• Quote of the Day
    "Worrying is like a rocking chair: It gives you something to do, but it doesn't get you anywhere."
    Van Wilder, posted by Daniel

cleanfreak

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i'm curious to see if anyone else "suffering" from ocd feels that if he/she were "healed" life would not go on? it would be so empty and hollow, that you rather live with it?
 
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anyone else feel this?

That's an interesting question. I kind of feel that way about my self-injury, but only kind of. On one hand it's comforting, but on the other hand it's such a destructive thing that robs me of happiness and peace. I do see what you're saying though. I would rather live without it though and I wish I could erase all the effects of it.
 

cleanfreak

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anyone else feel this?

that's kind of how i feel, but then i always have doubts and i could not imagine living any other way, it's just such a big part of me. would i loose myself? gee, most of the time i don't even know who i am so i guess it wouldn't make much difference.
the big BUT however is, that there would be room for so much more and better things in life without all the pressures.
 

lammers1980

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anyone else feel this?

Personally, I would like nothing better than to be rid of the part of me that is OCD. Currently, I am trying a newer technique of dealing with the anxiety associated with OCD. Part of this means you have to separate yourself from the part that has OCD.

Very simply put, it seems that people with OCD have a very active brain stem. This is the most primitive part of the brain that is responsible for detecting threats and gives you that "feeling" of anxiety. What us OCDers seem to have is a stem (amygdala, or something like that) that keeps telling us that there is a threat. Our reasoning side (prefrontal cortex, I believe) trys to make sense of this feeling by pulling up what it thinks is relevant information that would justify the anxious feeling. What ends up happening is that we then develop connections in our mind that become solidified with repeated experiences.

Take myself for example: I am terrified of AIDS. Every time my anxiety goes up, I somehow think it is related to infection with AIDS. The more I do this, unfortunately, the more I reinforce the obsession. The key then, if that if you ignore the thought when it strikes you, or let yourself experience it fully without fighting it, it will leave you alone.

I actually figured the last part out on my own, even though it seems that other psychologists have reached this conclusion also. A good website to visit, if I may post it, is the following:

www.ocdonline.com

I found a lot of the doctor's conclusions seem to coincide with my personal observations. The key is, I suppose, is not to get tricked into falling into the OCD trap again and again. I guess that is where a good doctor comes in.
 

Daniel

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anyone else feel this?

Interesting example of trying to embrace the unknown/mysterious aspects of life to feel better:

Let it Be There:
Using this procedure, it is suggested that the person create a mental pigeon hole for the thoughts and accept the presence of the thoughts into one's preconscious (those thoughts which are not currently in one's awareness but can easily be brought there by turning one's attention to them, i.e. your name or phone number). It is suggested that a mental "hotel" be created whereby you encourage your brain to create unsolvable questions so as to fill up the register. The more unsolved questions the better. It is critical that the "Pure-O" acknowledge the presence of the thought but pay no further attention to it, as in the form of problem solving. The brain can only juggle a certain amount of information at one time. If you purposely overload the brain, rather than insanity, your brain's response would be to just give up trying. As can be imagined, attempting this goal takes a lot of faith and trust in the person suggesting it.
http://www.ocdonline.com/articlephillipson1.htm
 

David Baxter

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anyone else feel this?

One of the things I try to do with OCD clients is to help them accept that there is nothing magic about the obsessive thoughts... they are not predictive... they have no special insight. They are simply the particular way someone with OCD worries.

We all worry. But someone with OCD has a characteristic worrying style which is given special significance and which functions to increase anxiety and the certainty of disaster.

You can learn to recognize this and reinterpret it -- there it is again... that's my OCD worrying style... it doesn't mean anything... it's just me and how I worry.

It's about accepting and embracing the thoughts and letting them go through you instead of fighting them.

I'm aware that this goes against much of the "accepted wisdom" about OCD, which is based primarily on response prevention. I just find this approach works better for many people.
 

