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  1. Sometimes compulsions themselves are triggers for me, so I do another compulsion in order to relieve the doubt-- even though it's a trigger. But what if the action is possibly what a normal person would do in a unique situation? In other words, you're not sure if the action is a compulsion. It may be an action you do compulsively, but maybe this time it is rational. So maybe you should do it just to be sure, but then you really don't want to because you know it would just trigger you, and start a never-ending cycle. What should you do in this situation? You have 2 options: 1) You could not do the action, thereby avoiding the trigger, and move on. 2) Do the action even though it's possibly compuslive AND it's a possible OCD trigger. If that's confusing, let me give you a very graphic example (sorry about this). This morning I had a lot of cramping, gas, and out-of-the-ordinary bowel movements. It wasn't quite diarhea or constipation, but it wasn't normal. I was on the toilet for a long time to make sure I was done. I was taking the morning shower and felt a particular feeling that I feel a few times a week. I'll try to describe it. It is when there is irritation in the bowels and anus, almost like you might need to go again. This is usually followed by body tension, and it goes away. Seconds later, you feel normal. When I feel that feeling I sometimes wonder, "Did I just **** myself? Is that why that irritated feeling went away?" So, I am in the shower , and I feel that feeling. Nothing too out of the ordinary. As always I think, "Did I just suddenly take a ****?" The compulsion I usually do is ruminating. Sometimes I will physically check, but I try not to do this one because it is a trigger in itself-- one of those things that would start that compulsive cycle. I consider going to the toilet to check, but I had a two reasons not to. 1) I often feel this and it turns out to be nothing. I often experience GI discomfort, and I am sensitive down there due to too much wiping. 2) Checking would involve irritating the anus even move, psych me out, and trigger my OCD. I wanted to move on with my day, so I did nothing. But should I have done something? On one hand, I avoided a trigger (avoidance), but on the other hand I chose not to do something that was likely a compulsion. So in this situation, or situations like this-- where you avoid an action (a possible trigger) because it is probably a compulsion, but you're not sure-- what should you do? 1) Not do the action (the trigger) in order to avoid triggering you and causing more compulsions. 2) Risk the trigger in order to relieve the doubt, because it may be a vailid response.
  2. When I try to explain it, it always sounds petty. I would like to be able to explain in a way that will help my friends and family understand why it is so debilitating. If I just try to explain how it feels, it just sounds like I need to toughen up and not get so anxious. OCD does deal with doing things that are not necessary, and fears that are not really valid, so I can see how someone (who does not experience it themselves) would find it more of a personality quirk than a serious disability. The fact that we are self-aware of it probably just adds to the confusion. How can we explain it in a way that gets the point across that it is a serious disorder, while acknowledging that the content of the obsessions/compulsions are not serious issues?
  3. Nah you're good! Thanks for the response.
  4. Hi Jenny, How do you know it was infected? As for dry hands-- you need to apply a thick cream and wear gloves at night.
  5. I've asked non-sufferers this question and I usually get this response, "People do not understand because have no reason to understand or care." That doesn't really answer the question. It only seems to reaffirm how ignorant people are. As a white person I don't have a particularly good reason to understand racially-charged police brutality-- but I still read about it and care deeply about it. I can at least relate in some way to the injustice of it. This brings up another question-- Do people have it so easy that they can't even relate to any type of mental suffering? I think they can only compare it to having a bad day or being "in a mood" (and we all know OCD is a bit more complicated than that). I can think of so many examples of how people in my life have been completely clueless. This isn't the best example but it's a recent one. I was saying to a work acquaintance that I only got 3 hours of sleep, and says, "Oh yeah, late night down town..that's totally me every weekend. But gotta make sure to give yourself time to sleep." I had to explain that I give myself lots of time to sleep, but my thoughts cause me insomnia. This blew his mind that a person might actually be unable to sleep whenever they want to. To me this says his life has been so easy (as far as sleep is concerned) that he is completely unaware that this can be a struggle for some people. Is this something that (ideally) should change in our society? Or should we just accept it?
  6. My CBT continues to be successful and I'm washing my hands much less. Unfortunately my hands were so dry that they cracked and even bled on occasion. Should I be concerned about anything getting in my bloodstream? Our skin is the first barrier against infections, so says my dermatologist.
  7. Thank you. The feeling like I am on the right track is very beneficial. Feeling like I was "doing it wrong" was holding me back.
  8. Because I already get triggered every day, and because what I'm doing is actually working. It has taken so long to find the right approach that works for me. I don't want to start acting as if all the good work I am doing is somehow not enough. I already got the ball rolling, and I want to keep moving forward.
