Accepting OCD

Hi everyone,

As always I am trying to cover subjects that I did not think about covering in previous posts. And sometimes the shortest posts are the best 🙂

Going back a few years, at the height of my OCD problems, one of the hardest things for me was accepting that I had OCD. I went through analysing feelings to point of exhaustion. Asking myself why I was asking questions. Maybe this is a “sign” that something is wrong. The light at the end of the tunnel came when I realised two things:

1) I could not “switch off” these thoughts easily and they were creating great anxiety. Surely this wasn’t normal ???!!!!

2) EVERYTIME, I thought I had found an answer in my mind  and seemed to find some solace or peace for a few moments, the following thought was almost in every case  “what if “. It would take a few seconds, few minutes or a few hours but the “what if” was always there. My brain always managed to find a “what if”. In most of the cases, almost straightway. It was really tiring arguing with myself!

This was when I started my acceptance journey towards OCD. It took me a while to fully accept this new reality but it all started by these two little observations.

 

 

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15 comments

  1. Hi guys, I can totally relate to this… what if, I also find one of the cunning parts to this illness it’s ability to adapt and change, if it’s not getting a reaction to one thought, it goes looking for an angle. A therapist once said to me, that this illness is like a school yard bully, if it doesn’t get your attention with something that upsets you, it goes looking for another angle. I try now to commit to daily change, one day at a time, even one hour at a time sometimes. Whether it be going to my therapy group, reading positive books, meditating on self nurturing and mindfulness, Yes there are still days this illness gets 1 up on me, but when I started on my recovery 5 years ago I was a single man who always found fault and ran away from intimacy. Today i am 3 years married and have a wonderful funny, happy 18 month old boy…. Nothing is impossible. Believe me if I can do this anyone can…. Good luck and thanks Bruno for this site and your help.

  2. I have become so numb this past week. I know I love my boyfriend, but suddenly I feel nothing and it’s not even making me anxious anymore. I don’t know if this is a backdoor spike or what. rOCD has been my main OCD theme since I started dating my boyfriend 2.5 years ago, but occasionally I’ll switch to something else, like bipolar fears, hOCD (my first HUGE spike in high school), and most recently, Suicide OCD triggered by Robin Williams’ recent death. I was stuck on that for a week, convinced I would end up killing myself, when I could feel my brain start attempting to move back to rOCD themes. But this time, they didn’t bother me. I would think, “I really just don’t love him,” and to my sadness, I wouldn’t spike. So of course I started googling whether or not this was a backdoor spike, because I was concerned I had finally just fallen out of love with him. I woke up this morning finally a little anxious, but it still doesn’t feel the same, and that scares me. 😦 I’m afraid I need to break up with him, even though he is an incredible person, the best partner I’ve ever had, and we have an amazing relationship. I even got a little nervous writing that sentence because my brain said “you’re saying he’s an amazing person? The way you wrote that sounds like you are going to say ‘he’s an amazing person, but I don’t love him’ or ‘he’s not for me.'” And then I worry that that is my truth and I’m just trying to force a spike on myself because I don’t want to admit it’s not rOCD anymore, or that I never had rOCD and I’m just convincing myself to stay because I’m a coward. But even with these concerns running through my head, I don’t feel the absolute panic that I used to. I feel empty and “calm,” with maybe the occasional nerves. I almost WANT to have that panic, because at least it will feel like I did before. Not this empty, dead inside, distant feeling. He even cleaned and organized the whole bathroom for me last night, and I felt like a fake and a liar when I said thank you, like I didn’t mean it or I suddenly found any nice thing he did for me to be annoying. And I keep thinking it’s only a matter of time, and maybe I just want to leave, even though I have no idea why I would want that. I avoid sex because I am so tired and drained and blank that it sounds unenjoyable, and I fear part of ms just doesn’t want to have sex with him. This is unlike any other spike ive had recently. And we were so happy recently, and I felt okay. What if the happy times I’ve had with him were just fake and trying to convince myself to love him, and the anxious, “emotionless” times are my real feelings and that’s why the good things never last and I always wind up doubting again? What if the doubts are real and that’s why I’m no longer panicked? I have also hit a depressive episode lately and part of me is hoping I’m just numb because I’m depressed, because I feel numb towards EVERYTHING, not just him, but then there’s the voice in the back of my head saying “you’re just using that as an excuse. Just break up with him. You feel nothing and you want to be alone.”

