What Would I Do If I Didn’t Have OCD?

You know when you find yourself in that mental battle of ‘should I perform the ritual or shouldn’t I?’ and you go backwards and forwards trying to work out whether you should give in or resist and keep fighting, weighing up the consequences of what feels like the biggest decision ever. It can be the most frustrating thing trying to work out which road to go down, do you go for what feels like the easiest and safest option – to perform a ritual, or do you take the harder but better in the long run option – to not perform the ritual, whatever your OCD involves I think we all have been faced with this exhausting mental battle at some point. From my experience in this situation I often know deep down its OCD and need to fight it or I’m only feeding my OCD, but there’s that doubt ‘What if it’s not  OCD this time?’ which I now know to recognise, that doubt of ‘is this OCD or not?’ IS OCD trying to trick you.

A really effective question to ask yourself when your caught in that mental argument is ‘What would I do if I didn’t have OCD?’ if its OCD the answer will be ‘Not this’ you would not be performing safety rituals if you didn’t have OCD, so now you know its OCD you know you need to not give in. It always helps me fight through the feelings and thoughts that come with OCD, as the question ‘What if it’s not OCD this time?’ is now invalid, because if I didn’t have OCD there’s no way I would be avoiding situations, asking for reassurance or performing ANY ritual. I think once you’ve accepted OCD is trying to trick you and will try to make you believe your rituals are necessary, it makes not performing rituals a little less frightening. Of course the doubts will come flooding in, and OCD will shout louder than ever ‘What if your wrong, what if it’s not OCD’ but that is OCD speaking again, ask yourself again, ‘What would I do if I didn’t have OCD?’ and do whatever it is you would do if you didn’t. Try to do the opposite of what you feel like you need to do right now, because YOU make the rules, not OCD, and if you want to get better and be like someone without OCD you have to do what you would do if you didn’t have it. You can apply this whether you have OCD or not, just change the question to fit your situation for example ‘What would I do if I wasn’t scared?’ or  ‘What would I do if I could NEVER fail?’.

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Stay Strong and DO NOT give up, you can do it, OCD cannot win, it doesn’t deserve to ♥

Venting – Current OCD Struggles.

I will most likely delete this post soon, as I know I will post it and feel anxious. Because I feel like anything I do that’s permanent at the moment will be bad. So let me start from the beginning, I am a big reassurance seeker and I rely on a lot of people to get through my days with OCD. The thing is when you rely on people to give you reassurance that things your thinking, feeling and doing are OCD and don’t mean something else before you do ANYTHING your life gets put on hold.

Of course someone can’t  be there for me 24/7 every time I have a worry, but how do I carry on? to me I feel like I just can’t. I have avoided going shopping and buying anything, writing blogs, tweeting and posting on Tumblr, getting dressed into clothes that aren’t old because I’m scared if I wear new stuff when things aren’t ‘right’ I will never want to wear them again because they will be bad, and Friday I am meant to have a haircut and Saturday my eyebrows waxed. How am I going to do this? unless I get the text, email and phone call to help and reassure me, I don’t know what I am meant to do.

Relying on people will only cause you upset and lack of independence, which  gives you low self-esteem and huge hate towards yourself for being such a burden upon people. I know pestering someone to give me the answers I crave and need so bad to put my anxious head at rest is wrong, but at the same time I can’t help but NEED it in order to carry on with my life. Yesterday I spent all day in my pyjamas waiting for that one reply until about 8.30pm at night, until I realised, I wasn’t going to get one.

I reluctantly picked  myself up to go have a shower and find some old pyjamas to put on and I felt much better. I was proud of myself for that, it took a lot for me to accept tonight I wouldn’t get a reply and I had to shower and do lots of other things without the answers my whole body craved.  So here I am today still waiting on my answers to the questions about my thoughts, feelings and things I’ve done, sat alone in my house not moved off the sofa all day in old pyjamas, scared to get dressed and shower because I’d then have to work out how I was going to find something to wear that I won’t mind getting rid off later on if I have too.

See this is what happens when you depend on people and they can’t be there, I know I’m not allowed to be reassured because it feeds my OCD but what do I do? ignore it? refocus? I just can’t this time, I know the only person I can truly depend on is myself in life, but how do I when I trust nothing that goes on in my head when I have CONSTANT doubt about who I am, what my thoughts and feelings mean.

The most frustrating part of it is when you can see its OCD, but you still want to give in to it, people say ‘but you know this is OCD, so don’t give in’ if only it was so easy. So why am I even bothering to write this post, for attention? no because I write all these positive advice posts when in reality this is what my life is like, and I can’t even follow my own advice. Like I said I will probably delete this post but I feel like sometimes I put on a positive exterior when a lot of my days are like this, this is just me being real.

So I’m in this dilemma because of myself because I let OCD get to me and because I rely on people, so do I get up shower put on any outfit I like and tell OCD to F OFF. I know that’s what I should do but I don’t know I can, so I guess for now this is where I am at.

