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OCD-UK Member
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About DC82

  • Birthday 27/12/1982

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  • OCD Status
  • Type of OCD
    (1) Checking; (2) Ruminations / Intrusive Thoughts; and (3) Small amounts of Contamination.

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  • Interests
    Chess; running; reading; atheism and secularism; stoicism; psychology; research; red wine; chocolate; Celtic FC.
  1. I accept it may not be 100% of the time, but I think a person with OCD can be aware in some instances that the thought or fear they are having is irrational, while having it or reflecting on it. The OCD-UK website states: "People with OCD usually realise that their obsessional thoughts are irrational, but at the same time feels so very real and they believe the only way to relieve the anxiety caused by them is to perform compulsive behaviours (which includes avoidance and seeking reassurance)". See: https://www.ocduk.org/ocd/obsessions/ The presumption in the strategy you describe, suggests to me the strategy may be useful in some cases of OCD, but possibly not all. I suspect cognitive restructuring can play a bigger and more useful role in cases where the person is able to acknowledge the thought processes and/or the obsessional thoughts they are having are irrational and that there is no logical link between X and Y. That might be discovered on reflection or as it happens. Being able to realise that the obsessional thoughts are irrational has (I think) been helpful for me in developing tools to recognize and respond (with some rationality) to what is OCD is doing when it strikes. I have foundthe explanation/approach described on the OCD-UK website to be fairly close to what I have done, and very useful to read: See: https://www.ocduk.org/overcoming-ocd/cognitive-behavioural-therapy/ "The aim of CBT isn’t to never have these thoughts, because intrusive thoughts cannot be avoided, but instead to help a person with OCD to identify and challenge the patterns of thought that cause their anxiety, distress and compulsive behaviours. What therapy teaches the person with OCD is that it’s not the thoughts themselves that are the problem; it’s what the person makes of those thoughts, and how they respond to them. Challenging the meaning attached to the thoughts: In CBT the person with OCD will explore alternative meanings or beliefs about the intrusive thoughts and rituals in all their guises (for example washing, checking, writing lists, tapping, touching, repeating, cleaning, trying to get a ‘just right’ feeling, praying) and will learn what it is that ultimately keeps the meaning they attach to such thoughts and rituals going. So during the first few sessions a good therapist should spend time making sense of how a person’s OCD works and what keeps it going. The idea and reason behind this is that if we can understand the factors that keep a problem alive, we can then take the next step, which is to think about alternative ways of viewing the problem and what we can then do to change it.Therefore CBT looks at how OCD convinces you that the rituals and compulsions performed are necessary, in order to prevent something bad happening. If such a bad outcome were to be true as a result of the thought, the sufferer would be convinced it was entirely their fault and responsibility. We also look at the possibility that OCD is a liar. All the sufferer’s coping strategies have come about in the first place to make them feel safer and less anxious, when in fact they do the exact opposite, they make the person feel unsafe and scared. Even if they provide temporary relief from anxiety, the rituals make the meaning attached to the intrusive thoughts, images, urges and doubts feel even stronger, therefore becoming necessary for the sufferer to keep doing the rituals continuously. Ultimately making the thoughts seem even more real, and like there is even more truth in them. The OCD-UK website also provides an example of exposure. "So how does CBT work in practical situations? OCD makes people feel they have to avoid all sorts of objects, people and places (for example public toilets, children’s playgrounds, people with diseases etc), but by avoiding such situations the sufferer never has the chance to find out what would really happen. So in CBT, people are asked to consider doing the opposite to avoiding the situation. So for example if OCD has made a person believe that they are at risk of dying from contamination from germs on a toilet – in treatment the therapist and patient might put their hands down the toilet. This behavioural experiment allows the person to find evidence for themselves about whether OCD has been lying and whether they have been needlessly avoiding situations for no reason at all. Of course, this is not straight forward, and the therapist will work with the patient to help them understand their worries and fears, to be able to approach such a challenging behavioural exercise". My feeling is that the above 'behavioral experiment'; is very different from the example quoted below from a previous post, where it is suggested the person accepts the possibility their memory maybe be unclear and maybe something bad did happen. Small possibilities (or impossibilities) do not equate to being likely or probable. Instead of accepting something bad might have happened, in the example given in the first post I would have thought the ERP method would be to not avoid driving, while dealing with the obsessive thoughts using cognitive restructuring (e.g. thinking about alternative ways of viewing the problem/fear). It sounds to me that the quoted suggestion below goes beyond ERP (or is a more extreme form of ERP), and maybe describes 'flooding'? See this link: https://www.ocduk.org/overcoming-ocd/accessing-ocd-treatment/exposure-response-prevention/ i might be totally wrong about that? "Flooding involves immersing the person with OCD in the situation they fear the most and them staying in that situation until their anxiety reduces to a more normal level, becoming less bothersome". I am still inclined to think that for some people, the above might not work - whereas an approach more consistent with the text highlighted in bold could (I think the bolded text from the OCD-Uk website is more consistent with the process I go through with my psychologist before writing down 'rational bullet points' that I put it in my pocket to help me). But, I see your points and understand what you describe may be very useful and have its place for some people. Like I said, I am not an expert - so if anyone reads this, please don't take what I say as advice! I'm not an authority - this is just discussing.
