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Anonymous asked: Whenever I get a spike, the urge to do the compulsion to 'stop the thought' is overwhelming. On one hand, I want to seek reassurance by doing the compulsions and by googling things to make myself feel better, because the feeling of having no certainty is unbearable. On the other hand, I know that I must NOT give in, and that I should live with the uncertainty the spike fills me with. Is the 'threat' I feel caused by ocd? And why does the spike seem so significant?!

If the threat you’re referring to is a spike related to your obsession then yes, it’ll be caused by OCD. OCD can morph depending on your fears, so it’s important to not look at the theme overall, but rather the pattern OCD has. If you study the cycle and become aware of it by simply observing your body and mind as these changes take place, you’ll be able to recognise OCD early and not become emotionally involved with the spike. The spike seems so significant because this is a defence mechanism out of control. It’s basically an over-sensitive fight or flight response (the same response that would trigger if we saw a wild tiger and we were on our own, for example) that is going off constantly to things that aren’t a threat. However because the feeling is the same, the fear is incredibly real even if it’s something irrational to be scared of. Stay strong and keep me updated! Let me know if you have further questions.

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Anonymous asked: I've had ocd for 3 years and over the past Christmas week its becoming unbearable. I can't get to sleep and neatly resorted to taking sleeping pills from my parents medicine box, the thoughts I get in the night nd day are driving me insane... I can't do anything without having to do a certain trait and its taking over my life to the fact I'm failing school an not hanging out with friends, I have been having suicidal thoughts and don't know what to do, I'm 15 and my parents won't listen and help?

Christmas is a pretty chaotic time; I’ve had a big family meal on Christmas with my dads side and a big Boxing Day meal with my mums and being in two social events that big right in front of each other has worn me down a little. Hopefully now Christmas is over you’ll be back to a lifestyle that’s putting less emotional pressure on you. It sounds to me like you’ve got into a rut with your compulsions to the point you’re now scared to challenge them. Do you know about the coping mechanisms and when was the last time you tried them? To start with, I’d write your compulsions out, from your most common compulsion that you perform when severely anxious to compulsions you find easier to stop. Then, try to cut them down one at a time. This is far easier than trying to go ‘cold turkey’ and it’s also a good way for you to tick off your progress.

As for your parents, find a web resource that describes what you’re going through and get them to read it. Hopefully this will improve their understanding since many people think OCD isn’t as serious as it really is.

Avoiding friends is part of your compulsions but it’s really important to stay social. Even if you go to a friends for half an hour, it’s progress. Do something that is less triggering if you’re really struggling, for example avoiding drinking if you’re feeling the way you do.

Keep me updated! There’s a resources page if you don’t know much about the coping mechanisms, but I’d be happy to answer any further questions. :)

Help for kinkyreggae-meep:

"do you have an ask page? I was just looking for an opinion or two regarding my anxiety. I have had OCD for 6 years (noticed tendencies since childhood)and I have been through a lot in the past year and a half- a suicide attempt and a while in the hospital.

because of this event, I used up my maximum for insurance and now therapy, doctors appointments, or anything having to do with mental health is no longer covered. It costs my family and I upwards of 200 dollars per visit; I visit my therapist bi-weekly, psychiatrist monthly. 

Right now, I have been having difficulty transitioning from school to home and I am trying really hard to get rid of my anxiety for the fall semester. I think right now I would consider my OCD just Pure-O, I obsess every minute of every day but there is nothing I feel I can do to fix it. It is paralyzing, and revolves around my phobia of vomit (so in my head I see, hear and think about people vomiting ALL DAY) 

I am not sure how to go about tackling the problem with anxiety, but I realllly need to lessen it by August- I live in NYC and it’s a lot more anxiety-provoking than home. If I don’t have insurance, what should I do about going to therapy? 

is there anything I can do at home to lessen my anxiety and panic attacks when I start thinking about vomit? I have tried so much and it is difficult to come down from. 

how would you handle this situation?”

Hey!

