newy0rkcity-dreams asked: I had HOCD for almost a year now. I'm recovering really well which will hopefully be a permanent thing and I feel really positive about it! I just thought I'd let you know as I've written to you several times and honestly your advice helped me so much. Thank you so much for that! :) x
That’s absolutely brilliant! I’m glad to hear you’re doing better. Stay strong and if you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to come back! Hopefully you won’t need to though. :) x
OCD Help (longlivemagic):
so lately, I’ve been contemplating self-harming myself again, or suicide. My OCD’s been acting up again. It’s been close to a year since my breakdown, and I’ve been good. I was able to graduate high school, get into a good college. Now I feel like under every achievement, or no matter how normal my life has been, the OCD undercurrents are still haunting me. I still have difficulty doing things because of OCD, and I just want it to stop. I don’t know how to make it stop. I keep thinking hurting myself is the only way to feel better, because I really just want it to end. Please please help.
It sounds to me like you’re dealing with more than just OCD here. There’s a fantastic blog I follow called believeinrecovery that’s brilliant for all forms of recovery including self-harm. I suggest following that as well as leaving an ask there about other self-harm recovery blogs so that you can get the help you need with it, as I’ve never had experiences with it myself. It also may be worth finding out if you’re suffering from depression too as it sounds like your moods reach dangerously low levels at times.
As for OCD, I know what a debilitating disorder this can be, but don’t let intrusives undermine your achievements. It’s brilliant that you’ve graduated regardless of what OCD tells you. Any failure just reinforces the fact that you’re human and you can use your failures to motivate yourself to come out on top next time. Give my page on how to face intrusive thoughts a read and then get back to me with what part of it you struggle with, and I’ll try to tailor some examples to fit your scenario.
Hurting yourself will not make you feel any better. That’s a self-destructive compulsion and a result of believing lies that you’re being fed. You are worth so much more. I can guarantee you that much.
Getting Rid Of Painful Thoughts
Complete the following:
Twinkle, twinkle little _________.Mary had a little __________.Hickory dickory __________.
Your responses probably came almost automatically. Now imagine trying to get rid of these automatic responses. If you spent years in therapy, what are the chances that you could hear “twinkle, twinkle little…” without thinking, “star”? Pretty unlikely.
However, this is what many clients want when seeking psychotherapy. Instead of nursery rhyme endings, however, they want to rid themselves of painful thoughts such as, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m damaged,” or “I never do anything right.” When asked, people often remember having had these thoughts since childhood. It may be something their parents said to them, something said to them by peers or a teacher-sometimes people don’t know where they came from! And it doesn’t really matter how they got there-the problem is that they stick around, pop up, and get in the way.
One thing we know about memory is that it’s additive; this means that it’s easy to make new associations but nearly impossible to get rid of old ones via effort. In fact, attempting to get rid of certain thoughts usually backfires, increasing the likelihood they’ll show up again.
For example, for the next 3 minutes, try not to think of a white bear. Really. Give it a shot…then see what happens. Wait until you’re done before you read on.
How many times did you think of a white bear? Very few people are able to go a whole three minutes without thinking of a white bear even once. Most think of it many times. Two decades of research by Harvard psychologist Daniel Wegner has shown that when we try to not think about something, we actually think about it more.
So what do we do?
We can’t control what we think, but we can choose whether to buy into it or not.
Here’s an exercise: picture a lemon, perhaps sliced in half. Notice how even the thought of a lemon can make your mouth water in anticipation of its sourness. This is similar to how a particular memory can make us feel shame and embarrassment all over again. Now say the word, “lemon” over and over again repeatedly for 45 seconds while noticing what happens. Really. Give it a shot…don’t read on until you’ve done it.
Most people find that the word “lemon” dissolves into a series of meaningless sounds towards the end. It loses all qualities of its “lemon-ness.” Although it may seem strange to compare a lemon to painful self-criticisms, that is all those painful self-statements are-sounds, images, stimuli.
We all have thoughts we struggle with, though sometimes we don’t think of them as thoughts. Think about a way you evaluate yourself. What do you like least about yourself? What is ugliest about you? How are you most hurtful? Each of us has some thoughts like these that we struggle with. Now imagine that thought on a computer screen, as if you were sitting at the computer and it simply popped up on the screen like an advertisement. Notice how it is made up of distinct words. Those words are made out of distinct letters. Those letters are made out of distinct lines. Those lines are made out of distinct pixels. And so on. Again, give it a shot. Actually visualize it and see what it’s like to see that thought as words instead of what it says it is.
In Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (called ACT, spoken as in one word act), we call this process “cognitive defusion.” By defusion, we mean that we no longer take our thoughts and feelings as literal “truth.” When we no longer believe in our thoughts, we are free to pursue our lives in ways that our important to us now, not according to unhelpful thoughts that have been stuck in our heads for years.
Sometimes people defend those painful thoughts. They might say that they are true, or that they feel the need to at least evaluate whether they are true. In ACT, it’s not important whether a thought is true or not. The main question is workability: if I buy into a thought, what kinds of actions will I take? Will following that thought take me in the direction of a life I value? Sometimes the answer is yes, but often we can become so caught up in these experiences that we aren’t able to live our lives as we would like.
