Looping or Being Stuck
Looping is the inability to stop thinking about a particular thought or series of thoughts. “Being stuck” (looping) can occur spontaneously due to an intrusive thought or because of perceptions of real life events.
If we could peer through a window we might see something like a gerbil wheel where the thought(s) are literally going around and around and around. Unable to break this mental loop, the person will have difficulty attending to ordinary tasks.
With children, looping on real life events can be a problem in the classroom when a student becomes “stuck” on a conflict, hurtful occurrence or embarrassing situation they had with another student. Angry and unable to stop thinking about the event or perceived unfairness of the situation, the student may be unable to stop arguing or debating with the classmate and/or teacher. To complicate things, because of OCD, they may have begun their school day by “looping” on an event from home. This will interfere with getting on task when they arrive at class. “Getting stuck” is a feature of OCD and is unfortunately commonly misinterpreted as defiance.