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CAH_05

Stopped compulsions, extreme anxiety

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Hi everyone so I know I have written something similar before but just wanted some more insight and encouragement. 

Since Thursday after my cbt session I have completely gone cold turkey on my most obvious compulsions. 

Anyway i am finding this extremely difficult. The mornings are horrendously hard to function but I am forcing myself to do whatever I had planned for that day and take the anxiety with me. It’s not lessening though, and I thought it would have lessened some what by now.

but I feel like my ocd is screaming at me and the thoughts and images are still coming.

any experience of this? And how long until I start to see the benefits? 

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Hey! Well done for cutting out compulsions!! You are absolutely taking steps in the right direction and you should be very proud of your self for that! It's hard to say exactly how much time it'll take for the anxiety to lessen, everyone is different. I doubt that anybody sees benefits after just a few days. In your place, I would try to stop focusing on lessening the anxiety, that in itself could be a compulsion. Rather, just carry it with you and accept it being there. The goal is to allow the anxiety to be there and to not react to it. You can't really stop yourself from reacting to it if you're focusing on making it go away. Just let it be there and try to stay engaged in what you're doing!

I was thinking about you today and your previous post about how you stayed home alone with your son and it inspired me. I really struggle staying at home alone too, but I have about 6 hours at home alone today. So let's do this together - you make sure you go about your day and I'll try to stay at home for these 6 hours and not run away! How about that? :) 

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I'd like to echo the above, well done! OCD is like a spoiled brat throwing a tantrum, screaming for attention. The longer and more often you ignore it, it'll realize it can't get its way, and desist. 

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It takes time. Days sometimes. Ruminating about it is a compulsion too. 

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Thanks for the replies. 

I am still really struggling with this. 

I have hardly engaged in any compulsions for 2 days and have made an effort to not avoid anything. 

The anxiety just isn’t going down though. 

I forced myself to work and for an hour I felt ‘normal’ but then the anxiety and thoughts all came back. I have just been trying to keep myself distracted and busy as much as possible. But it is so so hard.

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Hi @CAH_05

Are you having CBT sessions on a regular basis? Like weekly or something? It would be good to discuss this at your next session.

Was it recommended you go cold turkey?

I have never tried going 'cold turkey' on compulsions. I found for me it worked much better to slowly cut out compulsions/avoidance so that the anxiety would maybe get in the 30-50 range on a regular basis. Through cutting out compulsions/avoidance in a more gradual way the anxiety stays at a more manageable level and tends to also go away sooner. But even when it wouldn't go away for me right away, it would be at a lower more manageable level. So i might be wearing a 'contaminated' coat feeling anxiety/discomfort around it for a week or two but more at like at a 10-20 range of anxiety.

 

 

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Thank you that makes lots of sense. 

Yes I started therapy 2 weeks ago and my therapist seems really good and knowledgeable about ocd. She doesn’t even entertain the ‘theme’ atall. Just treating it as intrusive unwanted thoughts. She does not offer any reassurance but is quite positive. She has advised me to completely stay off the internet and stop googling (my biggest compulsion) and go ‘cold turkey’ as it is only creating more doubt and I know that’s true. It’s just been so hard to get through each day as the anxiety and inrusove thoughts are almost constant. 

 I feel much less anxious today but I think it’s because I have spent abit of time reading about OCD. 

I am also doing much better at not a avoiding things. I have pushed myself to spend time alone, go for a walk, go to work. It’s tealy hard but I know that will get easier.

interested to hear what others think about the going ‘cold turkey’ from compulsions or gradually reducing them?

 

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I think it depends on the compulsion and the degree of discomfort.

It quite difficult to cut down on googling stuff,it's a bit all or nothing.

I've been doing hierarchy of fear, ladder stuff, where you grade your fears and then work up the ladder easiest first.

That's when you find out that things you thought were going to be tricky are easy, and easy stuff freaks you out.

I'm sure it would be great to stop every thing all at once, but for me it would be too much.

How ever some  things I can't work out how to break down into bits do it had to be all at once.

Still that's what the therapist is for tailoring the CBT to your needs, that's the improvement over a self help book!

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47 minutes ago, CAH_05 said:

She has advised me to completely stay off the internet and stop googling (my biggest compulsion) and go ‘cold turkey’ as it is only creating more doubt and I know that’s true

That actually does make sense to me too--to eliminate googling altogether if possible. I think it would be hard to gradually cut that one out. As @Closed for repairs says--that's a sort of "all or nothing" one

You mention that as your biggest compulsion. So have you also eliminated all the other compulsions?

Maybe you could just work on cutting out googling and not trying to eliminate all the other compulsions at the same time --that might keep your anxiety at a more manageable level. Then once your anxiety comes down to more manageable levels while not googling you could gradually cut out any other compulsions you are doing...but you could discuss that with your therapist

53 minutes ago, CAH_05 said:

Yes I started therapy 2 weeks ago and my therapist seems really good and knowledgeable about ocd

That is great that you have a good therapist you can trust. You can discuss all this with her and see what she thinks. When's your next session?

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Use your therapist that's what they are for.

Don't get me wrong I'm not knocking the books, but by necessity, they some times gloss over the more "admin" problems that crop up with CBT "wait till your anxiety has halved" looks good on paper but is not so obvious in real life

(Some one had to explain to me that if I was bored and fed up, my anxiety had probably gone down enough and I didn't have to spend all afternoon standing out side in the cold so I could "live with my discomfort"!)

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Good for you @CAH_05! I agree that you should use your therapist as a guide. Make a decision together about which compulsions to cut out and take it from there. Hang in there, it will get better!! xx

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It’s the internet one that I am finding the hardest 

I was literally spending hours and hours on it

goggling every single thought as feeling I have

reading the same things and websites over and over again

i have made a real effort in stopping this but this is what is making me more anxious. 

My next appointment is not for 2 weeks 

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5 hours ago, CAH_05 said:

It’s the internet one that I am finding the hardest 

I was literally spending hours and hours on it

goggling every single thought as feeling I have

reading the same things and websites over and over again

i have made a real effort in stopping this but this is what is making me more anxious. 

My next appointment is not for 2 weeks 

I think it's a good thing you have stopped Googling and reading this stuff. It just keeps the thoughts in your mind non stop, even if it does give temporary relief. Just think about it this way, whatever you read has no influence on you or what will happen in your life. There is so much information on the internet, you will find good and bad things, but every case describes the situation for a particular individual, not you. You are taking the right steps towards getting better and that is what matters, no other information has any importance. 

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2 days is ok.  First time for me it was 5 days. Your amygdala makes anxiety alarms & if you don’t react they turn off eventually.  

Edited by Handy

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12 hours ago, Handy said:

2 days is ok.  First time for me it was 5 days. Your amygdala makes anxiety alarms & if you don’t react they turn off eventually.  

Do you mean if you face your “worst case scenario”, like the highest on your hierarchy or whatever eventually it doesn’t make you anxious at all?

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I am struggling with lots of anxiety today and frustration that I don’t feel any better. I know wanting the anxiety to go away doesn’t help but how can you not do anything to try and make yourself feel better. 

I have engaged in compulsions again this morning and spent a lot of time online and I feel so upset with myself and like it’s never going to get better. (Suicide ocd having a field day)

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