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gingerbreadgirl

Little things which have helped me with OCD

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Gb, there is nothing wrong with exposures on the fly. In fact everyone should do it. One reason we do ERP in a cintrolled setting is because it is safe. The sufferer is in control. But if you can do it as obsessions pop up, go for it!

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9 hours ago, taurean said:

Everyone is different and it's what suits the individual, and it is important that we stress that, in treating OCD, one size does not fit all. 

A large number of us will be shouting out "yes I agree triggers are everywhere" but it is important I think that we rationalise that. It "seems"  that triggers are everywhere, because our mind has been programmed - like radar - to seek them out, scan for them, then when it finds them,home in on them. 

Let me tell my own story.

With me , I had this "triggers are everywhere"  feeling when out and about. My OCD harm theme was turning sometimes bland things into threats, and teaming up with the cognitive distortion of "personalisation"  to make out I could be involved with, say, violent news stories. 

So my mind would draw me to a news headline - especially "banner" headlines, a poster advertising a - possibly violent - film etc etc. Up came the desire to avoid, feelings of not wanting to go out (which would mean I couldn't work). 

The therapy we decided on in CBT was a different solution to that which works for GBG. 

Firstly, we went through the cognitive side - above, but also in harm OCD the OCD targets our true core values such as love care gentleness wouldn't hurt a fly, and alleges the exact opposite. 

Then I was told to mentally consider the external triggers as simply part of this unwanted OCD obsession. 

I was to continue with my normal going out, but see the triggers for what they were - and when travelling to work say, refocus onto the view outside. Noting the trigger, reminding myself of the cognitive side for a short while, then refocusing. 

With the news - and I had a real urge to avoid - I was to buy a newspaper and get used to catching sight of the banner headlines, then gently easing my mind away onto another story. 

As the exposure built up, I got to reading the story but reminding myself that it was third party, nothing to do with me. 

Similar exposure re the posters - also adverts. 

This methodology has worked well. Currently I no longer notice these triggers "that were all around me".  If for some reason I do, then just like anyone else my mind just moves on and away without dwelling. 

I read the news every day, I can even find I enjoy the TV and radio news, and we are signed up to Sky Movies - something I could never have tolerated before. 

I think this emphasises the massive power of CBT methodology in treating OCD. But also that we are all different, what ERP methodology that works can be different. 

It's important I think that we take this onboard. A really good therapist experienced in OCD may still have their own strong views and opinions - but flexibility in approach may still be needed. 

So sharing what works for us here has a real part to play in recovery. What works for one just may work for others. 

Well done GBG for opening up this thread saying what works for you so may work for others. :worthy:

It inspired me to open up here with my own story in more detail than I have ever I think given before on the main forum. 

Roy 

Thank you for sharing this, Roy.  You're right it is always good to hear about what worked for people x

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5 hours ago, Gemma7 said:

I don't really believe it's about what suits who best, i think it's more picking the appropriate behaviour for the situation. Planned exposures are great for targeting specific beliefs and working towards goals, exposures on the fly are for learning that you can take charge and go against OCD at any point and non-OCD behaviour is for getting on with your day not letting OCD get worse and reducing belief over time. 

I think the best thing someone can do is pick what's suitable for them at any given moment and use all of them at some point during therapy so that they become more resilient to OCD once therapy stops :)

I agree, it's about having tools in your toolbox and trying them out and seeing what works best.

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3 hours ago, PolarBear said:

Gb, there is nothing wrong with exposures on the fly. In fact everyone should do it. One reason we do ERP in a cintrolled setting is because it is safe. The sufferer is in control. But if you can do it as obsessions pop up, go for it!

ha, TBH I fail a lot of the time.  I am sent into a tailspin regularly, although I have got a handle on this more now.  But I find, often, that I either treat triggers as exposure, or I go down the rabbit hole - I find it difficult to find a midpoint of just not engaging at all.

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5 hours ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

I agree, it's about having tools in your toolbox and trying them out and seeing what works best.

Now I see this as a massively important point. And I think it's an area which therapists would do well to take on board. 

From my own initial bad experience, and that from a number of others here, it seems that some therapists blindly want to roll out what they deem to be the right tool, and not consider other tools that in fact might be more beneficial and suitable. 

