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About snowbear

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    OCD-UK Member and

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    North Wales
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    Creative writing, psychology, mental resilience and leadership

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  1. snowbear


    Hi Lancslass, As with all OCD, it starts with the meaning you give something. Retirement doesn't mean ill-health and dementia. That's the first assumption/meaning you need to correct. What treatment have you had? Is this self 'management' (struggling through, hoping the compulsions don't wreck life too much) or are you applying CBT techniques that you've learned? Retirement is a wonderful time. Do you have a plan in place for all the things you want to achieve in the next decade/ two decades? Part of the solution will be to change how you view retirement - from a time of illness and debility to a time for enjoyment and exploring new things.
  2. snowbear

    Period panic

    So? Irrelevant, not important. Shrug it off and get busy doing something productive with your day.
  3. Decide it's ok to get better by any higgeldy-piggeldy, less-than-perfect route that comes your way. Embrace imperfection. Decide you're going to 'go with the flow' rather than try to control or monitor every aspect of your recovery. What's stopping you from making effective use of the therapy around you is the desire to 'get it right'. There is no 'right way'. Doesn't exist. What works is 'right', wanting to 'get it right' is wrong. Get your head around that fact and you'll have made a good start.
  4. snowbear

    Needs to end

    Only one way to find out - deal with the OCD and see what you're left with. Thing is, if you were doing all those recommended things like self-care, activity, and (most importantly) no compulsions I guarantee you would be happier than you are now. And if you find you're still not totally happy then at least you're in a stronger position to fix that by being free of compulsions. Doing compulsions is THE one thing above all others that makes people miserable. But because it's your safety net and you think it's helping you can't see the fact they are destructive until after you've stopped doing them. It's OCD thinking (wanting certainty before acting) that keeps you doing compulsions, trying to gain that certainty you crave. Another fact people struggle to accept is compulsions will never give you certainty. They feel like the solution and you do them because you're convinced certainty is out there somewhere if only you could just... but it's all a big self-deception farce. The only way to prove these facts to yourself is to take the leap of faith, stop doing compulsions and experience life without them. Will just being free of OCD guarantee happiness? No. But it's a huge step towards being happier, and all the things that will make you happy are then available to you. (They aren't at present because of how OCD affects your thinking processes, not because your life is inadequate in some way.) When you're ready you tackle this obsession in exactly the same way as every other obsession. You identify the compulsions and practise not doing them. Checking if you're aroused, analysing if you're enjoying it, questioning if it's what you want, analysing your feelings - you just listed a load of compulsions and there are probably more. Then there's the meaning you're giving to intimacy (if this isn't right it's all or nothing, using doubt as a convenient obstacle to tackling your other OCD issues, narrowing your perception to physical pleasure instead of seeing the bigger picture etc etc) which can be addressed with cognitive therapy. But one thing is for sure, if you wait for certainty before acting then you'll be a long, long, long, long, long.... time waiting in misery.
  5. snowbear

    My son

    Oh the poor wee man! How stupid of the teachers not to see past their standard rules. I'm sure you have, Wonderer, but really reinforce with praise how wonderful he was to ask and reassure him he did the right thing. Fingers crossed for him in his new school. Maybe over the summer you could try some gradual exposures to public toilets on days out/ on holiday, so he gets used to the normality of using 'unfamiliar toilets'?
  6. snowbear

    Embrace it!

    Compulsive urges often switch focus, so you conquer one and another takes its place. Nothing unusual in that. You need to apply the same ERP/behavioural exercises to each scenario whatever the urge. But solely doing behavioural therapy on these urges is like topping up the oil in a leaky car engine. It'll keep you on the road, but it's not getting to the bottom of the problem. So you may also benefit from some cognitive therapy to identify the common factor to these urges which triggers a 'got to fix it' response. For example, it may be you get the urge to blow your nose/pull your trousers up/swallow whenever you feel self-conscious. Or it may occur when you have a fleeting thought that people are looking. Or it could be when you get overwhelmed by an emotion you don't want to face (eg. self hatred) and the urge acts as a displacement activity to temporarily 'defuse' the unwanted emotion in your brain. These are just examples to give you the idea. The actual reason you do it will be unique to you. You may be able to identify it yourself and devise a plan to solve the issue, or you may need the guidance of a therapist to talk you through both identifying the trigger and how to deal with it more appropriately.
  7. snowbear

