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About snowbear

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  1. Gemzi, at the moment these thoughts are troubling you because you keep telling yourself things like: 'It's a big deal!' 'It was a bad thing/ it makes me a bad person' 'I can't forgive myself' 'I can't stop thinking about it and just let it go.' (I should be punished/ I need to fix this or make amends) All these responses are you giving meaning to what happened, interpreting it as a bad thing, as something that needs to be forgiven. You believe you've done something terrible, something unforgivable, so you punish yourself by thinking things that make you feel guilty or feel bad/worse about yourself. You go over and over it, ruminating, trying to find ways to fix it or make amends. The truth is what you did (including the stomach punch) isn't that big a deal at all. But you've convinced yourself it is to such an extent that you can't imagine anybody else sees things differently. You struggle to believe there is another way to see things. Cognitive therapy will teach you that you're choosing to believe you did something terrible. You made a judgement (people shouldn't hit their stomach if they might be pregnant) and concluded that because you 'broke the rules' you did something unforgivable. So you're not forgiving yourself. There is always more than one way to interpret everything. Life isn't black and white with everything separated into clear cut should and shouldn'ts. If you try to live by those kind of rigid, inflexible rules then forgiveness IS impossible, happiness is impossible, and every day life becomes very difficult. Which is where you're at now. And where you'll remain unless you learn to relax the rules around the should and shouldn'ts. You'll stay unhappy and troubled by unwanted thoughts until you learn to forgive. People without OCD don't apply the should and shouldn't rules as rigidly as you are doing. Even when they do happen to 'break the rules' they're willing to forgive themselves. They don't punish themselves by thinking endlessly about what they did. They take note not to do it again and then they let it go. And that's an end to it. No recriminations, nothing more to forgive or make amends for so no intrusive thoughts going round their heads as self-punishment. Nothing to fix. So you have a choice. You can choose to stand by the judgement you made (people should NEVER hit their stomach, it's an unforgivable thing to do) OR you can choose to change the way you interpret the world, allow that people make mistakes and sometimes do things they shouldn't, but that's ok, it can be forgiven. Which one you choose determines whether these thoughts will continue to trouble you as they do now, or whether you can forgive yourself, let it go and get on with living the rest of your life normally.
  2. It's amazing how often people post the solution to the problem in their own words, yet fail to listen to what they've just said. Your fear stems from making 'silly comparisons'. In looking for parallels with the past you see betrayal everywhere in your present. Stop looking! The irony is that you are now the one playing with your mind. Creating imaginary betrayals out of these 'silly comparisons'. Playing mind games. Making yourself scared and miserable with your own thoughts. Twisting it around in your head so you convince yourself the problem lies with others, past and present, while you're the victim of their machinations. The present-day friend stands innocent and loyal by your side while you stab him/her in the back, accusing him/her with your thoughts. Is that the action of a good friend? Friendship is based on trust. So it's very simple, either you trust your friend and dismiss these silly comparisons without further ado, or you already have no friendship to lose because there's no trust there. You clearly spend a lot of time thinking about your friend betraying you, but where do your own loyalties lie? Will you let these thoughts, these silly fears based on what some other person did in the past spoil a genuine friendship in the present? Or dismiss the thoughts and fears and trust your friend and yourself?
  3. I just realised my earlier response narrowed this to not judging the moment when really I wanted to support the full breadth and reach of Franklin's observation, not narrow it down! The non-judgemental aspect of mindfulness is particularly useful in OCD because it stops in its tracks all the self-argument nonsense that you have to be perfect/moral/good etc. at all times. Take the judgement aspect out of the intrusive thought and it makes compulsions redundant.
  4. David, something else you can do to help yourself is to find things to keep you occupied. What do you do all day stuck at home? Sitting around with nothing to do but think isn't healthy. Sitting around watching the world through the window and listening out for who's around gives your brain too much opportunity to imagine things that aren't real. What hobbies have you got? What sort of activities interest you?
