Category Archives: Intrusive Unwanted Thoughts

Using Mental Kung Fu To Combat OCD

Thanks to OCD, is your mind stuck like glue? Do you have a thought or two, or three or more that haunt you? Have you figured out how to break free from OCD?

break free from OCDIt’s not fun to have a sticky mind. Many people with OCD will do whatever compulsion it takes to try and get unstuck. But the release from the stickiness is only temporary.

What’s the best way to handle unwanted intrusive thoughts? 

To begin with, calling them unwanted and intrusive is the first mistake. Think about the message this gives the Fear Center in your brain. You’re telling your brain to be on alert because this thought means something bad is about to go down.

It’s better to call these difficult thought patterns “wanted” and “appreciated.” I know that sounds ludicrous but that’s how you beat OCD. It’s mental Kung Fu–a unique style of combat fought in the mind. break free from OCD

Want the thoughts and the Fear Center feels no threat. Appreciate the thoughts and you develop a growth mindset–an opportunity to use the thoughts to practice your skills.

Break Free From OCD by Using Mental Kung Fu

What is mental Kung Fu? It means accepting a thought with minimal resistance and yet getting maximum effect.

This is how to use mental Kung Fu:

  • Fetch it. Bring the thought in. Summon the thought. “I’m going to trigger the thought on purpose as often as I can.”
  • Pull it in. Take hold of the thought with a force like you are twisting its arm. “I’m going to exaggerate this thought to make it even worse.” 
  • Detain it. Keep it from leaving. “Hey, where do you think you’re going? Oh no, you don’t. You stay right here.”

Here are the results of a poll taken from the last blog post:

poll-results-10012482

As you can see, “I hope I think like this all day long” received the most votes. Good! That goes along with DETAINING the thought. “Good there’s my thought. I want it to last.” It’s not easy to say that about an OCD thought but it’s how to play mental Kung Fu.

The answer that received the second highest number of votes, “I have no idea and never will” is another example of DETAINING the thought. You are prepared to live your life with this thought for the rest of your life.

Thankfully, the answer with zero votes was, “Stay positive there’s an answer to this.” Trying to get to the bottom of an obsession is pointless. OCD cannot be satisfied for very long at all. Just when you think you’ve removed all doubt, another tantalizing question arises.

The fact that “there’s an answer to this” received ZERO votes shows the readers of this blog are well-informed of WHAT NOT TO DO. People with OCD know that trying to get to the bottom of a “what-if” question or trying to get clarity on a “what to do next” decision only leads down the rabbit hole.

Inside the rabbit hole is more confusion than can be imagined. A person with OCD has spent a lot of time in a rabbit hole so they know they don’t want to go down one. So the plan is to accept uncertainty and to NOT seek out answers or try to get relief from all the doubt.

But Wait!!!!!!! Zero votes, and yet seeking answers is the technique most frequently employed by people with OCD. The plan is to NOT SEEK ANSWERS but the feeling of discomfort interferes with that plan.

Mental Kung Fu is sticking with the plan and not letting feelings interfere. No matter how terrible it feels stick with the plan: Fetch it, pull it in and detain it.

It’s also not very effective to label a thought as “just OCD.” Upon first being diagnosed it’s part of the educational process to label thoughts as OCD or part of the doubting disease. But eventually (the sooner the better) it’s crucial to stop labeling thoughts as “just OCD.”

Relabeling your thoughts as “just OCD” won’t work for very long because it doesn’t FEEL like OCD. It feels real. 

The response, “I am inadequate and so what” is a good way to shrug off OCD. What is there to be anxious about if you don’t care? Except, having harmful thoughts can be hard to shrug off. It can be done but for some people, if the thought is so abhorrent it’s hard to say “so what” and mean it!

The response “Yup, I might never think normal” is certainly showing a strong, radical force of acceptance. It’s the complete opposite of trying to wriggle your way out of a thought. But, for many people, radical acceptance is a hard line to walk without becoming self-loathing or despondent.

To PULL IT IN means to agree wholeheartedly with OCD by exaggerating. “My teeth are so large I’m going to trip over them one of these days.” That’s an outstanding way to shrug off OCD! If you have a creative imagination and a dry sense of humor, this approach will be right up your alley. 

Break free from OCD

Break Free From OCD by Using Mental Kung Fu

FETCHING the thought is Mental Kung Fu at its finest. It is an impressive way to employ minimal resistance to get maximum effect. For example, if you obsess that your teeth are too large then go fetch a costume pair of very large teeth and wear them in public. Take that OCD!!! 

FETCH, PULL IT IN and DETAIN OCD! This is known as Exposure & Response Prevention, widely known as the most effective way to break free form OCD. Confront your fears and do nothing to relieve the anxiety caused by the trigger.

Minimal resistance and maximum effect.

How to Deal With OCD in 5 Seconds or Less

Here’s the problem with all the cool stuff you know about beating OCD. You can’t always remember the cool stuff. At least, not in the heat of the moment. When your anxiety is at a 6 or 7 (out of 7), you’re not going to remember much of anything that helps. You need something that doesn’t require a lot of thought. Something that takes less than 5 seconds.

It’s not your fault that you forget to use your tools! The reason you need a strategy that doesn’t take a lot of thought or mindfulness is that your Four Lobes (in your brain) are offline. When the Four Lobes are offline, the reptilian part of your brain takes over. Fight-Flight-Freeze. Danger-Danger-Danger. Fight-Flight-Freeze.

Your Four Lobes are there to help you. When the Four Lobes are online your brain is a lean, mean, fighting machine. The ability to be rational and logical is essential in beating OCD. But if your Four Lobes are offline, it’s impossible to think or feel like a reasonable person. Good news! You can get your Four Lobes online in less than 5 seconds.

The Four Lobes are Driven to Help You Adapt to Anything

Beating OCD

The Four Lobes remind you: If it’s not happening NOW…it’s NOT happening. Live in the moment and cross each bridge if you get there.

When the Four Lobes get deactivated, the ability to reason is lost. You need something that gets your Four Lobes back online. Something that doesn’t take a lot of thought and works in 5 seconds or less. Otherwise, you’ll spend days in your Threat-Alarm System.

The Threat-Alarm System is your Fear Center (a.k.a. Limbic System) and it is Driven to Alarm You!Beating OCD
Guess what triggers the Threat-Alarm System?

If you answered, “a worry” or “an unwanted, intrusive thought,” you’re WRONG!

OCD certainly spins a tangled web, but the tale itself isn’t what initially triggered the threat-alarm. At some level you know thoughts aren’t true, and feelings aren’t facts. But, something influences you, and suddenly you forget all of this. What influenced you? If you answered, “my thoughts,” you’re WRONG. 

