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  1. Hi PhilM, I'm due to start CBT but not with an OCD specialist. I'm struggling to find one in my area.
  2. Hi everyone. I haven't been on for a while. I've been keeping a record over the past few months of how my OCD behaves and realised a few things. I usually have one obsession spike a month that I either 'solve', make peace with or am able to rationalise. It lasts for a few days and then the rest of the time I have occasional intrusive thoughts that I'm able to manage. The 'obsession spikes' have become more intense. I'm no longer able to refuse compulsions as easily. I think it may be because as time goes on the obsessions are about things that are very ambiguous, so there is no way for me to ascertain any degree of certainty. My obsessions are always related to worrying that I may have done something bad in the past. I never have any memory whatsoever of having done anything wrong, it just starts with a 'what if' and it spirals. Unfortunately, compulsions really took over this time. I spent so long trying to figure out if I had ever met someone that their face is burned into my brain and now there's a degree of familiarity - when in reality, if you had a gun pointed at my head I couldn't tell you anything about them or where we may have met. I have made the classic mistake of getting so entrenched in mental checking that I no longer trust my lack of memory. I'm also pulling in feelings related to other situations from that time period. So, it's all messier than usual. Yet I still can't conjure up any concrete memory. It's all what ifs. I've also gone down the 'what if it's not OCD' route. And the 'what if you're repressing the memory' route. I know that PolarBear will say that the only way forward is to not do the compulsions and I have been really trying. But it's almost automatic at this point. My brain is constantly doing a background scan to figure out for certain if I know this person, or if I ever met them. When the obsession initially struck, I had no idea who they were - which is what actually kick started the spiral. That's how irrational my thinking is at this point. This obsession has lasted longer than previous ones and has been more scary and difficult to let go. I have a support network at home, so I don't say this to raise any red flags, but I am battling suicidal thoughts because the anxiety that comes with uncertainty is too much to bear. I have therapy coming up but I don't really know how to articulate what false memory ocd is because there isn't a memory per se. I am effectively trying to remember that something didn't happen, which is impossible. I don't know what the practical steps forward are from this point. I've watched all the YouTube videos about ERP, habituation, refusing to do compulsions, 'leaving the thought there', etc. I've made a list of rational points but that doesn't help because I can't be sure that my rational points are the true reality of the situation. I've tried acceptance. I don't know what else to do.
  3. I'm struggling with reconciling this. I'm slowly but surely quashing the compulsions, especially the magical thinking, but have had a few hiccups with reassurance. I'm asking for pragmatic and practical explanations of why I feel anxious and guilty about an intrusive thought that I know is untrue? How is it possible to know that the thought is absolutely ridiculous yet not be able to break free from it? It just begets a cycle of checking. I have found an OCD specialist in my area, so I'll be contacting them on Monday but in the meantime I would just like to understand this mechanism of the disorder.
  4. I've researched OCD until I'm blue in the face, at this stage it may well be a compulsion in itself. I tried completing the viscious flower but I struggled because I don't relate to the burden of responsibility aspect. My OCD isn't as typical (I don't think) as some of the cases I've read because I know that what I fear is untrue, I know it with certainty. However, the mere thought of it is so horrible that I got stuck in this 'what if' loop and so I would recall events in order to reassure myself 'see, it's ok'. Eventually, I couldn't rely on my memory anymore because the anxiety felt too real to ignore. I definitely check, as above, and I ask for reassurance. It feels like I'm just stuck in an anxiety loop. Oy vey. Thank you for your help all.
  5. Hi Ben, If you're spending a lot of time thinking about your obsession and compulsions, it follows that you'd be distracted. Up until recently I was working full time and I found it difficult to concentrate at times. If you're having concentration problems since starting new medication, there might be a link. I don't have any practical advice other than, try clearing your mind before classes/sessions (if only it was that simple), check with your doctor about side effects of your medication, and don't beat yourself up. OCD is an attention seeker, it's understandable that you'd have lapses in concentration.