As I said, I was on the receiving end of this but, not being exactly a shrinking Violet (:a1_cheesygrin:) I challenged the therapy proposed, and when my first therapist refused to consider what I felt a more appropriate approach (structured, not blanket, exposure and response prevention)  and told me he knew best, I told him that to my mind he didn't, and terminated therapy with him. 

 

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Great post! Very clear and helpful! Thank you for taking time and share this with us!

i would as meditation. Just some mindfulness for 10 minutes a day or catharsis meditation . But of course that is personal.

i have to say I admire you and it does sound that you are really doing everything you can to have a balanced life which is the one true cure for ocd in my humble opinion -both therapy and fun things ! Now I am learning to have fun again :) hugs hugs hugs!

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4 hours ago, luna blue said:

both therapy and fun things !

This for me is really important! I often feel like life has become a series of CBT exercises; what you say is really important, to live life as much as possible alongside OCD, to find that moment of peace or enjoyment even if only fleeting. 

I remember at Christmas when my OCD was really really awful, on Christmas Day I played a board game with my partner and mother-in-law and temporarily I forgot my OCD and enjoyed myself.  I hadn't had a moment's respite in a while and the fact that I was even able to enjoy a board game was a revelation for me.  It made me realise that even in the absolute depths of despair, I could still have these moments of peace and fun and I could string them together, even if things got bad. 

Life is still to be lived.

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You are so right! Between the despair and control there has to be fun! My therapist said to me that my homework this week is one day no cbt! Just do what I want . And this is a challenge- because !!!! what do I want? I want to get rid of my ocd and play with my son naturally without the monitoring but me wanting this so bad has become a very focused thing. So the trick today is not to do exposures do all the compulsions and try to take it easy:) this is so ironic:) but I am like ok - I just go with the flow:) this is so cool - the fact that you let go of your temporary condition ( because it is!) and enjoy yourself! I think this is where through exposure happenes because people who feel as guilty as we are - well it's hard to enjoy life then. So this is something I am taking with me- thank you so much!!!!

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Just now, luna blue said:

You are so right! Between the despair and control there has to be fun! My therapist said to me that my homework this week is one day no cbt! Just do what I want . And this is a challenge- because !!!! what do I want? I want to get rid of my ocd and play with my son naturally without the monitoring but me wanting this so bad has become a very focused thing. So the trick today is not to do exposures do all the compulsions and try to take it easy:) this is so ironic:) but I am like ok - I just go with the flow:) this is so cool - the fact that you let go of your temporary condition ( because it is!) and enjoy yourself! I think this is where through exposure happenes because people who feel as guilty as we are - well it's hard to enjoy life then. So this is something I am taking with me- thank you so much!!!!

This is great and I hope you enjoy your day today, regardless of OCD x

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It is a great topic. 

What are we intending when we carry out exposure work? 

I think when we just think in terms of "exposure",  we may simply be countering that attempt from OCD to apply a rule, restriction - add another layer to our OCD onion. 

That's good and necessary, but for me the real magic comes from "exposure and response prevention"  - because when we are doing this, we are working towards our desired result of; applying the understanding of the cognitive side - how the disorder goes about its deadly work;  widening the lens of our field of mental vision away from the microscopic focus of the OCD; and disarming the triggers that focused us in on the obsession and resultant urge to compulse. 

The prize at the end is as I know myself from my experience, the result that what bugged us before doesn't; the triggers (which may have been "all around") don't spring to mind; and even if they, occasionally, do, they are gently eased away without connecting with them. 

Edited by taurean

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12 hours ago, taurean said:

It is a great topic. 

What are we intending when we carry out exposure work? 

I think when we just think in terms of "exposure",  we may simply be countering that attempt from OCD to apply a rule, restriction - add another layer to our OCD onion. 

That's good and necessary, but for me the real magic comes from "exposure and response prevention"  - because when we are doing this, we are working towards our desired result of; applying the understanding of the cognitive side - how the disorder goes about its deadly work;  widening the lens of our field of mental vision away from the microscopic focus of the OCD; and disarming the triggers that focused us in on the obsession and resultant urge to compulse. 

The prize at the end is as I know myself from my experience, the result that what bugged us before doesn't; the triggers (which may have been "all around") don't spring to mind; and even if they, occasionally, do, they are gently eased away without connecting with them. 

great post Roy :)

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