Everybody gets weird, intrusive thoughts. Some people shrug them off. Some people don’t. Why? If it’s not the thought that triggers the fear. What else could it be? 

Plenty of people can touch doorknobs and eat food that fell on the floor. Almost 60% of people don’t even wash their hands after going to the bathroom. Why do some people care and others don’t?

The more you care about your unwanted, intrusive thoughts the more your Four Lobes will fail to function. The size, activity level and the number of neural connections will only increase in the fear center of your brain.

What makes people live in their Fear Center and others in their Four Lobes? We could certainly propose that anxious people were born with an overactive Fear Center. It would explain why you’re more likely to feel threatened and subsequently lash out, avoid or freeze-up. 

Maybe you weren’t born this way, and it has more to do with experiences early in life. Don’t worry. We’re not going to excavate or dig up those early life experiences. That certainly wouldn’t take 5 seconds! 

It’s probably a combination of nature and nurture that causes you to live in your Fear Center. But, what triggers your alarm system? Do your thoughts trigger your Fear Center or could it be something else?

Guess What Triggers Your Threat-Alarm System?

Your thoughts don’t trigger the alarm system. The trigger comes from sensory input. Something you saw, smelled, tasted, touched, or heard triggered your threat-alarm system. Anything you perceive requires sensory input.

Something you saw, smelled, tasted, touched, or heard is associated with a memory of an early learning experience. You probably don’t even remember what that experience was. It could have happened in real life or on TV. 

You think you’re afraid of something bad happening but oh….what tangled webs OCD weaves. The way it spins tales should earn it an Academy Award. OCD can make a story so believable that you think there’s fire where there’s only smoke.

The story is irrelevant. The sensory input is relevant. Stay away from the tale OCD is spinning. Do this instead:

  1. RECOGNIZE you were triggered by sensory input.
  2. Go into RELAXED BODY.

This will not take more than 5 seconds. Try it now. Set your stove or stopwatch to 10 seconds. Say, “Sensory input triggered me. Relax body.” Right now that might have taken you about 6 or 7 seconds to say, and you probably didn’t <YET> get into “relaxed body.” It’s okay with a little bit of practice look what you will learn to do in 5 seconds or less:

  1. You’ll notice the OCD tale,
  2. Attribute your anxiety to sensory input (not your thoughts or the OCD tale.)
  3. And get into the relaxed body

All in 5 seconds or less.

What Does “Relaxed Body” Mean?

Right now scan your neck and shoulders. Are they tight, tense, or stiff? Maybe you even have pain that travels down into your arm. Can you feel the knots and hard spots around your shoulders?

Your neck and shoulders have 12 bones. Your neck and shoulders are tight and tense when you’re not letting those 12 bones govern. You’re asking your muscles to do the work, and they can’t do it!

Your neck connects your body to your head. Imagine the responsibility! Your muscles can’t handle this job. They’re telling you this! Deuteronomy 31:27 “For I know how rebellious and stiff-necked you are.” Your muscles are rebelling! They don’t want the job! Let your bones do all the work.

OCD will spin tales until your neck and shoulder relax. As long as your muscles are tight, the Limbic system will stay online. Tight muscles signal danger. How can the Limbic system go offline when there is perceived danger. And the threat is first perceived by sensory input-not thought. 

We don’t have to figure out the specific sensory input. Just know it as a fact. Stay away from the OCD tale. Stick to the sensory input. Now ease into “relaxed body.”

This is not the same as relaxation therapy. We don’t have time for that or meditation. We only have less than 5 seconds. And we need to be able to do it on the go…we can’t go into a dimly lit room and take a break. This is done in real time.

How to Get Into “Relaxed Body”
  1. Let your bones do the work. When you turn over all responsibility to your bones, it will feel like you’re floating. Do this all day long! It’s not “set it and forget it.” Keep doing it whenever it occurs to you. It only takes 5 seconds! Or;
  2. Visualize that you are warming your hands over a fire or holding a warm beverage. Don’t close your eyes to do this. On the go just picture it in your mind. Or;
  3. Try to see what’s in your peripheral vision without moving your eyes from side to side. Or;
  4. Touch thumb to the index finger and say “sa”; thumb to the middle finger and say “ta”; thumb to ring finger and say “naa”; and thumb to pinky finger and say, “maa.” Or;
  5. Take deep breaths from the belly, not the chest. Inhale to the count of 4 and exhale to the count of 1. Your breath is portable; it goes wherever you go and this exercise can be done in real time.
Beating OCD Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

These techniques counteract the stress response which will immediately put your Four Lobes online. Choose what works for you as long as it’s something you can do on the go. You don’t need something you have to do behind a closed door. Do it on the move. And it needs to be something you can do in 5 seconds that doesn’t take a lot of thought.

Not Buying That Something So Simple Can Work?

Despite my efforts to explain that anxiety is a helpful messenger telling you to change course, and reminding you to keep your Code of Honor, there are still many who see anxiety as an evil perpetrator. I can spend a whole day with clients and not once do they mention their Code of Honor. Instead, they want to talk about the tale OCD is spinning–which is so irrelevant!

So those of you who continue to see OCD as a perpetrator, “how long do you want this perpetrator in your brain and body?” When you spend your time listening to the tales being spun, how does that work out? Why keep doing something that doesn’t work? Every time you break your Code of Honor you will experience anxiety or depression.

Try this instead: Attribute your anxiety to sensory input not story. Whenever you are anxious or notice tension in your neck, shoulders (or stomach) get into “relaxed body” and see what happens to your perpetrator.  Focus on your Code of Honor. It’s much more meaningful than the OCD tale.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy

How to Cope With Your Anxiety While Resisting Compulsions

“The Last Time I Tried Resisting Compulsions I Came Undone. How Can I Do This Without Such Debilitating Anxiety?”

Especially important for you to know is that anxiety is nothing more than a physiological sensation. It doesn’t have to be debilitating. It’s not the anxiety itself, but your appraisal of the anxiety that’s causing all the ruckus. 

Resist Compulsions
Ouch, that hurts. Good!

This TENS Unit causes pain to relieve pain. I use one to help heal my elbow injury from racquetball. It uses a low voltage electric current to stimulate the nerve endings. If turned up to the highest level, it packs quite a punch! It’s intense but effective.

I turn the TENS Unit up high and go about my day. I lean into the sensation. If I cringe or resist I’m only creating more tension. I actually forget all about it during the 20 minutes it’s electrocuting me. (It’s not really electrocuting me! Hmmm…at least I don’t think so?)

