Tip #7 Where are you now?


A big part of getting better from ROCD is making a plan on how to get better (I will cover this in a later blog!). But before we start this recovery journey, we need to understand where we are. The reason why we need to do this is simple. It will help us decide the next steps to take. Not everyone is at the same stage in their ROCD journey to recovery. Speaking with many different ROCD sufferers, I realised that not everyone has the same level of understanding of the condition, how to tackle it and how to cope living with it.

Knowing where we are in our journey can sometimes  be a very difficult thing to do as well. On my road to recovery from ROCD, there were some very distinguishable landmarks:

  1. Finding out about ROCD
  2. Figuring out if I had ROCD
  3. Accepting ROCD
  4. Committing to daily change
  5. Learn and develop better coping strategies
  6. Moving forward with courage and patience
  7. Accepting and embracing uncertainty

I guess a big part of ROCD sufferers are stuck in number 2. And the worst thing is that they do not even realise it. What we need to understand is that knowing that we do have ROCD is not the end of our journey but just the beginning. And we should treat it as such. Even if you do not have ROCD, most likely you are suffering from some sort of anxiety related condition that will need proper attention as well.

Can you see where you are on your ROCD journey?

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44 comments

  1. I feel like I’m in between step 2 and step 3. I believe I have an anxiety disorder surrounding relationships, I work with accepting the thoughts, and try to feel proud if I have just one good day because I have been working hard.

    However, the hardest part of leaving step 2 behind is that the numbness that I feel when I get into the worst questioning (the kind that doesn’t let me focus or enjoy life – usually the day after a date). The lack of feeling just feels so real. I can’t feel anything for the guy I’m dating, and unlike those who have this in long term relationships, I do it in the initial stages when even non-anxious people are analyzing.

    So my question is: How do you accept that it is ROCD/anxiety that you have, when your feelings are also going wacko? How do you decide to continue dating someone if you can’t go off feelings?

  2. Hi, I am really struggling at the moment, Would you be able to guide me in the right direction with regards to improving my illness?
    Thank you

  3. I could really use some guidance as to whether I have ROCD or not, because at this point it seems I’m unable to even be prepared to follow the steps unless I know I have something except just fake love..

  4. Hello, I could use some guidance. I have had an issue with HOCD in the past. I started dating a girl about a month ago and now I find myself constantly questioning it. I really appreciate your help.

  5. Thank you so much for this blog! I found it a few weeks ago and it really helped me. However I now seem to have relapsed… And am questioning whether I have ROCD again… I spend sooooo many hours a day trying to figure out if I love my bf, if I ever did… Was I faking it… But I was so happy a few months ago, or at least I think I was! I have never been diagnosed with OCD but looking into now I do have a skin picking issue and a thing about symmetry and a perfectionist streak, which makes me think mayb I do have a touch… But then I question whether I’m just making myself believe that as I don’t want not loving my partner to be the real truth! I would be interested to know your thoughts if at all possible…
    And I love the quote “choose your love, and love your choice” I’m really trying to stick with that! Thank you so much for trying to help us all!!!

  6. I think this blog is great. Blip, I wish you would post your replies publicly. I think we’d all benefit from your responses.
    Thanks

    1. Hi Andy, I am glad that you raised that point. I put a lot of thought into this.I do not reply to people publicly for technical and non-technical reasons.

      The technical reason is that this website is not built as a forum and the reason why I started this website in the first place was to move away from a forum format (which in my opinion is not the best format but useful). It will also take a lot of space on pages to reply to people.E.g. this page has now more content than the actual post! Most of the posts here are also inspired by conversations that I have with other ROCD sufferers.So no vital information is left out of reach of any individuals that visits this website.

      The non-technical reasons are: I want to treat people on an individual basis, make people comfortable sharing and give the best advice possible.

      I found out that by emailing people individually, it makes the sharing process easier and protects somewhat their confidentiality. What people say here is normally just the tip of the iceberg and it would be foolish of me to give advice solely on what people post here. I like to exchange emails with them a couple of times to see where they are. Which in turn, touches again on the above mentioned issue of page space.

      I can assure you that all of the important advice that I have given to people is already here. At the moment, I am taking a long time to write other posts because I am trying to figure out if I have written too many posts. I do not want to overload people with information either, that they will not know what to do and visiting this website turns into a compulsion rather than an incentive to make lifestyle changes. Hope this makes sense Andy!

