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Orwell1984

Angry ruminations - questions

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I have poor insight into this. For ‘flight’ side (of fight or flight), the ultimate goal is to behave ‘as if’ there was no fear, so you end up not getting fearful intrusions in the end. My question is, does this apply to the ‘fight’ side too? If I were to behave neutrally would there be less anger filled intrusions? Do I avoid anything or confront it? Anger is a difficult emotion for me to understand with regard to OCD. I think I’ve understood the ‘flight’ side. Does a neutral behavioural response to ‘fight’ work on the same way as a neutral response to ‘flight’? Does the mechanism work the same way when you’re dealing with OCD making the thoughts intrusive and ruminative?

Edited by Orwell1984

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I'm not entirely sure I understand the question but here are my thoughts on "fight or flight" in regards to OCD responses.

Flight is avoidance.  You want to flee from the fear, get away from it, avoid it at all costs.  The counter to a flight response is to do the opposite, to get close to the fear, to surround yourself with the fear, to intentionally encounter the fear.  This, notably, is different than the approach you mention above, of acting as if there is no fear. Acting as if there is no fear is the goal, but part of the way you get there (if you are looking to respond to counter the flight instinct) is confrontation OF the fear. The most obvious way this manifests in OCD treatment in my view is ERP.  The whole purpose of ERP is to intentionally expose yourself to the fear, the opposite of flight.

Fight is confrontation.  You want to beat the fear, you want to neutralize the fear, you want to conquer the fear.  The way I would say this most often manifests in OCD is rumination and other neutralizing compulsions such as testing.  You seek to overcome the fear through proofs, through analysis, through actively attacking the fear.  The counter would be passivity, to not fight the fear.  Mindfulness is one way to do this, with its goal of being non-judgmental about ones experiences and thoughts.

I'm not sure what you mean by anger filled intrusions, so I can't really speak to that part of the question, but if you want to explain it maybe I (or others) will have some thoughts to add there as well.

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8 minutes ago, dksea said:

I'm not sure what you mean by anger filled intrusions,

Thoughts of what would I say to the people who have wronged me if I bump into them at train stations etc and if they stopped to interact (this hasn’t happened yet as they ignore me)

Thoughts of what has happened to me in the past and wondering have they spread harmful gossip about me to current place of work or any people who have links to me and could determine my future career eg staying on at a job or not or getting hired in the first place

Urges to look them up online and urges to tell the truth of what happened to me and how bad said business company is

These all feel automatic to me and fill me with Adrenalin and I know it’s bad for me. But I keep getting these intrusions. How do I deal with them, I can’t push them away obviously as that will make them stronger.

What happens when I see stuff about them online in my social media feeds, or the news? What should I do as these angry thoughts come on immediately 

urges to check whether people at the train stop are people from toxic work, cos sometimes they are. And I want to be prepared to confront them if they try to interact with me

Edited by Orwell1984

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It honestly sounds like there is more going on than just OCD in the situation you are describing.  OCD tends to be more focused on fear and anxiety, not so much anger.  While worrying about people spreading gossip, etc. fits the OCD model, imagining/preparing to respond angrily etc. in an interaction with someone seems different.  If you are currently seeing a therapist or someone about your OCD it might be worth your while to discuss this with them, you might benefit from some therapy that focuses on dealing with the anger/resentment you have over the situation.

Edited by dksea

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What happened to you at your old workplace was a horrible experience so I'm not surprised that you are shaken and undermined by it. Do you think you are pushing yourself too quickly to recover from it? For example, if someone was seriously injured in a car accident we would expect them to take a while to recover emotionally and regain their confidence especially when driving. If you are trying to completely forget/recover about your experience and push away the thoughts and emotions you might be inadvertently making them stronger, I would try and work on accepting what happened to you, and giving your self permission to sometimes feel the hurt without acting on it or trying to fix it. The reality is you will never forget what happened, but the emotions will get less with time. I like the concept of 'radical acceptance' which is a fancy way of saying bad things happen so we have no choice but to accept that fact otherwise we will be stuck trying to assign blame and fix things that can't be fixed forever more, it's a bit like the difference between the concepts of blame and responsibility. It's not about giving in or passivity, but accepting where you are in the here and now so you are released from being stuck to be able to move forward. It's used in ACT and DBT. 

It might also be worth briefly rehearsing (don't ruminate, perhaps set yourself a time limit of 30mins or similar) some scenarios and things to say if you do happen to bump into your former colleagues so you are prepared - just something light and non confrontational, just everyday small talk and perhaps a few phrases to get you out of the situation with good grace, such as 'it was good to see you but I've got an appointment now so I must be going'. 

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I think what you're doing is a very common response to events and one that it is carried out by many people, not only those with a mental health problem.  It's a very "normal" reaction worsened by OCD.  Whether it's something at work, a spat with a neighbour, a break up with a partner, a rude shop assistant.....many/most people will replay it in their head, think about what was said, what they could have said, what they  should have said, how they could change things etc etc.  They may feel a range of emotions: anger, sadness, irritation, vengefulness, regret.