Stay Strong, Keep fighting guys ♥

OCD – Your thoughts are not the problem, your beliefs about the thoughts are.

When you have OCD and you have constant bizarre, scary and anxiety provoking thoughts it hard too look past them and we often find ourselves thinking there MUST be something wrong with us for thinking the way we do. I learnt what I am going to talk about at the OCD Treatment Centre and it’s really eye-opening, so I thought I’d share what I was taught with you guys!

From my personal experience  whenever I had thoughts I considered bad I used to instantly think I must be a bad person to think such horrible things.  Which is one of the main reasons OCD is a problem with our beliefs about ourselves and the meaning of our thoughts. Thoughts are just thoughts, the meaning we attach to the thoughts is the problem, e.g ‘If I have a bad thought I am a bad person’ so is the thought we had actually bad? not really thoughts are harmless they are just brain activity, we have created a belief that certain thoughts are bad and should not be thought about.

Often OCD sufferers like myself get stuck in something called ‘Thought-Action-Fusion’  also known as magical thinking which is basically thinking a thought, is just as bad as acting on it or it happening, which is  no wonder we feel so much anxiety and guilt if we think about certain things or  do not perform mental or physical rituals. How could you not feel anxiety when your brain is saying ‘If you can think about that, you must be a psychopath’ ‘If you don’t do this then your family could die’ its because a lot of the time thinking these things to us is as bad as it happening, or thinking these things means it is almost certain to be true. which you can find out more about HERE as well as other factors of OCD.

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I have always been told everyone has intrusive thoughts, but people with OCD get stuck on them, unlike people without OCD who don’t take any notice or can easily dismiss them as ‘silly thoughts’, but that’s because they haven’t attached any meaning/belief  to them, to them they are just ‘thoughts’ but to people with OCD like myself, they MUST MEAN something. A belief is nothing more than what you have told yourself or been enough times that you believe it, often beliefs are irrational and unhelpful, but hard to get rid off.

An example of this is Person 1 has a belief that the colour red is lucky, person 2 has a belief that red is unlucky. Person 1 is going to have happy, pleasant and positive thoughts and feelings towards the colour red, because they have the belief its lucky. Person 2 on the other hand is going to have horrible, negative thoughts and feelings towards the colour red because they have the belief its unlucky. Person 1 will like red and want to be around it, person 2 will want to avoid red. So whos belief do you think is correct, person 1 or 2?… neither its purely a belief they have both attached to the colour.

Which is the same with a person with OCD and without, the person with OCD will have a thought, feeling or urge and see it as a negative thing that means something about themselves, or that they need to do something about e.g perform a ritual.A person without OCD will have a thought and still be at peace with themselves, because they have no meaning or belief attached to the thoughts. A good thing I got taught by Sharon Davies from the OCD Treatment Centre was that it’s not the story or the content that’s important, a story is just a combination of thoughts, It’s the meaning we have attached to the story’s/thoughts, it’s what we do about the story (thoughts) which becomes the problem.

Which is true it’s not our thoughts, feelings and urges that are the problem it’s what we do about them, whether we choose to acknowledge them and be sucked in by OCD. So when you think about it,  a thought is just a thought, if we get rid of the meaning and belief we have attached to the thoughts, OCD couldn’t survive because we would no longer be bothered by the content of the thoughts and without our attention OCD cannot survive. Trying to change a belief you have had for so long can be really hard, as I have found out and still am, but once you realise you have an irrational belief that’s the start of  getting rid of it. Remember if you no longer believed your thoughts, feelings and urges meant something bad, where would your OCD be? Gone.

tumblr_ly6h4j0szt1qmyf2uo1_500      Stay Strong, Keep fighting ♥

My OCD story.

Where do I start, from about the age of 4 I can remember things that I now know were OCD, most of my fears as a child stemmed from a fear of being sick. I remember avoiding being near people who had been off school or felt ill, fearing being sick at school and going home from school because something had triggered this unknown fear I had and had caused me to feel very ill myself which I now recognise as Anxiety. I never went on any school trips as I could not handle the fact someone could be travel sick on the coach or I might even get sick when I was away. As I got older it turned to hand washing where I would make my hands bleed where I washed them so much, I remember searching for a toilet that hadn’t run out of soap before I could eat my lunch. Everyone knew I had a fear of sick but I being young and my parents not knowing enough about OCD didn’t know I had it, I never really discussed any of it with them as I hated talking about sick and telling people when I felt unwell because people making a fuss and checking if I was ok would make me even more anxious.

When I was about 10 or 11 I started getting very fearful of sale buy dates, if something went out of date on the day I was going to eat it or even the day before I wouldn’t eat it. I would look at everything I ate for signs of being ‘gone off’ which led me to throw away a lot of food that there was actually nothing wrong with but I had in my head that they didn’t look ‘right’ or they tasted funny. I started to get thinner as I was throwing away so much food and reached a low weight of 5 st 10 lbs. During this time I would pick things up with kitchen roll in case they were dirty and wash my hands even more than I used too! This is when my mum and dad took me to the doctors, the doctor told me I needed to put on weight and that it sounded like a had OCD. So that was that I put on some weight and my OCD seemed to leave for a bit, I was still afraid of sick but it wasn’t interfering with my life as much.