  7. Hi Blip! After googling my symptoms, I just realized today that I may have ROCD. I’ve had a boyfriend since October and I have been experiencing these symptoms for the past 2 or 3 months: not knowing if I really love him, not being sure that he’s the right one for me, not missing him too badly when I don’t see him for a week (all the while he expresses his undying love for me). Logically and rationally I can hardly say a singly negative thing about him. Everything about our relationship is extremely healthy. Regardless I continue to have the obsessive feelings of self-doubt that (at the moment) I feel like I can’t control. I can’t imagine the pain it would cause him or me to break up all because of my inner anxieties and uncertainties.

    Today I also stumbled upon your blog and I’ve been reading through each post from the beginning and connecting greatly to every one. You said that we should spend only 20 minutes a day thinking about it and here I am reading every single blog posts searching for answers (my obsessive side much? oops…). Just realizing that other people have what I might have is a huge relief, but now I want to get help. Do you have any suggestions on what first steps to take? I would greatly appreciate your help. Thank you so much for this wonderful service!

    1. Hi, I think the first step is to seek medical help. In most instances, you are not battling ROCD alone but a combination of anxiety and depression as well. Some people need medication, other don’t. It all depends on the severity of the symptoms. Ater being reassured one way or the other, I would look for a psychotherapist or psychologist that understands OCD and preferably has experience with ROCD. I don’t think from my experience, that just CBT helps. The other thing that I cannot stress enough is that just ignoring ROCD won’t cut it. You will need a specific recovery program that will fit your schedule. What happens is that people want to get better without putting the necessary effort in. This means doing exercises at least 2-3 a week (if not daily) for a couple of months. These exercises can be meditation, log books, etc. There is no magic solution…

  8. I came across your site while googling the symptoms I have been feeling recently. I know I love my girlfriend and I show that to her everyday. She is happy and I am as well. We have the same values and goals in life and we even talk of marriage in the future. Recently I have been developing this feeling of dread. The thought that I don’t actually love her popped into my head. Now it seems to be constantly battering me. To the point where I am starting to feel emotionally numb. Things that I normally found endearing about her I start to tear apart in my mind. Things she says, the people she associates with it seems like I have a problem with everything. I have been a sufferer of anxiety and panic attacks before in my life. These thoughts tend to bring them on more frequently now. I was wondering whether I was losing my mind I even broke down crying saying to myself I know I love her but why am I feeling this way. Hearing that other people have felt these feelings makes me feel better and your strategies for muffling these thoughts seems very helpful. I have been seeing a therapist and changed my diet, exercise more and I’m looking into some meditation techniques to treat my anxiety. Do you think this will aid in my treatment of ROCD?

    1. Hi, thanks for sharing your story. Unfortunately, what you have described is quite common in a ROCD sufferer’s life. The good news is that you seem to have the most important characteristic – resilience. Many people dwell on the symptoms wanting to find a quick solution without being willing to do the hard work.The road of of the ROCD spinning wheel is filled with trial and error. But you always pick something up along the way. I am 100% convinced that you will be able again to enjoy more fully your relationship. A big part of it is not to expect a miracle cure. Even “normal” people doubt their relationships sometimes. Try also to look at perfectionism and how it relates to you. I will write a post about it soon. I would definitely recommend mindfulness as a tool. You have already mentioned value based living. You just need patience as you seem to be on the right road! Feel free to drop me a line anytime.

  9. Hey Blip,

    Thanks for the very informative blog. I believe I’m at stage four now as I have committed to a daily change of mindfulness meditation every morning and am currently seeing a clinical psychologist. The only problem is that I do feel better after being mindful for 20 minutes or so for about half the day but need better coping strategy as I face triggers on a daily basis. What would you recommend?

    1. Hi MB

      First of all, congrats on getting to stage four and taking positive action. A lot of people get stuck on the problem and do not move on to possible solutions. The purpose of mindfulness is not to feel BETTER but to FEEL better. Yes, it is true that mindfulness brings peace and quiet to our thoughts but this is not the ultimate goal. The ultimate goal is to be able to ride the waves no matter how big they are. Being a quiet observer. So take the part of the day that you do not feel as good as an opportunity to develop a better mindful stance.Try and practice mindfulness there. Accept everything that comes your way, whatever that is.

