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mental health; intrusive thoughts; anxiety; OCD; ADHD

People share experiences with intrusive thoughts.

When I was younger I used to think I was dying or that I would get kidnapped by a random stranger, but I kept it to myself because I thought something was wrong with me. I thought that telling people would confirm this fear, so I kept it inside my entire life until I was an adult and learned it was part of ADHD and other disorders, such as OCD and PTSD. But it doesn't have to be part of a disorder at all—a vast amount of people just have intrusive thoughts, and a Twitter user, Laura Gastón, is trying to normalize them for others.


Gastón tweeted that parents should talk to their children about intrusive thoughts and normalize them so children aren't afraid that they're broken. The response to her series of tweets was overwhelming, with more than 144,000 likes and 19,000 retweets. People chimed in with their own stories of intrusive thoughts and the stigma attached to them. One Twitter user was told that they were possessed and their parents sought spiritual counsel to help them. But intrusive thoughts aren't a spiritual attack, they don't even have to be negative thoughts. Intrusive thoughts are simply thoughts that pop into your head with no reason or logical connection to what is currently happening.

The name for the phenomenon sounds scarier than it actually is. It may help to think of the thoughts as a pop-up on an online article you're reading. There you are scrolling along, really invested in this article and an ad for teeth whitening strips is suddenly obscuring half the page, so you find the camouflaged "X" and close it out. But somehow before you make it to the bottom of the page, there's that dang pop-up again. That's what it's like to have an intrusive thought most of the time. It's not always scary, it's not all-consuming, it's just there.

There are some intrusive thoughts that are distressing, especially if it's a new thought. Often the thoughts that cause the most distress are the intrusive thoughts around hurting a child or doing something illegal. Having an intrusive thought that is concerning doesn't mean you're going to act on it. Our brains think thousands of thoughts daily and most of the time we are unaware of all of the activity because we're focused on one particular thing, but then we have a pop-up.

Photo by christopher lemercier on Unsplash

You could be struggling with finances in general but at the moment you're working on a collage of sea turtles with your 9-year-old, next thing you know you have an intrusive thought about robbing a bank. Are you going to rob a bank? No, because you're not a bank robber. Well, most people are not bank robbers so having the fleeting thought isn't going to make you become one. It might make you think you've lost it for a few minutes, but it's a completely normal human experience. Intrusive thoughts, not robbing banks.

Kids have intrusive thoughts as well, and it seems from the Twitter thread, that sometimes they're dismissed by parents. Anna tweeted, "yes. I had severe intrusive thoughts in childhood, starting before age 7-8. I told my parents & asked for help but they refused. It was terrifying. I had no idea what was happening." She went on to say that she was diagnosed with OCD as an adult and is currently in therapy.

Photo by Solen Feyissa on Unsplash

Another user, Benjamin tweeted, "I was today years old when I learned that there is a word for this. I have a few of these that come in ebbs and flows over the years - at least since early elementary age. Literally have just ignored it and tried to move on 😳 Kinda relieving to know others experience this."

Alicia explained that as a teen she contemplated suicide. "My intrusive thoughts made me fear for the safety of others and I felt the only solace was my passing. I cried tears of joy upon learning they happened to a lot of people."

The responses to the tweet go on and on with people sharing their experiences with intrusive thoughts and some sharing ways they have learned to cope with them. What it all comes down to in the end is that these thoughts are much more common that people realize and it should absolutely be talked about more. No person deserves to walk around assuming they're somehow broken for having a human experience.

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Kids watching their parents dance to Taylor Swift is sheer delight.

We all know parenting can be tough, but if there's one thing that makes the roller coaster of emotions totally worth it, it's seeing our children's faces light up with joy.

Children's smiles are infectious, and not in the scary pandemic kind of a way. There's simply nothing better in this world than the face of a bright-eyed little human beaming with happiness, which is why a recent TikTok trend has people grinning from ear to ear themselves.

The premise is simple: The parent asks the kid to record them dancing to Taylor Swift's "Love Story" with the screen facing away from them (under the guise that the parent dancing needs to see themselves). So instead of recording the parent dancing, it's actually recording the kid's face watching them.

And oh, the love and joy on these kids' faces is so, so sweet to witness. Watch:

@thechavezfamilyy

The end 😭😭 why am I bawling at this trend?! He’s SO CUTE #momsoftiktok #momtok #toddlersoftiktok

That face. OMG.

