Coping strategies

The antidote

Hi everyone

Not sure if I covered this or not previously but here it goes!

A lot of the time when we start our recovery journey we tend to focus on the outcome rather than the process. What do I mean by this? I mean that we set goals such as “I will eliminate OCD from my life” or “by the end of treatment I will not feel anxious anymore” or “I will not have intrusive thoughts again”. If we take these as measures of success we are destined to fail. And why, you must ask? Mainly for two reasons:

First, these are all things that we cannot control. As we try to exercise control over things that we do not have any power over it will only get us more disheartened if we have a bad day or short relapse.

Second, once we build this expectations in our brains that these are things to be expected if treatment goes well a.k.a. cure then we are also training our brains to look for MINIMAL signs of this. The funny thing is that any SMALL problem will look BIG once this expectations sets in. Instead of thinking “this is just a short blip” we start thinking “this is a disaster and will never get better from rOCD”.

So what is the antidote? It is simply focusing on the things that we can control. We can control the process not the results. Examples of this are: exercise, good sleep routines, mindfulness practice, etc. A great quote from Gandhi that illustrates this principle is:

It is for us to make the effort. The result is always in God’s hands.

 

A great blog that talks about this as well can be found here. So, my invite to you is that you focus on those things that you have control over and be patient. Do not set timelines either. We are aiming for a lifestyle change – to better live with OCD. Does this mean that we cannot be happy? Not at all. People with OCD can be as happy as anyone else. And I know that from personal experience. 🙂

 

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Just one piece of advice

Hi everyone,

I know that I have not been posting often and this has been a deliberate decision on my part. But I have not stopped blogging. With limited time on my part, I try to reply to as many emails as I can instead. People around the world email me and I have at least one or two new people emailing everyday. And, I will always reply to emails. I also try to limit the information on this blog to the essential bits. Information overload is present everywhere and it can get very confusing very quickly when we are trying to manage OCD.

On a more personal note, my little boy (Christian) is 7 months todays. He has been a great joy for us as parents and I am glad that I made the decision to tackle OCD head on almost 3 years ago. So I have been thinking and have been asked what sort of advice would be most useful, for  a rOCD sufferer.  Here is what I think:

 

Keep things simple. Take one day at a time. Do not focus on goals (e.g. getting “cured” from rOCD) but rather focus on the process (e.g. I will practice mindfulness for 15 minutes a day in the evening).

 

And that’s it. Useful things on the process could be: eating healthier, seeking for medical advice, getting the right medication, avoiding rumination, and many other things that I have already covered in this blog.

 

 

 

Feeling sorry for ourselves

imgresI could just not share this today, as I believe that there are at least 3-4 principles in this video that relate to rOCD. Thank you to one of the people that emailed me and typed rOCD and not Rocd or ROCD, in their message. The first form is the correct one.

There is no magic bullet for rOCD. It is not a flick of a switch. What it is, is a commitment to a daily change in attitude. Here is what I mean:

Change takes time. Change might take medication, therapy and other things but above all a quiet determination to make the most out of our present circumstance. OK, things might not be ideal but what is the next good thing?

You are not alone

OK. This is not really a post…I just wanted to share something with you all. I started this blog in the Autumn of 2012. I did very little to promote it, other than posting a couple of links on some boards.

I have been corresponding with people all over the world and I would say that ROCD is a worldwide problem. There are a lot more page views from English speaking countries (as a first or second language) for obvious reasons: because the blog is written in English! And the less obvious reasons is that people are more aware of psychological issues.

So here it goes: We are definitely not alone. Even inside our own countries!

p.s. the numbers represent page views not unique visitors diagnosed with ROCD! 😉 22/3/2013

Weekly Challenge No.1

Here is this week’s challenge for everyone. Do this properly for a week and you will see improvement in your ROCD. Please post comments below relating to any experiences or difficulties you have with this during the week.

DO NOT ENGAGE YOUR ROCD THOUGHTS.

DO NOT PUSH THEM AWAY EITHER.

LET THEM BE.

BE GENTLE WITH YOURSELF.

Tip #5 Slooooow Down

ROCD fuels anxiety and anxiety fuels ROCD. And all these are fuelled by OVER-THINKING. I wrote a bit about this in my brain shovel post (tip #3)

In order to get better from ROCD and anxiety, we need to recognize when we are over-thinking things too much…and need to SLOW DOWN.

Imagine this:

Your brain keeps spinning trying to find an answer. The more it spins the more confused and frustrated you get. And this is how your anxiety is being fuelled. By OVERTHINKING. The technical term for this is RUMINATION. It is well known that rumination is at the root of depression and anxiety.

You will not feel better or find the answer by thinking too much. In fact, it is only going to make it worst. You will start to feel better when you learn to STOP thinking. This is only a short term fix. But this is where you need to start to put yourself in a healthier position to start your road to recovery.

How to stop over-thinking or ruminating (changing your focus). The first two are short term fixes. The last one is more long term and is related to mindfulness.

1) Learn to identify when you are engaging in this negative behaviour. I good question to ask is “how long have I been thinking about this today?” If it is more than 20 minutes, I would say that is too much…

2) Find something to distract you – music, tv show, go outside for while, see some fail videos on youtube. Find your own coping strategy!

3) If you get pulled in again into overthinking, GENTLY bring your thoughts to something else. Don’t be mad about it. Be nice to yourself. This is a long term skill that needs to be practised to be effective. More about this on a later post.