Whenever possible, instead of avoiding anxiety lean into the discomfort. This doesn’t mean white-knuckle your way through. It just means be willing to experience the discomfort and learn how to handle it. Don’t resist the sensation. Soften into it.

It doesn’t mean you have to like to feel uncomfortable. It means you have to allow the discomfort. Bring some love to yourself for allowing the discomfort.

And as always, be thankful for the opportunity to practice being anxious. Practice makes progress! “I’m anxious. Good. I need the practice.”

How to Practice Just Noticing the Anxiety

This is important: The content of your thought is irrelevant. I know you think thoughts might mean something. You worry if these thoughts are not thwarted somehow they’ll become reality. News Flash: Just because you have a thought doesn’t make it true. 

So you avoid triggers and try to push thoughts away. You worry your thoughts define who you are. Compulsions are used to prevent or reverse bad things from happening.

This is what puts the “D” in OCD. It’s what causes the disorder. As one client puts it: It’s placing an emphasis on something (thoughts) that’s not even tangible. Have you ever said, “But, the thoughts feel real?” Think for a minute…How do you feel whether or not a thought is real? How do you feel truth?

You Can’t Feel a Thought

If you have a worry or an unwanted, intrusive thought what you feel is anxiety. You’re not feeling the thought, you’re feeling the anxiety. News Flash: Just because you have anxiety doesn’t mean something is wrong.

When you engage in a compulsion, you feel (temporary) relief from anxiety. Let this sink in: You haven’t “compulsed” your way into truth or certainty. You’ve “compulsed” your way into the absence of a sensation that was there and now gone…gone for only a brief moment.

When you focus on that which is intangible (thought) you’re placing emphasis on something that cannot be defined or understood. You can’t get to the bottom of a thought but you can get to the bottom of anxiety.

Anxiety is tangible and can be located and defined. Notice where you feel the anxiety in your body. Is your stomach queasy? Do any of your muscles twitch? Is your heart racing? Does your skin perspire or ears buzz? What feels tight–shoulders, throat?

Get Curious About What You Are Feeling Not Thinking

  • Be curious about the way your body is trying to adapt. “Oh, that’s interesting. In response to my anxiety, I must be releasing adrenaline right now. My body obviously knows I’m distressed and is really going overboard and working very hard to find a balance.”
  • Don’t focus on why you’re upset and anxious. Focus on the sensation. How does your body produce this sensation? Fascinating. Not why are you anxious. How?

    Resist Compulsions
    Allow, Love, Allow
  • Breathe in the suffering. Exhale compassion. You might think you should do the reverse because it’s instinctive to resist and avoid pain and suffering. But, by intentionally breathing in the discomfort and exhaling compassion you are ending the pattern of resistance. Resistance only perpetuates more suffering.
OCD is child-like with no life experience
  • Have empathy for your OCD. “May you be filled with loving kindness.” (Remember OCD is a young version of you. Offer your compassion and guidance, not hate.) Put your hand on your heart and say the words: Love. Love. Love. Not that you have to love having OCD. But, bring some love to yourself for allowing whatever it is you are feeling and thinking.
  • Relax your belly and brow. Don’t rock or rub. Soften into the tension. If you resist the tension, you’re only making the sensation tighter. 
  • Hold your hands with palms up and let the energy flow from your body. Crossing your arms or making fists keeps it locked in. It’s energy that doesn’t like being bottled up. Let it out.
  • Feel the sensations in your body. Don’t judge. Notice and allow. Say the words: Allow. Allow. Allow.
  • Don’t evaluate the thoughts. Don’t dig deep. Just notice how your body reacts. 
  • Surrender to the experience without trying to understand it. Don’t head down the rabbit hole trying to figure out what it all means. It only means one thing: You’re anxious.
  • Be present and like a good neighbor observe the physicality of your anxiety.

Especially relevant and noteworthy is how hard it is to be anxious when you are curious and fascinated. Get curious about the physicality of anxiety! 

Anxiety Is Tangible, Thoughts Aren’t

Do thoughts smell? Do they have a flavor that you can taste? Do thoughts have a texture? Think about a chocolate cake. Can you taste it by thinking about it? Smell it? Feel it in your mouth? Hear it? Thoughts aren’t tangible! It’s impossible to feel a thought. 

It’s not the thoughts you’re feeling. It’s the anxiety. 

Wouldn’t you prefer something more concrete to deal with? Would you rather have a live person to be friends with or someone on Facebook? Do you prefer to eat something that is recognizable through your senses? Or do you want to eat something you can’t smell, touch, taste, or see?

resist compulsions
Pop this bubble!

Your anxiety is physical and clear-cut. Thoughts are nothing more than bubbles.

I know, I know…You are drawn and compelled to focus on the story. (Your obsession.) Focusing on your anxiety is much more tangible. You can actually get something accomplished by learning to experience your anxiety.

It will take some practice! Practice makes……..progress! You don’t have to want the anxiety…want the practice of experiencing anxiety. In addition to Exposure & Response Prevention (ERP), this is another way to stop compulsive behavior.

Remember, you get good at what you practice.

The Best Advice On How to Resist Compulsions:

Practice experiencing the physicality of anxiety. It’s a drill that develops a skill.

Resisting compulsions
Everything you ever wanted to know about how to resist compulsions

 

Compulsions: Do They Really Save Lives?

Resisting compulsions
Questions? I can help!

If you have questions about how to resist compulsions be sure to add them to the comment section on this post. I’ll be sure to address your questions and give you…

The Best Advice On How to Resist Compulsions

 

13 Bad Questions to Ask About an Obsession

In this conversation with a man who has OCD, 14 questions are asked.

It’s not that 13 of them are really bad to ask. Most of them are just kind of pointless.

Let’s hear from this man with OCD:

He visits the local Home Depot every morning to check all of the standing lamps that are for sale.

  1. I ask, “Why are you checking them?”

He replies, “I want to make sure none of the electrical cords are frayed.”

2. “How come?” I ask.

“Well, if someone buys a lamp with a defective electrical cord, their house could catch fire and people could die in the fire.”

He’s doing what he’s doing so that he can feel at peace. He’s been tricked into thinking that if he checks the electrical cords, his anxiety will lessen.

3. I ask him about this. “How would it feel to skip checking the electrical cords one day?”

“The guilt would weigh on my mind. It would nag at me. If I heard about a house fire on the news, the first thing I’d feel is guilt. The second thing I’d feel is a desperate need to know what caused the fire.

I’d be on the Internet trying to learn about the fire. I’d call the Fire Chief as many times as it took to get an answer. I’d want to know if the fire was caused by a lamp bought at this Home Depot. I wouldn’t be able to rest until I knew if it was my fault.