  5. This is a hugely important part of mindfulness that can too easily be overlooked. You can't be truly 'in the moment' if you are simultaneously judging the moment as either good or bad because the very act of deciding a judgement requires comparison with other good/bad moments which activates a different part of the brain and takes you out of the present. (In Taurean's terms of description, passing judgement on the moment activates the 'doing' part of the brain and stops you 'being' so even if you think you're 'being happy' the very act of deciding you're happy takes you away from the moment. )
  6. Hi Lou and welcome to the forum. Getting your daughter on board with therapy (wanting things to change) is paramount. Ideally CBT is the next step, but is there is difficulty finding a registered practitioner locally, or a long delay in getting an NHS referral, then a good self-help book might be a worthwhile investment for the interim. One of the most popular guides among our forum users is Break Free from OCD which you can read more on by clicking the link. I'm afraid I can't offer any advice on the boyfriend issue - we just have to hope she sees any problems there for herself! The family presenting a united front on not giving reassurance will help. It may also help her to re-frame her boyfriend's silences as a good thing (that he's not pandering to the OCD by reassuring) rather than as a bad thing (something to create extra reason to worry.) Let us know how you get on. Have you checked out the charity's finding a therapist page?
  7. Hi Amc, I think you need to speak up and push for CBT, but you don't have to do it in a controversial way that comes across as 'protesting'. Just ask to be referred to a therapist for CBT and quietly but firmly stick to your request. Remember that you always have a right to question the therapy you are receiving and to be given an clear explanation of what the personal therapy being offered entails. Next time the mental health team member says 'just let it go' ask her to explain exactly how to do that. CBT will hopefully enable you to do just that, but if it was easy to stop obsessing from being told to stop nobody would need any further treatment for OCD! If they refuse outright to refer you for CBT then you may find this advice useful. If you're still having problems contact the charity office by email ( or by phone (0845 120 3778 or 0345 120 3778) for further help, or update us here.
  8. These are OCD thoughts. The usual nonsense OCD throws up to keep you doing compulsions. Ignore them. The first step to a healthy relationship is to make yourself suitable to be somebody else's partner. Concentrate on broadening your horizons, making friends, learning and practising good social skills and developing personal interests. Do that and the right person will find you. Potential partners will be queued up wanting to be a part of this wonderful, interesting, fun person's life. The two biggest mistakes people make when looking for a partner is to think there is only one 'right' person in the world (there are thousands of potentially ideal partners out there for each of us) and to go looking instead of making themselves the place to be, the person to be around. OCD will latch onto whatever you fear. Change your focus from the unattractive 'needy romantic' outlook to personal growth and being a happy person and OCD will have nothing to latch onto.
  9. Cutebunny, I don't know how old you are and maybe youth and inexperience play a part here, but you don't fall in love with someone based on what you've seen and read about them. That's infatuation. You fall in love when you get to know someone, interact with them, talk to them, laugh with them. You fall in love when the other person enjoys your company, when he enjoys making you laugh, when he demonstrates kindness and affection towards you. Love can't occur just by projecting your imagination onto someone else. Your feelings just now may be intense, may seem very real, but until you've spent time with this guy as a friend and experienced some warmth in return all you have is feelings based on imaginary encounters, an imagined friendship where none exists. I think it's hard to separate them in this instance so here's my life advice / OCD advice: - Wait to see if he responds to your friend request. If no reply arrives within a few days, move on and forget him. Don't badger him, think about him or continue to follow his activities in secret. Let it go and find new interests, other friends to spend real time with instead of devoting yourself to imaginary encounters and unfulfilled hopes. Resist the urge to log in to social media more than once a day, or to repeatedly read his profile while waiting for his response - this is compulsive behaviour. If you are prone to developing this sort of infatuation/ crush as part of your OCD then it may be an indication you are lacking a satisfactory social life. Consider remedying that with new social activities, preferably as part of a group where the emphasis is on friendship, mutual support and having fun rather than directed at possible romances.
  10. You're friend is a health professional. It's her job to understand. Worrying that she will judge you or think differently about you if she learns about your illness is tantamount to saying she's an incompetent nurse and not fit to do her job. Is that really your opinion of your friend? I agree with Ashley. This is an opportunity. A triple-opportunity, as I see it! 1. An opportunity to change your thinking and finally accept that the theme of your thoughts is irrelevant and having 'crazy' thoughts doesn't make you a bad person. 2. An opportunity to include your friend in your close support network, someone you can talk to openly and know you won't be judged for your thoughts. 3. An opportunity to strengthen this friendship by demonstrating that you trust your friend personally and professionally with some sensitive information. You've everything to gain from this and nothing to lose except false pride and unjustified fear.
