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taurean

Share A Tip That's Helped You?

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Why not indeed. Others have been doing so on individual threads, and it's been great to read them. 

My tip for the day? 

Don't let OCD push you around, restrict you. Stand up to it.

Giving into it is not an option. Because It will be back, bigger and stronger if we acquiesce. 

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Hi Roy,

two things that have really helped me:

1. Not to catastrophize. Whatever the problem is, no matter how bad it seems, there is always a solution. The outcome isn’t as bad as we imagine it to be. 

2. To understand that feelings and thoughts come and go. No matter how bad the feeling, it will eventually go away. You just have to be patient and stop yourself from engaging with it. In fact, the more you engage, the longer it will stay with you.

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Those are very good Malina. 

I also think it helps to remember that, in our normal day to day life, worry solves nothing - we only go round and round in circles, getting more anxious and upset, and with no satisfactory outcome. 

And, in OCD, that's also exactly what happens with ruminating - with the additional disadvantage that, as a compulsion, it only strengthens, never weakens, our OCD intrusive thoughts. 

So working on stopping our general worrying and, in OCD our ruminating, really helps. 

Much general worry can be solved by  taking an objective view of the problem, considering all possible solutions, picking the best, implimenting it, and dismissing all anxiety about the outcome. 

Ruminating in OCD can be phased out by noting an intrusion then, gently but wilfully, easing our focus away without entering into compulsive behaviour. 

Keeping doing that, ignoring any blips, until that - not the ruminating - became the default behaviour worked for me. 

 

 

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Make sure your family/partner/close friends/significant others are aware of the disorder and how to help you cope with it.

Something my previous therapist said was "Tell your partner that she can give comfort for the feelings, but not reassurance for the thoughts".

Without this knowledge you will, no doubt, use them as a reassurance tool and naturally, they will see you upset and want to make you feel better by reassuring you... this will only make the OCD stronger.

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it is so hard to forget all the terrible things your partner has said and done in the past, just by looking at them brings it all back, people say if he is not doing it now forget it, it is in the past, but is it when it has not left you with much confidence and nearly destroyed you.  Am in 60s is it too late to get back to what you were.

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Great topic and great tips!

I find keeping my past successes in mind very helpful especially when I'm trying to resist compulsions in a new situation. It reminds me of how good I feel after the challenge is faced rather than the present feelings of anxiety and overwhelm. Sometimes I write the successes down to solidify the information, sometimes just remembering them in my mind is enough.

Also in that same area, I really like the cognitive exercise of remembering why its important to face the anxious situation rather than resort to compulsions.

I think about the freedoms I've gained from facing exposures in the past, and I imagine the extra freedoms I'll gain from continuing to face exposures.

And even reflecting on how terrible it got when I did allow the compulsions to completely rule me helps keep me on track a little bit more (though I don't like to think about that too much as it can get disheartening as well!!)

 

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Concentrating on small tasks while obsessing. I know that such tips can seem to be simplistic but they aren't. Doing something

Edited by OCDhavenobrain

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3 hours ago, Binxy said:

Make sure your family/partner/close friends/significant others are aware of the disorder and how to help you cope with it.

Hi,

I'd be a bit cautious with who you tell, unless you are 100% sure that you can trust them if say in future your relationship were to deteriorate!  

I have experienced & read of instances where people are sympathetic towards those with mental health problems, only for it to be used against them at a later date when the relationship breaks down. Personally, I am now economical with what I say to others, for example, I might tell them I have OCD & depression, but with regards to specific themes and effects I say nothing. :shutup:

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At the start of the ‘fight back against ocd’ journey, my tip would be deliberately saying/thinking ‘so what’ to the intrusive thought instead of analysing. It breaks the automatic pull to focus and analyse the thought. Stating ‘so what’ does not turn into a habit even though you say it nearly on a constant basis at the beginning. You are blocking the analysis, not the initial intrusive thought. It is worth the time and frustration it takes to do. Over time you won’t need to say it at all and just go straight to automatically refocusing away from internal analytical compulsions (ruminations).

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Yes I picked up something similar in therapy, Orwell. 

I think it helps if we adopt a dismissive approach, like we are above the OCD issue and talking down to it - rather than us being imposed upon by it. 

Definitely that technique of just calmly but firmly then refocusing away, without getting sucked into carrying out a compulsion, helped me to break that compulsive urge. 

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This can help to sleep when agitated and distressed. 

Put a radio on your bedside table. If it also has a CD player, so much the better. 

Play relaxation music or gentle classical music whilst you turn the light off and ease into sleep. 

In this mode look to slow down and deepen your breathing whilst just connecting with, focusing on, the music and your breathing. 

