Do you or someone you know think you're weird because from time to time you have sudden urges to stick your hand into a garbage disposal while it's on? Good news, you're not alone, and there's an explanation for why you have this urge.

TSM Staff Photo
TSM Staff Photo

Why Do I Have Strange Urges?

We all have thoughts that roll around in our heads that seem odd and strange. Most of the time we just figure we're weird and keep them to ourselves.

What we're talking about here are strange urges like jerking your steering wheel and driving into head-on traffic, putting a metal object into an electrical outlet, sticking your hand into a fire or garbage disposal, and others.

Sometimes we confess some of these bizarre urges to our closest friends or family secretly hoping to hear "OMG thought I was the only person who had the urge to do that!"

Most of the time, that's not the response we get, leaving us to feel like there's definitely something wrong with us.

The good news is, you're actually not alone, and it's kind of normal.

There's even an official name for these types of impulses and urges.

The Call Of The Void

Call of the void is the term used to describe urges such as "the impulse to hurl yourself into, well, a void. While unnerving, it’s actually a pretty common experience. It also has nothing to do with suicidal ideation" according to

Call of the Void includes thoughts and urges to -

1. Jump into very deep water from a boat or bridge

2. Stand on train or subway tracks or jump in front of a train

3. Jerk the steering wheel and turn into oncoming traffic while driving

4. Put a metal object into an electrical outlet

5. Cut yourself when holding a knife or other sharp object

6. Stick your hand into a fire or garbage disposal

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Joe Raedle, Getty Images

OK, so what causes it?

According to a 2012 study, no one really knows yet. It seems to have something to do with how your brain is wired.

It's important to know that these urges are normal and common.

From -

"Why does your brain go there? If you don’t really want to die or harm yourself, why would you imagine jumping?

That’s where anxiety sensitivity may come in. The authors found that people with higher anxiety sensitivity, or fear of anxiety symptoms, are more likely to experience HPP."

Do you need to get help?

Call of the void can seem a lot like suicidal thoughts, so it can seem like a really fine line, and in some cases it is.

If you're experiencing the call of the void urges along with suicidal thoughts, especially if you consider going through with it, you should contact a professional.

Even if these urges and impulses just simply bother you, talk to a mental health professional as soon as you can.


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