And check out the encouragement from this little fella:

@themarshhfamily

The end did it for me 🥹😭I birthed such a sweet, loving and encouraging little boy!! #momtok #toddlersoftiktok #taylorswiftchallenge #lovestorychallenge #boymom #toddlermom

Seriously, seeing close-ups of kids' joy should be a daily thing.

@makingthemoffitts

#nationaladoptionmonth #adoptionawareness #thisisadoption #thisisfostercare #adoption #fostercare #makingthemoffitts #lovestorychallenge #taylorswift

Some dads have gotten in on the trend as well. Look at the way this little girl beams at her daddy.

@durbanofamily

Had to jump on the trend! Love this beautiful girl!

Of course, part of the beauty of having kids is you simply never know what they're going to do. While some youngsters gaze lovingly at their parents while they dance, others have a … well … different reaction. Check out this girl's facial expressions:

@haleigh.booth

It’s the side eye at the end for me 😆😂😂😂😂

Hilarious. And because this is the internet, naturally someone had to do the TikTok trend with their dog. Gotta admit, Ellie's toothy grin is pretty darn cute as well.

@elliegoldenlife

This is why I don’t dance 😂

TikTok trends can sometimes be strange, annoying or problematic, but once in a while one comes along that brings people together in surprisingly delightful ways. Seeing people's kids' pure enjoyment watching their parents being silly is simply the best.

Pop Culture

Professor becomes a hero after holding his student's spot in line for Taylor Swift tickets

Dr. Austin Shull chose 'not to be the anti-hero' and now has won every heart online.

He is not the "anti-hero" in this story.

When biology professor Dr. Austin Shull received an important email from one of his students, he likely expected it to be about a homework assignment. Instead, the assignment was for him. If he was up to the task, that is.

With her subject line reading “REALLY IMPORTANT,” the student explained how she was currently in the online queue to purchase highly coveted Taylor Swift tickets, but her anatomy practicum class was fast approaching. You can see the conundrum.

The proposal was simple—if Dr. Shull agreed to watch her spot in line on her laptop while she took the class, it would make her “entire year.” Keeping in theme, her email concluded, “please please please don’t be the anti-hero.” For those that live under a rock, “Anti-Hero” is one of Swift’s latest singles. Where have you been?

Anyway, Shull agreed. And not only did he make his student’s entire year, he melted hearts from sharing his story.

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Lizzo took giving someone the clothes off your back literally and brought a woman to tears

'Words don't suffice, and thank you isn't enough. But THANK YOU! I’m speechless.'

Lizzo took giving someone the clothes off your back literally.

Lizzo is probably one of the most nonproblematic celebrities in the world today. She spreads positivity and kindness and encourages others with her openness about her mental health struggles. It's pretty safe to be a Lizzo super fan and for Aurielle Marie, an Atlanta author, being a huge fan of Lizzo's paid off in the most unexpected way.

Marie posted a video to TikTok pleading with Lizzo to wear her dress from the 2022 Emmys. But it turned out the dress was destroyed, according to Lizzo's response, but her dress from the 2019 American Music Awards was intact. The dress was a beautiful muted fuchsia color with a fitted bodice and full tulle skirt complete with a thigh-high slit. Lizzo looked amazing in the dress so obviously fans would love to get their hands on it.

One of the most exciting things about social media is that you get the chance to interact with your favorite celebrities and, as luck would have it, Lizzo saw Marie's video. The flute-playing megastar responded like an absolute queen.

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Kids surprise deaf cafeteria worker by learning sign language.

Here at Upworthy, we try to bring you heartwarming stories, so when we came across this story by My Modern Met, we knew we had to share it.

Kids are always surprising adults with questions or new skills they've learned. Young students at Nansemond Parkway Elementary School in Suffolk, Virginia, wanted to be able to communicate with the cafeteria worker who served them breakfast and lunch everyday. So they learned how.

Leisa Duckwall is deaf and had been working at the school for four years serving the students and staff. Because Duckwall cannot hear, she and the students did the best they could to make it work, until a teacher had an idea. Kari Maskelony, who teaches fourth grade, spoke with Duckwall using American Sign Language (ASL) and noticed the cafeteria went silent.

Students watched in awe as the two women used their hands to communicate. Maskelony grew up in a family that was hard of hearing, so sign language was part of her life, according to My Modern Met. After seeing the reaction of students, Maskelony asked the kids if they would like to learn the language.

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