Obsessive thoughts that I’m going to do something bad — Scope | Disability forum
New to the community? Remember to read our community guidelines and our community house rules.
Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Find out how to let us know.

Obsessive thoughts that I’m going to do something bad

66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,585 Disability Gamechanger
For my whole life I have had constant worries regarding taking some action that I don’t want to take. This is hard to explain so I will give a few examples…

- While driving, I get worries that I’m going to crash the car on purpose.

- While cutting food with a knife, the worry is that I’m going to harm myself or attack someone else with the knife I’m using.

- While in a group of people where I’m not expected to speak, i.e. a wedding/funeral or a meeting, I’m worried that I am going to shout out.

- It can also be something very minor like if I’ve made myself a nice cup of tea and sat down, I’m worried I’m going to tip the tea over.

Basically I’m worried about being capable of doing anything “bad” be it inconvenient, dangerous, unacceptable etc. and obsessed with the idea that I am capable of acting on these thoughts. I don’t want to act on the thoughts but have a kind of urge to.

I can and have acted on these thoughts in the past but not for several years now. When I do act, the action is NOT a Tourette’s like action where I don’t know I’m doing it. The best way I can describe it is “accidentally on purpose” - I know I’m doing it but I don’t want to be doing it.

Another way I can explain the issue is: if I had a button put in front of me and was told it did nothing and I could press if it I wanted to, I could just ignore it; but if I was told not to press it, I’d worry about pressing it.

If anyone knows anything about this “condition” I’d appreciate it very much. If you have any “leads” at all to anything that could possibly be of interest or help, however minor, I’d be extremely grateful.

This probably doesn’t sound like much but it affects every part of my life and stops me doing anything from work to socialising to simply looking after myself. I would give almost anything for it to go away or, at this point, just to know what the issue is and know what I am dealing with! I have consulted with dozens of professionals and none of them seem to have met this exact issue before, similar things but not the exact problem.

Apologies if you’ve read this before. I make this thread every so often in the hope that anyone has any ideas at all.



  • euro
    euro Member Posts: 53 Courageous
    Hi @66Mustang.  I have had  similar (the same?) experiences.  Mine have related to falling, driving through a motorway's central reservation or into oncoming traffic, dropping heavy or sharp objects onto my feet - just to name a few! Often, I find myself mentally rehearsing how the action might look more 'accidental' than 'on purpose' and I have acted on the impulse more than once and been very aware I was doing so.

    I lke how you decribe it as 'accidentally on purpose - it describes how I feel about it, but I would not have found the words to rxpress it myself. 

    I have never raised this with a GP or MHP (nor anyone else for that matter - I think I feel the need to maintain my 'accidental' defense).  I can't comment on professionals' lack of understanding in this area, or how justified that might be.  But, I can assure you that it's not only you - there's at least two of us :) and you have prompted me to look into it.

    Watch this space - I'll share whatever I find, even if it's limited or completely lacking.
  • leeCal
    leeCal Member Posts: 4,242 Disability Gamechanger
    I’d be looking under general anxiety disorders if I had such obsessive thoughts more often than I do. I also have a fear of hurting another person though I never have nor intend to do so.
  • euro
    euro Member Posts: 53 Courageous
    leeCal said:
    I’d be looking under general anxiety disorders if I had such obsessive thoughts more often than I do. I also have a fear of hurting another person though I never have nor intend to do so.
    I think you could be on to something there @leeCal.

    @66Mustang - does this article come close to describing your experience?

  • woodbine
    woodbine Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,285 Disability Gamechanger
    @66Mustang I have no words of wisdom to offer on this one, is it a form of OCD if so our daughter had that in her teens and her GP and consultant came up with meds that helped massively.
    I am a person with epilepsy not an epileptic, my illness doesn't define me.
  • Sandy_123
    Sandy_123 Member Posts: 1,981 Pioneering
    Hi @66Mustang hope your OK,   has your gp come up with any suggestions? 
  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 4,955

    Scope community team

    Hi @66Mustang

    Thanks for posting and speaking so honestly about how you feel, I do recall you talking about this in the past on the community and I'm sorry that the professionals you have spoken to haven't been able to come up with any answers as yet. I would encourage you to keep accessing your GP if these feelings / impulses continue to concern you, or if you feel as though they are getting harder to manage. 

    At the moment, do you feel as though you are in control of the urges enough that you don't feel at risk of doing any of the things you detail in your post? I appreciate this may be hard to answer and how you feel could differ, so apologies for that if so. Do you have any kind of coping techniques that you utilise whenever you are in one of those situations and feel the intrusive thoughts?

    Hi @euro

    Thank you too for speaking about your experience here, and I hope your reply has been useful for the OP. have you ever considered speaking with your GP about your impulsive thoughts? Do you have coping techniques of your own in place at the minute to manage those thoughts when they occur?