A CD will switch itself off. With the radio, use the sleep timer button to do this, if you have one. 

It works beautifully for me. 

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The "Four Steps" concept from Jeffrey Schwartz's excellent self-help book "Brainlock" has really helped me. 

The steps are:

Relabel - see the thoughts as OCD. 

Reattribute - though we experience the thoughts, they are the result of the OCD illness and say nothing about us as a person. 

Refocus - instead of connecting with, and believing, the obsessional intrusions and carrying out a behavioural response by carrying out compulsions, we simply note the intrusion then straight away focus our mind away from it, onto something beneficial and involved and, when we are more able to, back to what we were doing before the intrusion came along. 

Revalue - we remind ourselves that our true character values remain in place despite what the OCD says. We are not bad for having, or experiencing, OCD thoughts and feelings - we are simply sufferers from a mental illness called OCD. 

The Four Steps is an add-on to the essential core therapy of CBT, which still needs to be fully worked through. 

But it's a great way to understand what is going on and help to change our unhelpful behavioural response to OCD. 

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10 hours ago, felix4 said:

I'd be a bit cautious with who you tell, unless you are 100% sure that you can trust them if say in future your relationship were to deteriorate!  

Completely agree- details aren't necessary though... I don't think you need to be specific.... just that you have intrusive thoughts, and that if it's clear you're looking for reassurance, don't give it.

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1 hour ago, Binxy said:

Completely agree- details aren't necessary though... I don't think you need to be specific.... just that you have intrusive thoughts, and that if it's clear you're looking for reassurance, don't give it.

It took a long time before I was willing to share the detail of the nature of my OCD thoughts and, yes, I do that with great care. 

One of the young doctors at my practice back in London asked, and when I factually told him the truth he was scared. 

But I used it as an awareness exercise, explaining that the intrusions were attributable to OCD and nothing to do with my own character values :)

 

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I have found it very difficult to share my problem with anyone other than my partner and my parents. However, it took my parents a while to understand and to learn the right way to support me. I don't blame them for this, I was 20 when my OCD really surfaced and I think it was quite a shock for them. With my partner, I told him quite early on because I thought he should understand what he was getting into. He was great about it and still is!

With other people, I just find it really difficult. I had a lot of support from my friends when I was younger, but then realised that they treated me differently at times too. I was angry with my closest friend at one point over something she had done, but her immediate thought was that I was going through some sort of breakdown! I do think you have to be careful with who you tell.

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You do. 

And although I have been a member of the forums for about 7 years it's only in the last three that I have found the strength mentally to enter other threads about harm OCD here. 

But when I did start to do so, everyone here began to benefit from my knowledge and experience, and I began to feel more confident talking about it. 

By the way I applaud all those nearest and dearest who take the time and effort to build an understanding of OCD and help the sufferer they know along the road to recovery. 

They are very special, so very helpful, people. My wife is one and I am privileged to have "met" others, some personally and some here through the ether. 

And I expect I will meet more this year as I plan to attend OCD-UK's annual conference. 

So let me take the opportunity here to applaud all such nearest and dearest, truly magnificent people :clapping:

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1. Always go towards your fears, not away from them. Running away from them, trying to mitigate them, is what keeps ocd going. 

2. Give yourself permission to leave things alone. You don't need to be "sure" it's ocd, you don't need to resolve anything, you can just leave it be. 

3. They call it a leap of faith for a reason - it will always FEEL completely wrong to not do compulsions. You can never be totally sure it is the right thing to do. You will always think "if I could just solve this one thing I would be happy". You have to override these impulses and trust that your feelings are wrong, even if you're not sure, which takes immense courage. 

4. Take it one day, hour, minute at a time if needs be. Don't try to solve ocd all at once. Just gently nudge yourself towards a better way. You will make mistakes, give in and do compulsions all the time and that's OK - just pick yourself up and try again. 

5. Be kind to yourself no matter whether you feel you deserve it or not (hint: you do).  Bearing ocd is hard and you deserve a lot of patience and kindness, from yourself even if no one else. 

Edited by gingerbreadgirl

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8 hours ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

1. Always go towards your fears, not away from them. Running away from them, trying to mitigate them, is what keeps ocd going. 

2. Give yourself permission to leave things alone. You don't need to be "sure" it's ocd, you don't need to resolve anything, you can just leave it be. 

3. They call it a leap of faith for a reason - it will always FEEL completely wrong to not do compulsions. You can never be totally sure it is the right thing to do. You will always think "if I could just solve this one thing I would be happy". You have to override these impulses and trust that your feelings are wrong, even if you're not sure, which takes immense courage. 

4. Take it one day, hour, minute at a time if needs be. Don't try to solve ocd all at once. Just gently nudge yourself towards a better way. You will make mistakes, give in and do compulsions all the time and that's OK - just pick yourself up and try again. 

