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leif

feeling down

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Feeling pretty discouraged.

I thought I was improving after having a bit of a setback a couple of months ago. Increased meds, trying to continue with CBT methods, but I'm just feeling a little defeated.

Seems like every day I encounter some trigger and I'm doing my best to just ride through with the anxiety but I'm so tired of the anxiety.

Main theme remains contamination.

Seem to be improving on a daily basis if nothing out of the ordinary comes up....well sometimes...actually yesterday I found I was triggered by a nothing encounter. I could see it was nothing and did my best to just let the anxious thoughts be. Today was an encounter with a more obvious trigger and I end up excessively cleaning.

I'm not sure if this is helpful but I'm trying to look at what I'm actually afraid of, rather than just letting it be 'contamination.'

So am I afraid of getting sick from encounters with poo?--e-coli? salmonella?

On a level I can see I can deal with those things if they were to happen. I don't have a big fear of vomiting...so what is it exactly? I don't have a compromised immune system so I should be able to deal with that stuff.

I know I have a fear of blame and responsibility for harm--so that's definitely a part of it. I fear I'm not being responsible enough in dealing with things.

On another level I think a lot of this is just a deeper existential fear. Here we are mortal, vulnerable...does it all just come down to a fear of death?

 

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I think one way of pinpointing what you're afraid of is by asking what is the worst that could happen if I don't do this compulsion?

And why would that matter?

And why would that matter?.

And so on until you get to the very core of it (the downward arrow technique). 

Sometimes though I think the initial reason for the fear can get lost, and your brain is sensitised to feel afraid just because. Maybe at the end of the day you are simply afraid of "feeling" contaminated and the anxiety it brings and there's nothing more to it by this point. 

Either way, stopping compulsions as much as you can is the answer. 

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11 minutes ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

Maybe at the end of the day you are simply afraid of "feeling" contaminated and the anxiety it brings and there's nothing more to it by this point. 

That makes so much sense. Fear of the anxiety, fear of getting trapped by compulsions, fear of the ocd getting so bad again that I'm trapped by it.

 

16 minutes ago, gingerbreadgirl said:

Sometimes though I think the initial reason for the fear can get lost

yes I agree...I think that's why I'm trying to bring it to something concrete. Instead of just leaving it at a general fear, knowing that I can deal with getting sick from an encounter with poo I(in this specific case) and trying to counter my normal emotion that I can't handle these things

8 minutes ago, OCDhavenobrain said:

Overall you are doing great.

Thanks!

9 minutes ago, OCDhavenobrain said:

Now, how long have you been resisting compulsions?

Well I've been working with cbt for about 6 years or more? I must say I always have a number of compulsions that remain in my life and have never gotten close to full recovery since getting this disorder. I have successfully cut back considerably on how many compulsions I do overall. And when I see myself adding to that, I try to start cutting back again.

I think I started a bit late with recovery and became stuck in a lot of bad habits of avoidance and compulsions that I just can't seem to break out of. It leaves me with a life that is limited but generally pretty tolerable compared to when I was very bad.

I did try to address the setback I was encountering a few months ago with stepping up the CBT and increase of meds but now I'm feeling like I'm just sliding back down the ocd mountain.

I just feel so continually tired from the fight.

 

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Leif if you have been resisting compulsions for let say a couple of days it is perfectly normal to feel this way. I would like to say that it is great that you are feeling some resistance (anxiety). Because it means you are doing the right thing

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Hi Leif,

I think that it's pretty easy to start feeling demoralised along the way. You are working hard and this stupid disorder keeps throwing stuff at you and sometimes it's hard not to just feel like you've had enough. I think you should be gentle with yourself here, acknowledge that you are trying and that there can be good and bad days. Just because you are feeling demoralised now doesn't mean that you won't be feeling better in a few days time. 

4 hours ago, leif said:

So am I afraid of getting sick from encounters with poo?--e-coli? salmonella?

On a level I can see I can deal with those things if they were to happen. I don't have a big fear of vomiting...so what is it exactly? I don't have a compromised immune system so I should be able to deal with that stuff.

