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Headwreck

Am I doing this right?

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My therapist told me to do something which I've been avoiding in order to trigger the compulsions, wait for the ruminating etc. to start and then say a phrase which I believe I am when I think of these bad thoughts and this event as though to put a stop to the compulsions.

I get the compulsions even when I'm not doing this thing which I've been avoiding. So when I'm getting the compulsions I'm saying this phrase (which is telling me what I've done is true or how I feel because it is) and then tell myself 'well there you go then' etc. and try not to think about it. Is this right, I think I might have misunderstood the therapist a bit or I'm doing it wrong (not because of how he's explained it, just because how I interpreted it)?   

I'm struggling really badly today. I believe I've done something but I'm in denial. I'm desperate to tell my partner and split with him. The memory I had last week is still really bothering me because I think it was real, I'm pretty sure it was. It was too vivid, the feeling was really strong and I recognised it but I can't conjure it again. It wasn't anything sexual but it was cuddling and would tie up with other alleged false memories to mean I've done something sexual. But then I think of the text message and the handshake then I'm noI so sure. 'm really struggling so bad, I can't carry on living this way, I just want to be asleep all the time to get away from it. 

Edited by Headwreck

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So sorry to hear how much you're struggling, I am struggling too so probably be useless at any advice but I just wanted to let you know you're not alone. I can completely relate to wanting to be asleep all the time, I get that thought often too. 

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Thanks. I just can't do this today. I just want it to stop. The therapist alluded to the fact that I shouldn't be coming on here because it's a compulsion but I don't know what else to do. I'm in work but feel like I'm going to burst into tears. I can't stay with my partner having cheated. I can't. 

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11 minutes ago, Headwreck said:

Thanks. I just can't do this today. I just want it to stop. The therapist alluded to the fact that I shouldn't be coming on here because it's a compulsion but I don't know what else to do. I'm in work but feel like I'm going to burst into tears. I can't stay with my partner having cheated. I can't. 

For some, coming on here *is* a compulsion, it's really tough to get the balance right between using the forums as a support network and using them to satisfy compulsions. I'm never sure whether I'm doing compulsions, simply seeking answers and support, or both!

I so understand your pain. That relentless need to know is so familiar. I'm exhausted and imagine you must be too. I tried to get a docs appointment today to ask about a change of antidepressant but the lines were busy and by the time I got through there were no appointments left. I'll try again tomorrow. I'm rooting for you ❤️

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I'm so confused. Have I always known and are these memories I'm having actually real memories and I'm just disregarding them? I'm in bits. I don't know where to turn. 

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I don't even know why I'm posting this as I know there is nothing different to be said. Sorry. 

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Don't apologise, myself and I'm sure pretty much everyone on these forums knows exactly what you mean. This disorder is truly cruel x

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Thanks, it really is horrible. 

Out of curiosity and this will in no way influence anything, does anyone think it's possible to fight off ocd without a therapist and instead pursuing self help? It's only because I'm finding therapy so expensive and not only that but I don't feel like once a week (sometimes once every two weeks) is enough for me at the moment.

Edited by Headwreck

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Hi Headwreck.

Regarding your question, I don't think there is a general answer since we're all different. As I wrote I cannot get help from a therapist here so self help is the only option. For me it doesn't work. It gets worse and worse. As I said there is no general answer but it's certainly easier (as if easy can be applied with OCD) with help of a therapist. I would not recommend to use only self help - maybe additionally but not as only way

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Self-help can work very well for some, I include myself amongst those.  However, I think where you're at Headwreck and the fact the you're with a therapist and still struggling, I would stick with the therapy if you possibly can.

You are using the forum to carry out compulsions, reassurance seeking, confessing, written ruminations etc and in that respect your therapist is probably right.  You could still apply self-help by self-moderating how you use the forum and try to resist using it when you have these peaks of anxiety.  Use it more for support and perhaps clarification on points that you don't understand.....but everytime you come here and write about "Why you've cheated", "Why you're an awful person and your partner should leave you", "Explanations and soul-searching, going over things", you are worsening the problem and the severity of it.