  2. I'm not an expert at all in how to beat OCD. But I do wonder to what extent personality and other individual differences affect how well different people respond to different strategies. I think that is obviously a complex question, which cannot be answered here. My impression has been that most people probably use exposure and response prevention (ERP) and cognitive restructuring techniques simultaneously and in different combinations and degrees, depending on the specific issue/thought they are dealing with - and the stage they are at in their recovery. Personally, I find cognitive restructuring (i.e. actively challenging and confronting the distorted thinking and faulty beliefs - specifically, using the bullet point logical statement list method I described above) to be useful (not easy - bit certainty helpful for me). I would never suggest anyone does exactly what I do. Some people might try writing things down and it helps, others might find just 'leaving things alone' as gingerbreadgirl describes works. In case anyone is interested, there are (as noted in Hyman and Pedrick, 2010, p.49) some controlled studies that suggest some people "improve just as much when they actively challenge their beliefs about the situations that cause them anxiety as when they engage actively in exposure and response prevention to those situations". Now, this statement is not necessarily a fair reflection of what the research literature says overall, or what the majority of studies find, and it does not mean it is an approach everyone should take - but I am finding my approach (as described) to actively challenge beliefs works for me. It probably goes without saying that people would be best advised to discuss their OCD with a professional (e.g. their therapist or psychologist) and agree on their own approaches and strategies. Some interesting (*these are not meta analyses, and they are not representative of evidence overall) sources of interest: Cottraux, J., Note, I., Yao, S. N., Lafont, S., Note, B., Mollard, E., ... & Dartigues, J. F. (2001). A randomized controlled trial of cognitive therapy versus intensive behavior therapy in obsessive compulsive disorder. Psychotherapy and psychosomatics, 70(6), 288-297. Emmelkamp, P. M., & Beens, H. (1991). Cognitive therapy with obsessive-compulsive disorder: A comparative evaluation. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 29(3), 293-300. Van Oppen, P., De Haan, E., Van Balkom, A. J., Spinhoven, P., Hoogduin, K., & Van Dyck, R. (1995). Cognitive therapy and exposure in vivo in the treatment of obsessive compulsive disorder. Behaviour research and therapy, 33(4), 379-390. (p. 49) Hyman, B. M., & Pedrick, C. (2010). The OCD workbook: Your guide to breaking free from obsessive-compulsive disorder. New Harbinger Publications.
  3. It is an interesting point. However, there are obviously many, many factors to consider when assessing what this quote actually means (in terms of the research). There are an enormous number of potential methodological issues, potential limitations with the research design, and from the quote you gave - we know nothing about the statistical findings, etc. if the article contains an academic reference to a strong journal - please post it. From an academic perspective, generalized summaries that are not published in peer-reviewed academic journals (it is worth checking how well placed the journal is too) have to be read with extra caution.
  4. Agree, too ambiguous to say definitely. However, the person smiling and not appearing in distress doesn't mean it isn't portraying obsessive or excessive hand cleaning. Anyway, the first poster recieved an apology from the company - so at least they acknowledged it could have been interpreted as the first poster described. It's a good sign that companies are willing to listen.