5. Be kind to yourself no matter whether you feel you deserve it or not (hint: you do).  Bearing ocd is hard and you deserve a lot of patience and kindness, from yourself even if no one else. 

100% agree with all of these points! 

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On 04/04/2019 at 21:42, Orwell1984 said:

At the start of the ‘fight back against ocd’ journey, my tip would be deliberately saying/thinking ‘so what’ to the intrusive thought instead of analysing. 

I sometimes find it hard to know what to say without it being an 'analysis' of my OCD and have been using this since yesterday and these two words 'SO WHAT' really do work!

 

Thanks! :thankyousign:

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And one of the best tips? 

Don't listen to what OCD is telling you. Don't believe the OCD. 

Instead, listen to what your therapist, and learned experienced fellow sufferers, tell you. And change your thinking and behavioural response accordingly. 

 

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Not identifying with your OCD.

Not asking yourself: how can I train/study/work/marry with OCD. Instead plan how you will overcome OCD

 

And the most important one would have to be: You do NOT need any more advanced method than the one which works.

Edited by OCDhavenobrain

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7 minutes ago, OCDhavenobrain said:

And the most important one would have to be: You do NOT need any more advanced method than the one which works.

I particularly like that. 

I see people on the boards "spread betting", using various forums and always seeking for "something else". 

The method which works is the method we advocate here - cognitive behavioural therapy. 

If everyone committed to correctly working through that, so many more people would improve. 

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Find the cause you'll, find the cure. Forget about treating symptoms, treat the cause. Meds & cbt treat the symptoms, dig deeper, get to the cause. It's there.

'1. Always go towards your fears'  I don't agree with this completely.  If a lion is charging at me & it makes me fearful should I run up to it & give it a hug? No. If there is blood on the ground  & it makes me fearful should I bathe in it? No.  We must, therefore, sort the fear first. 

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2 hours ago, Handy said:

Find the cause you'll, find the cure. Forget about treating symptoms, treat the cause. Meds & cbt treat the symptoms, dig deeper, get to the cause. It's there.

'1. Always go towards your fears'  I don't agree with this completely.  If a lion is charging at me & it makes me fearful should I run up to it & give it a hug? No. If there is blood on the ground  & it makes me fearful should I bathe in it? No.  We must, therefore, sort the fear first. 

I think you might have muddled things a bit, Handy. If you’re on the search for the cause, you could analyse it to death, especially with unwitting therapists not knowledgeable in ocd who will want you to analyse your childhood. So many rabbit holes to go down.

best idea is to identify your compulsions and use therapy to try to challenge them.

Also, learning to identify the real risk with fears as opposed to imaginary risk. Again if you identify your compulsions, you will realise that these actually feed the fears. By identifying the compulsions, you will realise that the fears are ocd borne.

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6 hours ago, Handy said:

Find the cause you'll, find the cure. Forget about treating symptoms, treat the cause. Meds & cbt treat the symptoms, dig deeper, get to the cause. It's there.

'1. Always go towards your fears'  I don't agree with this completely.  If a lion is charging at me & it makes me fearful should I run up to it & give it a hug? No. If there is blood on the ground  & it makes me fearful should I bathe in it? No.  We must, therefore, sort the fear first. 

I certainly agree that if there is underlying stress/anxiety that has not been addressed, and is at the root of the development of OCD in the person (like the anxiety of a particularly stressful time in your life manifesting as OCD) then it's important to uncover and address that when possible - but as Orwell1984 said, the OCD thought-process itself is not improved through analysis of the content of intrusive thoughts and where they might come from etc, quite the opposite, as OCD is more like a substitute for the real cause of anxiety, if I understand correctly (one of the brain's ways of trying to cope with stress) and the thoughts hold no real meaning (other than portraying things you may fear the most).

I presume the 'always go towards your fears' tip was more intended to refer specifically to OCD fears (i.e. if you fear being around people in case you harm them, then challenge yourself to spend time around people more, etc) at least, that was the impression I got :) 

 


I have a possible tip...? But I need to ask if it's actually a helpful one first!

I have sometimes, when plagued by thoughts that I might harm someone, found myself saying internally 'I choose not to do that', but upon finding that not to be of much use, I started thinking 'I will not do that today.' Not that that means I intend to do it tomorrow or next week, or ever, but something about saying I won't do it today specifically makes me feel more in control, like I can take a break from fearing that I will. And then the next day I can say again that I will not do it today, and so on. However would this be just another compulsion and therefore counter-productive, or does it make sense as a challenge to OCD? Hope it's OK to ask this here. Thanks :)

Edited by Sputnik

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