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Headwreck

Is this a stage of recovery?

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Hello

So I've been a lot better over the past couple of weeks. My anxiety is minimal now which is a massive help. But one thing is bothering me and I recall experiencing this with my last obsession - I'm no longer anxious but I still believe the obsession is true and do find myself thinking about it, trying to work it out but not as obsessively as I was. 

Is this a stage of recovery? Is this something that anyone else has experienced? With my last obsession, the only way I stopped believing it was true was when my focus switched onto another obsession. Again, I'm not anxious but quite concerned that I'm going to believe I've done this thing and continue to think about it for years to come until something else comes along. It took four years for the last one to shift. I thought the eradication of the anxiety would mean clarity but I'm still not feeling that, same as last time. 

Thanks. 

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Yes it is. 

however i do find that when it gets easier do i get lazy and less aware of other compulsions, so try to be as powerful as in the beginning of your recovery. Last time when it switched was just how OCD works, if you have done the work have you exposed yourself and the OCD have lost some of the power. This is the final step so to speak, OCD just switching themes is not recovery

Give it more time and most importantly keep doing the right thing

Edited by Isthisreality

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47 minutes ago, Isthisreality said:

Yes it is. 

however i do find that when it gets easier do i get lazy and less aware of other compulsions, so try to be as powerful as in the beginning of your recovery. Last time when it switched was just how OCD works, if you have done the work have you exposed yourself and the OCD have lost some of the power. This is the final step so to speak, OCD just switching themes is not recovery

Give it more time and most importantly keep doing the right thing

Thanks for your reply. Hopeful that it is just a matter of time rather than just living with 'I've done this' and being able to live with it at a high functioning level. I still doubt it's OCD but I guess that will always happen. 

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1 minute ago, Headwreck said:

Thanks for your reply. Hopeful that it is just a matter of time rather than just living with 'I've done this' and being able to live with it at a high functioning level. I still doubt it's OCD but I guess that will always happen. 

Yes please keep up the work. 5-6 weeks are not enough for it to go away. But that feeling of total panic will go away i share your experience, it goes from TOTAL PANIC to a fear in the background, it is a strange feeling and i can't explain it fully. But it is much better than that panic in the start.

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Hi Headwreck,

Reduction in anxiety is good news and it's good that you've reduced how often you go over things. :)

At first simply stopping yourself from ruminating can be difficult, so it's enough to refuse to go there whenever the obsession comes to mind. That can free up some head space and allow you to see the wood for the trees. But once you've gained some control over your ruminating it's time to look at the meaning you gave the obsession which made it seem so important to you. 

I think that's the most important bit of therapy, because it's the meaning you give things which drives the ruminating and the urge to figure things out. Change the meaning and you are free of the obsession. 

Just as importantly, if a new obsessive thought comes along you know to immediately look at the meaning you're putting on it and can stop the ruminations before they even start. That puts you in control and prevents new obsessions from taking hold (aka 'recovery') 

From what you've written I'm not sure you've tackled that 'meaning' step yet.  :unsure:  But you're seeing a therapist, aren't you? Has he/she discussed the meaning with you at all?

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1 hour ago, snowbear said:

Hi Headwreck,

Reduction in anxiety is good news and it's good that you've reduced how often you go over things. :)

At first simply stopping yourself from ruminating can be difficult, so it's enough to refuse to go there whenever the obsession comes to mind. That can free up some head space and allow you to see the wood for the trees. But once you've gained some control over your ruminating it's time to look at the meaning you gave the obsession which made it seem so important to you. 

I think that's the most important bit of therapy, because it's the meaning you give things which drives the ruminating and the urge to figure things out. Change the meaning and you are free of the obsession. 

Just as importantly, if a new obsessive thought comes along you know to immediately look at the meaning you're putting on it and can stop the ruminations before they even start. That puts you in control and prevents new obsessions from taking hold (aka 'recovery') 

From what you've written I'm not sure you've tackled that 'meaning' step yet.  :unsure:  But you're seeing a therapist, aren't you? Has he/she discussed the meaning with you at all?

Hi Snowbear. 

Thanks for the response. 