So I keep checking these cords so that I can have peace of mind. Otherwise every fire I hear about, I’m going to feel guilty. I’m going to wonder if I could have prevented that fire.”

4. “So once you’ve checked the cords and you’re done for the day, you experience a peacefulness and your anxiety is gone?”

“Nah. It’ doesn’t work out like that. I’m always worried that I didn’t check every lamp thoroughly.”

He’s getting tripped up on the degree of influence he thinks he has. He’s not tuned into probability. He’s focused on the pivotal role he thinks he plays as to whether something happens or not.

5. I’m curious. “How do you make sure the cords aren’t defective?”

“I run my hands up and down every cord. I’m looking for splits.”

6. I challenge him a bit. “Hmmmm, could the cord still be defective after you check it?”

“What do you mean? I run my hand up and down each cord three times. I doubt it.”

7. “Couldn’t the cord be defective not on the outside but in the inside? Not visible to the eye and not detected by touch?”

“Yeah, I guess so.”

8. “So then why do you bother with checking? Your method doesn’t sound foolproof.”

“I don’t know it just makes me feel better. I feel relieved and when I leave the store I feel I’ve made the world a safer place.”

9. “The world or just Home Depot?”

“Okay, well Home Depot anyway.”

He has no sense of responsibility to check any other potential fire hazard. He only feels responsible for this one aisle of lamps in this one store. 

10. “Are you doing what you’re doing to make Home Depot a safer place or to reduce your anxiety and guilt feelings?”

“I just don’t want the feeling of responsibility if something happens. I don’t want to have to be checking the news and calling the Fire Chief all the time.”

11. “So when you do hear about a fire, you don’t think it’s something you failed to do?”

“Yeah, as long as I went to the store and checked those cords, I don’t think it’s my fault. I don’t feel guilty. Weird, I know.”

12. “Hmmm…what about all the other cords in Home Depot? Cords attached to appliances, vacuums and tools for example. Do you check those too? And, aren’t there several Home Depots around? Shouldn’t you be doing this in all of the stores?”

“No, that would take too long.”

“So I’m beginning to think Home Depot isn’t as safe as you think. I’m thinking you can’t possibly do enough to protect the people who shop at Home Depot.”

13. “Is it necessary to check the same cords every single day?”

14. “What do you suppose can happen to them in 24 hours?”

He replies, “Probably nothing, but it’s safer to make sure.”

Even when the likelihood of something happening is statistically unlikely, the potential for harm is still terribly exaggerated in his mind.

This has been a lot of conversation with a man, who is worried that if he doesn’t check certain electrical cords, he’ll be plagued with guilt feelings, and perhaps be indirectly responsible for causing harm.

A lot of the questions challenge his automatic thinking process and try to help him see the holes in his theory.

But only 1 of the 14 questions is brilliant. 

Out of all the questions he was asked, only one question leads to a life changing solution.

Which question do you think could begin to interrupt his way of thinking?

An Open Letter From Parents with OCD

One night I went to the hospital to be with a client and her family as they welcomed their tiny tiny baby boy into the world. I visited him over the next few weeks in the NICU and almost fainted when the nurse pulled out a tube or snipped the umbilaca cord or something. I don’t even remember, what it was. I just know I was seeing stars. The parents, both with a long history of anxiety, were a lot steadier at the helm than me, that’s for sure.

img_1496Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with many Moms and Dads with OCD. The added bonus of that is I’ve held many newborns in my arms, and watched them grow before my eyes.

Beautiful, happy babies being taught life lessons by parents with OCD. If there is ever any doubt about the human capacity for strength and courage, all you need to do is be part of the journey of a parent who has OCD. Yes, you’ll find astonishing bravery. But, what stands out in my mind is a love so pure it can pulverize OCD.

I asked a few parents who have OCD how they stay so focused and strong. They provided a lot of good insight into what makes them tick. You’ll find they all have something in common:

160_f_69380413_annrnbjcopjefn3uuykjjpsjwqvjek2eKeep On Keepin’ On and Be Positive

I’m a wife and stay at home mom of two children. I was diagnosed with severe Postpartum OCD after the birth of my first child. I’ve learned over time to:

-Look for the bits of strength you have to reach a few goals each day starting with self care, for example taking a shower, eating small meals, staying hydrated.

– Be kind to yourself and expect to make mistakes along the way. Focus on the bits of light in the darkness without trying to evaluate the bad days.

– This experience is temporary, celebrate the victories you have each day no matter how “small” because each step brings you closer to relief.

160_f_69380413_annrnbjcopjefn3uuykjjpsjwqvjek2eFirst Time Mom: You’re Not Going to Rob Me of All My First Times OCD!

Hi! I am a wife, toddler mama, and homemaker. I like to have fun! Cooking interesting healthful food, reading fiction, and hanging out in nature, are my favorite ways to decompress. In past lives I have been a Starbucks barista and owned my own massage business.

OCD has been a struggle for me since preadolescence. Coming to terms with my OCD has been a slow process, and I am grateful to be in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy now as it is helping me to overcome OCD in far greater ways than I could without it. Despite experiencing setbacks sometimes, I can see improvement in my life.

I have tried other kinds of therapy and a lot of self-help books but nothing compares to CBT for OCD treatment, in my experience. Here are a few CBT tips that have been especially helpful to me as a mom who deals with OCD.

Tip #1: Have a Mantra such as: “Embrace Whatever”

“Embrace whatever” became my mantra, when in December of this past year I was faced with the prospect of a family road trip to go to a friends’ wedding. I was feeling severely frightened to go on this trip and was obsessing about it. Our son was around 11 months old at the time. I just couldn’t conceive of taking this long road trip with the baby, my in-laws and my husband all in the same vehicle. “What if this happens? What if that happens? What if someone says something that makes me feel bad?” If you have OCD, you know the drill.

Offhandedly, during a session, Tammy mentioned the phrase “embrace whatever” to me, and it just clicked. For me, “embrace whatever” means that come what may, good or bad, I am choosing to go with the flow. Whatever happens, happens.

It means that I will survive and it will all be fine! Even if the baby doesn’t get his nap, even if I have no idea what the trip will go down like, it will all be OK. Even if …. WHATEVER! And it was all ok, and even more than that it was a successful trip where our son bonded with his grandparents and we had some good conversation because we were all cozy driving to Lancaster, PA together.

If I had obeyed my fear we would have taken separate vehicles, so that my husband and I would have control of rest-stops etc. Instead, I chose to “embrace whatever”, by and large, throughout the trip. I said “Embrace whatever!” to myself, and probably out loud sometimes too, whenever I got clenched up inside, obsessing over details of how things may or may not work out. I have used this mantra many times since then.