This is so true. I was talking to my therapist the other day about how OCD is trying to make you see danger everywhere and you think that you have to have a plan B ALL THE TIME in case something happens. But you don't, if something bad happens, you can think of a plan B then and there. So yes if you get sick, it'll probably be fine, you'll get help and be okay. We have to learn to live with a little risk.

3 hours ago, leif said:

That makes so much sense. Fear of the anxiety, fear of getting trapped by compulsions, fear of the ocd getting so bad again that I'm trapped by it.

This is absolutely another thing I can relate to, this fear of not being okay. My OCD was at its worst when I got diagnosed, so I had no idea what OCD was or that I had it. When I started treatment, my therapist told me that it will never be this bad again and now in the midst of a relapse I see her point. Sure, the OCD may go up and down, but over the years you learn A LOT. All that learning doesn't simply disappear, you are equipped with more than you may realise. Also, if things do get worse, you can always get help (just as with the fear of contamination). There is therapy, medication...it has helped you in the past so if things get worse it'll help again. 

Hang in there Leif, it takes time and you can do this!

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If you know your compulsions, you can work back from them to suss out the OCD core belief that is at the heart of a strand of OCD. 

But in any case you can use the downward arrow technique. 

Just to expand on what GBG said :

On a piece of paper write down a statement as to what you believe is causing your problem.
Then underneath it, draw a downward arrow and then write in the answer to this question. If this were true, why would it be so bad?
After writing in the answer, put in another downward arrow underneath, and ask the same question again.
Keep going until no further answer is possible – your last answer should reveal the core belief.
Do this with each of your issues to find all your core beliefs.

Edited by taurean

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Hi leif :),

I am sorry you are feeling down. I agree with all the people that has written.

I just want to send you a big HUG :hug::hug::hug::hug::hug: 

Don't forget that you are a fighter, you work really hard to fight against your OCD. You deserve to feel better. 

I hope you feel better soon and have an OCD easy to handle. 

 

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Thank you all so much for the support--it really means a lot.

I went about my day feeling the anxious/contaminated feeling in the background and did my best to just get on with things.

5 hours ago, malina said:

Just because you are feeling demoralised now doesn't mean that you won't be feeling better in a few days time. 

Yes that's true--thank you for that reminder.

I do see this as coming and going and as so many of the contamination feelings as passing...just wishing I could see more general improvement and not getting triggered so often!

One thing I thought about is how these surprise exposures to maybe bigger things than I would purposefully expose myself to, help me handle the smaller challenges.

Anyhow it's just been one of those days, following another challenging day before that.

Thanks for the hug Andrea--I appreciate that as always :) 

 

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On 20/05/2019 at 02:16, leif said:

Seem to be improving on a daily basis if nothing out of the ordinary comes up....well sometimes...actually yesterday I found I was triggered by a nothing encounter. I could see it was nothing and did my best to just let the anxious thoughts be. Today was an encounter with a more obvious trigger and I end up excessively cleaning.

Unfortunately recovery can be a bit of a slog.  I think its completely reasonable to experience frustration and sadness, you are allowed to feel bad sometimes (sometimes!) when you are struggling with any kind of problem, especially chronic ones like OCD.  Sometimes you need to vent, sometimes you need to have a good cry, sometimes you need to do something to let your anger out.  Some people find exercise a good outlet for frustration, for other people its journaling, there are any number of ways of dealing with this sort of thing.  Consider talking to your therapist about constructive ways to handle these periods, perhaps they can offer some techniques to help you manage it as well.

Also, remember that the goal is to improve, not to be perfect.  Perfection is what OCD demands, its not required for living life.  You had a rough day, you gave in and did a compulsion.  Its fair to be annoyed at that, but it happened, its over, try to focus on moving on.  If you were a smoker and you were trying to quit smoking, having a cigarette after going a week/month/etc without is a setback, but it isn't the end, you aren't back to square one.  You've proven to yourself you can go for at least that long without a cigarette, now you try and see how long you can go again.  If, over time, you manage to smoke less and less you'll eventually never smoke right?  Same with compulsions.  You might have given in this time, thats unfortunate, but you haven't failed.  You need to give yourself permission to be human and not be perfect.

 

On 20/05/2019 at 02:16, leif said:

I'm not sure if this is helpful but I'm trying to look at what I'm actually afraid of, rather than just letting it be 'contamination.'

