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Beneficial activities for stuck days


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Arghh, not having a good day and feeling like I’ve left myself down as I was doing really well for a few days. It seems to go like this where I have a few days of shrugging off the thoughts and getting on with my life, then a thought gets ‘stuck’ and I ruminate and it feels like a real problem that needs fixing or avoiding. 
 

Sleep seems to be the big trigger for me. Whenever I have a bad night’s sleep, it takes hold and I’m susceptible to the thoughts and it really feels like this time it’s not OCD. Then I find it even harder to sleep and I’ve had a migraine for a few days now which hasn’t helped.

Currently, stuck on a form I filled in ten years ago still and can’t quite remember what I put. I know I don’t need to know, that I should let this be and leave it alone but it keeps cycling around and the ruminating is bad.

What do you do when you’re feeling susceptible to the thoughts and compulsions? I was really enjoying using a new telescope after Christmas but nothing has been visible in the evenings recently and it’s really cold. I did get a great photo of the full moon though ?.
 

Anyone have any suggestions of something that would be good to learn or do? I’ve been for a big walk today and even picked up paint to repaint the walls in my house but I’m not feeling very motivated and the anxiety is making my chest feel really tight but don’t want to do compulsions (any more…).
 

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend.

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This is a very challenging disorder and progress doesn't follow a steady, upwardly sweeping curve on the graph, there are peaks and troughs, so don't be disheartened :)

Challenging rumination is hard going.  You start okay, then your mind gets pulled back into it.  You have to train it a bit like a head strong puppy doing lead training.  You keep pulling it back.  It's also about giving your kind something else to concentrate on, not so much out of avoidance but keeping it interested and getting used to not having to solve OCD doubts.  Podcasts/audio books on something really interesting (not OCD stuff0 can be good, especially whilst doing another task like your painting.  I used to learn chunks of poetry or the lyrics to a song.  Loud, uplifting pop music can be good.  Singing along is good too.

Hang in there and keep going :)

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9 minutes ago, Caramoole said:

This is a very challenging disorder and progress doesn't follow a steady, upwardly sweeping curve on the graph, there are peaks and troughs, so don't be disheartened :)

Challenging rumination is hard going.  You start okay, then your mind gets pulled back into it.  You have to train it a bit like a head strong puppy doing lead training.  You keep pulling it back.  It's also about giving your kind something else to concentrate on, not so much out of avoidance but keeping it interested and getting used to not having to solve OCD doubts.  Podcasts/audio books on something really interesting (not OCD stuff0 can be good, especially whilst doing another task like your painting.  I used to learn chunks of poetry or the lyrics to a song.  Loud, uplifting pop music can be good.  Singing along is good too.

Hang in there and keep going :)

Thank you ?.

It’s definitely up and down but I can see the progress is there although the down days are hard. I keep getting caught in the what ifs and then analysing old memories and thoughts and of course, they change and more what ifs are added. I’d been listening to an audible book which described them as ‘worried voice’ and ‘false comfort voice’ and can see I’m listening to these far too much. I need ‘wide mind voice’ back. 
 

I’ve opened up the paint and started doing a little ?. It makes me happy when the walls look all clean and new and the house looks nice. When I get caught in the ocd cycle, I don’t seem to care about it as much and it feels pointless so it’d be nice to do it anyway, even if I’m feeling bad.

I’ll try a non OCD audible book whilst painting. The difficulty when painting is that my mind can drift to the thoughts more so a book sounds like a good idea. 
 

Thanks for your advice, I’ll definitely keep at it!

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1 hour ago, determination987 said:

It’s definitely up and down but I can see the progress is there although the down days are hard.

Progress is the keyword here.  As Caramoole puts it below - there are peaks and troughs.

In my own recovery journey I can see that month on month the troughs become less deep and the trend overall is an an upward curve..  Rome wasn't built in a day?

 

1 hour ago, Caramoole said:

This is a very challenging disorder and progress doesn't follow a steady, upwardly sweeping curve on the graph, there are peaks and troughs, so don't be disheartened :)

 

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23 minutes ago, northpaul said:

Progress is the keyword here.  As Caramoole puts it below - there are peaks and troughs.

