For those that are not familiar with the expression “How long is a piece of string?” this expression normally implies that the answer is hard to tell, find out or very complex for varied reasons. For example if someone asks me: “How long will take me to recover from ROCD?” I would have to reply: “How long is a piece of string?”
The important thing is not to focus on a time frame but on the process of getting better. For some people it might take 6 months, 12 months, a year or a lifetime. It does not really matter. What matters is that we learn to live with ROCD and that we are able to enjoy our relationships.
Then, the important question becomes “what do I need to do to enjoy my relationship more fully?” In my mind and experience, there are three sets of strategies that we can adopt to cope with ROCD with different effect durations. As for effect, I mean in this case release from anxiety and improvement from ROCD symptoms.
Short term solutions (look for immediate release)
- Running away or avoidance
- Thought stopping (not recommended in the long term)
- Worry time (not recommended in the long term)
- Breathing exercises
Medium term solutions (look for better understanding of thought processes or cognition)
- Cognitive behaviour therapies (CBT)
- Acceptance and commitment therapies (ACT)
- Medication for anxiety/depression
Long term solutions (look for desensitization)
- Exposure therapies
I am sure that there are more therapies and strategies, but these are the ones that I have had experience with.There is merit in most of them for all of us. The other aspect is that those therapies that will produce the better long term effects will take longer to master, so be patient with yourself!
On your ROCD journey, can you see if your focus has been mostly in one of the groups? Or are you trying to find a balance of short, medium and long term solutions?