Daniel

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anyone else feel this?

It's about accepting and embracing the thoughts and letting them go through you instead of fighting them.

Also, going on a tangent, there is the quote by the late Jackie Kennedy (Jackie-O): "You can't separate the good from the bad, and perhaps there is no need to do so." This Taoist idea of going with the flow is exemplified in the novel/movie The Lathe of Heaven.

...so empty and hollow, that you rather live with it?
What about getting new friends, starting a new hobby, adult eductation electives at a local college, a new exercise program, etc.? I only mention this because a depressed feeling of emptiness would often coincide with a lack of interest in activities.
 

cleanfreak

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anyone else feel this?

i don't exactly mean that my life is hollow and empty. i have hobbies, i paint, i read a lot, i like to cook, do gardening etc. there are friends in my life - few but close ones and of course i have my husband and daughter.

what i was trying to say is that ocd gives me a sense of security and "balance" (for lack of a better word) in my life. it's my way of life.
i'm still split on the idea about my being diagnosed with ocd, social anxiety and major depression. do i really have that or is it just how i am (as far as my memory goes this is what i've been like)? isn't this just my personality, isn't it just the way i am? so in a sense medication / therapy would change me to the point that i wouldn't be who i really am (and looking back i think it did).
 

David Baxter

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cleanfreak said:
what i was trying to say is that ocd gives me a sense of security and "balance" (for lack of a better word) in my life. it's my way of life.
That makes sense. OCD is basically an attempt to try to impose predictability and certainty on a world which often isn't very predictable or certain. However, it's a double-edged sword -- the obsessive thoughts tend to increase anxiety; the compulsive rituals tend to reduce anxiety. So it makes sense that they would be comforting to an extent. The other side of that coin though is how much energy they take and how much it interferes with one's life.

i'm still split on the idea about my being diagnosed with ocd, social anxiety and major depression. do i really have that or is it just how i am (as far as my memory goes this is what i've been like)? isn't this just my personality, isn't it just the way i am? so in a sense medication / therapy would change me to the point that i wouldn't be who i really am (and looking back i think it did).
That's a complex question. Yes, in a sense this is part of your personality, I guess, but it's also a bit of a runaway train which is the result of an out-of-balance brain chemistry. Medication may help you to manage that part of you that manifests itself in OCD, depression, social anxiety, etc., but it isn't going to make you a different person or "not you" -- it's merely going to make you a more confortable person.
 

lammers1980

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anyone else feel this?

One of the things I try to do with OCD clients is to help them accept that there is nothing magic about the obsessive thoughts... they are not predictive... they have no special insight. They are simply the particular way someone with OCD worries.

This insight I find very important when it comes to addressing the symptoms of OCD. One of my greatest problems when I relapse into the obsessions is that I believe that the threat is real. Also the fact that I imagined the threat, means that it actually happened. For example, I felt a pinching feeling on my buttock as I walk through the mall. My mind thinks "what if I got stuck by an HIV-infected needle?". Then my mind says, "since I imagined it, it must be true". What follows is minutes, or hours of rumination, trying to determine what really happened, with no satisfactory conclusion.

Using David's insight, one could thwart the OCD by allowing one's self to experience some fear, then perhaps say: "yep, it must have been a needle, I guess I'm going to die". Strangely, what follows is an end to the internal discussion. It is somewhat of a paradox. OCD is a very paradoxical disorder.

I think also, I may add, that OCD is an anxiety problem. The scenerios our minds create is just a way for the conscious mind to interpret our primal fear.
 
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anyone else feel this?

I don't think you can "live with" something that makes you want to end it all, to not live. That's what really worries me. You wrote something about that in your first post. Those are scary thoughts to live with.

I think you can have a better life. It may always be part of you, but things can be easier.
 

cleanfreak

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anyone else feel this?

yes you are right i did write that and i do feel that i want to end it. but it's not solely because of ocd, it's a combinaiton of so many factors that it's becoming overbearing. the thought is always (and i mean always) in the back of my head and i know how, i'm just fighting with myself about the when and where. for now i'm living day by day, that's all i can do.
 