In my own recovery journey I can see that month on month the troughs become less deep and the trend overall is an an upward curve..  Rome wasn't built in a day?

 

 

That’s true, it’s so sneaky when I’m doing better. Some of the intrusive thoughts and compulsions are easy to spot like the checking emails over and over,  checking the door is locked and going back to do it etc.

I’m struggling with the ones that have some form of truth in them, in that an event happened but so long ago that I can’t possibly remember it clearly. But it makes me feel like I need to know and it feels so urgent. I know it’s likely OCD but I can see the doubt creeping in. 
 

I just crave a normal, boring life. One where my mind isn’t creating dramas and making it feel like at any moment my life could be turned upside down. Then this makes me feel sad that I don’t want more. I used to a long time ago but I can see that I’ve held back through fear. 
 

I’m hoping that if I challenge myself, get through not doing the compulsions that life will feel different. I was always a positive person, I still am in a way. I just feel like I’m not allowed to make mistakes and that if I make or have made any that it will come back on me in a life shattering way ?.

I did some painting though and listened to a book whilst I did it and then just played Catan with my family ?.

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Sleep is very important.  Find out why you’re not sleeping.  Too much caffeine or sugar?  A tired brain ruminates more. 
 

btw there are online telescopes you could try. 

Edited by Handy
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As you know from other post, I have the same experiences as you with odd. 

I have made progress.  I now know its ocd, this is a biggy in road to recovery. I have worked on getting distracted and not confessing to my family and friends .often this works. I do have relapses from time to time but I celebrate small gains . It does feel like 2 steps forward and one back but however gradual it can go the right way.

I crave normal and boring too. I try and note down in my journal ,or think about the ok ,and even good , times.you will find they are there too and they add up and put the bad ones into better perspective.

Getting better is not linear , but having notes to look at when we aren't thinking clearly definitely helps .and of course coming on this great forum.

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, ecomum said:

As you know from other post, I have the same experiences as you with odd. 

I have made progress.  I now know its ocd, this is a biggy in road to recovery. I have worked on getting distracted and not confessing to my family and friends .often this works. I do have relapses from time to time but I celebrate small gains . It does feel like 2 steps forward and one back but however gradual it can go the right way.

I crave normal and boring too. I try and note down in my journal ,or think about the ok ,and even good , times.you will find they are there too and they add up and put the bad ones into better perspective.

Getting better is not linear , but having notes to look at when we aren't thinking clearly definitely helps .and of course coming on this great forum.

Hope this helps.

 

 

 

 

I was thinking about writing in a journal about the positives of the day, even if they’re small. I write useful tips from here in a journal already so I can look back on it when it’s feeling rough.

Every time a big intrusive thought comes, it feels like this time it’s not OCD and that I DO need to act. 
 

This morning though, despite the anxiety feeling I’m going to try and enjoy parts of the day ?.

Hope your morning is going well too. You sound very similar to me. I feel like I’ve always had it but it’s crept up over time. 
 

I remember when I was little having to say night to everyone in the house and if I did it in the wrong order or it didn’t sound ‘right’ that I’d have to repeat it or something awful would happen and it would be all my fault. I didn’t even think of that until recently.

I think having a child exacerbated it for me. The pregnancy was really difficult and I had a lot of ‘what if’ scenarios constantly circling. I must have annoyed the midwife a lot as I constantly called her for reassurance ??‍♀️. After the birth I remember constantly checking whether they were breathing which I know is normal at first but it didn’t stop for me. I was obsessed with germs, like they were floating in the air and would hurt my little baby. Someone would sneeze in the distance and I remember the panic. I remember mentioning it to the Health Visitor at the time and she said to keep an eye on it and go out every day and build it up.

I got better with that one so I didn’t even think. I knew I had OCD traits but didn’t feel like I had it properly as I felt like my anxiety made me productive and a problem solver, despite the hours and days spent on these hypothetical problems.

I think extra responsibility feels like more to control I guess. 
 

The more I understand it though the better I feel. This forum is so helpful for that. 

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This time last year I was in private therapy over Microsoft teams online as I was so ill and anxious with OCD.