  9. Thanks to CBT, compulsions are finally starting to go away. For the most part, I'm not allowing myself to do compulsions. I accept the uncertainty, and suffer through the anxiety. I am feeling great about the path I'm on, even though it's exceedingly difficult. But I'm not intentionally exposing myself to anything. From what I've read, the important thing is to not do compulsions, and to really get the cognitive aspect. Is that a fair statement? Is it still technically ERP in this case? It involves practicing healthy responses to day-to-day exposure, but without seeking out the exposure.
  10. That's fair enough. I agree people do overcomplicate it. But why, given its simplicity, is it so difficult to recover? Shouldn't simple things be easy?
  11. I think coming here is for clarity and perspective, while ruminating on it is the compulsion (assuming this is just OCD). What you're saying here is all very basic stuff (please don't take offense). You wouldn't go up to a mathematician who is working on a complex algebra question and say, "You just gotta solve for x". We all know what OCD is like. Many of us have read dozens of books on the subject, myself included. I've even read your books. Yes it did cause anxiety. It doesn't change the fact that it is difficult to distinguish between an actual potential threat and OCD. Real threats can also cause anxiety and some sort of corrective action (which obviously wouldn't be called a compulsion). Do I believe it's probably OCD? Of course. But then the next question is, do I KNOW I am right about thinking it is just OCD? Of course not. I'm too aware of my fallibility as a human being. I could be wrong about anything.
  12. I ask myself these questions-- what would a normal person do? And I can never really answer it. In fact, the question makes my OCD worse. I know your trying to help, but you're asking just another unhealthy OCD question here. In this case, an average Uber customer would not expect to see a pillow on the seat. There's no way to know in unique situations.
  13. I ordered an Uber, and the passenger seat had a decorative pillow on top. The driver was sitting on one as well. I could have gotten a different Uber (it wasn't the cleanest looking car either), but I didn't. I say right down on the pillow. Although it was a decorative pillow-- rather than the to you typically sleep with-- it occurred to me, it could have bed bugs! I read that bed bugs could be on any seat, but I'm not sure if it's more likely to be found on a regular car seat vs a decorative pillow. Should I have been more careful? This particular car, besides having the pillow on the seat, also smelled a bit like BO and cigarettes, and it looked pretty beat up. Would a normal person have ordered a different driver? Should I be concerned about bed bugs?
  14. I have hit a wall in my recovery. The wall is this: I never want to simply assume my fears are illegitimate and untrue. They probably are, but I can't assume anything. Assumptions are stupid and they cause people to be wrong all the time. It's like lying to yourself, and I refuse to lie to myself to protect myself. So since I'm not coming to the concrete, absolute conclusion that the fears are nonsense, I have no resolution. I could sit with the uncertainty for days, but in order to finally find some peace, I need to close the case somehow, which means doing a compulsion. I've read some people with OCD get over this stuff within a few hours after sitting with the uncertainty, but for me time does not seem to help. So in order to be okay, and not live with weeks of maddening uncertainty, I need to act as if the fear is real, just in case it is. I'm not assuming it's real-- just like I'm not assuming it is nonsense-- I don't know either way. So I err on the side of caution, which generally speaking is a good idea. Sometimes it seems the only difference between me and a normal person is that my eyes are open. I see the threats they never think of, because they are too busy closing their eyes, covering their ears, and saying "blah blah blah." I know there is something that doesn't quite work with these beliefs, because they are keeping me stuck, but these are my beliefs, until someone can change my mind. The OCD behavior comes from a belief that goes like this: I am protecting myself from possible threats, and the reason I must do that is because I see the possibility of these threats, while others don't. I don't know if the threats are legit, but if I was to assume one way or the other, that would be foolish. I'd be just like all those lost people who believe whatever they want to believe. I'd be sticking my head in the sand. Can anyone relate to this? I'm looking for empathy (not validation) and sound reasoning.
  15. I've been really discouraged by my failures when it comes to managing OCD. Every day I do compulsions. I have mentioned on this forum before, but I really really really hate compulsions. I'm afraid my compulsions will make me crazy. They usually make me feel like I'm doing something wrong. Then I'll post on this forum and (sometimes) get further scolded for doing compulsions, as if my own thoughts are not enough to bring me down. On the other hand, every day I take steps towards recovery. I refuse to wash my hands even though my head is screaming at me to do it. But these steps forward never really get attention in my mind, and nobody ever says "you're making progress. You're doing well." Is it weird to want a little encouragement and positivity (providing it is genuine and deserved)? How are people supposed to get better when all they ever hear-- both externally and internally-- is that they keep failing? I get it. Compulsions are bad. I shouldn't have done compulsions yesterday, today, or ever. I'm sorry! I'm so sorry that I've done this to myself. I'm so very very sorry. Go ahead and tell me I'm right to feel this way. I'm right to HATE myself because I do compulsions, and compulsions are bad. You wouldn't be helping me, but you would at least be agreeing with me.
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