How to Break Free When OCD Has Such a Strong Hold

You’re going along just fine and then all of a sudden, OCD is coming on strong. The anxiety is high and you don’t know what to do.

It can come out of nowhere. A thought that won’t go away. A feeling of impending doom. With every passing moment it seems to get worse. You wake up in the morning with dread—knowing it’s going to happen all over again.

pablo-41OCD is relentless. It’s like an itch that just has to be scratched. You can’t think of anything else until you scratch it. You know if you do scratch it—the itch will become a rash. And the rash will become inflamed like wild fire. The consequence of itching—of feeding OCD—is like poison ivy in the way that it’s relieving to itch it, but then it spreads.

The desire for relief is so strong. Just itch it. That urge is more powerful than the known consequence of itching. The need for temporary relief outweighs any other thought. Logic has no place in this moment. The need for relief is all that matters.

How do you endure the itch without scratching? How do you break free from OCD’s trance when it’s got such a hold on you?

Breaking Free of OCD

Try Being More Proactive

Waiting to be attacked by OCD and then trying to properly respond to it is very hard. It’s better to make something happen before it happens.

Conduct Exposure Exercises Daily

The best way to make something happen before it happens is to engage in exposure exercises. Every single day show OCD who’s the boss. No matter how good you feel or how bad you feel, plan exposure exercises every single day for the rest of your life. Do it gladly.

Here is helpful information on ERP:

The Purpose of ERP

ERP: The #1 Mistake People Make

ERP: 5 (More) Mistakes Commonly Made

10 Ideas for Adding Variety to Exposure Exercises

160_f_120691301_2bl2t1u5cvzixbl9iqwukwyogjyxvqaoDon’t EVER Be Surprised

Never let OCD catch you off guard. Since there is no cure for OCD, you can expect it to pop up out of nowhere. You can be practically free of OCD for weeks and then boom! There it is. You can get through one obsession and then bam! There’s a new one.

Instead of saying, “Oh no. What are you doing here?” Say, “Hi. Where’ve you been? Welcome back!”

I know you’re not actually happy to see OCD! But if you downloaded the guide, “How to Outsmart OCD” then you know how important it is to lie to OCD and to not think like a victim. If you missed this guide on “How to Outsmart OCD” go HERE and scroll to the very bottom of the post to get your free guide.

160_f_79915157_qbpuhrvijisvxivk1xynhgt1yqyfafsq Limit Your Vocabulary to Positives

There are certain phrases and words you must avoid saying. Never say them out loud. Wipe these from your vocabulary:

  • Why is this happening?
  • This is unfair.
  • Why me? 
  • I can’t do it.
  • I’m not ready.
  • Don’t do this to me OCD.
Change Your Mindset160_f_95020663_et0nuzgzbeoclwvrrpuwlpjxlkm8o3ws

Gratitude is the the great sanitizer. When OCD is coming at you hard and fast try to be thankful for the opportunity to practice your skills.

I know it’s hard to be grateful when you are in pain. But, lean into the pain. This is how people with physical pain carry on. It’s the same for emotional pain.

To learn how one OCD Thriver gets through the worst times with gratitude, go HERE.

Put Your Tools In One Place

OCD is a big force to deal with. Your anxiety is high and your brain feels like mashed potatoes. It hard to think clearly in this state of mind. 

If you’re crafty you can make a box and put all of your tools in it. Or, the word TOOLBOX can just be a metaphor and you can have all your tools noted in your phone. Which has an extra benefit because it’s portable and can go wherever you go. 

If you’re in a fog, you know exactly what to do. LOOK IN YOUR TOOLBOX. Check out this post about TOOLBOXES.

Finally, here is one more post to help you remember what to do when you’re not sure what to do in order to beat OCD: 


2 thoughts on “How to Break Free When OCD Has Such a Strong Hold”

  1. I found a way to welcome back the anxiety, and sit with mid-level anxiety: go to Starbucks, order a coffee in a mug (not to-go), sit and drink it while doing work on my laptop. Anxiety rises, palms sweat, but I don’t retreat. I take out my tool box and purposefully let it happen. Its a good way to exercise your advice with low to mid levels of anxiety. Caffeine somehow seems to spike my anxiety as does working on my laptop. Doing both at once is the magic formula to cause mild spike in anxiety. Thanks again for the continued encouragement!!!

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