David Baxter

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stevel said:
Using David's insight, one could thwart the OCD by allowing one's self to experience some fear, then perhaps say: "yep, it must have been a needle, I guess I'm going to die".
No, actually what I mean is more something like this: "This is just me worrying that it might have been a needle and that I'm going to die. It's just a worry. That's all. It doesn't mean anything except that this is something I worry about. And there is no evidence at all that it's true. It's just me worrying again."
 
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cleanfreak said:
the thought is always (and i mean always) in the back of my head and i know how, i'm just fighting with myself about the when and where. for now i'm living day by day, that's all i can do.

I can relate to that. I'm sorry you have those thoughts. :(
 

cleanfreak

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david-i absolutely get what you are saying. i have the insight that my obsessions are (mostly irrational) worries nothing more . like when my husband leaves his shoes out i believe it'll contaminate everything with dirt; it doesn't mean it is so. i am very well aware of that, but yet i still go to put his shoes on the shoe rack of the floor or i fuss at him to do so. then i will get the vacuum and the deep cleaner and i will clean that area and from there i move on to the next because now i have to clean everywhere he may have walked with the shoes. to avoid all that i made the rule that everyone takes shoes off at the door and don't even bring them in the house, but now i'm worried about people's socks and what they may have. it's like when i "figure out a way around" an obsession something else pops up.
 

cleanfreak

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anyone else feel this?

it is a good feeling to know there are people who can relate and understand.
thank you so much everyone.
 

David Baxter

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I understand, cleanfreak. That's why, personally, I believe that therapy or self-management techniques alone are not usually enough. Most people do better when that is combined with medication.
 

cleanfreak

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anyone else feel this?

it seems that everyone recommends medication, my only problem with that is previous experiences and the fact that i don't have health insurance right now. where would i go - i can't afford therapy and prescriptions out of pocket. i probably will be getting insurance in the next 6 months, but don't know if i can last that long.
i'm managing right now but it's getting intense in so many areas i don't know where i'm at anymore. being here, talking about some things makes me realize how much it is in my head and how much it is occupying my time. but i also found out i'm not alone and there are people who experience similar things.
 

lammers1980

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David Baxter said:
stevel said:
Using David's insight, one could thwart the OCD by allowing one's self to experience some fear, then perhaps say: "yep, it must have been a needle, I guess I'm going to die".
No, actually what I mean is more something like this: "This is just me worrying that it might have been a needle and that I'm going to die. It's just a worry. That's all. It doesn't mean anything except that this is something I worry about. And there is no evidence at all that it's true. It's just me worrying again."

Indeed, I was talking about something else altogether. Sort of a reverse psychology type thing. From what I've read, there seems to be no reasoning with OCD. You could say to yourself "Oh thats just my way of worrying." Sometimes it works, other times not. Myself, I found this to work sometimes too. However, if you say to yourself indeed what I am worried about is true, it is almost a way to quiet the debate. and get on with things. To me the "what if" is worse than anything.

The way I see it is, if the OCD is playing tricks on you mind, you can also turn the tables it too. By "taking control of the agenda" regarding the obsessions, you are able to become the master, as opposed to the slave.
 

David Baxter

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cleanfreak said:
it seems that everyone recommends medication, my only problem with that is previous experiences and the fact that i don't have health insurance right now. where would i go - i can't afford therapy and prescriptions out of pocket. i probably will be getting insurance in the next 6 months, but don't know if i can last that long.
I understand. In the meantime, I think I've already suggested trying to load up on foods high in omega-3 EFAs. Also add B12 and iron to that. As well, anything you can do to reduce stress and anxiety in your life will help a bit to reduce the OCD tendencies -- slow breathing, long slow baths, yoga, that sort of thing.
 

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