MOVE……..unless you are dead. Otherwise, no excuse. You don’t have to wait until you are in a good mood before you move. You don’t have to feel good about moving before you move. You don’t even have to know what you are gonna do before you move to move. All you have to do is move. Yes, even when you are angry, vulnerable, weak, lost, confused, down, or 100% non motivated. None of those things are required to move. To move you only have to what? And then see what goes from there.
Do thoughts have to stop our forward momentum? Thoughts are thoughts. Actions are actions. Why do intrusive, negative thoughts or worries have to directly affect what we do? Do we all of the sudden become physically paralyzed when our brain is having a negative thought? Experiment and see if you can move and go forward regardless of what is going on in your head. See if you can separate the 2. How cool would it be to be able to move, do, and live regardless of what is going on upstairs even if the thought is or seems relevant. You talk about being free!!
Fall in love with no resistance to what is and watch what happens. This isn’t to imply that you never do anything about it.
My outlook must be bigger and stronger than my fear.
Live free of mental fear and emotional fear that holds us back.
You must believe in the treatment.
Refuse to feed OCD anymore – starve it!
“If I imagine something inappropriate then that means I’m a bad person and I can’t handle that!”….versus “If I imagine something inappropriate then I’ll feel uncertain and anxious. And I CAN handle that.”
Be brave, courageous. Let go of being in control and worrying about losing that edge. And go on anyway. That’s courage.
Try to sit with your anxiety. It’s the trying that’s important. The invasive thoughts will occur. Just keep trying to refocus on what you are reading, watching on TV, etc.
You will find out that you can go on in the face of the anxiety, that you will not “Lose your mind.”
Call fear and OCD’s bluff and discover if what you fear is true. Don’t believe anything. Don’t believe your thoughts. Find out if it is true through actions. No thoughts. Fear hates discovery and choice because it unveils the empty threat.
Anything you can do to interrupt the loop will start to create new neural pathways. This is when the hard-wiring that has been going on, because of the anxiety, will begin to stop.
“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 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.
Okay here’s the deal, I’m 50 and have had OCD since I was 18. It pretty much came out of nowhere, although looking back it’s obvious I had the predisposition for it. I know I should go in order and introduce myself and tell my story and all that, but today I’m just diving into something that will help me because I am feeling obsessive and anxious today about uncertainty as it relates to life and my well being. Here’s the content of this particular obsession for me: I had a very difficult stomach issue about 3 years ago where I had inflammation of the stomach lining. I was nauseous and had no appetite and felt tired and weak due to it. I also was very depressed because It had just been 4 months since I came off the medicine I was on for OCD that I had been taking for 14 years. I came off way too fast and the PSYCHOLOGIST that was advising me to come off it had no idea what he was doing in this area. He acted like it and because he had helped me so much in our therapy sessions with exposure and cognitive therapy, I believed him and went for it…big mistake.
Once the medicine was 100 percent out of my system, it caused me to feel depressed and I hadn’t done well with depression in the past. Then I started feeling obsessive soon after and now I didn’t have the help of the medicine to help me fight it. In addition to this was my stomach issue, no desire for food or the opposite sex, the inability to enjoy a glass of wine, and the fact that a 4 year relationship I had with a woman had just come to an end. I was really worked over and did not feel good. So I got back on medicine and back in therapy and aggressively started doing exposures. I met the woman of my total dreams, whom I am now married to, and I gradually got better. Furthermore, I started a support group which helped me immensely. I also started a new business. All of this helped in time and I am now doing well. Today, however, I had a visit from the common obsession that goes something like this: “How do you know you won’t go back to feeling bad like you did before?What would you do if the worst happened and you got depressed and nauseous again and had terrible pains in your stomach, and NOTHING could help me, what would you do then? ” I respond in my mind and say , well I could work out and do exposures………and what if that didn’t work? Well I could check myself into the hospital and certainly they could take the pain and anguish away……..but what if they couldn’t and I just remained in pain and anguish and suffering with deep depression and OCD and NOTHING helped, what then? So I tell myself, well there is an end in sight because ultimately I would die and I wouldn’t be in anguish anymore. But what if after I died it carried on forever and ever and anguish and suffering never ended……..what then? Maybe that’s what hell is and maybe I will go there and maybe….and maybe…..and maybe, maybe, maybe….. . Beautiful thought process and concept indeed isn’t it? Just lovely and uplifting and positive!! Right? Wrong.
So here is how I deal with the above. First of all, It sucks. Secondly, I stopped searching for certainty because that is what is feeding this evil villain. “But how can I live with uncertainty?” Honestly, I never knew before and sometimes I get back in that place like I feel the pull is today. So here’s the deal, I don’t have certainty and we don’t on anything. First reaction is that sucks and that I can’t live like that because I’ll go crazy with that kind of fear OR get deeply depressed to where I can’t move and I just sit there and suffer in anguish. So there’s no certainty…ultimately, and anything could happen……ultimately. Okay, that’s reality, that’s it. No that’s not it! You forgot about one thing here….ME. You see last time I checked, I have a choice here, as long as there is breath in my body. So you see, life and reality and afterlife and hell can do whatever it wants to me but I still get to decide what I’m going to do right now…… BIG piece of this, not to be overlooked. So now this is where I take over and I say “AS LONG AS THERE IS BREATH IN MY BODY, I WILL FIGHT THIS AND I WILL SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE HELPING THOSE WHO ARE SUFFERING WITH THIS.” That’s what I go with. So it’s like, if you’re (OCD) threatening me all of my life that you’re going to destroy me, I don’t know if you will or won’t. What I do know is that I have a CHOICE as to wether I am going to live my life to the best of my ability or whether I am going to spend my precious days on earth worried about whether or not you are going to destroy me. I could spend my days ruminating about what I would do or how I would handle it if that happened. That’s a loser’s game and I get to decide whether I am going to play it or not and SO DO YOU. That whole notion can kiss my ass! As long as I am alive I have a CHOICE and I will CHOOSE the courageous, powerful, sensible, life fulfilling one every time. As long as I have a CHOICE as to whether you take me or not, I WILL exercise it……..EVERY time! CHOOSE TO FIGHT.