  10. Hi blip, I’m finding your site very helpful but have a few questions. Firstly, i think I’m at stage 3, and wondered jf you could give me guidanceas to how to accept you have rocd. And secondly, how do you tell the difference between what’s rocd and whats your true feelings? This is my biggest fear and ultimate problem! Thanks

    1. Hi, in my opinion you need to realise that the problem is the O not the R. If you are spending a lot of time obsessing about things and this is impacting your daily life then I think that there is something wrong. I am not a qualified professional but you can find someone that specialised in OCD to get further help for a firm diagnosis. In regards to feelings, I think we give too much importance to feelings. I do not think we need to make a distinction between what is rocd and “true” feelings. All feelings are true because we feel them. How we interpret them is our own reality. Yes, it is possible to feel love and not feel love at the same time. The biggest problem is that when we are in love, we expect the same intensity of feelings all the time and to feel them when we want to feel them. With feelings it never works this way. However, it does not mean that we cannot love our partners. It just means that love has taken another dimension than just feelings.

      1. Thanks, i have been diagnosed with severe ocd since childhood and i am currently with a psychologist which i have been with for a few years. She has helped me with most aspects of my ocd, but now i am in a relationship, this has come into play! Thanks for the words of advise. Its just reassuring to know i am not struggling with this alone. I think i have too many ideal views of perfectionism, and i dont want to hurt anyone or get hurt myself, as its happened too much before, so i worry too much about if its right or wrong. Your website has really helped me though in putting things into a better perspective, so thank you

  11. I’m stuck at 2, as most seem to be. I have such a hard time telling if its really ROCD or just a bad relationship that I should leave.

    I am in the position where I left the relationship but now wonder if that was the right choice. Reverse ROCD I guess…where you left because things didnt feel right and now you’re questioning it.

    My ex partner is willing to try again and my fear is to go right back to doubting. I feel like he deserves someone who is sure about him. I’m not sure what to do and feel pressure to decide.

    I continuously replay our relationship in my head. How I wasn’t sure from the minute I met him. How I have focused on the bad things. How I’m not that attracted and passionate about him. How he did x and y and that proves he doesn’t care about me. How I was looking elsewhere and that proves I don’t love him enough. How I have a hard time coming up with times where things were really good. How i dont miss him as much as I should during out breakup. It’s draining.

    1. Yes, the more you try to solve it in your mind the more question will arise. I know it is counter-intuitive not to engage but this is the only way things get better.

  12. Hey..
    I’ve been dating this girl for the last four months. We’ve known each other since August 2012.
    So one and a half months into dating her, i got this thought,”What if I don’t love her?”
    That’s it. Since then, these thoughts have been bugging the hell outta me! And now, it’s WORSE. I can’t feel ANYTHING. I don’t know anything either.. I just wanna love her and stay with her but I can’t feel anything for her. Seriously.. She’s been extremely understanding and supportive, but I wanna be the boyfriend I was. PLEASE help!
    Thank you

    1. Hi JN

      I would advise you to go through the tips on the blog and write down those that you think you can apply. I have covered the feelings part of what you described on 3-4 posts as well. They should give you a better understanding of what you are going through!

      1. Okay! Thanks!
        One last question, sorry about this..
        Is it ROCD or my actual feelings?
        I’m sure I’ll benefit from the articles, but I just wanna make sure it’s ROCD.
        Thanks a lot!
        Jn

      2. To be perfectly honest, I would not be able to tell you for different reasons. First, it is very difficult to “diagnose” someone in a couple of paragraphs. Second, I am not a qualified professional. Third, even if I was, I would not be able to do this using a text format and one session. And fourth, and most important, it is a decision that only you can make. And, yes it is a decision. I don’t think that the best medical professional in the world would be able to answer this question. It is a question that only can answer over time. People with OCD want certainty but the funny thing is that even if they had 100% certainty their brain would find something to say it is not 100%. It is a lost fight so I don’t think it is good to take people there.

  13. I knew there was something wrong with me, when I started questioning this beautiful relationship. This is when I came across the term of ocd and then rocd. I would like to believe I have rocd because this would solve my problem of not knowing what is wrong with me. But I have so many doubts, I have difficulty believeing it is so simple.

  14. Hi… I have just stumbled across your site and Thank God I did! I have been struggling with ROCD my whole life but have only recently discovered that it was part of my OCD. I used to rely on my anxiety to help me see if I was with the “right one”. And as you can guess, my relationships didn’t last for more than 3 weeks because once I felt anxious, I considered that my 6th sense and I ran. I’ve started therapy and my doctor has prescribed 10mg of Lexapro for mild depression and anxiety but now I’m struggling with my current relationship. I’m constantly checking to see if I still find him attractive or if I really think he’s funny or not. I’m trying mindful awareness and the impartial spectator but its taking all the fun out of dating. I hate not being able to tell if I truly like the guy or not because my feelings are “broken”. Some days I feel great and everything is wonderful and other days I want to run. Lexapro has curbed my anxious feelings but I got used to relying on my anxiety as a way to let me know that my ROCD was kicking in. Now I’m confused. HELP!