  5. It wasn't a person sanitizing their hands at a dinner table, or regular fussiness. It was a person 'excessively' sanitizing their hands at a dinner table. Sanitizing hands at a dinner table per se, wouldn't suggest OCD to me. Just as regular dieting isn't the same as anorexia, and wouldn't in itself imply anorexia. I'm not massively annoyed by it; I don't have much confidence in advertisers to play fair anyway. But I think in this case, Mercedes have got away with it.
  6. In my opinion, I think it is very risky for forum users to make guesses, however educated those guesses are, that someone is causing mischief. No reply (if you suspect mischief) is better than making a dangerous guess and doing damage. I think it's better to leave it to Ashley or forum moderators to gently explore, identify and deal with forum posts as and when they suspect something. The forum moderators are there to spot and keep an eye on people who might be causing trouble unnecessarily, or even lying about their condition. Obviously debate about evidence and the validity of information doesn't have to be personal. Theories and ideas don't have feelings - they stand up to scrutiny (which doesn't have to be personal or nasty) or they don't.
  7. I think it shows a man using excessive amounts of, what looks like, antibacterial hand wash. He then smells his hands. I think that type of behaviour is more closely linked with OCD than with being feminine. But it's ambiguous; intention and interpretation are different things. I personally think it is a ridiculous (albeit brief) portrayal of OCD - combined with (if the person is intended to be feminine as people here suggest) the daft idea that personal hygiene/cleanliness/cleaning is a feminine activity. My impression is that they combine these insensitivies/assumptions together. Showing a feminine man (if you agree he was) with a disorder (of any type, physical or psychological) being rejected - is confusing to viewers. It is not clear what Mercedes Benz are trying to say, but it appeared the man's characteristics and/or behaviours were not appealing to the lady, and he was 'dumped' on that basis (we have no more information about the dates). I'm not sure if they have purposely used ambiguity to their advantage or not. I could imagine how this would be a kick in the teeth for people who have struggled with the psychological fatigue and exhaustion of excessive handwashing and cleanliness. To see someone rejected so swiftly for washing hands excessively (or for being feminine for that matter - if indeed he was meant to be feminine) doesn't make me feel great. Everyone has their own sense of humour - I didn't like it, I thought it was too personal. Like I say, I think it was a clumsy advert and I'm glad they apologized.
  8. There is a video called 'Mercedes Benz Perfect Match' on YouTube, I think you're referring to that. I think it is disappointing to see a person preoccupied with handwahsing/cleanliness included as an oddity worthy of rejection. Although it is intended as humour, I think it is clumsy work, and lacks empathy. Assuming Mercedes do recruit graduate level marketing and advertsing people (which I'd guess they do), it could be that too many universities make it too easy to pass such courses, without a thorough understanding of how 'ethics and empathy' applies to marketing and advertising (if indeed they do bother to cover it at all). Too many universities with low graduation standards in my view. It's clumsy. Unfortunately I think they're not the only company totally oblivious to the illness. Hopefully it will change over time.
  9. I agree with this, in part. While I believe it is very difficult, challenging, and tiring trying to 'outlogic' OCD, I would question whether it is impossible for everyone. I have found that the conversations I have with my psychologist, about what is logical and how OCD is diverting my mind to other nonsensical and/or highly unlikely thoughts, builds a confidence within myself - that I can listen to the logical part of my brain, and that I can trust myself to identify what my OCD is doing and what is rational/irrational. Obviously, in some cases it would be sensible to face the possibility that I don't know something and that it might be possible. But not all OCD thoughts are, in my experience, reasonable or likely. I haven't opted to accept that anything and everything is likely. Some things simply aren't, they are ridiculously unlikely. I have focused on trying to reflect on how my thought patterns work, and how they jump from one possibility to another. I find I become more alert to what is going on in my mind, and can resist the more illogical thoughts/links more easily before they escalate in my mind and lead to repetitive behavior. I wish to challenge the logic of the fears and thoughts head on. Actually, I find the approach I describe helps me work independently, as I become more confident in myself and learn more about errors in OCD reasoning, I am less reliant on my psychologist and others for reassurance. I accept others may have others methods and can probably recover in different ways, but so far I seem to be making some progress with this (I am on a journey of recovery, so who knows what other tactics I'll find or how this goes - maybe I'll report back here in 20 years and completely change my mind!).
