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About snowbear

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    OCD-UK Member and

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    Living with OCD

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    North Wales
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    Creative writing, psychology, mental resilience and leadership

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  1. Hello hopeforthefuture, Presumably not poisoned your family up to now with bad hygiene, so I doubt you are the problem. Anger comes from fear. The more enraged she gets the more scared your daughter is feeling. The containers could be totally clean but still feel unclean to her. No amount of logical reassurance that they are up to standard can erase a feeling as emotions aren't logical. At some point she'll need to challenge her belief that the risk of poisoning is as high as she feels it is. You might find it helpful to talk to her about her feelings, or maybe try a self help book which you can both read to better understand how the obsessions and compulsions work in OCD and how it's necessary to stand up to the fear and not give in to compulsions such as excessive washing or throwing away food which feels contaminated etc. How you deal with physical and verbal abuse probably comes down to how you discipline within your family, what behaviours are deemed acceptable and what is not tolerated. It won't harm her to set boundaries while you work towards overcoming her OCD. Have you had any outside help or a formal diagnosis yet?
  2. No worries, Chels. I'm not bothered about these occasional mix-ups and neither is PolarBear. I wish...
  3. So often people say exactly what they need to hear without realising what they've said. It's because you're treating these thoughts and feelings as significant that they have become troubling. When you realise they are just thoughts and accept they have no significance they will gradually fade away. When you do compulsions (ruminating/thinking about it, checking your physical reaction and more) you convince yourself the thoughts are significant and set yourself up for another round of trouble. You asked on another thread if the book Break Free from OCD would help you. The book does explain the cycle of thought > interpretation > feeling > result and how changing the interpretation you give it (the significance/ meaning you decide it has) can break the cycle. If you haven't yet got a therapist to talk you through it then a self-help book like this one is a good place to start.
  4. I'm not against people sharing OCD experiences, but be careful about using Instagram as a place to find advice. Unlike the charity website/forum here there is nobody monitoring what people say on Instagram or checking it is appropriate and helpful. I have no idea who this person is; he may be a qualified CBT therapist, he may be peddling his own brand of therapy that's not regulated or approved by BACPS (the organisation which accredits properly trained therapists.) Before doing any sessions with someone (particularly if it's someone you've discovered through online advertising) always check their credentials and don't be afraid to ask about the therapy on offer. Make sure it's CBT (both cognitive and behavioural parts) and not ERP alone, or counselling, or 'anxiety management'.
  5. Hi Laura, There's no such thing as 'HOCD', just OCD. The theme (sexuality, harm, germs whatever) is irrelvant to how it's treated and acronyms like 'HOCD' tend to cause confusion more than they help. Whatever the theme, treatment is with CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy.) Self help is a useful way to go, though be careful you don't fall into the trap of doing exposure therapy alone and ignore the cognitive part. In my opinion, the cognitive side is far more important. As you say, it can be distressing to be told to 'just let the thoughts happen' and understanding the cognitive part helps you deal with things like that. Which self help book(s) have you read? I recommend Break Free from OCD, but there are others available that explain CBT quite well too.
  6. Hi Girlie1 and welcome to the forum. That's great news that your daughter is getting CBT. Online sessions are just as good as face to face in my opinion. (I had CBT over the phone in the days before video calls were invented and that worked too.) Having your support, keeping to a routine and getting regular exercise will all help as well. I'll try to address the questions you've raised. As far as Uni goes, there's no reason she shouldn't do well, especially as she'll have some CBT skills under her belt by then. Telling a future employer shouldn't be necessary unless she still has OCD at that time which is severe enough to affect her ability to do her job. Otherwise there's no need to mention it to anybody except when applying for life insurance (unless she wants to.) Personally I think medication has a very limited role in OCD and is not needed for the vast majority of people. I agree with your daughter that trying CBT first is the way to go. Labels, labels, sheeesh! Psychologists love a label. Thinking you smell bad when you don't is really just another intrusive thought and can be treated in exactly the same way as other worrying thoughts - with CBT. I see no reason to separate it out and label it as something different. OCD is the same whatever the topic. Thinking of it under the one umbrella makes it easier to apply the same CBT skills to the problem whatever the theme and avoids landing the person with a lot of unhelpful labels which make them feel there's twice as much wrong as there is. There are a lot of people feeling anxious over going to the local shops thanks to the pandemic and my advice on that issue is the same as for somebody without OCD; as soon as the lockdown eases get back out there and try to get back to normal. If she has low confidence you might find it helps her to have company at first, but essentially it's about pushing through the anxiety. 'Feel the fear and do it anyway' as the famous book says! Perhaps she could join the forum herself? Doing CBT can be hard and it can help to chat about it with people who understand. She might also be interested in our Young Ambassadors section on the main website which you can access here. I hope that helps and if you have further questions this is the place to ask!
