Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Seeking OCD self-help techniques

Once I had finally admitted that I was a sufferer of obsessive compulsive disorder, I decided to be as proactive as I possibly could in fighting the symptoms of the condition.

As many of you will be aware, fighting back against your compulsions is an incredibly difficult thing to do as, effectively, you are fighting against the irrational behaviour of your own brain: A psychological civil war perhaps.

It seemed to me that for every step I made forward, my brain thought of a twist to the obsession and/or compulsion that essentially doubled my anxiety and forced me to retreat another two steps. Maybe you as a fellow OCD sufferer can relate to this or perhaps your own experiences are more positive and your successes more frequent but after some time I was exasperated by my efforts and I resorted to online research to seek a new approach.

Researching the condition and finding methods of self-help was one of the best things I have done so far to help alleviate some, not all but some, of my OCD behaviours.

At the time of writing this, I should, perhaps, remind you that I have not yet undergone any form of OCD therapy so the practices, for want of a better word, that I am soon to explain could well be something that a professional therapist covers in greater detail. But if, like me, you have not yet begun your sessions then they may well help to pacify some of your symptoms and hopefully give you some moments of relief from your anxiety.

I would strongly encourage that you still seek professional guidance and not use these practices as a substitute to pursuing specialist treatment for the following reason: This is the route that I originally took.

I was determined to manage my condition without contacting my doctor as I didn't want my medical records to have to be updated with details of my obsessive compulsive disorder. I didn't want my history to be associated with a mental health disorder: Perhaps I was slightly ashamed and embarrassed by it. Perhaps I thought it would be harder admitting it to my doctor than my loved ones. Perhaps I was being pig-headed and thought that I could deal with it on my own given the right online guidance.

I was wrong. Again.

The practices that I found were indeed helpful and did help me to reduce the immediacy of my compulsions, and as a result my associated anxiety, but after a couple of weeks I realised that I was only taking the edge off of my fears and not dealing with the specific psychological events that my OCD originated from.

Without dealing with that fundamental issue, I knew that my OCD would eventually evolve in some way or adapt a new behaviour that would bring me back to the exact same point of psychological distress that I have been in in recent months.

For this reason I encourage you with all of my heart to contact professional help as soon as possible and adopt the self-help practices to assist in alleviating your personal OCD symptoms until professional therapy can be set in motion.

The following posts (part 1 and part 2) will break down the OCD related self-help techniques that I learned. I hope that you find some strength and positive relief by practicing them just as I did.

Good luck.


Kat said...

Great post. I love how you describe it as a psychological civil war. It really is.

I know I tried to "fix" or "cope" with my OCD tendencies on my own for quite a while, and indeed, but mind did find a way to twist it and come up with some new ritual or obsession. It's really such a difficult process. Even with the help of a professional and meds to help take the edge off, it's still a difficult process.

OCD Anonymous said...

Thank you Kat - I was going to write an article straight out about self-help but it evolved into a seperate article.

My mind makes me who I am and I love it but it can be cruel in its manipulation of my thoughts - It's bizarre how I seem to have little control over its inclination to torture me.

OCD will always be difficult to handle but supportive comments and reading other bloggers' experiences helps enormously :) Thank you again Kat.