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Wren

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  1. The buddhist monk Thich nhat Hahn has a saying "No mud, no lotus", in other words without dirt there would be no flowers. Dirt is an inherent part of life. I annoy people all the time because if they continuously complain about the rain, I say "what, would you rather live in a desert just so you don't have to bother using an umbrella?" No rain means no trees, no rivers, no grass, no flowers. A world without dirt would be a joyless place.
  2. Sounds like you are stuck in same ocd cycle as me - peace/joy when I feel I am a 'good' person (or lately, that the universe is good place); overwhelming abandonment depression when I get some kind of confirmation that I am bad and condemned, or the universe is fundamentally bad; and then never ending avoidance and rumination on ethics, morality, and religion when I can't decide which is true. Sometimes I don't even know what the trigger for the abandonment depression is, and like you say it's often in the sequence joy: depression: obsession, it is like being on a rollercoaster.
  3. I think integrating spiritual insight back into everyday life is hard, especially when living inside a culture which doesn't really have a spiritual identity anymore. I haven't read it, but I think Jack Kornfields book 'After the ectasy, the laundry' deals with this matter. I also think that meditation can sometimes become yet another avoidance/distraction activity if we are not careful.
  4. Sorry to be repetive, but mediation can reveal that you have no inherent sense of self and the self is a delusion - this why it's a teaching that is reserved for trained monks, not ordinary people. I think spirituality when unmoored from its culture and religious traditions can go a bit wrong sometimes so I would tread carefully and it's why I gave up on intensive meditation, although I still use a 'lighter' form of mindfulness. I now follow a more 'embodied' version of spirituality which is more humanistic and doesn't view the self as a delusion. I've spent my life ruminating on whether I'm inherently bad and irredeemable, or not, but the reality is uncertainty is a fact of life, I'm not an all seeing god, and I have to stop needing a definitive answer to everything. The fact is that you feel remorse so can feel empathy, and can feel the absence of love so you must be able to feel the presence of love. Orwell, I was diagnosed with Aspergers by a private therapist and it made a lot of sense to me but the nhs disagreed, however they did say I may have traits which also makes sense as a diagnosis is not a black and white thing. I think it makes sense why I have deep longing to belong and connect but yet I frequent fail to do so, therefore I turn to nature and spirituality to get love instead, but the ocd turned spirituality into rumination nightmare fuel so I ended up feeling abandoned by god too - hence the hell feelings.
  5. Yes, I've been there. It's why I describe my ocd as a coping skill to cover up this feeling. I tried to describe to therapists that it's worse than death but they don't seem to understand which is why I turned to spirituality. I've also read it described as abandonment depression - it's the feeling a small child which has been abandoned gets ie for a child, not receiving love means death because they can't practically survive on their own and they can't comprehend why they are not loved because to them love is as natural as breathing. Right now I'm on the other side of this feeling, I can't guarantee that it will last but at the moment I'm ok. I got there by letting go and trusting that love and forgiveness exist - even if they don't exist in a supernatural sense they are things which we as humans can choose to create because life without them is unliveable - and I believe that is true for all of us not just the 'mentally ill'. I have to remind myself of the literal truth that love can't exist without forgivesness, so in order to get back into the light, to feel love, you have to forgive. It's like hanging on a cliff edge and refusing to let go while a person above you keeps telling you to let go because five inches under your feet there is a ledge, at some point you have to just trust. For myself, I've made the active choice that it is for god to judge whether I am good or bad, not me, I don't have the ability, it's not my job, all I can do is try my best from now on to be a ordinary loving person and stop the compulsions to control everything, so I let go of the cliff edge and so far it seems that I'm not in hell anymore.
  6. Some people describe hell as the complete absence of love, does it feel like that? My take on life is that being a human is inherently hard because we are conscious but we cope through love - love of ourselves, love of each other, love of nature, love of god (or what you chose to believe). But people and nature are all inherently flawed - no one escapes and is born perfect - so in order for love to exist forgiveness also has to exist.
  7. I stoped meditating too because of intrusive thoughts and I couldn't find a suitable teacher, I think the power of meditation is often underestimated and not something to be undertaken lightly. It sounds like you are experiencing the 'dark night of the soul' stage so to speak which is why I think sometimes it is easier to stay being 'ill' but you can get to the other side and be well. But remember you have ocd so your 'spiritual journey' will not be the same as other people because ocd exaggerates all your perceptions of yourself, maybe you are sometimes selfish but then absolutely everyone is, you are not a monster but just an ordinary struggling person. You can get through this and come out the other side, I trust that you can. I know I keep saying it but have you read about compassion focused therapy? I think it is also worth going back to review basic CBT concepts if you are feeling unmoored.
  8. Do you have a meditation teacher? I was just wondering because I think sometimes the way that meditation is taught in the west can be a bit dangerous. Intensive Buddhist mediation is supposed to be for monks who have constant support from each other and a teacher so they can deal with any problems. I'm no expert so I may have this very wrong, but I used to meditate a lot and broadly speaking my understanding is that insight mediation is supposed to increase self awareness so the person can recognise and eliminate any selfishness and desire (or 'sin' using western terms) while also recognising (amongst other things) the true state of reality which is that there is no such thing as a self and the present moment is all that matters. So the fact that your meditation has revealed to you your lack of sense of self and your own 'narcissism' is to be expected. However, monks can live ego free selfless lives because they do not have jobs or children and they survive off donated food, however for ordinary people a degree of selfishness is necessary because we have to compete for jobs, feed ourselves, give preferential treatment to our children etc. So while your meditation may have revealed to you some aspects of your personality you may want to change, please don't get too caught up in trying to be perfect because it impossible for ordinary people. Hope this wasn't too preachy! I wrote a similar thing on the post on Eckhart Tolle too if you want to read it.