Tip#2: Ask for What You Need

This concept of asking for what you need has been hard for me to remember. I think I should be able to do it all without help, but I absolutely can’t. I need help! It has been said that it “takes a village to raise a child” and I kind of agree with that.

Moms need time off too just for their own well-being. One example of asking for what I need was last year when the baby was really little, I asked my husband to be in charge of the baby monitor at night, and to help me in the middle of the night too, when the baby was waking up to feed.

This night-time partnership gave me a greater degree of sanity during the day because I got a little more sleep (and mental rest) than I would have without that help. Asking for help when I feel like I am burning the candle at both ends is essential for my well-being, and something I need to remember to do.

Tip #3: Take Every Thought Captive

This is a verse from the Bible but goes along great with cognitive behavioral therapy. Don’t let your thoughts dictate anything. Thoughts are just thoughts. Identify them, deal with them and move on.

For whatever reason (maybe “mom brain?”) this concept has been exceptionally difficult for me to grasp. Just recently (like last week) it began to click for me: Thoughts are not truths, they are just thoughts. They don’t define or dictate anything! I can talk to them and treat them like the bullying words that they are and doing this disempowers them.

I have dumb, negative thoughts going through my head all the time. Here’s a few recent ones: “You need to try harder as a mom“ or “You will sound so dumb if you have baby music playing really loud with your car windows open—who DOES that?”, “You haven’t gotten back to that person yet? You are such a bad friend”…

Pretty obnoxious stuff, right? Well, if I take every thought captive, I can put these thoughts in their place—the garbage! Lately I have just been agreeing with the negative thoughts. For example if I have the thought “You are a bad friend” I would say “You’re right I am a bad friend”.

Agreeing with a bullying thought is a way to trick OCD. It seems to have a significant disabling effect on the intense feeling of guilt or shame I was experiencing. I think this is what Tammy means when she talks about “mental kung fu”.   ac41290798310afdf52eccaaf1ba73af

Thanks for reading! I wish all of you my best on this journey we share of overcoming OCD! 

160_f_69380413_annrnbjcopjefn3uuykjjpsjwqvjek2eJoyful Mama Warrior

I am a mom of 3 kids (2 boys, 1 girl). I had my first son in May 2008- I was on Zoloft (50 mg) for depression/anxiety and was able to wean off about a month or so before he was born and able to go back on without issue; did not have any issues OCD wise, some baby blues and I would say normal new Mom anxiety. 

My second son (surprise pregnancy) was born in November 2010- I was again able to wean off Zoloft and actually did so sooner than my first (approximately 2-3 months), feeling fine up until 1-2 weeks before his birth- then weird thoughts/anxiety that I had not experienced before but brushed it off as I was under a lot of stress.

I had a somewhat traumatic birth as his cord was wrapped around his neck and he wasn’t crying right away. The next day I was having intrusive thoughts that just got worse.  I didn’t really understand what was going on, crying uncontrollably. The hospital staff I don’t believe knew how to help me properly, placed me on a bunch of heavy antipsychotic meds and I was sent to my parents without my baby (CPS got involved when I told staff I was having scary thoughts.)

I found Tammy who taught me about OCDs mechanism and how to do exposures and found a psychiatrist to help with meds (had to increase Zoloft for awhile).  It was at least 2-3 months of constant intrusive thoughts and I slowly improved.

After a year and a half or so I felt I had returned to a good place where my husband and I felt we were open to having another baby– unfortunately lost 2 babies in 2013 and then had our daughter August of 2014- able to wean off Zoloft again and felt good soon after birth.

Then had issues with breastfeeding and became highly anxious and intrusive thoughts dominated my mind (different than last time) again.  I seemed to recover quicker overall however had more mini storms than with my second son. 
 
Tips that have helped me I can break down into different categories:

  • Regular exercise/eating well (Physical)
  • Prayer/practicing my faith (Spiritual)
  • Spending time with family and friends/helping others (Social emotional)
  • Focus exercises/ exposures (although I do not do these enough especially when I am in a good place) (Mental)

And one of the biggest reminders I have to give myself is that OCD is a trickster and it can sneak back in when I am doing really good and it can wreak havoc. So I need to most especially confront it at those times; also taking things day by day especially when I am in a storm.  

The thing is although having my kids, most especially my second son and daughter, seemed to heighten my intrusive thoughts, my kids bring more joy and purpose than I could imagine- I fight OCD so it doesn’t get to rob me of that.   

160_f_69380413_annrnbjcopjefn3uuykjjpsjwqvjek2eDad Keeps an Open Mind

I have had OCD for 55 years based on what I remember of my behavior, thoughts and actions during that time.  I am currently 60.

Open to Being Reasonable

What helped me the most in parenting while dealing with OCD was listening to my spouse when we discussed how to parent.  Not for reassurance but for her non tunnel vision approach.  She would not think black and white like I did.  I knew my thinking wasn’t considerate of the whole picture of the circumstances.   So essentially listen to spouse, listen to the children and then take some deep breaths and just give parenting a try.  

Open to Spending Time Together

Having fun with the family by doing things together was a great help.  In later years as my daughters reached teenage years I would take each one out to lunch separately and just talk about anything and sometimes nothing. That helped me to understand where they were in life and helped me to be more effective at parenting.

Trusting each one until they proved with solid evidence that they had been untrustworthy.  Even then giving them some slack for being human was helpful.  

Open to Imperfection

With OCD you may feel like you should be this or that to be a perfect parent, but the kids won’t notice if you don’t buy into that self image yourself.  They just want to know you’re proud of them and love them unconditionally.

Remember it is not what you advise that matters but what you do what they remember. I learned that later on.

160_f_69380413_annrnbjcopjefn3uuykjjpsjwqvjek2eGive Yourself a Break!

Be Open With Your Kids

There are going to be situations where you have to do things differently, and your kids will notice. When they are old enough, explain that you have OCD the same way you would explain if you had a broken arm. Later, you’ll appreciate how much easier it is to just say you’re having anxiety about something instead of making an excuse to your child. In my experience, they’re actually pretty cool about it.

Try Not to Talk Yourself Down

Kids soak up everything we do in front of them. You’ll notice your young children will mimic your movements and talk like you. The other day, I was doing yoga and my 2-year-old niece randomly walked over and went into downward dog next to my mat. Kids are the great imitators. A lot of those of us who have OCD and related disorders aren’t happy with ourselves. We’ll say things like “I can’t do that,” “I’m such a burden,” “I’m weak,” and other statements in the same vein. You’ll teach your kid that having a mental illness is weakness. It makes a person a burden. Try to refer to your illness as something that happens to you, not something you are and see if that makes an impact on how your child feels about his or her own mental health.