So, what I am saying is that struggling with a particularly painful thought is a losing battle. Even if we win momentarily, chances are it will return again. However, we can choose whether it is helpful to buy into that thought. In doing so, the thought becomes something we look “at” rather than a lens we look “through.”
Anonymous asked: Thank you for this blog. I know I don't know you; we're both just random people on the internet, but I love you in the way someone loves a good friend because this blog has been more helpful to me than eight years of consoling. Thank you.
I love you in the same way too anon! Kind words like that are wonderful and it’s nice to be part of a community where everybody seems so kind-hearted and grateful.
I’m so glad this blog has been an aid to you. Feel free to let me know if you have any further questions, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can! If I can’t, then Liam’ll be more than happy to help you out. :)
Anonymous asked: I'm really tired, sometimes I tell myself "Okay, this pure-o is the reality, what I reality think and I" but it's worst after. No matter what I think, it will ever be worst. Sometines I think about just end all of this.
Naturally when obsessions have the upper hand you will feel down and question everything, but believe me when I say there’s so much more to life.
Go on a little walk when the weather is decent (or even when it’s not) and just observe your surroundings. Clear your mind by focusing on what’s around you and what you can smell etc. You should find if you do it right that you temporarily forgot about your obsessions. The best part? You can train your mind to make that second nature.
Get angry when you’re down. Tell yourself the truth, which is that you DON’T deserve this. Stand up for yourself and go face your theme head on with some ERP. When I’ve done that I’ve been fuelled with determination and it’s an amazing feeling when done right. Recovery is most beautiful when we’re at our weakest.
If you have even one family member, or one friend that cares about you, then you have something to fight for. I’m sure you’ve many years of your life ahead too, all of which are yours to make the most of. You never know where you’ll be a year down the line. I certainly didn’t. I was a wreck at 15, convinced that I’d never get better. At 16, I was happy, appreciative and stronger than ever before. I’d grown to accept OCD wasn’t going away overnight, and that it’d take time, and began to recover as a result.
Stay strong. Life is beautiful. Make the most of it.
Anonymous asked: I'm experiencing a lot of anxiety right now, but I'm determined not to let the fear get to me. I'm going to try all of my "tools" and I hope by morning I can leave another ask telling you that it was successful. You, this blog, this community, is giving me strength right now. Thank you.
Absolutely awesome. I’m about to open the ask box again so please let me know how well you got on with ERP!
I adore receiving asks like this and it’s wonderful for everybody as they can take some inspiration from inspired others. I hope this blog feeds you all the strength in the world, and if you need further help don’t hesitate to let me know.
You’re more than welcome for everything I do on here. Thanks for the lovely words.
Anonymous asked: You're amazing. Like, seriously, I hope you know how much you've helped me and countless other people. No lie, I am feeling almost 100% better, like I keep relapsing, but each time I'm free of OCD's grasp, I feel fine, and each "free" time is a bit longer(:. I honestly couldn't have been here woithout your help(:
WHY WOULD YOU WRITE SOMETHING THIS LOVELY AND THEN NOT TELL ME WHO YOU ARE?!
Seriously though, thank you so much. It means the world to me to hear/read such encouraging, complimentary words. Your progress sounds amazing but don’t take any credit away from yourself; I’ve only told you what to do. You’re the person who has had the strength to face your fears and persevere even when times have been hard and you’ve taken steps back.
What you’ve described in terms of feeling “free” and it gradually lasting longer over time is exactly what recovery is like for me, too. You’re doing great and I’m super proud. If I can help any further though, don’t hesitate to ask.
Anonymous asked: I'm pretty sure my uncle and grandpa have OCD because when they were younger they had really bad compulsions. So I'm guessing they've had intrusive thoughts. I'm pretty sure they never got help but they are so put together now. They have amazing jobs, kids, a lot of money, they are really good people, so it gives me hope :)
They’ve probably put into place types of therapy without even knowing it. ERP and ACT, mindfulness and CBT are all about re-wiring your brain mentally in order to deal with intrusive thoughts in a way where you can function through life with an optimistic, accepting mindframe.
It’s absolutely brilliant to hear, and we do need more optimism on this page than we currently do. I’m gonna do some searching later for optimistic quotes and stuff to get this blog filled up of more than just asks, but it’s hard right now balancing this around my own life.
Really nice ask though. Thank you so much. I wish you and them the best. :)
Anonymous asked: So in psychology class we watched this video called TedTalk (you might have seen it, I think they have several) the man in the video was saying how focusing on things with a positive outlook can help rewire the brain to think differently. He also talked about this experiment they did where they made people write down 3 things they were grateful for everyday and how after a period of time they were thinking more positively. My class is doing it and I want to encourage anyone on here to do it too
Absolutely awesome. I think mindfulness implements that logic and it’s certainly worked wonders for me. I’ve been dealing with life pretty well for a few years now as a result and there’s nothing I take for granted. Sadly expecting that from other people seems to be getting me hurt but then again we all think differetly and want different things.
Optimism is beautiful and a tool that can help anybody deal with anything, so it means a lot you’re sharing that message. I’m gonna leave this as the last ask for the night so it can be viewed clearly. Hopefully people will be wise enough to take your message on board!