  6. Hello, My copy of Break Free From OCD arrived this afternoon and I've just finished it. I have a question regarding the Theory A/B exercise. If a person's OCD revolves around 'Pure-O' how do you complete the Theory A/B exercise? I tried but it felt like rumination and memory checking and I became so anxious that I asked for reassurance. I understand that the basic principles of recovery - rejecting the urge to check and ruminate, and not engaging with magical thinking - apply across the board. I haven't been able to identify a root cause for my OCD other than 'it's my worst nightmare'. Does that matter or do I just need to keep working at it? How does a person with Pure-O (I'm sorry, I know labels are frowned upon) stop carrying out compulsions? No memory checking and no asking for reassurance? Thank you for all of your advice so far.
  7. Hi David, Don't worry, you're ok. Did the doctor prescribe anything like Propranolol to reduce the side effects of your medication? If not, you could ask for a prescription. This feeling will pass. Panic is just a feeling, your brain is just having a party with the sudden influx of chemicals. It will calm down.
  8. This is so accurate in relation to my own experience of OCD. Thank you for articulating it so well. I'm sorry that this is an old post, I'm replying so that it's in my activity list on my profile, and I can refer back when I need to.
  9. I'm so sorry for posting so much since joining on Sunday. After a couple of really determined days, today has been a struggle. I'm on my third sleepless night. I hit a milestone yesterday in that I stopped worrying about my 'original fear'. However, within minutes, I began obsessing about something new. My question is, with OCD is it possible to on the one hand be certain that your fear is false whilst also feeling absolutely terrified at the possibility it isn't? I know for a fact that the new fear is a big lie that OCD is telling me, but the idea of it scares me so much that I still feel doubt and guilt. Is it 'normal' to grapple with what you absolutely know to be fact (in the logical part of your brain) and doubt (in the OCD part of your brain)? It's almost schizophrenic and I feel like the constant argument in my brain is making me lose my grip on reality. Whilst I'm screaming 'I know you're lying', OCD is screaming 'no you don't'. If I'm so sure, why can't I shut OCD up and stop the doubt?
  10. Hi JennieWren, I'm going to buy this book today, is it this one? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Break-Free-OCD-Overcoming-Compulsive/dp/0091939690
  11. Thank you for the advice everyone. My anxiety has been through the roof today and because I am resisting ruminating and mental compulsions my magical thinking is trying to take centre stage instead. I feel like I've made progress with my initial obsession today. So much so that OCD seems to have given up on it and branched out to a completely different worry. It's within the same theme but I categorically know that this new obsession is ridiculous. Give it a few days, however, and no doubt I'll be doubting myself. I've had to write a note in my phone to future me telling myself not to worry about the new obsession because it's just OCD trying to claw back some attention. Does that count as a compulsion? Is it just going to keep moving from one fear to the next every time I gain some power over it? I don't think I have the energy! Is there a term for when you think something completely random like 'I painted my neighbour's cat blue' and even though you know full well you didn't, you feel like just thinking it means it has happened?
  12. I too find participating in this forum anxiety inducing, in part because it forces you to confront OCD head on. Ultimately, that's a good thing but I also think we have to be careful that it doesn't feed an anxiety-reassurance loop (for me, anyway). I'm doing practical things like signing out of the forum on my phone and allocating a specific time slot to checking back in. With regards psychotherapy, Taurean's advice is sound. Also, don't be afraid to tell your therapist what you think you need to get out of the sessions. If you feel like it's not working or making you worse, communicate that and see if there's a different approach you can take. Sometimes a therapist just isn't a good match and there's nothing wrong with finding a different one if that's the case. Have you thought about keeping a bullet journal that tracks your mood/OCD? Over time, you'll be able to see patterns and it might help provide a sense of progress. For example, on dates that you have therapy you might notice that you immediately feel triggered and anxious, but over weeks or months there's a reduction in those feelings and improvements in mood overall. And if there's no improvement, you'll see that too. I find bullet journals are more reliable than diary entries because you are simply recording your mood and there's no room for obsessing and analysing. Stay positive. x
  13. Hello, I am not sure how to differentiate between rumination and exposure to thoughts, or non-avoidance of thoughts. My OCD currently revolves around a single 'what if' obsession and I'm working very hard at not mental checking, memory checking, and trying to figure out what's 'real'. I'm trying very hard not to ruminate. At the same time, avoiding the thought seems to be making it scarier and more significant so the frequency of the thoughts has increased. Is this a normal hurdle? How do you strike the right balance?
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