In fact, had therapy not been online I doubt I would have been well enough to get to it.

But the therapist pulled me put of the OCD and the depression.

And a key part of this was redirecting my thinking to several, involved, beneficial distractions - online Adult education classes, local history, and completing a - difficult  - watercolour painting-by-numbers. 

But this wouldn't have worked on its own. The therapist taught me not to believe what the OCD was trying to tell me, and how to withdraw from carrying out compulsions, at the same time not avoiding triggers, and carrying out structured exposure and response prevention.

So, the distraction and the positivity are great, but they are just part of the overall treatment whole.

What happened with me last year? Well, within six one-hour one-to-one sessions I was back to my usual happy calm self.

So I know only too well the power of CBT, if we throw ourselves into it and believe what knowledgeable others tell us, not what the OCD tells us.

 

Edited by taurean
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45 minutes ago, taurean said:

This time last year I was in private therapy over Microsoft teams online as I was so ill and anxious with OCD.

In fact, had therapy not been online I doubt I would have been well enough to get to it.

But the therapist pulled me put of the OCD and the depression.

And a key part of this was redirecting my thinking to several, involved, beneficial distractions - online Adult education classes, local history, and completing a - difficult  - watercolour painting-by-numbers. 

But this wouldn't have worked on its own. The therapist taught me not to believe what the OCD was trying to tell me, and how to withdraw from carrying out compulsions, at the same time not avoiding triggers, and carrying out structured exposure and response prevention.

So, the distraction and the positivity are great, but they are just part of the overall treatment whole.

What happened with me last year? Well, within six one-hour one-to-one sessions I was back to my usual happy calm self.

So I know only too well the power of CBT, if we throw ourselves into it and believe what knowledgeable others tell us, not what the OCD tells us.

 

I’m thinking of private therapy if I can’t get a handle on them. I’ve been doing well on some days, practicing not avoiding triggers and letting the anxiety just be there and realising it’s the OCD.

Then on others when tiredness kicks in, I’m finding the thoughts really real and distressing and it feels like there’s no escape. I run myself down until I pick myself up again.

I think online therapy would be better for me too. I purchased a mindfulness course that was recommended on the NHS website but I’ve only done half of it so I’m going to complete that this week. That was when I thought I had general anxiety as I didn’t realise just how many compulsions and distorted beliefs I had. Im hoping it will help though as I’ve not mastered mindfulness at all yet but I will do.

Thanks for sharing your advice and experiences in therapy. I’m really going to dig deep and stop believing every thought that my mind gets stuck on. 

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I seemed to need the aid of the therapist to set me tasks and help me achieve them.

We connected well, and I really wanted to do what she said, and really had total belief in what she was telling me.

This bond, and the homework set for me to work on, were important elements.

Do make sure that the therapist is experienced in OCD, and working with patients with OCD, this is super important.

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46 minutes ago, taurean said:

I seemed to need the aid of the therapist to set me tasks and help me achieve them.

We connected well, and I really wanted to do what she said, and really had total belief in what she was telling me.

This bond, and the homework set for me to work on, were important elements.

Do make sure that the therapist is experienced in OCD, and working with patients with OCD, this is super important.

That sounds great! Do you still need to practice what you have learned in your sessions? I think I need to build myself an OCD toolkit.
 

I’m going to set myself some targets this week and really try to stick to them.

I’m going to make sure I do something nice for myself once a day. I struggle with this as I don’t feel deserving but I’m going to do it.

I’m going to try not to avoid my triggers and to delay some of my compulsions. The checking online crept in this week when I got bad. I checked forms I’d checked so many times before and even writing this triggers me. I’m going to aim to do no physical compulsions and cut down the rumination ones.

 

Not sure if these are good targets but I’ll give them a go. I’m stubborn so won’t give up easily on trying to make it work. 

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I am finding it easy enough now not to connect with things that before might stick and repeat.I see them, but I don't focus on them and don't react to them.I just move my focus away.

As it was explained to me by a previous therapist, a good analogy is to "see" our thoughts in similar fashion to  how our eyes see things.