    Help me, Blip. 😦 do you still email? I’m afraid to get treatment because the last med I was on, Zoloft, made me feel numb and flat like this towards him WITHOUT the anxiety, and that made me worry that the OCD had been treated and my real feelings (my indifferent, blank lack of feelings) was the truth and that we were going to wind up breaking up because I don’t love him. 😦

    1. Oh my God! I feel exactly the same with you! Everything you described.. I feel it!!!!! It’s so tiring…I sometimes think that I’ll be better if I broke up with him but that’s only because im tired of the whole situation not really him. I know i love him but these thoughts don’t really let me feel love or appreciation for him, being such an amazing person and so supportive… it’s a vicious cycle you know. And these last two weeks have been very difficult, especially since I was much better before and getting my hopes up. 😦

  3. I only realized I had OCD within the past 4 years, and I’ve just started therapy within the last year. It’s been going really well, some days worse than others! Through therapy for OCD (obsessive compulsive thoughts), new forms of OCD have been popping up (which my therapist warned me about, gets worse before it gets better) So my newest OCT is ROCD! On my search to see if I was normal and if this was an actual thing I found this blog!! Thank god! I was so scared that these were my true feeling and not one of my OCD thoughts! See I am in a new relationship (1 year) and so I kept thinking “but what if this isn’t just OCD, what if I really don’t love him, what if we aren’t right for each other, why don’t I feel “that feeling””…It is the doubt disease and I could spend the whole day from the moment I woke up to the moment I shut my eyes discussing the possibilities that I may or may not love my partner and if I do or don’t have OCD. It’s mentally exhausting! Then I found this blog, and Bruno said you just have to take a chance, make the leap and choose to believe it’s OCD..and life started to get a little better.

    Once I made the leap and choose to believe! Therapy started to become more effective, I’ve been learning some very helpful techniques. As JC mentioned in the above post, my therapist too explained the OCD as a school yard bully, the more I engage the more he has someone to fight with but that I have to be prepared for him to keep trying to find something new to fight with me about. So my helpful quote when experiencing an OCD moment is “Thanks for sharing” or “It’s just bully trying to fight with me again”, finding a “do instead” goal is also very helpful when having an OCD moment, repeat your quote and then move onto a purposeful action (basically something to distract your mind for a few minutes). My therapist has also introduced me to meditation and mindfulness which is very helpful but I’ve been finding it very hard to find the time and make the commitment to doing it everyday even though I know it works it is so hard to find the time in the day! Although I know I have to because lately the OCD/ROCD has been creeping back in. My other techniques do work and “hold it off” but the meditation is the true “cure” i believe, so I’ll need to make the daily commitment if I want to get better.

    Some of my helpful tips from therapy:
    1. Anticipate the bully and Accept his presence.
    2. Find a helpful quote to repeat on the day’s that bully is bugging you even if you have to repeat it 100 times (Thanks for Sharing) is mine.
    3. Find a “do instead goal” instead of a “don’t do goal”, instead of saying I shouldn’t be thinking about this, say “thanks for sharing” and move onto a distracting action for at least 15 minutes.
    4. Meditation!!
    5. Instead of running away from your thoughts you can also face them, this is another technique she shared with me, if your thought is “what if I don’t love him” then repeat this one quote over and over for a timed 2 minutes. The point of this exercise is that instead of running away from the thought and get anxious about it you face it and keep saying it until the word becomes exhausted and overused. You’ll notice when you first start repeating it your anxiety will be at a 10 and within the timed 2 minutes you will most likely drop down to a 1 or 2. It sounds weird I know, but it works!
    6. Keep a journal or binder, in mine I keep my thoughts/notes from good and bad days, exercise sheets from my therapist, inspirational quotes, my set of “steps or rules” that I like to follow when I’m having a bad day, you can print off some things from this blog that help you, anything that you find inspirational or helpful!
    7. Make your Value goals, health values, relationship values, work values and play values. This is important, it’s basically your personal manual of how you would like to live your life and what is important to you. Make your list and then choose to live by them. Instead of asking yourself if you “really love the person you’re with” go back to your core values list, yes he/she is still fulfilling my core values. If you don’t like to talk about people and that’s something that gives you OCD/anxiety later, make that a core value, that you want to be a caring kind person and choose to do that. My therapist often asks me “what do you want people to say about you when your gone”, make that list and live by that. There’s no right or wrong answers it’s what’s important to YOU, your core values!