    1. HI Kat

      The good news is that the Lexapro is working. A lot of people have to try different drugs until they find one that works for them. My advice is to take one step at a time. Having high anxiety is not normal. So you are sorting this one out first. The next step is to slowly learn to re-program your brain when you have ROCD thoughts. You are doing this with mindfulness. This is very important as you are not going to be on the drugs forever as one day you will have to come off them and you do not want to relapse into anxiety, depression or OCD. So the drugs are buying you some time and rebalancing the neurotransmitters in the brain. This time you can use to learn new coping skills. I understand that you would like to add more fun into the relationship and get the old feelings back again but you have to remember that you are still recovering. Do not try to run with a broken leg (or brain!).

  15. I”ve been dealing with HOCD and now lately it has shifted to ROCD. Sometimes I can think about the guy I like and feel something, like actually feel it and not just think, “Oh, wow, I’m excited.” It’s not until I become numb that I freak out about everything. I am stuck in this humongous backdoor spike and I don’t know how to break the cycle. I have waves of feeling good and arousable, then waves of feeling good, but feeling nothing. If I have backdoor spikes, I will be numb to then, but I will also be numb to everything. If I feel vulnerable and have legit spikes with anxiety, it is during these times I feel my excitement for the guy I’m dating and arousal to come back.

    So it’s kind of like a win-lose situation. Has anyone gone through this?

  16. Hey blip,
    I have just been diagnosed with severe rOCD. I have always had a problem with my girlfriend in the way that I break up with her whenever I feel she is not the one. I have been in a relationship for 3 years and I broke up with her just two weeks ago and when I tried to apologize to her days late butr she refused to take me back. I know with all my heart that I love her and she is the one for me but she had warned me that if I break up with her again that will be the end of us.

    In my childhood I was sexually abused by the nanny who was taking care of me and I have struggled living with that. I have done therapy but the memories still come. I was given an opportunity to go for hypnotherapy but me and the girlfriend (now ex) decided otherwise because we thought it would tear us apart. Now that we have broken up I feel used by her and with the knowledge of rOCD I am so much frustrated and depressed at the same time. Please advise

  17. I think I have rOCD. Your website has been really, really helpful. Thank you. I’m nervous, and I don’t know what to do sometimes. I’m afraid that I’m using this site as a “check”, what do you advise?

    1. I think an important thing to do is to start working on a recovery plan. There are two ways of using the site. As a relief for your symptoms or as an educational tool to plan a better recovery strategy. In the end it is your decision.

  18. Hi Blip, not sure if you will reply to this but,hey its worth a shot. I’ve been struggling with hOCD and rOCD for about five months now. It has been tormenting my life every single day putting strain on my overall happiness, education, and relationship .After doing enough googling and researching I have self-diagnosed myself and decided to seek medical help. I am currently seeing a therapist at my college. I basically have gone through all of the major symptoms of rOCD. long story short my question to you is every time I see or hangout with my girlfriend my stomach hurts and anxiety soars. Even just receiving a text from her triggers my anxiety. Is it common for someone who suffers from this disease to go through this? could my significant other be a “trigger” for my anxiety? Or is this a indication that my subconscious is trying to tell me something is wrong?

    on a side note my girlfriend is very supportive to me and understanding about my OCD. So basically I don’t have a logical reason why this happens when I see or talk to her, making me wonder if it is the OCD after all or her.

    Any help would be much appreciated.

  19. Hi there!

    Im at stage 4 I think. Ive known I’ve had this fora while, I recognised it, and most of its torment! However, the past couple of weeks have spiraled out of control. I thought wow, ive finally fallen in love and am excited about marriage — something I never thought I could do! and now its all gone square shaped. .doubting whether that was even real. I wake up on the morning next to my partner and the first thing I think is “I hate you”. Then I get a list of all the reasons why and why I will leave him…
    Not this time ocd. But I do need some help – I think/thought he is/was my soul mate. All I want.

    Thanks x

  20. Hi blip
    Do you think that it is possible for ROCD to kick in at the beginning of a relationship ? Say 2nd or 3rd date ? when things start to become serious ?

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