In the centre of our field of view is what we focus on, and gradually to each side of this we lose focus until what is in our peripheral vision isn't in focus, so is not thought about consciously.

With our thoughts, we would normally focus in on something, resact to it, then move on from it  - this is called thought,action then fusion.

But in OCD we focus in on something, then it becomes stuck in our thinking. And we carry out compulsions to try and fix this, but it doesn't, they only strengthen the thoughts and the action becomes repetitive, not momentary. And there is no fusion  because the issue is not resolved and we get angry resentful anxious, and the thoughts still stick.

That's why it is so important in therapy that we learn to break that focus, to not carry out compulsions, and to fuse that thought by leaving it be and moving on.

 

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33 minutes ago, taurean said:

I am finding it easy enough now not to connect with things that before might stick and repeat.I see them, but I don't focus on them and don't react to them.I just move my focus away.

As it was explained to me by a previous therapist, a good analogy is to "see" our thoughts in similar fashion to  how our eyes see things.

In the centre of our field of view is what we focus on, and gradually to each side of this we lose focus until what is in our peripheral vision isn't in focus, so is not thought about consciously.

With our thoughts, we would normally focus in on something, resact to it, then move on from it  - this is called thought,action then fusion.

But in OCD we focus in on something, then it becomes stuck in our thinking. And we carry out compulsions to try and fix this, but it doesn't, they only strengthen the thoughts and the action becomes repetitive, not momentary. And there is no fusion  because the issue is not resolved and we get angry resentful anxious, and the thoughts still stick.

That's why it is so important in therapy that we learn to break that focus, to not carry out compulsions, and to fuse that thought by leaving it be and moving on.

 

Thanks, that’s really useful. I’m glad that it’s worked for you and it gives me hope that I’ll find that someday. 

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On 29/01/2022 at 17:38, determination987 said:

I just feel like I’m not allowed to make mistakes and that if I make or have made any that it will come back on me in a life shattering way ?.

 

Yes! This is exactly it. 
It’s responsibility. 
I say what you’re saying everyday. 
“If I’d of done that first, this wouldn’t of happened” 

well do you know what? We will never know. It could’ve been worse LOL (not funny at all, but we should laugh at OCD) 

You can’t change the past or prevent the future. We can only live in the moment. We can’t control other people or the world around us. So we should stop trying too?! 
 

I know all this, yet struggle to put it into practice.  

 

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3 hours ago, KaTiee said:

I know all this, yet struggle to put it into practice.  

So did I, but I couldn't put it into practice.

I needed the structure of the therapy one-to-one sessions, the setting of tasks by the therapist, and being held to account for my efforts ? 

This really made me engage with the therapy and brought about the longed-for result.

I am not cured, I could still slip backwards, but I am hoping that if I did do that, I might quickly come about.

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Just on the Thought, Action, Fusion point.......in OCD the sufferer often interprets thoughts and actions as being one and the same, hence the fusion.  In reality thoughts are just that, they don't predict or pre-empt the feared outcome

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I found that these are really good refocusing beneficial activities.

Watercolour painting. A painting by numbers kit is inexpensive, and the work is really absorbing, I found it shut out other thinking as I concentrated on mixing the colours and carefully applying them.

And you are in a project, and you want to keep coming back to it, keep defining it.

Jigsaws

These are fun, challenging and demanding, and really absorbing.

A Walk

If you have a dog, brilliant - sharing experiences with, and caring about, an animal are great.

But if not, try a little mindfulness on your walk.

Notice how your feet form a gentle rhythm as you move along. Feel the impact on the ground.

Listen to the sounds around you, and identify them. Which ones do you especially like?

Observe the cars you come across. Which ones do you like, and why is that?

Notice the shape and style of the properties you pass. Smell the flowers, enjoy the colours.

As you absorb yourself more into what is there, in the moment, you can begin to  slip into that happy state of " just be-ing" .

You will need to practice this. At first other thoughts will intrude. Gently stop, then ease your mind back towards the mindful thinking.

As you get good at doing this, it will become easier to slip into this pleasing, detached, way of thinking.