    Hopefully this helps someone, I’ve found some of these techniques very helpful. Thanks for the blog Bruno it’s been a HUGE life saver! I’m in the midst of reading your book as well, it’s great! Thank you again.

  4. Hi everyone! First off, I want to say that I am truly sorry that you all have to be reading this site unless it’s for personal pleasure. Though it is a great site and a God send for a lot of us, myself included, it is hell to have to get to the point to need to frequently use it. However, it is what it is, and here we are.

    I wanted to share my anxiety story to see if anyone can relate at all and give some additional advice (additional to what Blip and others have told me). I can remember being a ‘worry wort’ from a very young age. 6th grade was when it started full force with worrying about my health. I was convinced I had cancer and even had an ultrasound done on some tissue that I thought was cancerous – nothing bad came out of that, of course. Then I recall, as does my mom, sitting in our living room waiting for my parents to get home and sobbing because I was afraid something was going to happen to one of us. I checked in on them very often, especially my mom, and the thought that something bad would happen to them haunted me constantly. I also had some harm OCD towards my mom at this time, where I was afraid that I was going to hurt my mom somehow. In 7th / 8th grade, it graduated to HOCD, and I constantly dwelled on that and checked and avoided, etc. I cried over that and eventually got myself to forget about that. Freshman and sophomore year of high school (I am now a sophomore in college) I believe I was a bit depressed and also believe I had an eating disorder. Social anxiety got the better of me, also. Then fast forward to freshman year of college, my healthy anxiety came back full force. From October to April, it was constant day to day worry. Then in May, I went through some emotional trauma within my relationship for about three weeks. It all got resolved, but it really was a very very hard time for me, and it caused me to constantly think about and try to fix the relationship, which wasn’t even broken in the first place. My boyfriend of a year now had felt like something was off, and I overanalyzed and overthought and researched every possible problem and solution. After that got resolved, the question “what if I feel the ‘off’, or that off feeling comes back for him?” popped up in my mind, followed by the “what if we’re too much friends now?”. Here started the constant analyzing of every feeling, every look, everything we did. About a week in, the thought “what if I don’t love him?” came across me with a huge wave of anxiety. Start the checking, etc. This has been going on since about early-mid June, with only a two week break where my HOCD made a reappearance. The thoughts have gotten as ridiculous as “I hope he cheats on me”, “what if I’m not attracted to him?” “what if I want to cheat on him?”. These have all resolved pretty quickly somehow, but ‘what if I don’t love him’ is stuck in my mind. Sometimes the thought seems so very real and it seems as if my mind is taking all of the reasons why I do love him and changing them into the reasons my mind is giving me as to why I wouldn’t. I ‘know’ that this is just another way that my anxiety is showing me how important he is to me (know in quotes because OCD is the doubting disease after all!) and how much I truly love him. What I wonder is could this be related to the emotional trauma of those few weeks? I think about it from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed. Some days is better than others, in regards to being able to check and reassure myself instantly and go on like that for a few hours, no matter if I check/reassure every 2 seconds, if I always get a quick, satisfying result, it is considered a good day for me. Some days it’s harder to check and reassure that quickly, and sometimes it completely overtakes and seems more real (though this is quite rare). Anybody have any relations to this or any tips for me? God bless!

  5. Hi. I absolutely know I have rOCD and have approached a GP about it, but of course, they don’t believe me. Have no idea how to get their attention on this- any pointers?
    Most rOCD thoughts I can tolerate and get through eventually, but my hubby has a significant mental health problem as well- he’s a recovering hoarder and while I understand about it (he is throwing things out so making an effort to change which is all that matters to me, plus i seeing a therapist), of course the OCD latches onto that and if not that, it’s my nonexistent sex drive or some other part of the relationship.
    I’ve had rOCD so long (about 12 years), it has worn me down to the point I am physically and mentally exhausted- most days the thoughts don’t distress me because I would fall apart, but every time I have an episode, a part of me dies. The one I want to be close to and I can’t.