With OCD rumination is often the default position and excessive.  It's an attempt to Fix It.  The rule of thumb is that if thinking about a topic/thing hasn't produced any useful remedy or conclusion within 10 minutes we can presume that the rumination is a compulsion and that it is unhelpful to continue with it.  In my experience you literally have to train your brain, your instinct and resist the urge to engage with the internal dialogue.  It takes a lot of discipline because we've been used to this process/method of thinking.  Your brain will seemingly uncontrollably pull you back in, you have to repeatedly acknowledge what you're doing and stop the conversation.

I should add that similar patterns of thinking, going over things, replaying events also happens after positive events...a wedding, a stage performance, an interview, a successful date...it's just that they don't cause distress.

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2 hours ago, Caramoole said:

The rule of thumb is that if thinking about a topic/thing hasn't produced any useful remedy or conclusion within 10 minutes we can presume that the rumination is a compulsion and that it is unhelpful to continue with it.

Thank you so much Caramoole :thankyousign:. This has struck a chord. I will try harder. The 10 min thing is a brilliant benchmark thank you. It’s definitely a compulsion for me which I will work extra hard at stopping.

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5 hours ago, Wren said:

accepting where you are in the here and now so you are released from being stuck to be able to move forward. It's used in ACT and DBT. 

 

5 hours ago, Wren said:

few phrases to get you out of the situation with good grace, such as 'it was good to see you but I've got an appointment now so I must be going'. 

I will use these pieces of advice, thanks Wren :) acceptance, however difficult and fraught the emotion, with no rumination, it’s the way forward for me now. Thank you

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I'm glad you're seemingly more positive today. Dealing with rumination when you are autistic can be tricky because the autistic brain sometimes can only deal with social situations through logical thinking because its instinctive reactions may not always work properly. Reflecting on a situation in order to learn from it and also rehearsing what to say in possible future difficult scenarios are not bad things if they are done in a controlled manner - perhaps with a pen and paper and a stop watch so you can stick to your previously planned time limit, and also perhaps having had planned something nice to do afterwards to distract yourself from ruminating, and don't have more than one reflection session in a day. Be kind to yourself and things will get better with time. 

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I know when I first learnt about ruminating I was shocked that it wasn't considered normal or desirable behaviour - I basically used to ruminate pretty much constantly so the idea of not doing it seemed incomprehensible. However, what I did find was that if I stopped thinking through things completely ie I was treating all reflective/planning thinking as rumination to be stopped, I would struggle in social situations because I'm not a naturally chatty person. I'm more of a visual person so I have to make a conscious effort to convert my thoughts into coherent sentences that other people can understand (hopefully!!), so some degree of reflecting/planning thinking is necessary for me. You will of course be different so what I'm saying may not be appropriate for you, but I know with autism black and white thinking is also common so I think it's worth stressing that stopping rumination doesn't mean stopping all reflective and planning thinking, just stopping it when it becomes maladaptive. 

Edited by Wren

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1 hour ago, Wren said:

I know when I first learnt about ruminating I was shocked that it wasn't considered normal or desirable behaviour - I basically used to ruminate pretty much constantly so the idea of not doing it seemed incomprehensible. However, what I did find was that if I stopped thinking through things completely ie I was treating all reflective/planning thinking as rumination to be stopped, I would struggle in social situations because I'm not a naturally chatty person. I'm more of a visual person so I have to make a conscious effort to convert my thoughts into coherent sentences that other people can understand (hopefully!!), so some degree of reflecting/planning thinking is necessary for me. You will of course be different so what I'm saying may not be appropriate for you, but I know with autism black and white thinking is also common so I think it's worth stressing that stopping rumination doesn't mean stopping all reflective and planning thinking, just stopping it when it becomes maladaptive. 

I know right. That is why I sometimes could advice sufferer to post about their problems on forums which aren't about OCD. Often people seem very confused to why you are even thinking about what you actually are ruminating about. But that is not a good option.

Some people are saying that worry by itself is useless. We have to understand that what we are doing is extreme. 

The people I have known who had autism were analyzing very much when it came to social interactions, and they didn't have OCD

Edited by OCDhavenobrain

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4 hours ago, Wren said:

so I think it's worth stressing that stopping rumination doesn't mean stopping all reflective and planning thinking, just stopping it when it becomes maladaptive. 

Great insight!  Its like washing your hands, overwashing damages your hands and your health and is something to correct, but the solution is not to stop washing completely, that brings about new problems.  Its learning the appropriate amount to do it thats the trick.  Same with rumination!

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Thank you all for your great insight. I’ve had a much better day- have deflected from ruminations when I got triggered a few times. It’s been much more pleasant a day. Thanks :) 

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