Category: OCD

OCD Recovery Is Achieved By Pursuing and Doing the Opposite

If you suffer from OCD – that is, obsessive compulsive disorder – you know how your anxious thoughts and worries make you feel powerless and hold you captive. You’ve probably searched for a way to get permanent relief. You know (or think you know) that obeying your compulsions will help you make the anxiety “go away,” but you find that you will just suffer through the whole ordeal once that unwanted thought comes back into your head.

Put this way, OCD sounds like a terrifying disorder that absolutely binds its “victims” and coaxes them into believing that those intrusive, repetitive thoughts will only go away IF you obey your compulsions, that you will never rid yourself of the disorder itself. I am telling you here and now, that is a bold-faced lie, and the sooner you move onto facing your OCD head-on, the faster you will get your life back.

Can you recover from OCD? Absolutely, you can. The trick to doing so is counter-intuitive, though. Instead of searching for the relief you desperately seek, you must search out resilience. Believe me, by seeking out resilience, relief will find you.

How is this done, though? By Exposure Response Prevent (ERP or simply put, exposure), you will come face-to-face with your fears until what scares you the most no longer has a hold on you. Yes, it sounds like exhausting work, but it is so worth it because once you accomplish it, you’re free. Start by taking the fear that bothers you and purposely bringing it to your awareness. Your goal is to make yourself anxious so that you can prove to your brain that the obsession is irrelevant and that you’re done running away. You’ll feel so much empowerment and joy after it’s all over!

You might be thinking, “Really? I have to MAKE myself afraid in order to interrupt the OCD cycle?” The answer is yes, you really do need to. In fact, the safest place is moving toward the fear. When you try to chase it out of your head, you’re doing nothing but guaranteeing its return. On the other hand, when you move toward it, feel it, and embrace it on purpose, you have diminished the power that the obsession holds over you, and it will leave on its own. It’s all about scaring yourself fearless!

As soon as the exposure is over, go on with your life – no matter how weird or lousy you feel. It will give you strength. Sometimes, too, things will happen to you in the middle of your day that make you anxious. When and if this happens, just remember that you’re okay and that it’s another opportunity to embrace the anxiety you feel. Hold onto those feelings. You’ll find that you strip them of their power the more you show your brave face and become a master of your destiny instead of a “victim” of a disorder.

Remember, when you feel like quitting, when you feel like the exposure is way too much for you to handle, don’t stop. You are SO CLOSE to freeing yourself from the anxiety and making a breakthrough. Stay strong. Hold on. Remember always, you are the closest to your freedom when you are the most afraid. Just hang on!

Through your journey with OCD, don’t go it all alone. Do your exposures, go to support groups, and keep trying! You can also find me on my website at Get on my mailing list, get in touch with me, and keep making those exposures your top priority in your life. Then will you discover the road to overcoming OCD and regaining the freedom that is yours and yours alone!

This Week’s Insights


The content of your obsession is irrelevant.

Go hard towards uncertainty with courage and wanting it. Don’t protect. Attack OCD’s territory.

Refuse to be comfortable or certain.

Accept and be willing to be influenced by the moment, environment, discomfort/pain.

Be awkward, clumsy, and uncertain. Our brains have to deal with variability: in environment, in movement, in life.

Insights into Fighting OCD

“When you’re going through hell, keep moving.”

Before doing ERP – alter your mindset by ‘wanting anxiety’ and then act on that frame of reference as you engage in that feared situation.

Say to yourself “I can tolerate this happening. I want this to happen, I choose it – I really want it to keep happening – I win if it keeps happening!”

My job is to provoke more doubt, anxiety, and uncertainty than I think I can tolerate.

OCD & Certainty

OCD demands certainty in order for us to be safe and happy. In reality, listening to OCD guarantees us danger and misery.

In living a healthy life we don’t pursue perfect safety, rather, we commit our lives to growth and adapt to change.

OCD and Anxiety


You are not your OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder consists of intrusive and unwanted thoughts, images, and urges which cause anxiety. In one’s attempt to reduce anxiety, repetitive rituals are performed which continues to feed the OCD cycle and make it worse.

OCD may manifest itself in various ways.

ERP is the gold standard treatment for OCD. It’s the act of doing the opposite of what you want to do during an anxious moment. This may seem counterintuitive at the time but it is exactly what is needed to recondition our amygdala, which is responsible for alerting us to danger. The beauty of ERP is that for the first time we are put in a position of control and choice as it relates to our OCD. At the risk of oversimplifying ERP it can be equated to jumping into a cold swimming pool and staying in it long enough to the point of being no longer cold to you. This process is called habituation where we expose ourselves to exactly what we are wanting to avoid. This is done on a repeated basis until it no longer causes any discomfort. This has been the most effective treatment for overcoming OCD. It definitely was for mine. The more aggressive you are willing to be with ERP the sooner it will get better.

When we are afflicted by OCD and anxiety one fact which is overlooked is that if we allow our anxiety to become at the highest level possible without interruption, it will NATURALLY begin to decrease on its own. This is where the real healing takes place.

Sometimes it may appear confusing as to what is OCD and what is real. One effective technique is to realize that when you feel that you must do something right now before you can go on, you are in OCD land. Another red flag is when you have no sense of free choice in the moment. You MUST do this NOW in order to get rid of this NOW.

OCD causes us to doubt and demands certainty. The problem with a 100% demand for certainty is that no one has that available to them. In OCD our alarm system tells us without this guaranteed certainty we are in grave danger. In reality we are not but to the OCD sufferer they feel in complete and total danger. Quite a quandary. A very effective method in dealing with this quagmire is to work towards increasing one’s tolerance for uncertainty. I know that sounds like a completely foreign notion but from someone who has been there, in time it will not be foreign to you. So the question is how do we increase our tolerance for uncertainty? First of all it’s important to note that we comfortably go about our lives doing things that are uncertain a vast majority of the time. The difference is it is just not the focus of our worry at the time. So the question becomes how do we become unconcerned about things that are unreasonable to be concerned about. The most effective path in accomplishing this is undoubtedly ERP.