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Seeking reassurance is not always bad!! Unless I'm misunderstanding, lol. It depends on the questions.


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OK hear me out! Stop! Stop writing your reply until you've heard me out! lol :)

OK what I'm saying is... hm. I just thought of an example so I'll use that.

Let's say that due to OCD you were scared of touching a particular thing. If you ask a person without OCD "Do you wash your hands after you touch this thing?" and they say no... well then it's like they've broken your OCD trigger for you. They touch it, they don't wash their hands, and they're not dead! XD

So... I'm just saying that I think it depends on the nature of the questions. Sometimes it can help me to understand that my OCD fears are irrational and I need to cut them out. It helps to ground me.

Does that make sense?

Am I missing something here?

Thanks all!

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57 minutes ago, Hoppipolla said:

OK hear me out! Stop! Stop writing your reply until you've heard me out! lol :)

OK what I'm saying is... hm. I just thought of an example so I'll use that.

Let's say that due to OCD you were scared of touching a particular thing. If you ask a person without OCD "Do you wash your hands after you touch this thing?" and they say no... well then it's like they've broken your OCD trigger for you. They touch it, they don't wash their hands, and they're not dead! XD

So... I'm just saying that I think it depends on the nature of the questions. Sometimes it can help me to understand that my OCD fears are irrational and I need to cut them out. It helps to ground me.

Does that make sense?

Am I missing something here?

Thanks all!

I think it depends on whether you stop there. If them pointing out that it would be unnecessary to wash their hands afterwards and you didn't and that was enough, then great. If you had the urge to check every time and to keep seeking reassurance on the matter, then that would be compulsive and unhealthy. Ultimately, I think that gaining perspective is good but we need to recognise ourselves when OCD is at play and refrain from doing compulsions and accepting uncomfortable feelings.

For example, if I have an important document to fill in and I check it through once, the checking at that point isn’t a problem and is perhaps sensible. Asking another person to check the form would be okay too. However, if that check or reassurance wasn’t enough and the urge to ask again or check again strikes and I keep doing it then that would be compulsive and unhealthy. If I asked them whether they would check more than once and they said no, ultimately that doesn't change anything - their experience doesn't make a difference to me. A person without OCD could check more than once but it's our own experience that is important and our behaviour responses. Why are we doing those actions? Because we want to or because OCD tells us we need to? Is it accompanied by anxiety and are we trying to get rid of it? 

In my experience, when I’ve sought reassurance for an OCD topic, I’ve been temporarily relieved until another ‘what if’ popped in and I’d need to check several people or check they’ve really understood what I’ve said - it was never enough. Even if someone said that they wouldn't do something or would do it, it hasn't been enough. 

Sorry, if I haven't made much sense - just coming round!

 

Edited by determination987
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58 minutes ago, determination987 said:

I think it depends on whether you stop there. If them pointing out that it would be unnecessary to wash their hands afterwards and you didn't and that was enough, then great. If you had the urge to check every time and to keep seeking reassurance on the matter, then that would be compulsive and unhealthy. Ultimately, I think that gaining perspective is good but we need to recognise ourselves when OCD is at play and refrain from doing compulsions and accepting uncomfortable feelings.

For example, if I have an important document to fill in and I check it through once, the checking at that point isn’t a problem and is perhaps sensible. Asking another person to check the form would be okay too. However, if that check or reassurance wasn’t enough and the urge to ask again or check again strikes and I keep doing it then that would be compulsive and unhealthy. If I asked them whether they would check more than once and they said no, ultimately that doesn't change anything - their experience doesn't make a difference to me. A person without OCD could check more than once but it's our own experience that is important and our behaviour responses. Why are we doing those actions? Because we want to or because OCD tells us we need to? Is it accompanied by anxiety and are we trying to get rid of it? 

In my experience, when I’ve sought reassurance for an OCD topic, I’ve been temporarily relieved until another ‘what if’ popped in and I’d need to check several people or check they’ve really understood what I’ve said - it was never enough. Even if someone said that they wouldn't do something or would do it, it hasn't been enough. 

Sorry, if I haven't made much sense - just coming round!

 

Yeah I think the difference is I learned through a bit of a reply I made a while ago was from @northpaul and there being a difference between "learning" or education and reassurance. If it's the first time someone is dealing with that particular issue they may need education to clarify something that may need clarified. For other times though we do have to be careful to not get reassurance and recognise the urgency feeling that may be present to do the compulsions. Also there becomes an even finer line when it comes to researching VS compulsively googling. You may have a topic you are interested in but it may be the same topic that OCD has decided is a bit of a theme for the moment. You might want to research as its fun but if you feel urgency like you must google and find out about it then and there then you have the compulsion going round.

 

A helpful tip for that is if you do feel the urgency but maybe want to research on that topic, hold off and wait until the feeling of urgency is gone before researching.

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I don't need to ask someone. It's ok to wash once not ten times. 

Most interesting posts are about people touching something that was already inside them &: washing because they don't want it to get back inside. 

Edited by Handy
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In your example, you are asking for info, really assurance. The problem is the 're' in reassurance. 

If you asked once and then declined to do your compulsion, great. Most don't stop there, though. Having gotten an answer to the first question, often sufferers immediately feel doubt and require 're'assurance.

Are you sure you wouldn't wash your hands in that situation? 

And on and on. It is this repeated asking for reassurance that gets sufferers in trouble.

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It's a fact. Reassurance seeking is a compulsion, as sure as washing your hands repeatedly or ruminating.

Compulsions are the fuel that power the OCD engine. They only offer temporary relief, at best. They do cause more obsessions, anxiety and doubt.