Therapy with a therapist or via self-help only begins to work when we begin to apply the recommendations.  Therapy doesn't work simply because we are attending therapy sessions in the same way as buying a gym membership doesn't work unless we attend regularly and do the training and exercises.  That may seem obvious but is a very common mistake, one I've made many times in the past.  Buying and reading a self-help book, reading forum posts and articles, even attending therapy sessions will not help unless we "apply" the methods suggested.  We have to Walk the Talk.  You won't succeed overnight, it will provoke great anxiety often, you will doubt, urges to do compulsions may seem stronger at first but with practise they will start to improve.

With all urges and compulsions, that increase in intensity strikes hardest when it first strikes....it can seem impossible to resist and defy but if you can get past that initial attack WITHOUT DOING OTHER COMPULSIONS (self-talk like "I can't stand this, I'll crack, I'm going mad"; asking others around us for reassurance, telling others about it, avoidance of things etc)  If you can take it on the chin and resist other sneaky compulsions as a means of control, it will die down.  The heightened anxiety is not pleasant but you're not escaping it anyway, your anxiety is with you all day, every day because of the methods you are desperately applying to stop or control it.  Be anxious because you're challenging it and getting better.

Perhaps you could change your thread (or start a new one) which is about how you are going to challenge these compulsions.  Identify what your compulsions actually are.  What things/other compulsions and behaviours you do generally when a fear strikes you.  What your new plan of attack is going to be when the thought strikes.

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23 minutes ago, Caramoole said:

Self-help can work very well for some, I include myself amongst those.  However, I think where you're at Headwreck and the fact the you're with a therapist and still struggling, I would stick with the therapy if you possibly can.

You are using the forum to carry out compulsions, reassurance seeking, confessing, written ruminations etc and in that respect your therapist is probably right.  You could still apply self-help by self-moderating how you use the forum and try to resist using it when you have these peaks of anxiety.  Use it more for support and perhaps clarification on points that you don't understand.....but everytime you come here and write about "Why you've cheated", "Why you're an awful person and your partner should leave you", "Explanations and soul-searching, going over things", you are worsening the problem and the severity of it.

Therapy with a therapist or via self-help only begins to work when we begin to apply the recommendations.  Therapy doesn't work simply because we are attending therapy sessions in the same way as buying a gym membership doesn't work unless we attend regularly and do the training and exercises.  That may seem obvious but is a very common mistake, one I've made many times in the past.  Buying and reading a self-help book, reading forum posts and articles, even attending therapy sessions will not help unless we "apply" the methods suggested.  We have to Walk the Talk.  You won't succeed overnight, it will provoke great anxiety often, you will doubt, urges to do compulsions may seem stronger at first but with practise they will start to improve.

With all urges and compulsions, that increase in intensity strikes hardest when it first strikes....it can seem impossible to resist and defy but if you can get past that initial attack WITHOUT DOING OTHER COMPULSIONS (self-talk like "I can't stand this, I'll crack, I'm going mad"; asking others around us for reassurance, telling others about it, avoidance of things etc)  If you can take it on the chin and resist other sneaky compulsions as a means of control, it will die down.  The heightened anxiety is not pleasant but you're not escaping it anyway, your anxiety is with you all day, every day because of the methods you are desperately applying to stop or control it.  Be anxious because you're challenging it and getting better.

Perhaps you could change your thread (or start a new one) which is about how you are going to challenge these compulsions.  Identify what your compulsions actually are.  What things/other compulsions and behaviours you do generally when a fear strikes you.  What your new plan of attack is going to be when the thought strikes.

Thanks Caramoole. It's the thinking that triggers the anxiety and then I just continue thinking before I get to a stage where I have to let it out in some form. 