Take a Break

You want to be the best mom in the world? Tough. That distinction does not exist. Everyone has different standards, and some amazing moms wind up with terrible kids and vice versa. You can’t be on all the time. You can’t do every bake sale, swim meet, football booster and parent conference. Sometimes you have to say no and just take that time for yourself. Give yourself a break, both figuratively and literally.

Contributed byMichelle at: Living With Intrusive Thoughts.

160_f_69380413_annrnbjcopjefn3uuykjjpsjwqvjek2eMom of Five: I Ain’t Got No Time for That (Shame)

It wasn’t long after my baby was born, that I started developing fears….Not just fears over things that you would expect somebody to be afraid of, like dogs or spiders or airplanes…… although there were plenty of those…

For the rest of this story go to: theworrygames.com  

Commonality

By now you’ve probably noticed what these six people have in common. I can’t wait to hear what you think it is! Leave a comment!

 

A Skill Everyone with OCD Needs: Sitting

What does it mean to “sit with unwanted, intrusive thoughts” and how does someone with OCD do it? Especially when the thoughts are frequent and intense.

If you’re like most people you’ve got weird, sometimes scary thoughts. If you’ve got OCD, how you experience those thoughts can get very complicated and time-consuming. 

An OCD therapist won’t analyze your thoughts. Instead you’ll be shown how to “sit” with your thoughts. “Sitting” with your thoughts doesn’t necessarily involve a chair. It means “experiencing” your thoughts in an accepting way.

No matter how ugly or bad, just allow the thoughts to be in your mind. Do nothing compulsive to get rid of the thoughts. Do nothing to get rid of the anxiety that comes with the thoughts.

What follows is a conversation I often have with clients about how to sit with thoughts. Warning: This conversation may increase your anxiety. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)160_F_88915066_1sYtf7AaBRW7oQrfnvqHd9DFguwdyQSq

Client: My mind is a constant chatterbox. I’m not getting a break from my thoughts.

Me: What are the thoughts about?

Client: I’m worried I might hurt people. I know I never would in a million years. But, it’s the kind of OCD I have. I’m worried something bad will happen.

Me: Are those thoughts wanted?

Client: No! They’re totally unwanted!

Me: Are they intrusive?

Client: Believe me these thoughts interfere with my life. I can’t even concentrate.

Me: So they’re pushy. 160_F_51672290_vN6Fz6qCSl8iTh08mMoAOhndpJwF4ymp

While you’re trying to do other things the thoughts hammer away at you. Like a sideshow playing in your head?

Client: Yeah. It’s a sideshow and it’s not fun. I’m frightened by these thoughts. Sometimes it’s not just a show playing off to the side. It’s the only show playing in my head!

Me: So sometimes you aren’t doing anything else but having the thoughts.

Client: Yeah there are days I’m in an OCD trance.

Me: What are you trying to accomplish when you’re in this trance?

Client: I’m trying to feel certain that nothing bad happened or is going to happen. 160_F_74848595_0ay6BB5CpNyM7DvZTAC3IEuWKpSm3LEt

Me: You’ve spent 100’s of hours trying to get certainty?

Client: Probably 1000’s of hours.

Me: How’s it going? Have you achieved certainty about this yet?

Client: Not yet. Why? Is there another way to get rid of the sideshow?

Me: You can get rid of the sideshow by playing the sideshow.

Client: I don’t get it. You want me to voluntarily play the sideshow? This sideshow isn’t fun!160_F_2992219_D7LMNPunABCDj7qrFGQZa6UdABT0sF

Me: Yeah, gladly let the sideshow play. In fact, invite the thoughts.

Client: You want me to welcome the thoughts that scare me?

Me: It’s not the thoughts that scare you. It’s your interpretation of the thoughts that scare you. It’s the way you experience the thoughts. Lots of people get the same weird thoughts as you, but don’t get scared by them. OCD makes you experience the thoughts as if they’re real. You can change the way you experience the thoughts.

Client: Well, my OCD makes me think about hurting people. Don’t you think that’s pretty scary?

Me: Your OCD doesn’t make you think about hurting people. That sort of thought crosses everybody’s mind at one time or another. The way you experience such a thought…your opinion of that thought…that’s OCD.

Client: Well, I don’t like these thoughts and I’m trying to get rid of them. That’s what I want.

Me: That’s what I mean by changing the way you experience the thoughts. In all your efforts to get rid of the thoughts…using compulsions and mental acts…the reassurance-seeking…has the sideshow ever stopped?

Client: It might take a while to get the compulsion to work but, yes…I can stop the sideshow and get relief by using a compulsion.

Me: For how long do you feel relief? How long before you’ve got to do another compulsion or mental act? How long before you need more reassurance?

Client: It could be minutes.

Me: Seconds?160_F_102006633_DhS9SMhx1UmDC5y3ahKUlAlxHh709e3D

Client: Yes, sometimes.

Me: How’s this technique of yours working out? Is your brain resetting and learning anything new about fear when you do a compulsion. Haven’t you become a reassurance-junkie?

Client: Okay, I get it. It’s not working well. I waste a lot of time and it hurts my relationships. I avoid anything that triggers my thoughts.

Me: So let’s turn up the volume on the sideshow!

Client: You want me turn up the volume? I thought you’d show me how to turn down the volume!

Me: I am!

Client: By turning up the volume, I’m turning down the volume?160_F_11335624_tjRrHVDwRVuxDQjCHBdg6c13z1BUD2lx

Me: Maybe! (No reassurance from this therapist!) Wanna try it?

Client: Oh wow. I don’t know. How do I just let the thoughts be there?

Me: It all comes down to one thing. It’s not about the content of your thoughts. What you’re thinking really doesn’t matter. It’s about your opinion of your thoughts. Right now you’re opinion of the thoughts are that they’re unwanted and intrusive. Yes?

Client: Absolutely.

Me: What if you experience these thoughts in a different way? Stop thinking of them as interfering and disruptive? Just keep doing whatever you need or want to do even though there are horrific thoughts playing in your mind.

Client: I do that most of the time. I go on about my business but the thoughts are still there! I don’t want these thoughts!

Me: What if you weren’t resisting these thoughts? Would you be in such pain and agony?

Client: How can I not resist such frightening thoughts? These thoughts feel real to me. I’ve got to resist them. I’ve got to prove I’m not a danger to anyone.

Me: What if you welcome and invite the thoughts?

Client: If I invite the thoughts I’ll become my thought. I’ll do bad things.