  11. Well done, Phil. You know you're going to get these sorts of episodes while reducing so it's a case of sticking with each lowered dose without top-ups. Maybe it will help to think of it as '11mg plus a manageable degree of anxiety/panic attacks. Then 10mg with the a manageable degree of anxiety... ' In presenting the anxiety to your brain as 'manageable' or 'bearable' it lessens the urge to resort to the pills as a temporary crutch. You expect it, you can cope with it - you're prepared to go through some anxiety rather than wanting to erase it completely at each stage with medication. Whether you refer to this shift in thinking as a cognitive skill, or simply as playing your mind at its own game, it does make you more mentally resilient.
  12. CBT

    OK, we hear you. But how is having a break from therapy going to push you further? Outline your plan. Difficulty putting into words what your exact intentions are? Chances are that means there is no plan. If you don't have a plan, you can't have a plan come true. Are you sure it isn't a case of therapy is pushing you and you're struggling to accept being out of your comfort zone and implementing what you've learned? I'm not criticizing. Many of us have been through a stage of not being ready to accept the challenge therapy offers. And that's absolutely fine, there's no shame in struggling to engage with therapy. None at all. You'll get there when you're ready. But it's all too easy to tell ourselves were 'working on it' or 'getting ready' when what we actually mean is we're staying in our comfort zones for a while longer, avoiding being pushed, letting OCD continue to dictate our lives. I believe it's important to be honest with yourself about what taking a break from therapy is really about. If you convince yourself doing nothing is 'getting ready' the result will be that you face the exact same challenges in your next round of therapy that you're facing now. No progress will have been made and you'll be every bit as unprepared and feeling just as scared or confused as you are now. If you're genuinely 'getting ready' and gearing up for the next push then you'll have a plan you can easily put into words. That plan will include the exact cognitive changes you need to achieve between now and then to make the next push successful. So, outline your plan of action for this break and tell us how it's going to get you ready.
  13. The difference lies in the misconstrued belief of benefit and in the outcome (action taken). In 'OCD worry' the outcome is rumination, avoidance, checking, or other compulsions which lead to further worry. Nothing is resolved, but the sufferer believes the worry is justified and therefore convinces himself it has some benefit despite all evidence to the contrary. He cannot accept the futility of worrying. In 'normal worry', there is understanding and acceptance that worrying does not beneficially effect outcome. There is a conscious effort to set the worry aside and engage in alternative thoughts or activities. In exactly the same way 'OCD rumination' differs from 'normal problem solving'. They are poles apart because of the purpose which motivates them and the outcome. You keep coming back with these kind of questions as if they were problem solving thinking, seemingly unable (or unwilling) to accept they are clear-cut ruminations.
  14. There's loads online, Lynz. Just google it! This blog entry is a fairly good intro to give more of an idea what it's about: If you're looking for a book on it, Barbara Fredrickson (one of the leading psychology researchers involved in it) has written two: 'Positivity' is perhaps nearest to the kind of cognitive ideas you might encounter in OCD treatment. 'Love 2.0, Finding Happiness and Health in Moments of Connection' is more about forgiveness (self and others) through developing a sense of love/connection with the rest of humanity. It goes more into the idea about the positive philosophy being 'like circles in a pond radiating outwards', so less directly related to standard OCD treatment, but perhaps relevant if you have particular issues with anger and mental contamination and need to work on your ability and willingness to forgive someone. Note: neither book talks specifically about OCD or mental illness. This is positivity for healthy minds to enhance their lives further. But it's not rocket science and what applies to making healthy minds healthier certainly applies to poorly minds in need of a bit of a boost.
  15. Saz, well done for not engaging with the thoughts yesterday. Now go out and enjoy yourself! Of course you deserve a night out and to be happy doing it. How to stop the OCD thoughts spoiling it? Any time during the evening that you catch yourself feeling guilty, thinking that you don't deserve to be happy, or feel your mood dipping, force yourself to concentrate intently on what the people around you are talking about (instead of drifting off into your own thoughts.) Stay in the moment. Set the past aside, act as if the future doesn't exist. Refuse to engage with the thoughts exactly as you did yesterday. The more you do it, the easier it gets.