Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by the presence of intrusive obsessions and compulsions. Please read What is OCD and How is OCD diagnosed for a brief introduction into the workings of obsessive compulsive disorder.
OCD can be extremely distressing and can lead to significant personal, occupational and social distress. More often than not, behavior learned to prevent distress fail, and lead to significant disruptions in daily life. In addition to the medications that are prescribed for OCD, one needs to alter these disruptive behavioral patterns that lead to suffering.
You are a grown adult who is independent in all aspects of life, education, occupation, finances and what not. But, picture this, you know the front door is locked. It is an everyday automatic action, but OCD is like one of those little cartoon devils that appear on your shoulder telling you that you must check again, and again and again till the devil is satisfied. No matter how foolish the compulsion is you cannot ignore it, your mind will just not let you.
Here are five essential steps one must take to beat OCD, in addition to seeking professional help.
- Accept – Accept the obsessions and compulsions as problematic and decide what you want to do with them. Accept that OCD is distressing and that you are willing to take the effort to reclaim life from its clutches. Accept that compulsions often interfere with normal functioning and you don’t have to live with them. This is the simplest , but the most important first step in your fight for reclaiming control over your life.
- Fear no more – A number of people consciously fear their obsessions, what if that annoying thought arises while being in a meeting with the boss ? The white bear effect comes into play.
Close your eyes and don’t think of a white bear for the next minute, in all probability, you failed. Things you don’t want to think about , are the things you cannot stop thinking about !
Please don’t fear obsessive thoughts, thoughts by themselves have no power over you, unless you choose to act. Be ready for obsessive thoughts, identify them for what they are and learn ways to deal with them. Avoid avoidance.
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