Lunchtime Poll

Lunchtime Poll: Intrusive Thoughts

Earlier this month, our friend Natalie Dee did a few comics about intrusive thoughts, and I spent more time than is probably appropriate thinking about Natalie’s apparent anxiety and how I don’t have intrusive thoughts about ridiculous fears. Until I had an epiphany the other day at the bathroom sink.I keep a pair of nail scissors on the top shelf of the medicine cabinet. It’s too high for me to see up there, and I also keep various creams and whatnot on that shelf that typically sit on top of the nail scissors. The other morning as I was grabbing one of said creams of the shelf I had the same vision I have every day, in which the bottle knocks the nail scissors off the shelf directly into my eye, blinding me. I have to say, I was a little delighted. I DO have intrusive thoughts about ridiculous scenarios. And not only that, I have the same one every day. I know Natalie Dee and I are not alone, so tell me yours for today’s LTP.


Cartoon drawing of a stick figure woman saying to a stick figure man who is offering her a pencil, "Actually I would prefer to borrow a crayon or something if you have one."  Woman's thought bubble is an image of herself with a pencil jammed in her eye and blood running down.
Like this, but with nail scissors




Image Credit: Natalie Dee

By Luci Furious

There are no bad times, only good stories.

25 replies on “Lunchtime Poll: Intrusive Thoughts”

When I was 13 or so, my best friend’s mother was driving us somewhere and she was telling us how someone told her that tractor trailer tires will just come flying off sideways if you’re driving next to one, and she was telling us as this, like, “Oh, people are so silly to believe these things!” and now, 20 years later, guess who still has to speed past tractor trailers for fear of flying tires?

I do this all the time about lots of different things, but the most recent is thinking something bad is going to happen in or around my building’s slow and unreliable elevator. For this, I blame both my mom’s description of her recurring elevator nightmares, and a particularly horrifying episode of Six Feet Under.

My most common intrusive thoughts are that I will put my hand down on a hot stovetop burner while I’m cooking, or that my kids will trip while walking with a pencil and put out an eye. For some reason, I don’t worry about myself tripping with a pencil, just the kids.

Every time I use a q-tip [to do that thing we aren’t supposed to use q-tips for but everyone does anyway – clean their ears], I have the thought/fear that there might be a violent earthquake and I might accidentally jam the q-tip way into my ear and break my ear drum.  Every time.

Mine tends to be swerving off the road while driving. …Just one little turn and the car goes into the woods, off the edge or into a ditch.

Don’t know why, I just have that flash of an image come through my head sometimes.

And then I tell myself to live (live!) and keep driving straight ahead…

I think he may have referred to them as a cultural universal, but I can’t remember.  It was only…17 years ago?  I seem to remember him saying that they were very common in American culture, though.

I definitely remember having way more of them after he mentioned them, than before.  Maybe it’s because I knew what to call them?

You know what’s horrible? A few years ago, I hit a sheet of ice while driving home, at like midnight, in my truck. I totally had that “live!” thought as I tried to go straight but since the sheet of ice covered the entire road, I did go into the ditch and the impact made the truck tip on its side. Leaving me dangling from the seatbelt (seatbelts save lives!).

It was a weird moment to think back on. But the fear of swerving still lives on. Now I just imagine myself living through it, somehow dangling from the seat.

Oh, and no worries about the accident. The firetruck was already there because another car, coming from the other direction had already hit the same ice. After the fireman fell on his butt trying to cross the same strip of ice as me, he was able to regain his balance and help me out. (my house was only half a mile away too…) And that strip of ice? A neighbor had let a natural spring drain onto the road instead of diverting it into the nearby creek during freezing conditions. He was fined. :)

Whene I’m sitting in the front seat of a car (not driving) I like to put my feet on the dashboard. But then I always have the intrusive thought that we’ll get in a car accident and my knees will smash into my face and break all the bones. But I just can’t keep my feet on the floor, anyway.

ooo – yes!  i’ve had that one, too!  my other one is that, walking down the sidewalk, i will somehow smash my teeth along the top of the brick wall (this one started when i would walk to a former job, and there was a  long, head-height brick wall on one of the corners).  interestingly, no tripping in this scenario, just broken teeth.

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