologically. Still, my wild thoughts do suggest that I am not always normal.

A friend of mine who deals with the public sometimes has thoughts about pummelling customers who insult him or interfere with his work. So far, the pummelling has remained only in the realm of thoughts.

What leads to wild thoughts?

I reckon that underlying many of our wild thoughts are strong, often momentary, negative emotions. I feared my baby needed me when I was gone. So the sound of the wind became a baby’s cry.

Think about your wild thoughts. Can you identify an underlying emotion?


Photo by Ronan Furuta on Unsplash

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