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It’s impossible for me to walk over a bridge without thinking “ I’m going to chuck my phone into the water. ” Luckily, I’ve never acted on this involuntary “intrusive thought.” And since I’m online all the time, I know I’m not alone in finding the humor in this sort of intrusive thought. It’s trendy to use the term to refer to any sort of wacky, unwanted, or inexplicable thought. ( Here’s a video that captures it pretty well . And here’s another .) While the term gets tossed around to explain funny, weird, and ultimately harmless thoughts, many unwanted intrusive thoughts are part of a serious mental disorder. What can you do to overcome intrusive thoughts that are repulsive and upsetting? I spoke with Dr. Sally Winston , a licensed psychologist, founder and executive director of the Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland, and co-author of Overcoming Unwanted Intrusive Thoughts. When I mentioned the “trendiness” of intrusive thoughts online, Winston recognized it immediately as the difference between “passing intrusive thoughts” and “stuck, unwanted intrusive thoughts.” While the former are a universal experience and often funny, the latter are no laughing matter and can be extremely frightening for the person experiencing them. Here’s what to know about unwanted intrusive thoughts, and how you can deal with them. Anyone can get intrusive thoughts Winston says that these thoughts—which intrude into your conscious thought seemingly out of nowhere—might be bizarre, unacceptable, taboo, absurd, and sometimes surprisingly creative. Most intrusive thoughts […]