    Needs to end

    Hi TimeToStop (good name choice!) If I may butt in on the conversation... Very important point here that's relevant to everybody seeking therapy. No. It isn't a therapist's responsibility to get us to do the things they suggest. It's a therapist's job to offer insight and advice, but it remains 100% the responsibility of the sufferer to put in the work. Of course you're not obliged to do what the therapist says. It's a choice. Your choice. Do the work and improve your life OR don't do the work and stay as you are (If you're lucky. Most people find if they do nothing that OCD gets takes over more and more of their life.) Having therapy isn't about making these things easy for you. Therapy is about showing you other ways to think and act so you stop making things a struggle for yourself. It's hard work - at first. But gradually you understand more and it gets easier. Therapy isn't about somebody else magically lifting a burden off your shoulders. (Good) therapy gives you wings to fly, but you still have to flap those wings yourself if you want to take off! This 'need to know' is reassurance seeking. You've been told by two independent therapists that it's OCD and yet still you doubt. You even realise that us telling you if it is OCD and whether it matches other people's symptoms (or not) won't reassure you! No surprise there, because reassurance never satisfies OCD doubts. As for 'types' of OCD, there is only one type - the type where people have obsessions and compulsions. What they obsess over can cover any topic imaginable and what compulsions they do varies hugely from one individual to the next, but it's all OCD nonetheless. Looking for similar symptoms in other sufferers (or in self-help books, or on the forum) is pointless. You are unique. Every person with OCD is unique. But whatever our individual symptoms and behaviours, we all have OCD. Don't let yourself get bogged down looking in the apple barrel and wondering if they're all still apples because some are red and some are green. I agree with Hal: First you need to commit to change. I can't stress enough how important that is. If you aren't committed to change then you'll always get drawn back towards your addictive-style behaviours and compulsions. We've come full circle, back to you being responsible for your recovery under a therapist's guidance. Committing to change means no matter how hard it is, no matter how many times you lapse, you pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again - with even more determination next time around. So, when you're ready to change perhaps the next step would be to engage with another therapist and devise a plan together for recovery. This will involve working out what thoughts and feelings trigger your current behaviours and a step-wise plan for stopping of those behaviours. Personally I think a combination of mindfulness and CBT works well, but everybody is different. All you need to keep in mind is that therapy is two experts putting their heads together to work out a solution. The therapist is the expert in CBT and you are the expert in how your mind works and how you feel. One suggests, guides and advises, the other puts in the hard work! Restricting access to the internet is an avoidance compulsion and won't teach you to be responsible for your own actions. So as Hal suggested, consider continuing to use the internet for every day things like shopping, but start setting boundaries for yourself on what sites you will no longer visit. Much of addictive behaviour is habit, so have some non-compulsive alternatives ready for when the urge to return to old haunts hits you.
  8. snowbear

    Embrace it!

    Absolutely. 100% agree. However, you are NOT your OCD. Don't confuse embracing who you are (a positive thing to do) with embracing OCD (a very negative thing to do.) OCD is beatable. Giving in to it is allowing OCD to beat you. I know beating OCD isn't easy, but giving up the fight is unfortunately very easy, especially if you've tried a few times and not had much success yet. One thing is certain - if you embrace OCD and stop fighting it will take over more and more of your life and make you more and more miserable as the decades pass. This will gradually weaken the urge to keep blowing your nose. Part right. Part wrong. If you decide you can blow your nose as much as you want whenever you feel the need, what you're saying is 'I'm going to give in to my compulsions and stuff the consequences.' The consequences are dire. You'll be ever more tightly held in the grip of your OCD beliefs and urges, 'needing' to blow your nose more often, and you may damage your nose/sinuses from such regular pressure increases (which they aren't designed for.) However, you don't need to be self-conscious about being in recovery. Recovery takes time and while you're working towards that goal you have every right to hold your head high and tell the world 'This is the stage of recovery I'm at, so don't judge me. I'm trying. I'm getting there.' Two different ways of embracing self-confidence, but one is damaging and the other empowering. Your choice which one to go for.
  9. There's an excellent quote from Eleanor Roosevelt which might help you understand what's going on here, Andrew. ''No-one can make you feel inferior without your consent.'' Two things are happening to result in you feeling this way: 1. You're telling yourself the 'demons in your head' are making you come across badly 2. You assume others see you as you're seeing yourself. So you perceive condescension, loss of belief and stupidity when actually these are more a reflection of how you feel about yourself than how those around you feel about you. Adopt an attitude of 'Yeah, my brain's having to do two things at once, but so what?' Stop beating yourself up for having OCD and you'll perceive less hostility in other people.
  10. That all sounds very positive Becky. Fingers crossed it works out or you. July will come round quickly and reading Break Free between now and then will give you some ideas on where to start when you get your CBT.
  11. 'Never' Lily? How long has it been? You young people talk about forever and never like it's the same thing as a 24 hour day! Give it time. Have a little patience with yourself.
  12. So ask them what endpoint they're looking for in order to offer you CBT. Force them to define what they mean by 'stable'. They can't expect you to work towards a goal if they haven't told you where the goal posts are!
  13. snowbear

    Period panic

    So, nearly a day has passed since you saw the pink in the toilet. Still alive Phili? Doesn't that reassure you that what you saw means nothing? All perfectly normal. No need to look. No need to worry. Next time, don't look at the pad or the toilet, and if you happen to catch a glimpse in passing (as often happens in normal life) then just shrug it off and remember this is normal, not a symptom you need to monitor.
  14. snowbear

    Shards of glass-

    Yes, Emsie. It applies to every OCD worry/fear whatever the context, whatever our individual 'theme'.
  15. snowbear

    The doctor who gave up drugs.

    Perhaps you're asking the wrong questions, muddledmother. The question to ask is, why do I react by thinking 'It could happen to me. I might do something to my baby'? The answer to that is OCD. How common is it to hear about side-effects and fear the worst? Typical OCD reaction! If you've recently changed your dose and you start having new symptoms (like weird dreams) then you need to speak to your doctor. But worrying that you might have such symptoms is your OCD finding things to latch onto. Don't go looking for problems that don't yet exist. There's no simple answer to 'Is fluoxetine safe?' It's neither 'safe' nor 'unsafe'. It's a drug. All drugs need to be used with care. Most drugs when used properly don't cause problems. Your doctor has prescribed 40mg dose and will have taken care to ensure there's nothing in your medical history to suggest this is unsuitable for you. Practise approaching these kinds of worries in a different way - asking questions that help you get your worry back into perspective - instead of rushing to answer the questions OCD demands answers to.