My therapist thinks the underlying problem is that I don't trust myself. Is this the 'meaning' you mentioned? He says this is also the case due to the checking I used to do as a child etc. But I haven't done any work with regards to this. 

Edited by Headwreck

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Although that said, my last obsession was based on my partner cheating on me so not sure how the 'trust yourself' thing would apply. 

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Hi Headwreck, no that's not what I'm talking about.

The meaning we give our thoughts is what makes the obsession seem worthy of worry and ruminating.

For example, say a thought/memory comes to mind. You keep trying to figure out if it's a real memory, because it's important to know if you did the thing you can picture yourself doing.

It feels important to know because the meaning you put on the thought is 'If I did that thing then the consequences are bad' :ohmy: The consequences make it important to know. True or false matters. So you try harder to remember, feel the need to be certain one way or the other.

But you could give the thought a different meaning 'Maybe I did that, maybe I didn't. I don't remember. Shrug. No matter. Either way, the world isn't going to end. One act doesn't define me as a person. I can let this go without knowing for sure.' :) 

Now the consequences of not knowing if the memory is true or not are minimal. The urge to figure it out is gone because whether it's true or not no longer feels pivotal to your future happiness or moral well being. 

The meaning you put on any thought you have is what determines whether it feels important enough to think more about it or whether you forget it almost as soon as it's there. 

Not trusting yourself is only a problem if you get into the debate about whether it's true or not. 

Recognising you've given something a meaning it doesn't deserve (got fixated on one possible meaning out of thousands of alternative interpretations available to you) is about stopping the true/false debate in its tracks. 

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8 minutes ago, snowbear said:

Hi Headwreck, no that's not what I'm talking about.

The meaning we give our thoughts is what makes the obsession seem worthy of worry and ruminating.

For example, say a thought/memory comes to mind. You keep trying to figure out if it's a real memory, because it's important to know if you did the thing you can picture yourself doing.

It feels important to know because the meaning you put on the thought is 'If I did that thing then the consequences are bad' :ohmy: The consequences make it important to know. True or false matters. So you try harder to remember, feel the need to be certain one way or the other.

But you could give the thought a different meaning 'Maybe I did that, maybe I didn't. I don't remember. Shrug. No matter. Either way, the world isn't going to end. One act doesn't define me as a person. I can let this go without knowing for sure.' :) 

Now the consequences of not knowing if the memory is true or not are minimal. The urge to figure it out is gone because whether it's true or not no longer feels pivotal to your future happiness or moral well being. 

The meaning you put on any thought you have is what determines whether it feels important enough to think more about it or whether you forget it almost as soon as it's there. 

Not trusting yourself is only a problem if you get into the debate about whether it's true or not. 

Recognising you've given something a meaning it doesn't deserve (got fixated on one possible meaning out of thousands of alternative interpretations available to you) is about stopping the true/false debate in its tracks. 

Thanks Snowbear.

Sorry, I misunderstood at first but now I see what you mean. To be honest the 'trust yourself' thing wasn't ringing true (to the point where I was panicking a little, as you say it starts a whole new argument for and against) but what you have mentioned does make a lot of sense. I'm not sure if I should mention this to my therapist since he hasn't brought this up with me and I don't really want to teach grandmother to suck eggs if that makes sense. Is there a way I can work on this on my own? 

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Talk to your therapist about it.

Avoid the 'Er, em, I hate to tell you how to do your job but erm...' :unsure: 

Approach it confidently:  'This is an issue I want to work on with you, how do you think we should tackle it?' :) 

Any therapist who takes offence at a client coming to a session knowing what they're talking about is in the wrong job. You're meant to be a team! 

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2 minutes ago, snowbear said:

Talk to your therapist about it.

Avoid the 'Er, em, I hate to tell you how to do your job but erm...' :unsure: 

Approach it confidently:  'This is an issue I want to work on with you, how do you think we should tackle it?' :) 

Any therapist who takes offence at a client coming to a session knowing what they're talking about is in the wrong job. You're meant to be a team! 

Thanks very much for your advice, this has helped a lot and I'll bring this up in my session tomorrow. Feel as though I'm coasting now (ie functional but still harbouring obsession) rather than actually tackling anything so hopefully this will get the ball rolling a bit again.

Thank you again :)

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