  7. I think you know what this is, Lily. You're back to asking for reassurance that you're not a bad person. You know how to deal with these compulsions. Let's see you put it into practice.
  8. Hi Logan, I hear your concerns, especial;ly given your family's health as a whole. It must seem logical to you to ask the younger work colleagues to return to work first. However you have no idea if any of them have medical conditions which put them at risk, or perhaps are living in households where someone ill or very elderly is being shielded. I'm sure many of them could produce a list of reasons not to be the first to return to work too if asked about their overall situation in the same way you are assessing your own predicament. Do you think your concerns could be driven more by OCD than the specific health issues you mentioned? It's natural to look for 'real issues' to support you continuing to work from home, but it does sound as though your anxiety comes from OCD thinking disproportionately increasing the dangers in your mind. Have you been given a date to return to work yet, or is much of this worry based on the presumption you might be asked? It could be your employer is already making a list of which employees are to return to work first - with you at the bottom of the list. All the worry and anger would then be for nothing!
  9. Half way to a good plan. Distraction until you stop thinking about it is good, but there's no need to be more careful or more vigilant next time. Telling yourself that you should be will only reinforce your belief that the risk is higher than it is, when in reality it's lower than you already think. Perhaps a better second half of a plan might be to think of ways to enjoy your pet without the restrictions your OCD puts on that. Have you ever (just for fun/interest) put yourself in your dog's head and tried to see it from her point of view? Do you think she ever gets frustrated by the boundaries you put around her, or anxious because she picks up on your anxiety for her safety? I'm not saying you shouldn't keep her safe, but children can suffer from parents being too overprotective (however well-meant) and I was just wondering if dogs too benefit from a little relaxing of the rules sometimes? Shouldn't having a lovely pet like a Golden Retriever be all about fun and games?
  10. If you truly mean that, then here's my advice as an old and wrinkled person with decades of living experience. More 'life advice' than 'OCD advice' becauise I'm in that kind of mood today. Take it or leave it as you see fit. Depends how you define 'good person'. In my books someone who is readily able to forgive mistakes (their own as well as other peoples') is a good person, because to forgive is the kind and loving thing to do. Holding yourself to such a high moral standard that you won't let something go (forgive yourself) makes for a rigid and less loving person. Are you defining 'good' as 'morally correct'? Because on that path lies misery and disappointment for the whole of your life. Better to be 'morally well-intentioned' than morally perfect. My advice is to carefully rethink how you choose to define 'good'. The older you get the more troubling memories you'll accumulate. Things you've done that make you squirm when you remember them, regrets you have to carry, failures you can't undo. If you don't adjust how you approach the world you'll quickly find life unbearable. The answer is to become kinder to yourself. To accept there will be times in life where you will feel helpless and in pain. To allow those times to come and go and get on with life in spite of them. The memory will always be there, but it doesn't mean you have to keep remembering it, ruminate on it and beat yourself up over it. My advice is to look for the lessons learned in this episode and then to accept you're not perfect and let it go. You live with guilt by coming to terms with it. You rethink your definition of dishonesty and accept there are some things which are best left unspoken, even if that pains you. Consider silence on the matter your private burden to carry alone, tuck it away somewhere and then forgive yourself and let it go. Stop dwelling on it. Stop dragging the past into the present. If the only people who deserved love and happiness were those who never put a foot wrong in life there would be zero love in the world and every last person on earth would be miserable. Everybody deserves love, happiness and forgiveness. A second chance, and a third, and more. Your choice is whether to let life, love and happiness pass you by while you ruminate on this, or to accept you aren't perfect and you don't need to be perfect to be 'a good person'. Then go out and grasp life with both hands and a full heart.