Which leads me on to about the last 4 years of my life when OCD has taken over. When I was about 15-16  years old I noticed I felt compelled to do certain things In fear if I didn’t I would be sick. As people with OCD know this grew into a much bigger problem and compulsions took over and soon enough I was doing everything until it ‘felt right’, It would take me hours to get ready for anything, which made me very very late for school, not only that I was staying up till about 4 in  the morning crying, arguing, kicking up a fuss trying to get things to ‘feel right’ and to try and get my mums attention in hope she would come and do the things for me, but of course crying, shouting and being nasty doesn’t get you positive attention and my mum did not understand where her happy, confident daughter had gone. Couple of years went by and actually being sick in someone’s car got me over my worst fear of being sick in public, now looking back I’m actually glad this happened as it made me face my fear!

When I was about 17 my OCD started to change and it had turned too mainly Pure O which you can find out more about HERE, I can put my finger on certain things I may have watched on TV which triggered my next fears. I have never really talked about this with anyone outside my family besides Professionals, My pure O obsessions are basically fearing I am a bad person and could do bad things. Anything that is classed as bad I have most likely feared I could do. When this first started I was so scared, I can’t even explain how scared I was, I had never felt like this before, I was thinking and worrying about things I thought only a psychopath could think about, which of course I thought MUST mean I am one! During this time my compulsions of wanting things to ‘feel right’ had returned but this time I no longer knew what ‘felt right’ so I would ask my mum to do EVERYTHING for me because in my head if she done these things for me they would be ‘right’ because she is a good person and then the decision is out of my hands.

My freedom to do anything how I wanted and be independent had gone, not only was this very hard on my self-esteem but also very hard on my mum as she felt like her 19-year-old daughter was asking her to do things she could do when she was about 5. Buying things was also a BIG problem for me, I would go shopping and buy clothes and all this nice stuff I wanted/needed then suddenly get the feeling it was ‘bad’ the feeling it wasn’t ‘right’ that if I kept this I could do something terrible so I would be forever  be returning things I really liked and wanted to the shop. No matter how bad I wanted these things I could not keep them I would think it would be so selfish for me to keep these things believing that I could do something terrible to someone just because I like some clothes, I now know this is all magical thinking, which is a big part of my OCD. Find out more about magical thinking HERE, along with other types of OCD. It felt like my whole world has turned upside down and that all this time I hadn’t noticed what a horrible person I was.

The ‘What if’ questions came in strong and fast, ‘What if I could do what that person the news done?’ ‘What if I enjoy my horrible thoughts?’  everything around  me suddenly became linked to these thoughts, ‘Could I do that?’ ‘Would I care if I done that?’ ‘Am I bad?’ and I never came to awnser the questions just spun around and around in my head which I now recognise as rumination, which is where you go over and over things in yourself but never really come to a conclusion or an answer. Everyone was forever telling me ‘Anna your not like that, you’re a lovely person’ but nothing anyone said helped, the belief I had about myself was too strong. I am now 19 and during this whole time I have seen many psychologists and therapists that have told me the intrusive thoughts and questions I have about myself are ALL OCD but this does not stop OCD making you doubt, OCD is the disease of doubt and will make you question you have OCD, it’s a liar and it tricks you into believing everything you think and feel is real. and must mean something about you.

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Image  All of this anxiety and fear caused me to go into deep depression, which was a really tough time for me where I done some very silly things to myself. It made me become very isolated and alone, I no longer wanted to go out and meet people, I was no longer the happy, bubbly and confident girl I once was at school, I had never felt so low in my life and until you have felt that I don’t think anyone can understand the severity of that feeling, the feeling of giving up and no longer knowing what to do with anything and everything.

Are you bored of my life story yet? Don’t worry I’m nearly there!! So after having many CBT sessions and feeling let down by the out come, My mum thankfully searched the internet for private treatment which you can read about HERE, going to this treatment was the best decision I ever made I wrote a testimony which you can also find HERE, when I wrote that testimony I was very positive and on top of the world with what I had achieved with the therapy. Since then I am struggling with my OCD once again, which is because OCD is sneaky, you give it any attention and it creeps back in and before you know it you’ve got the same old battles going on in your head, but I am determined to fight this awful disorder and put the therapy I have learned in to practice. I can’t go back to how I was!! I have purchased a book I was recommended called Break Free from OCD, which I will link you to where you can buy it HERE, I will be doing a review on the book once I have read through it and I will let you know how it goes!!

If anyone would like any advice on OCD please feel  free to message me on my tumblr or twitter and I will try my best to help! If you can relate to anything I’d love to hear about your stories!!

Stay Strong and keep fighting♥

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More information about OCD and help you can get:

http://www.ocduk.org/

http://www.ocdaction.org.uk/