Me: Well, let’s test that out. If you think the thought, “Tammy I’m going to kill you.” Let’s see if that happens.

Client: No, I don’t want to kill you. I don’t want to think that.

Me: So you if you think it, it will happen? Okay, don’t think about killing me. Don’t do it. Stop thinking about killing me.

Client: Oh man…I can’t help it. You put it in my mind. I’m thinking it now.160_F_77155475_bfmBcVI52k9CtRFmpr1IFveKMKfUVZTw

Me: Great let’s see if you kill me. Here, let’s give you a knife.

Client: OMG.

Me: So you’re holding a knife and thinking about killing me. Have you become your thoughts?

Client: No. I haven’t killed you.

Me: Thanks I appreciate that. Does your thought about killing me end up being dangerous or unpleasant?

Client: Unpleasant.

Me: Is that something to be afraid of—an unpleasant feeling?

Client: No. I don’t need to be afraid of something unpleasant. I can handle discomfort.

Me: Instead of saying these thoughts are unwanted and intrusive say, “These thoughts are fine to have. They’re unpleasant but I can tolerate them. In fact, I invite them to stay in my mind.”

Client: That’s easier said than done.

Me: C’mon you can’t convince me trying to obtain certainty about anything is easy. No matter which way you go…it’s hard. You’re willing to work hard to get certainty. How about working just as hard to live with uncertainty?

Client: No, you’re right. I spend hours trying to get certainty with a compulsion. What do you mean by inviting these ugly thoughts?

Me: Hint…stop calling them ugly. Call them fascinating. It’s a PARADOXICAL approach. It contradicts logic. It’s absurd but that’s how you defy OCD. It’s using REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY on OCD.

Client: Will this get rid of the thoughts?

Me: OMG! Stop trying to get rid of the thoughts!!! The thoughts need to be experienced. Just change the way you experience them.

I used to hate math class. I would excessively hum so that I’d get kicked out of the classroom. That wasn’t working out too well when it was time to take a test. My brain hadn’t learned anything by being in the hallway. So I decided I better stop humming and start listening. I stopped resisting having to be there. I changed the way I experienced math class. I willingly attended the class. My brain got updated and my grades improved.

Awesome Life Changing Tip: Don’t resist your thoughts. Don’t try to think about them less. Think about them more. “I am open and willing to experience these thoughts and feelings.”

Warning: If you have “Hit and Run” OCD the following two paragraphs may increase your anxiety. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)

A person with “Hit and Run” OCD will do everything they can to get certainty that they haven’t hit anybody. They try not to go anywhere that involves driving. If they do drive, they’ll spend hours circling back looking for bodies, watching the news, checking their car or just waiting until no one is around before they move their car. 

Here’s a script using a paradoxical approach: Even though there are pedestrians walking around I’m just going to drive away and not look back. I’m not going to go back and check to see if I hit someone. I’m not going to check the news. I might have hit 160_F_56537437_h6tWFtsEYVOzg8QxmU4h05fORKqEP6txsomeone. There’s probably body parts dangling form the grill of my bumper. But I’m not going to check. There might be a trail of blood leading from the scene of the accident right to my house. The police are going to follow the blood and put me in jail. My family will disown me. I’ll be shunned forever. I don’t know if I ran anybody over. But, I’m not going to go back and check. I want to live my life. I’ve got to move on.”

True, using “Reverse Psychology” or a “Paradoxical Approach” is counterintuitive. It doesn’t feel right. Your emotions will tell you this is wrong and to stop it. But, as wrong as it feels, it’s the next right thing to do. 

What You Will Discover

It’s hard to be anxious when you want to be anxious. When you soften into the anxiety it softens too. The byproduct of learning to tolerate anxiety is less anxiety. It’s not the goal, it’s the bonus. Keep your focus on the tedious process, not the result.

Where You Might Get Stuck

It’s unpleasant to accept weird, scary thoughts. You won’t like it. But, how’s resisting thoughts working out? Either way you’ll be anxious. But, only one way will set you free.

You’ll get frustrated because even when you start to accept the thoughts, they’ll keep coming. It takes time for your brain to make the adjustment. But, because you have stepped out side of your comfort zone, you’ll want to quit letting the thoughts be there. You’ll have to fight a strong urge to give in to compulsions for the quick fix. Don’t quit the day before you were going to feel better!

It doesn’t feel right to think about the thoughts more. Your anxiety tells you to think about them less. It’s counterintuitive to bring on unpleasant thoughts. It’s not logical. But neither is OCD. You’ve got to fight irrational with irrational. Illogical with illogical. I know, I know, it’s backwards!

How to Make it Real and Take Action

  1. Click above on the words PARADOXICAL and REVERSE PSYCHOLOGY to follow the links. Try to gain a clear understanding of what it means to be paradoxical. (If anyone wants to leave an anonymous comment about an example please do!)
  2. Write a script that is applicable to your own fear. Similar to the one above regarding “Hit and Run” OCD. One of the most awesome books with pre-written scripts is: Freedom From Obsessive Compulsive Disorder by Johnathan Grayson.
  3. Practice saying,“Good there’s my thought. How fascinating. I can’t wait for the next one.” 
  4. Focus on the process of being paradoxical, not the result of being paradoxical.
  5. Keep on keepin’ on no matter how counterintuitive (wrong) it feels.
  6. Use your dry sense of humor when you’re being paradoxical.
  7. Be kind to yourself. Courage lives within your kindness.

You can change the way you experience your thoughts! You can’t control your thoughts but you can control how you react to them!

How to Overcome Your #1 Challenge

It can be very overwhelming to confront your fears and defy OCD. This feeling of being overwhelmed is likely to lead to an “I can’t do it” mentality. Your #1 challenge is to overcome this belief.

I was so happy this morning to take a long walk and find a beach before the start of the OCD conference.  I think I’d walk on fire to get to a body of water.

Breathing in dirt and whatever else
Breathing in dirt and whatever else

That’s sort of what I had to do this morning to get to the beach. I walked by a lot of noisy dirty construction sites and very smelly dumpsters. It was a very unpleasant toxic walk.

I held my breath and walked fast. It was disgustingly unpleasant. What have I gotten myself into?

Finally I found the beach! There were dogs frolicking in the water. Everyone had a smile.

image

It was a little piece of heaven.

And then the wasps came. I’m terrified of insects, especially ones with stingers. I sound like I’m singing opera whenever a bee comes near me. When the wasp landed on my backpack, I started singing. The couple next to me laughed. I thought, “I gotta get outta here!”

I asked myself, “Tammy, you worked so hard to get here. Are you going to focus on what’s unpleasant (what feels even dangerous) or soak in the sun and gaze lovingly at these happy dogs smiling ear-to-ear?”