I won't give up the therapy, I'm just skeptical that it will work and it is costing me money I can't afford. I did EMDR yesterday, he said we were going to use it as a for of exposure too and I got really upset but I think it's because of the environment I'm in rather than the thoughts sometimes. I had a really really vivid memory last week that I'm really concerned about because it felt so real and the feeling tied to it was very real and I recognised it. I didn't think this was possible with something that could be treated as ocd. 

Anyway thanks for your help. I know I need to change my methods because I feel I'm going further into the rabbit hole with no sense of getting out of it. I just don't know where to begin because there seems to be so many caveats and 'if you're doing that it's avoidance' etc. 

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Those caveats are all make believe. That's the OCD part of your brain trying to keep you sucked into doing compulsions. Those thoughts can be ignored, no problem.

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But I get confused by the information on the boards sometimes. People say steer your mind away but then I also see 'sit with the thoughts, doing other things is avoidance'. I don't think I'd feel too bad if I stopped thinking all the time but then I don't want to 'stop' myself thinking if in the end it's detrimental in the long run. 

I'm also concerned that I'm going to trick myself into thinking I've done nothing when I really have. I've had thoughts previously which I've passed off as ocd etc. and it turned out to be real. So then it starts again. 

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It may seem confusing but it likely has not been explained properly to you. Both statements are true, in a sense. You do not want to push the thoughts away or try to force them out of your head. That is reacting to the thoughts and that's the last thing we want you to do. When you get an intrusive thought, you let it be there, but you don't respond to it. You carry on with whatever you were doing. The thought will be there but it won't take hold tightly if you don't respond to it.

So what are you going to do? Are you going to continue to punish yourself for the rest of your life for doing something you can't prove you actually did? Punish yourself for something you actually can't remember doing? All you have is a thought. You are basing your whole life on that one thought, as patently false as it could be. Does it make sense to you to punish yourself forever for something you don't actually know happened or not? And to take it even further, suppose for one moment that you did have sex with some guy and therefore cheated on your boyfriend. Would you still punish yourself for the rest of your life? Because that's where you're headed. You punish yourself every day but ruminating and doing other compulsions. You keep the thoughts alive in your head, just in case.

 

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11 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

You keep the thoughts alive in your head, just in case.

That's what I tell myself. I don't feel like I deserve to not think about it, so then I keep thinking about it thinking that I'll have this epiphany, then something crops up and then I doubt that and wish I was back in the moment before this new 'revelation' which has made everything questionable or at least verging on the 'certainly done wrong' end of the scale. The memory I had wasn't sexual but it was closer than I thought. But I guess there's no point talking about that. 

I'm not sure how I let a thought sit there, it's like I'm telling myself to let it sit there so then I'm giving it attention by doing that. It's like I'm hyper sensitive to what I'm thinking, why I'm thinking and how, no matter what it is. When I am in a good mood (very very rare now) I feel better about things but is that just optimism rather than realism? 

Edited by Headwreck

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Do you have a best friend? A favorite sister? Get along with your mom real well? What if one of them confided in you that they were punishing themselves just in case they did something wrong? That they had a thought that they might have done something wrong and they decided to not let it go and punish themselves relentlessly just in case? What would you say? Would you say, "Wow that's great! You should punish yourself just in case!" Or would you say something else.

Think about it. Really think about it. Then apply your answer about them to you. Why should you be treated any different?

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1 hour ago, PolarBear said:

Do you have a best friend? A favorite sister? Get along with your mom real well? What if one of them confided in you that they were punishing themselves just in case they did something wrong? That they had a thought that they might have done something wrong and they decided to not let it go and punish themselves relentlessly just in case? What would you say? Would you say, "Wow that's great! You should punish yourself just in case!" Or would you say something else.

Think about it. Really think about it. Then apply your answer about them to you. Why should you be treated any different?

Thank you, I know you're right (again!) but I can't apply that rationality to myself no matter what I do, say or try. I'm trying to see this as OCD but a part of me feels like it's not; that's the part that scares me the most. This leap of faith I keep hearing about looks like a bungee jump off Niagara Falls without a cord right now. 

Edited by Headwreck

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Lol. Well, you're right. That's an apt description of it. Bungee jumping without a cord indeed.