I closed the ask box intentionally; I put up a post as to why but it’s basically because of exams and not having the time to manage asks at the rate they’ve been coming in, so I put everything on hold. It’s gonna be like that for a while but then I’ve got the 6 weeks off, during which time I can hopefully get a lot done on here so that people enjoy their breaks!

First thing is it’s natural for OCD/Pure-O to flare up in circumstances like yours - a move is a big thing! Don’t beat yourself if you’re struggling because that’s the worst thing you can do; you want to be confident and motivated if you’re going to tackle something like this.

Read my How To page on intrusive thoughts, and put into place what it suggests. Basically the reason the imagery is so repetitive in your mind is because you react to it all the time and focus on it, thus meaning your brain flags it as important so plays it on repeat and naturally as it’s a fear that means you’re constantly responding with anxiety so the cycle continues.

If you cut off the reaction, the thought will remain for a while but not long term. Basically the more you distract yourself and the more you get on with your daily routines without analyzing the thoughts, the less they’ll crop up. That in turn means they’re easier to shrug off which in turn means they appear even less until eventually they don’t pop up at all. Make sense?

It’s a lot tougher at the start but that means once you’ve taken your first step the rest will be gradually easier! Stay strong and get back to me if you’re having further problems.

- Nathan

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Anonymous asked: None of my symptoms have been showing/I haven't had a problem in weeks. I've never been properly diagnosed. Did I never have OCD, or is this just a break since my life had been going generally okay?

OCD works as a cycle. You can have incredibly intense awful weeks and then the next week feel the disorder isn’t there at all, but in truth it’s just died down for a while. If things are going ok and you’re not under stress, OCD will seem less dominant anyway regardless of the cycle. However that doesn’t mean you should stop working on coping mechanisms; the more you work on them, the more prepared you are to face it if it tries to crop back up.

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Anonymous asked: Is it normal for OCD to sort of have cycles? What I mean is, sometimes things will bother me to the extreme, but other times it doesn't. It also depends on the situation. Like the other day there was some blood that I didn't know where it came from, and I completely freaked out about it. It was on a piece of paper and I couldn't even touch it. But if I know where it comes from, it never bothers me. And sometimes strange blood doesn't. Does that make sense?

Yeah. OCD does have a cycle though I’m not sure how it all works. Some days a particular type of thought can spike me to the extremes where on other days I can tell it politely to fuck off and it’ll go as quickly as it popped into my head. It’s strange, and something I’d love to learn more about.

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Anonymous asked: Your response to the anxiety personality disorder was good. You're right - anxiety is just a general feeling and what makes it so distressing is you can't put your finger on it, why you feel that way. OCD is much more specific. I used to think anxiety was my main problem, but then I realized my first issue was totally my pure-o and anxiety followed after because of the distressing nature of my thoughts!

Thank you. I wasn’t sure how to describe it so I tried to use a more generalised version of my own opinion. The feedback actually means a lot; it can be quite defeating when I spend a lot of time on some asks and get hardly any response. 

It’s good that you’ve established how your Pure-O cycle works. That’s what you need in order to tackle the problem. Well done, and stay strong.

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ttimshel asked: I just saw that ask you received from an anon about how her bf's OCD is doing better now that they are dating. I agree 100% percent with what you replied. When someone with OCD depends on another person for happiness/relief, it is only more destructive. It shouldn't be that way because it is truly a vicious cycle, as you said - that person is still suffering, but now there are new ticks and habits that are picked up with that significant other's presence. It's not "better," it's simply bandaided

Thank you for the compliment and contribution. It’s really tough because it’s not only the OCDer suffering, but everybody involved and related.

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Anonymous asked: Oh here's this one thought again. Oh it stole 30 minutes of my time checking to make sure it's not true. Oh I need to cut it out.

The cycle is a bitch but don’t beat yourself up if you’re going through it. You yourself don’t need to cut anything out, the damn disorder does! Being hard on yourself won’t help you to progress but rather handicap you. 

Have you tried any acceptance techniques? Exposure response prevention? They’re scary at first but long term they’re amazing for you.

Don’t be hard on yourself! You’ll get there.

- Nathan