I thought about returning to the hotel just to feel safer (just a little safer since I have a bed bug phobia) or did I want to sit in the sand and breathe in all that is warm and good?

I focused on the moment. Right here, right now I’m pretty okay. I breathed deep and smiled at the scraggiest wet dog I’ve ever seen. 

So smelly
So smelly

 

Then it occurred to me what I was going to have to do to get back to the hotel. OMG. Could I do it? Could I walk through Toxic Lane again?

Suddenly I was bathed in kisses by a very wet white poodle. He slathered my face in sloppy kisses. In this moment, right here, right now, I’m pretty okay.

There’s a Bible verse, Matthew 7:7, “Seek and ye shall find.” What you look for you’ll find. So I focused my energy on what I want and why I want it. I didn’t focus on what I had to do to get it.

I want to enjoy this moment. I need this for my soul. If I focus on what I have to do to get it, I’m  bound to say, “I can’t do it.” I can’t stay at a hotel where there might be bed bugs. I can’t walk on a smelly gross toxic street. I can’t be on a beach where there are wasps.

“I can’t do it” isn’t true. It’s nothing more than a limiting belief. Can I say with 100% certainty that I can’t do it? If not, what then is possible?

As I sat on the beach a woman and her son spoke to me. She said, “This is so beautiful.” She told me she had MS (Multiple Sclerosis) and had just walked all the way from a far and

Son helping Mom
Son helping Mom

distant street. Her gait was significantly impaired. She leaned on her son as he led her to the shore.  Now that’s a woman without a limiting belief.

The belief you subscribe to is the life you live.

Focus your energy on what you want, and why you want it. Don’t focus on the path you’re going to have to take to get it. Put one foot in front of the other and get what you want.

Believe you can and this is the life you will live. If you say, “This is hard. Unpleasant. But I can do it. I know what I want. I know why I want it. I’m doing it.” This is the life you’ll live.

Your #1 challenge isn’t OCD. It’s thinking “I can’t” when feeling overwhelmed. That’s the challenge. Pushing through that limiting belief, feeling the fear and doing it anyway.

“I can. It’s hard. But, here I go.”

How Do You Accept OCD When it Causes So Much Pain?

Before we answer the question of how to accept OCD, let’s count the many ways that OCD can cause pain.

Thought Action Fusion

The OCD brain has trouble differentiating between being in a fearful situation or just thinking about a fearful situation. There’s a big difference but if you have OCD it all feels the same.

OCD is a disorder that causes the brain to malfunction. One of thepablo-124 ways it malfunctions is that the brain can’t tell the difference between a thought and an action. A thought feels just like an action. In cognitive therapy, this is called “thought action fusion.” The brain fuses a thought and an action into the same thing. Thinking about doing something is the same as carrying out an action.  

This malfunctioning causes enormous pain and it’s rooted in the imagination. 

Distressing Upsetting Thoughts

OCD attacks what’s precious and sacred. It tells you the opposite of what’s true. Whatever you treasure and honor, OCD will try to make you doubt your morality and sincerity.

You love your child so much but OCD tells you that you want to hurt your child.  It tells you that you might go crazy and lose control. You might make a mistake and cause harm. It tells you that you’re inadequate and never good enough. 

Thoughts aren’t true and feelings aren’t facts. But, OCD doesn’t know that. OCD is a disorder that makes you overvalue thoughts and feelings. “Actions speak louder than words” has no meaning in the world of OCD.pablo-125

This is just another way the OCD brain malfunctions. It can’t tell what matters most.  It’s a disorder of very narrow minded thinking with one goal in mind: certainty. Since certainty can never be obtained it causes endless suffering and loss.

Compulsions

A person with OCD will try to offset the associated anxiety through ritualistic, repetitive behaviors. Clients will say they are doing compulsions to prevent harm, but that’s just OCD trickery. The real reason a person with OCD performs compulsions is to relieve anxiety. 

pablo-126OCD is a disorder that tricks you into magical thinking. Magic is and always has been nothing more than an illusion. But OCD can make it seem so real. An OCD thriver told me: “The Land of Compulsions is Fool’s Paradise.”

There is no true value in performing a compulsion. All it’s doing is giving you temporary relief and making you a junkie. Any minute you will have to perform another compulsion.  Your brain will not recover by living in Fool’s Paradise. You keep hoping for it to be different but it never is.

All that is gained from compulsions is a sense of hopelessness. Hopelessness is incredibly hurtful to your spirit and ability to rise up and challenge OCD. 

Overestimation of Threat

OCD is a faulty alarm system. The brain malfunctions and tells you there is danger when there isn’t. It gets you stuck worrying about something happening in the future. Meanwhile, in the present moment, you’re actually pretty okay. 

But, OCD has a way of distracting you from the present and keeps you living in what if land. Nothing has actually happened but you’re feeling guilty. Depressed. Yet, in this moment, right now you’re actually pretty okay.

pablo-127There are so many beautiful parts to your brain but the only part that seems to be awake is the alarm system. It’s telling you there’s a catastrophe and everything is tainted. You’re on your knees in tears. 

OCD is a disorder that overestimates threat. Even though there’s actually nothing wrong, it feels like everything is wrong.

It’s very painful to think your world is falling apart when it isn’t. You know it isn’t but you can’t seem to get out of what if land. It’s agonizing. 

These are just a few ways that OCD causes suffering. So now we must answer the question: How do you accept OCD when it causes so much pain? 

I turn to you to “make a way out of no way.” How do you accept OCD? Please leave your comment which will be posted anonymously.

Should I Say My Obsessions Out Loud?

The other day I was reading a Q & A Website where people with OCD post their questions. Here’s one that was very popular and had several hundred views:

160_F_63199233_ThCX9qqGz550zQt6Onbfq8uMAnkyQUEj“Hello I was wondering if it’s normal for someone with OCD to have to say some of their intrusive thoughts out loud for them to go away?”

In April I wrote a blog post every day and my favorite part was not writing the blog (although I enjoyed it very much). It was reading everybody’s comments and cultivating an ongoing discussion. Since I miss that part, for today I decided to post the above question and encourage ya’ll to comment and check back through the week to keep the discussion going. 

I’d like to do this every once in awhile so if you have a question you want me to ask in a future post tell me!

I’m looking forward to hearing from you! As always I’ll make sure your response is anonymous!

Hi! Last week I posted the above question. We had some great comments. Please be sure to read them! Today, I replied to each comment for this week’s post. I also included a “Reassurance Quiz” below:

https://www.playbuzz.com/tammylabrake10/take-the-reassurance-quiz