    If yourself or the OP do ever want to speak to us away from the community for whatever reason, then our inbox is always open, or if you'd like us to perhaps look into what local support you could access then we'd be more than happy to chat.
    Online Community Coordinator

    Concerned about another member's safety or wellbeing? Flag your concerns with us.

    Talk to our chatbot and give us feedback on the community.
  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,585 Disability Gamechanger
    edited October 12
    Thanks everyone very much for the responses.

    @euro I’m glad (but also sorry to hear) that I’m not the only one with these thoughts. I get your concern about sharing with professionals but I think it’s the best thing to do. I have personally shared with several professionals, using the driving/knife examples, and not one of them has told me not to drive or use knives so I guess they are relatively confident I’m not going to act? That article does seem to sum up some of the thoughts that I get, thanks a lot for sharing that. 

    @leeCal I will explore that, thanks for the suggestion. I’m sorry to hear you have similar fears about harming people.

    @woodbine I do have OCD as well so perhaps it is related? I’m may actually be trying some new medication for the OCD soon so we will see what that does and if it affects the thoughts at the same time. I have tried all sorts of psychology including CBT and mindfulness to no avail (though they did help with other issues) so I suspect that medicine may be the way forward

    @Sandy_123 thank you for the kind wishes, I am actually waiting to hear from my GP today for a number of physical and mental issues so will report back if they have to say anything r.e. the thoughts.

    @Ross_Scope thanks for the post. Yes I am persisting with getting support and help and will continue to do so. I think maybe some of them are getting bored of seeing me by this point :D I can’t say for sure I’m not going to act on the thoughts but can say for certain that I don’t want to and have no intention to. I haven’t acted on the thoughts for over a decade now, they are just psychologically very tormenting and it sometimes takes a lot of effort not to act on them. 
  • euro
    euro Member Posts: 53 Courageous
    @Ross_Scope I have thought about discussing this with my GP but it takes me so much effort (and quite some torment) to pick up the phone and call them.  By the time I do, there are often multiple (seemingly) more pressing matters to address and I have to chose the single most urgent amongst them. I am frequently reminded by the lovely gatekeepers that I can only ducuss one issue per appointment and my OCD (if that's what it is) and a number of other ailments never seem to reach the top of the list.

    The only coping mechanism I really use is distraction, though that can look quite different, depending on what's hijacked my thoughts.  They are not always the healthiest alternatives so I won't go into detail, but I am (finally - yeah!!!) starting a 6 month course of DBT in November which should help me find better ways to cope with this too.
  • ellieflower3
    ellieflower3 Member Posts: 173 Courageous
    how are you today? doing better then when posted this?
    Lilly Josh  <3
  • euro
    euro Member Posts: 53 Courageous
    @66Mustang you seem more positive about finding some answers - I hope that's the case.

    Thank you for being so open about this.  You encouraged me to disclose my experience for the first time which has been quite liberating.  I know you reached out for answers to your problem, but I feel you have helped me identify (one of) mine and just being able to name it is a great relief.  Thank you  :)
  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,585 Disability Gamechanger
    @ellieflower3 thanks I am doing well today, the thoughts are actually not that loud at the moment which prompted me to make the post - when they are worse I actually find it harder to talk about the problem

    @euro I’m glad you felt able to disclose the problem. I will be sure to let you know if I find out anything. I hope the DBT helps.

    As an aside, I don’t know exactly what unhealthy distractions you mean but can take a guess - I have used some of my own and I won’t deny: they do help, otherwise we wouldn’t use them, would we? That said I have managed to come off of that now and my issues haven’t become any worse since stopping. I won’t lie - they haven’t gotten any better either - but I must be physically more healthy so that has to be positive.


Do you need advice on your energy costs?

Scope’s Disability Energy Support service is open to any disabled household in England or Wales in which one or more disabled people live. You can get free advice from an expert adviser on managing energy debt, switching tariffs, contacting your supplier and more. Find out more information by visiting our
Disability Energy Support webpage.

Fancy a chat in our virtual coffee lounge?

Put the kettle on and have a chat in our coffee lounge with other members. We talk about hobbies, games and anything else you can think of!

Cerebral Palsy (CP) Online Cafe

Here's a new opportunity for people with CP or a similar disability (aged 20+) to get together and chat. The sessions are in partnership with CP Sport so you can find out more and meet people from both organisations.

Are you struggling?

Read our 'Coping with stress, low mood and isolation' support thread for a run-down of ideas on how to banish those blues and feel happier.

What do you think about the community?

Complete our feedback form and tell us how we can make the community a better space for you.

Information about COVID-19

If you have questions about the virus, please read our information and support which includes guidance on benefits, getting food and essentials and Cerebral Palsy.

Back to school this September?

Read tips on how to settle back in and handle any worries you or your children might be having this new term.