  10. I like that sentence. I have found it so tiring and exhausting doing this. I think it will take a long time for me to achieve it.
  11. Hi Leil, Actually, I write bullet points down sometimes while in discussion with my psychologist. The statements reflect the more sensible, logical assessments that I would otherwise revert to and accept, if I didn't have OCD. It is what the sensible and logical part of my brain is saying. I think I have a mixture of statements, most focusing on evidence or brief logical statements that my fears are unlikely. They might also include evidence that things don't mean what I worry about, and how the evidence actually might suggest something totally different. I think, at least for me, OCD is pretty good at exploiting doubt and focusing on fears. Small, unlikely possibilities or even impossibilities, that start to feel like very probable and real possibilities. Then, after these are (incorrectly) assumed to be true, it will then move my mind on to focus on the implications of those unlikely/impossible fears...and so on and on. Exhausting. So, I try to capture the rational, reasonable assessments I have - which might sometimes get diluted and pushed away as fears and 'what if this, what if that', build up. So it is useful for me to do this with my psychologist sometimes. In discussion with my psychologist I try to confirm with her 'only once' (I push myself to avoid a never-ending journey of debate) that this is indeed a rational way of thinking. That takes a bit of work sometimes, to battle through the OCD. Then I write it down, and don't ask again for reassurance (easier said than done). Writing it down is a bit like taking a picture in my mind of a logical assessment. I have the rational reasons on the paper that I don't need to worry, or that my worry is excessive, unlikely and/or illogical. I then feel less need to seek reassurance, and it makes it easier for me to return to the sensible, rational thoughts when things are tough. Interestingly, once I have written it down I don't often need to actually look at it again - and I can fight the OCD a bit more easily in my mind. Maybe knowing I have the reassurance/reasons in my pocket helps. Part of this, for me, is accepting that I don't have 100% guarantees in my pocket (despite my OCD wanting perfection and certainty) - but I do have a better way of thinking in mind (and in my pocket). I think the statements I write down also link to the point you made (RE: being kinder to yourself). I think I have also had to focus on reminding myself that I am human, that we (humans) cannot help but make mistakes sometimes, that I do my best in life, and that beating oneself up excessively (which I think happens without realizing) is not good, especially when we know that we have good intentions in life for our self and others. Hope that makes sense - it seems to work for me! This was meant to be a quick reply - good luck with the new baby! DC
  12. Leil, in my opinion, if you consider taking the advice quoted above, you might want to talk it through with your psychologist. My sense is that this could work for some issues, but perhaps your psychologist can assess whether that is the right way for you. I guess your psychologist might suggest strategies depending on where you are in your therapy, the nature of the worries, and your progress. Tolerance for uncertainty was mentioned. I've found that having a tolerance for ambiguity is important for me - accepting that I cannot 'know' anything for sure, in an absolute sense. This means resisting the ongoing pursuit for truth in everyday life, the unrealistic idea that we have to 'know' or can be 100% sure of anything, is more manageable. I focus on my logical thoughts and what is most probable. I do this by writing my logical assessment of a situation down on a piece of paper (in bullet point form) and keep reminding myself of it when I re-question things. I sometimes find that once I've written it down and gone back to it a few times, I don't need it so much - as I know it is in my pocket and I have the logical thinking with me. I find that it becomes easier to tell myself "it's just a thought", thoughts come and go.
  13. 1. As for mis-remembering - I'd make a confident guess that if (at the time - while driving) you noticed something bad had happened (e.g. you hit a car), you would almost certainly have stopped the car and sorted it out. If you agree, then one good piece of evidence that you didn't notice anything is that you didn't react as you know you would - by stopping the car. 2. As for missing something - if you missed it, you missed it. Unlikely you would miss it, but if you did miss it you can't blame yourself for missing or not noticing something. You can't make yourself not miss something. 3. I've just bought the wristband from the online shop. It says, "It's just a thought?". Maybe reminding yourself of this slogan would help at stressful times. DC.
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