  9. I think philosophy can very easily become rumination fuel. I'm finally understanding after years of rumination what it means when therapists say that people with ocd have a probably with accepting uncertainty and having black and white thinking. The reality is that after thousands of years of studying us humans haven't been able to find answers to all our questions, so uncertainty is a fact of life. I like the sentiment behind the serenity prayer 'God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.' I think with ocd we often try to take control and change/prevent/solve everything we are scared of - ie perform compulsions, so we only engage with the 'courage to change the thing I can' part of the prayer. The opposite extreme is to accept that we can't control anything in life so we should just accept that bad things happen and stop trying and stop suffering - kind of the Eckhart Tolle way, so only engaging with the first part of the prayer - but I think this is a mistake and equally an ocd type black and white response. I think it is equally black and white thinking to say everything humans experience is a social construct - some of what we are is social constructed, but biology also exists. I think CBT aims to give us the 'wisdom to know the difference' between problems which need action and problems which need acceptance, then when we have identified which problems need acceptance we can use mindfulness (living in the now) to deal with them, but unless you are a buddhist monk constantly living in the now is a bad idea!
  10. I wrote this on a thread last week, which my clumsy way of describing exactly what you have written..." I have this pervasive sense/feeling of dread and self hatred pretty much all the time when I'm not obsessing or performing compulsions and I think it is the root cause of my ocd. I think my ocd behaviours are a way of rationalising and containing these feelings so I can at least get some release and sense out of them. For example, if I can pin the feelings on it being my fault for not being clean enough, I can then understand and relieve the feeling by cleaning, the feelings are also contained to that one subject area so the feelings are then not constant and pervasive about everything I do, think and feel. Until I deal with this I think I will always be fire fighting new and different obsessions." I have to admit that I stopped using this forum much a while ago because I strongly feel that CBT alone is insufficient treatment for some people with ocd, but that is not a very popular viewpoint so I get scared of voicing it.
  11. I don't want to hijack your thread, but I wanted to say I relate completely. I have this pervasive sense/feeling of dread and self hatred pretty much all the time when I'm not obsessing or performing compulsions and I think it is the root cause of my ocd. I think my ocd behaviours are a way of rationalising and containing these feelings so I can at least get some release and sense out of them. For example, if I can pin the feelings on it being my fault for not being clean enough, I Can then understand and relieve the feeling by cleaning, the feelings are also contained to that one subject area so the feelings are then not constant and pervasive about everything I do, think and feel. Until I deal with this I think I will always be fire fighting new and different obsessions. I'm currently just starting a workbook on compassion focused therapy as an adjunct to CBT, I don't know if it will help but it might be something you could look at? You might also want to look again at the concept of core beliefs in CBT if you have not already done so.
  12. I shock myself at my over reactions sometimes, but it's often a case of the straw that broke the camels back and the feelings need to come out somehow, and they do always pass. Crying is a great way to relieve tension so you can move on, there's no shame in it, it's just a natural and helpful human reaction. I barely register my tinnitus now, it's just one of those things and not a problem, and the vast majority of time I forget about it. I think it is very common and yours could go away anyway, sometimes it's just due to a cold or stress. But do make a doctors appointment when you can.
  13. If you want, you can call the Samaritans back and speak to a different person. It sounds like you have got a new responsibility to deal with and a busy life, so maybe the tinnitus has just triggered some anxiety and stress which is perfectably understandable. Anxiety is a funny thing - it's kind of like an autocatalytic reaction - so it ends up being out of proportion to the original trigger. Try the breathing thing again, and certainly stop googling! Only the horror stories are the ones that get written about, not the vast majority of people's actual experience which is much more mundane. You don't need to make any changes to your routine, I sometimes listen to white noise on my phone as I fall asleep, that's all, but I rarely even bother with that now.
  14. When my tinnitus first started I couldn't listen to it at all without panicking, so I had to have constant noise from music or tv etc. Like you I was shocked at how devastated and overwhelmed I was about it, seemingly out of all proportion, but in reality the tinnitus was just a trigger for my anxiety, and once I dealt with the anxiety I no longer cared about the tinnitus. I think the tinnitus just triggered a feeling of being trapped because I couldn't escape from it, so it started a spiral of ever increasing anxiety, but you can, like I have, break that cycle and be ok again. It's certainly not a life sentence. Ring the Samaritans, it's what they are there for.
  15. Its ok, just take some time to slow your breathing. Try breathing in to the count of five and breathing out to the count of seven to calm your nervous system. There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting a hug or needing someone to talk to, it's perfectly natural and good thing to do when you are in a state of stress. The Samaritans are there for anyone needing to talk, not just those thinking of suicide, so it's ok to call them. I have mild tinnitus and it caused me a lot of stress at first but now I don't notice it, and there is no guarantee that yours will not go away on its own anyway.
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