  6. I apologize for this being so long, but I am literally sitting here in tears for who knows what number of times this is and now I have finally decided to take action and write it out. I remember being young and obsessing and having anxiety,some compulsions but not really any that I can remember it seemed to be more thoughts. Well, I believe I was diagnosed with OCD as a teen (according to my mom) and I feel everything fits except I still do not have many compulsions, a couple of things I do but it is more constant thoughts, constant doubt, constant worry, constant what if? In 2013, I had a very bad panic attack in class and thought I was going to go “crazy” and harm the teacher and that I was going to need to go to the psychiatric unit ASAP. I dealt with the panic attack surprisingly. However, ever since then I have not felt the same. I switched meds after that thinking they would help, and at first I thought they did for the anxiety but then I started obsessing and doubting my career choice, leading me to question everything. Which brings me to now. In the past 3 months, I have now turned my obsession onto my relationship. We have been together for 5 years. He is the greatest thing I could have ever asked for in my life. He is very cute, smart, funny, supportive, loyal, caring, kind, etc. It all seemed to start when my co-worker talked about how she thinks her husband is the only attractive person and that they have sex all the time, etc. etc. Also, another co-worker had brought up a couple on a reality TV show and said that you could just tell their “spark” by the way they looked at each other. I immediately thought “OMG that is not how I am with my boyfriend, I must not really love him, I need to let him go for his sake” and this caused me a panic attack. Then again, the thought came over that “omg I do not think he is the hottest guy in the world, I do not love him and need to let him go” and this again gives me anxiety and makes me feel physically ill. The focus has been on everything from looks to if I rushed into the relationship (mind you, it has been 5 years) to so many other what ifs? Even as I type this, I feel like I want to vomit because I am like “omg there is your answer, you typed it out now you know these thoughts are real and not OCD” or you are in denial, or you are using OCD as an excuse, etc. I even know look at people to see if they are wearing a ring and if not wonder what happened? why aren’t they married? or how long have they been together? We have talked about engagement and marriage and I was fine and now I am like what if I said no? Like, I do not trust my own thoughts anymore. If I am feeling good, then that voice in my head sneaks in and says NOPE, something is wrong here, you must be in denial if you are ignoring me. I cannot take it. I can’t imagine my life without him yet EVERYDAY the constant what if is there? Including something such as what if I do not even know love? and other sayings about love and being in love, etc. Like I said, it is making me sick and so much anxiety everyday. I know that I do NOT want to end this relationship. He is the best thing ever. The doubts are never necessarily about him as a person and whether or not I could see myself with him. It is always ME and my MIND which makes no sense to me. I have had moments of clarity and have realized a lot of it is FEAR that the marriage would not work out, or that we would fall out of love, etc. and fear fuels this fire. I have seen a therapist and she gave me a book on OCD and exercises, but IDK because she also said she did not even know relationship OCD existed. I hate this. I fall into a depression too because the thoughts will not go away. Will they ever? I am so scared that I would make the decision to just let him go…not for me, but for him and I do NOT want to do that. I saw my forever with him and was so happy and now these thoughts have taken over my life and happiness. I see no end in sight and I am beginning to become hopeless.

    1. Yes – the thoughts will definitely subside. I am not sure if it is possible for thoughts to go away totally as even people with rOCD suffer from doubts from time to time! So I consider this part of being human!

  7. The hardest part for me is accepting I have ROCD. I’ve had the thoughts for a long time but it before I would just brush the thoughts aside. The past 4 months have been driving me crazy, to the point where I’m just numb now. I also get scared because my boyfriend and I do have our problems from time to time, that makes me think that that maybe we are not perfect for each other! I try to imagine my life without him and at the start it was easier for me to know I cant be without him but I have checked so many times that now I am just numb to the thought 😦 He’s my first love, first boyfriend, and the man I want to marry. I’ve suffered from HOCD before too but this is far worse! Im just hoping in time this will pass …

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