If you can identify some deeper anxiety that is driving your other anxieties it might help you focus on exposures and CBT to target that core belief, so it can be beneficial.  However, you have to be careful not to turn this into a rumination compulsion, keep that in mind and spend a reasonable amount of time/effort considering possible core beliefs, but only a reasonable amount.

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On 20/05/2019 at 05:19, leif said:

Thank you all so much for the support--it really means a lot.

I went about my day feeling the anxious/contaminated feeling in the background and did my best to just get on with things.

Yes that's true--thank you for that reminder.

I do see this as coming and going and as so many of the contamination feelings as passing...just wishing I could see more general improvement and not getting triggered so often!

One thing I thought about is how these surprise exposures to maybe bigger things than I would purposefully expose myself to, help me handle the smaller challenges.

Anyhow it's just been one of those days, following another challenging day before that.

Thanks for the hug Andrea--I appreciate that as always :) 

 

That is how we all feel when we are in your situation doing what you are doing.  That nagging feeling is how it goes for everybody. In your case it is more severe because you just started to put yourself in a dangerous situation, you have for a long time made your brain aware of "threats" which you now suddenly ignore so your brain thinks you are in some kind of situation where you have forgotten and it needs to make you remember the threat. 

Just think about how deeply your awareness about some things is. Say for example knifes, even if you are superdrunk you will know that knifes are dangerous or that you shouldn't put the tv in the bathtube. That part of the brain which sends out those feelings are deep rooted and overrides other parts of your brain.

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13 hours ago, dksea said:

Unfortunately recovery can be a bit of a slog.  I think its completely reasonable to experience frustration and sadness, you are allowed to feel bad sometimes (sometimes!) when you are struggling with any kind of problem, especially chronic ones like OCD.  Sometimes you need to vent, sometimes you need to have a good cry, sometimes you need to do something to let your anger out.  Some people find exercise a good outlet for frustration, for other people its journaling, there are any number of ways of dealing with this sort of thing.  Consider talking to your therapist about constructive ways to handle these periods, perhaps they can offer some techniques to help you manage it as well.

Thanks for those tips dksea. Yes I think I do sometimes just need to vent and just feel the frustration of the moment before I pick myself up again. I don't have a therapist at the moment so you guys are it :)

13 hours ago, dksea said:

Also, remember that the goal is to improve, not to be perfect.  

Yes for sure...I guess it's just so disheartening on those bad days when I'm feeling exhausted and defeated by the ocd of the day

 

13 hours ago, dksea said:

If you can identify some deeper anxiety that is driving your other anxieties it might help you focus on exposures and CBT to target that core belief, so it can be beneficial.  However, you have to be careful not to turn this into a rumination compulsion, keep that in mind and spend a reasonable amount of time/effort considering possible core beliefs, but only a reasonable amount

Right very true...I also am aware that I shouldn't be trying to use that for a sort of reassurance seeking. Like trying to reassure myself i'll be OK because the exposure wasn't to anything too harmful or something. I think I might start a new thread soon exploring working with my core beliefs as I think I may need some further help with that.

5 hours ago, OCDhavenobrain said:

you have for a long time made your brain aware of "threats" which you now suddenly ignore so your brain thinks you are in some kind of situation where you have forgotten and it needs to make you remember the threat. 

Yes good point. It'll take some time to retrain the brain into reacting more reasonably!

 

I have been feeling a little better . Mostly because I haven't had any new triggers come up for me in the last couple of days, so I've been able to just sort of rest and recover from the stress of that bigger surprise trigger the other day. I was interested to see that going about my normal days after that I seemed to be more able to not listen to intrusive thoughts more easily than usual.  It's like that bigger exposure made me more immune to the smaller triggers...It makes me wonder more about the possible value in forcing myself to do the bigger exposures that I've always avoided....but not today!

 

Thanks again for all your support everyone! :) 

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That is good. Good of you to be active even when you are feeling better that is right way. Rememeber that it is about taking control over the situation which is important not just be a passive victim of the cruel rollercoaster which is OCD

Edited by OCDhavenobrain

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On 22/05/2019 at 01:01, leif said:

Thanks again for all your support everyone! :) 

:thumbup:

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