This all boils down, I think, to how we see ourselves deep down inside. If you look at your situation simply, you really have a choice. You are being hounded by thoughts that you did something wrong. You have no way to tell if you did wrong or not. So you have a choice: believe the thoughts or disbelieve them. Believe that you are capable of doing something wrong or believe you are a basically a sound, moral, caring person incapable of hurting yourself or others. That's really your choice. Right now you are choosing to believe you are capable of this, even though I surmise you do not have a track record of doing wrong in that way. Plus there's the simple fact that obviously you think cheating is a big wrong to do, because you punish yourself mercilessly for maybe doing it. Deep down you have strong views of cheating, so what about you makes you think that you would or could do it?

You can choose differently. You can choose to believe that this is all based on a thought and only a thought. That your mind is capable of generating such a thought in such a way as to make it absolutely convincing, yet for it to be nothing more than a big lie, at the same time. Minds are like that. They can convince you of anything but that doesn't make those things true.

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32 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

Lol. Well, you're right. That's an apt description of it. Bungee jumping without a cord indeed.

This all boils down, I think, to how we see ourselves deep down inside. If you look at your situation simply, you really have a choice. You are being hounded by thoughts that you did something wrong. You have no way to tell if you did wrong or not. So you have a choice: believe the thoughts or disbelieve them. Believe that you are capable of doing something wrong or believe you are a basically a sound, moral, caring person incapable of hurting yourself or others. That's really your choice. Right now you are choosing to believe you are capable of this, even though I surmise you do not have a track record of doing wrong in that way. Plus there's the simple fact that obviously you think cheating is a big wrong to do, because you punish yourself mercilessly for maybe doing it. Deep down you have strong views of cheating, so what about you makes you think that you would or could do it?

You can choose differently. You can choose to believe that this is all based on a thought and only a thought. That your mind is capable of generating such a thought in such a way as to make it absolutely convincing, yet for it to be nothing more than a big lie, at the same time. Minds are like that. They can convince you of anything but that doesn't make those things true.

The sad thing is, and this is really difficult for me to say; the night in question there was definitely intent from my side because in my messed up mind at the time I was seeking 'revenge' on my partner because I'd convinced myself that he had done it to me and was convinced that he was tricking me into believing I was unwell in order to hide his unfaithfulness. I accused him of everything, gaslighting, lying, everything. 

That night is a time I am most ashamed of, wholeheartedly, and will never be able to live with or forgive myself for. If it came to the deed, could I do it? I don't know, on that night possibly. I was scorned (without reason) so I probably would have justified it at the time. That's said from the heart and not from the mouth of the OCD. But I don't think I thought I done anything until recently. I feel embarrassed, ashamed, and if I'm honest I've let myself, my partner and the people who think they know me as a person who wouldn't be capable of doing this, down completely. But that doesn't fix the hole I've dug and I can't keep sitting here crying about a situation I've created myself, need to start trying to see sense through getting better rather than seeking a truth with a cloudy head. 

Edited by Headwreck

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Regardless what you just wrote, you are being much too hard on yourself. You put yourself in that position because OCD convinced you that your partner was the one doing the cheating. Now you're in your current position because of OCD. The root of the problem is OCD. And you can forgive yourself. I did it after 40 years of believing myself to be a bad person. It wasn't easy. Took some time. But I did forgive myself. Best thing I ever did.

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19 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

Regardless what you just wrote, you are being much too hard on yourself. You put yourself in that position because OCD convinced you that your partner was the one doing the cheating. Now you're in your current position because of OCD. The root of the problem is OCD. And you can forgive yourself. I did it after 40 years of believing myself to be a bad person. It wasn't easy. Took some time. But I did forgive myself. Best thing I ever did.

Can't imagine the release and freedom you must feel. Well worth all the struggles and the hard work you must have put in. This offers some hope that there might be a way out of it. Hope I have the guts to chance that seemingly cordless bungee one day soon. Thank you. 

Edited by Headwreck

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