  11. I very much doubt you want to be what your thoughts say at all. If you did you'd have no anxiety and not be at all troubled by the thought, would even get genuine pleasure from thinking , 'I'm a pedophile and I love being one.' Does that sound like you? No. Therefore it's neither fact nor genuine. Doesn't matter that you're not able to say they're not true. Overcoming OCD is about giving up the search for certainty and living with doubt. You're not trying to get to a place where you can sigh with relief and say 'Finally! I know it's not true, it was just OCD.' The aim is to get to a place where you shrug your shoulders and say, 'It's just a thought, just a feeling, it's not important and it doesn't mean anything.' Then you can add, 'I might be a pedophile, but I'm probably not and the doubt about whether I am or not is ok with me.' As long as you go on trying to prove to yourself that these feelings aren't a sign that you're a pedophile they will continue to be there, constantly making you feel they must be true because they feel so convincing. And the harder you try to deny them the more convincing they will feel. It also explains why - at some level - you probably quite genuinely don't want to be free of OCD! At the moment you're giving yourself only 2 options: 1) it's true I'm a pedophile monster OR 2. it's all OCD and I'm really a good person. Given those options it's hardly surprising if you're hanging onto your OCD. What you need to realise is these aren't your only options. You're ignoring several more possibilities, one of which is 'I'm not a pedophile, I'm just placing too much importance on the thoughts and feelings I get and confusing myself.' When you start to realise there are many other options and not just the black and white choice between monster and OCD you're currently giving yourself, then you'll be much more willing (eager!) to be rid of OCD. Ok, it probably could. But EQUALLY, it probably couldn't. Do you see that 'probably' works both ways? In other words, this event proves nothing. But yet again you've got caught up in the details and the feelings and convinced yourself that the only 'probably' that has meaning is the one that produces the outcome you fear, totally ignoring the probably that proves your innocence.
  12. Hi JaneJay, You've done exactly the right thing in explaining this is a compulsion and therefore you can't support it. I think if you took the phone away on the grounds that she's compulsively looking at clothes for hours (ie. because of her OCD) it could cause resentment (which is actually fear from her compulsion being stopped disguised as resentment.) However, there's a 'normal' parenting issue here too. Any young person spending their parent's money online without the parent's consent should expect to have their phone confiscated! It sounds as though she knows your credit card details so you might want to think of ordering a new card/ changing the PIN so she can't purchase anything without you knowing about it. I would approach it from the angle of inaffordability/ unacceptable spending, at least initially. This can put an instant 100% stop to the ordering and returning of goods and gives you some breathing space to tackle the driving force behind her behaviour (the OCD thoughts.) Once the ban on buying anything is in place you should find it easier to refuse to look at new clothes completely and get back to her doing what you want her to do because you asked her to do it and not as part of any bargaining. I'm never convinced a limited time of indulging compulsions works too well as when the allotted time is up the feeling you need to persist is still there. Being cut off mid-compulsion always felt worse to me than not being able to do it at all, but the time limited allowing of compulsions does work for some so that's your call. You won't make her OCD worse by removing her phone. But it's common that when denied one compulsion a new one takes its place, so you might think you're seeing a deterioration when its just a shift to some new way to bring her the reassurance she craves. You may also wish to start helping her to see that 'sorting her clothes' won't sort her concerns over starting college and that the feeling she won't make friends or fit in is just a feeling which has nothing to do with what clothes she wears. (I know, hard concept to get across when kids spend their lives thinking fashion matters!) Perhaps have a chat about how meaningful friendships are formed based on what we do, not what we wear. Try to build her self-confidence so fitting in becomes less of a concern. You may think this isn't tackling her OCD, but the problem isn't so much what she's doing (buying and obsessing over clothes) as the faulty thinking which results in that behaviour. (That she won't fit in, that she's not good enough as she is, that there's such a thing as the 'right' clothes and having them can solve feelings of insecurity.)
  13. If I could give you one birthday present it would be to be able to think 'Yeah, I'm a bad person. Whoop-e-do-da. Good for me. ' Seriously! Many years ago I got to a place where I was so angry with the world I thought (for the first time) 'I wish I was a bad person, get my own back on the human race, make the universe pay. ' Almost miraculously all my OCD obsessions and rituals connected with the belief 'I have to ...because that would make me a bad person ' stopped troubling me. I don't really want revenge on the human race and the universe (well, maybe just a little bit! ) but I can truly say with complete indifference now 'So what if I'm a bad person? It doesn't matter if I am.' I'm completely at peace with the idea of being a bad person in someone else's eyes, because in my eyes I'm ok - not good, not bad, but ok, just as I am. That's the gift I'd like to give to everybody with OCD if I could, getting rid of the need to be good/perfect/never do harm and acceptance that 'ok is good enough' would wipe most OCD off the face of the earth in an instant.
  14. You're asking me for reassurance. If I say 'No, it's not OCD' you'd interpret that as the guilt etc is justified. If I say 'Yes it is OCD' you are likely to interpret that as... thank goodness, that means it isn't 'me'. Which misses the point I've been making. The point I'm trying to make is your interpretation is the problem, not the behaviour and anxiety that follows. You're treating an obsessive thought as if it had significance. You're doing compulsions (including seeking reassurance than your behaviour is OCD related) You tell me, does that sounds like OCD?
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