Ergo, reassurance seeking is bad. 

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On 04/08/2022 at 02:31, PolarBear said:

In your example, you are asking for info, really assurance. The problem is the 're' in reassurance. 

If you asked once and then declined to do your compulsion, great. Most don't stop there, though. Having gotten an answer to the first question, often sufferers immediately feel doubt and require 're'assurance.

Are you sure you wouldn't wash your hands in that situation? 

And on and on. It is this repeated asking for reassurance that gets sufferers in trouble.

Assurance is to do with confidence - I gave an assurance that the work would be completed by Monday; reassurance -a statement removing one’s doublets and fears.  To imply that re in assurance implies repetition is a misuse of language.

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30 minutes ago, PolarBear said:

It's a fact. Reassurance seeking is a compulsion, as sure as washing your hands repeatedly or ruminating.

Compulsions are the fuel that power the OCD engine. They only offer temporary relief, at best. They do cause more obsessions, anxiety and doubt.

Ergo, reassurance seeking is bad. 

I hadn't seen it like that, as another compulsion. So that would fit OCD behaviour.

But otherwise, I'm sure many people ask for reassurance about a range of issues, even feedback could count as reassurance.

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2 hours ago, howard said:

I hadn't seen it like that, as another compulsion. So that would fit OCD behaviour.

But otherwise, I'm sure many people ask for reassurance about a range of issues, even feedback could count as reassurance.

Oh, yeah. If you get down to the nitty gritty, a lot of what sufferers ask can be classified as reassurance. On the other hand, sufferers, especially newbies, need to learn.

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3 hours ago, Angst said:

Assurance is to do with confidence - I gave an assurance that the work would be completed by Monday; reassurance -a statement removing one’s doublets and fears.  To imply that re in assurance implies repetition is a misuse of language.

I shall henceforth use the term repetitive reassurance. And it's the repetitive nature of reassurance I'm talking about. Not one-off situations.

Edited by PolarBear
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1 hour ago, PolarBear said:

Not to the experienced users

One does not need to have been on the forums for any length of time to have good knowledge and understanding of mental health issues.  Personally, my vocational and personal experience of mental health matters has given me a reasonable knowledge and understanding of mental health issues.

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Perhaps you could expand your knowledge base to include the fact that reassurance seeking is a well known and detrimental compulsion when done excessively. Just a thought.

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Seeking reassurance is not always bad!! Unless I'm misunderstanding, lol. It depends on the questions.

This above was the thread title.

Looking at a wider picture seeking reassurance could incude may be seeking guidance, information, clarification, learning, encouragement.  As the original poster suggests it does depend on the questions.  Labelling any questions as reassurance seeking is not  always a good thing.

I agree that excessive reassurance seeking can be detrimental to therapy but I do not necessarily see it as a compulsion in itself.

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On 03/08/2022 at 08:28, Hoppipolla said:

OK hear me out! Stop! Stop writing your reply until you've heard me out! lol :)

OK what I'm saying is... hm. I just thought of an example so I'll use that.

Let's say that due to OCD you were scared of touching a particular thing. If you ask a person without OCD "Do you wash your hands after you touch this thing?" and they say no... well then it's like they've broken your OCD trigger for you. They touch it, they don't wash their hands, and they're not dead! XD

So... I'm just saying that I think it depends on the nature of the questions. Sometimes it can help me to understand that my OCD fears are irrational and I need to cut them out. It helps to ground me.

Does that make sense?

Am I missing something here?

Thanks all!

Is the word reassurance relevant here? To reassure a person you try to remove a person’s doubt and fears. In the example given of washing hands the person models their behaviour on another person’s behaviour. This is not reassurance.

Reassuring a person would be to say it does not matter that if you have not washed your hands. You would this if a person was worried about not washing his hands.

Asking questions is not an example of seeking to be reassured by another person.

Asking a question is a very different thing to asking to be reassured.

Edited by Angst
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Let's keep this as a friendly debate and not get too bogged down in pedantics of the meaning of words. :)

I think most people would agree that repetetive or excessive reassurance seeking is a compulsion. Although it may relieve anxiety at the time, it prolongs the OCD rather than helping to overcome it and is therefore unhelpful in the recovery journey.

Perhaps where there is room for disagreement is when reassurance is being sought as a means of better understanding one's anxiety and is therefore about learning what's normal/ what other people would do in the situation.

That's helpful. But notice I said better understanding of the anxiety and not better understanding of the topic causing concern. Helping the person is about showing them their anxiety is a result of how they interpret/ think about the situation, not that the situation they are anxious about isn't worth worrying over.

It's very easy to tell for yourself whether your questions are a reassurance-seeking compulsion or a learning opportunity based on what you want from the answers.

If the aim of asking is to reduce anxiety then it is about appeasing the OCD and staying stuck in OCD thinking and beliefs. The aim is to reach an endpoint of achieving temporary relief from the anxiety.

 If it's about learning, the aim of asking is to gain confidence in challenging your OCD so you can better resist compulsions and move forward towards recovery. The answer is a starting point to pushing yourself more, not an endpoint in itself. And there's the difference.

 

Although we can usually read between the lines on the forum and make an educated guess about someone's aims, in the end it's about the person asking being honest with themselves. If you know you're asking to make the pain of anxiety go away for a bit then you should acknowledge (at least to yourself) that your reassurance-seeking is a compulsion.

So you gave in to a compulsion. Fine. Take note, resolve to build your self-reliance and don't keep asking the same question over and over. Try to resist the compulsion next time.

And if it truly was about learning - use the answer as a starting point to to challenge your OCD , knowing your anxiety was just the result of some skewed OCD thinking. :)

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