Nowadays I walk around 10 miles a week, sometimes more  and for much of that time mentally I am in this calm, mindful state, relaxed and happy.

A lovely little download book to help achieve this state is " Mindfulness on the go  peace in your pocket" by Padraig O'Morain.

Edited by taurean
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42 minutes ago, taurean said:

I found that these are really good refocusing beneficial activities.

Watercolour painting. A painting by numbers kit is inexpensive, and the work is really absorbing, I found it shut out other thinking as I concentrated on mixing the colours and carefully applying them.

And you are in a project, and you want to keep coming back to it, keep defining it.

Jigsaws

These are fun, challenging and demanding, and really absorbing.

A Walk

If you have a dog, brilliant - sharing experiences with, and caring about, an animal are great.

But if not, try a little mindfulness on your walk.

Notice how your feet form a gentle rhythm as you move along. Feel the impact on the ground.

Listen to the sounds around you, and identify them. Which ones do you especially like?

Observe the cars you come across. Which ones do you like, and why is that?

Notice the shape and style of the properties you pass. Smell the flowers, enjoy the colours.

As you absorb yourself more into what is there, in the moment, you can begin to  slip into that happy state of " just be-ing" .

You will need to practice this. At first other thoughts will intrude. Gently stop, then ease your mind back towards the mindful thinking.

As you get good at doing this, it will become easier to slip into this pleasing, detached, way of thinking.

Nowadays I walk around 10 miles a week, sometimes more  and for much of that time mentally I am in this calm, mindful state, relaxed and happy.

A lovely little download book to help achieve this state is " Mindfulness on the go  peace in your pocket" by Padraig O'Morain.

Thank you for these wonderful suggestions ?.

I do have a dog which is great as it ensures I’m outside every day, even when I don’t want to. I think I’d been thinking through a lot of my thoughts on walks though so I’m going to try the tips you’ve suggested. 
 

I love jigsaw puzzles too. I think I need to get some new ones. I play a lot of board games too which I find are really mindful. I’m competitive too so my mind has to concentrate ?.

I’ll give some painting a go. I used to sketch a lot but I’ve not done anything like that for a while so I think I’ll start again. 
 

I started crochet about a year ago and still haven’t finished as I found my mind wandering. I need to bring it back to the present more.

 

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Julie and I spotted this headline today on a copy of Anateur Photographer magazine:

"The healing camera - how photography can boost your well-being and mental health".

Well I had to buy the magazine didn't I? 

I haven't yet read it, but I personally know that this is true.

For the last few months I have been attending meetings of the local camera club, making new friends, being amazed by the talks presentations and competitions  and - since Christmas - I have been out and about with my cameraband accessories, putting into practice what I have learned.

I have been so busy with this, my archaeology class, and other regular activities. And the photography has been interesting, embracing, and I have enjoyed sharing the pictures and talking about them.

As a hobby, I do find it excellent,  and my own skills are developing beautifully,  whilst I find it therapeutic, mindful, relaxing.

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1 hour ago, taurean said:

Julie and I spotted this headline today on a copy of Anateur Photographer magazine:

"The healing camera - how photography can boost your well-being and mental health".

Well I had to buy the magazine didn't I? 

I haven't yet read it, but I personally know that this is true.

For the last few months I have been attending meetings of the local camera club, making new friends, being amazed by the talks presentations and competitions  and - since Christmas - I have been out and about with my cameraband accessories, putting into practice what I have learned.

I have been so busy with this, my archaeology class, and other regular activities. And the photography has been interesting, embracing, and I have enjoyed sharing the pictures and talking about them.

As a hobby, I do find it excellent,  and my own skills are developing beautifully,  whilst I find it therapeutic, mindful, relaxing.

That sounds like a lovely hobby! I’ve actually been painting this evening which has been really nice. 
 

Your hobbies sound very interesting!

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On 29/01/2022 at 15:10, determination987 said:

Anyone have any suggestions of something that would be good to learn or do?

If you enjoy puzzles, have you tried the word game Wordle? I wasn't sure if it would be my cup tea...but gave it a go and I'm completely hooked on it. There's a word a day, along with an archive you can dip into whenever you want to practise:) 

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