I just wanted to reach out and let people know about a few things I’ve learned on this journey through OCD, thus far. (Disclaimer: these things work for me, and resonate with me, but I am not saying this is the only way you can cope with OCD and anxiety)
1) Stop trying to find relief.
At one point I was going through the worst of it, and I always kept reminding myself that if I could just get through it, I would find relief. That there would be something better at the end of the tunnel . And when I finally got home, or I finally got through the day, I would feel that relief. And guess what? The fear, the ocd came back the very next day, and the day after that; and it help me captive. But now when I’m in the thick of it, and my habitual brain calls out “I want relief.” I tell it gently but sternly: “Sorry, but there is no relief to be had. We are here, and that’s all there is.” And guess what? The next day gets better, and progress is made. Relief is just another coping mechanism that backfires. You don’t need it, in fact it only can make things feel worse in the long run, because it reinforces the brains fear of the thing. So the brain thinks, “hey we felt good when we finally escaped that situation.” But if you sit still in that moment of awfulness and allow it to pass through you, you reinforce the other signals in your brain, that say, “that was okay! I’m okay!”
2)OCD pain is uncontrollable, but suffering because of your ocd pain is optional: You don’t have control whether you will have sticky thoughts today or tomorrow. You don’t have control whether something will trigger you right now. You don’t have control what feelings arises. But you do have control whether you react to those painful experiences. You can try to resist and try to push it away, but you will only suffer more. Or you can accept the feeling, observe it and give it space inside your head. Like an annoying spider that makes a web in your room, but you decide to let it live with you instead of trying to kill it. When you can learn to do this, you begin to find more peace in your life and in your day to day. And maybe by the end of it, you’ll even find the spider a little cute! But maybe not… ;)
3)You don’t have to feel calm, or good, or free of OCD symptoms all the time to be happy and to have peace.
In fact you will be less happy if you expect to feel happy and good and symptom free. It is a paradox, but it is the truth. If you want to be fearless it means you are afraid of being afraid. You are trying to push fear aside to be brave. But what you resist- persists. But if you accept you are feeling anxious, or sad, or stuck, then you can feel better and find peace in the turmoil. And paradoxically you will actually start to feel less scared, anxious, and triggered.
4) Finally be kind to yourself. Realize that you didn’t choose this. If you could think a different way or feel a different way; believe me - you would. You are a human being filled with hopes, desires, and love in your heart. Have compassion for your mistakes, your troubles, and even your troubling thoughts. When you realize that no human escapes the problems of their mind and body, you will find more compassion for yourself and for others.
Wish everyone love and joy, and most of all a little peace.