Monday, January 23, 2012

It's not easy being mindful

Remembering to be mindful, or aware, is not easy.
It’s one thing to read about something. It’s another thing to actually do it, or even to remember to do it.
Relabel. Reattribute. Refocus. Revalue.
Those are the four steps created by Dr. Jeffrey Schwartz to use in cognitive behavioral therapy for OCD.
Now I haven’t read his entire book, “Brain Lock,” yet. I’ve read a good overview of the steps I found online. I have a lot more to learn, and I have a therapist who will lead me through this.
But I want to do something while I wait for my next appointment, so I thought I’d start trying to catch myself in the midst of the obsessions and compulsions and practice the four steps.
I have found that some of my OCD habits are so ingrained in my routine that I don’t always realize I’m in the midst of a ritual until I’ve done it. I’m sure I didn’t even recognize a lot of them today.
I cut down a little on some of the checking, but I still did the compulsions.
I did have what I would call a small success. When I left work this evening, I didn’t go through my maddening ritual of checking my office lamps to make sure they were off. I turned each off, careful to be fully aware of what I was doing, and then I walked away. As I did, I reminded myself that I didn’t really believe the lamps were still on. Rather, I had a compulsive urge to check them. That was OCD, not me. And I haven’t thought much about it since.
I’ve got bigger issues to deal with, but I guess that’s a start.
I’m also reading the book “Wherever You Go, There You Are,” by Jon Kabat-Zinn. I’ll write a review when I’ve finished. So far, it’s very good, and I think it’s going to help me.
If I can remember to be mindful.


  1. I would say that is more than a small success! It is very difficult to recognize obsessions and compulsions when there are so many of them and they have been a part of you for so many years. Even if you complete the ritual, the fact that you were even able to recognize it after the fact is significant. That is a big step and it's a major one as you begin this new chapter of your recovery. Really good work.

  2. Thank you, Sunny! I guess I just want to do it all right, RIGHT NOW. I need to remember that there's no time limit, and it's going to take a long time to change.

  3. Great post! Being mindful is so...•tiring• sometimes! You have so much introspection, Tina; that's a great gift.

    1. Jean, Thank you! I appreciate that. I think introspection is tiring too, though . . .

  4. That is GREAT work! STopping a compulsion before it takes effect is wonderful! After a while it'll become automatic (hopefully). Good start with the mindfulness. Do a little happy dance!

    1. Karin, Thank you for the encouragement! I'll do a little "baby step" dance! :-)

  5. Elizabeth, Thank you, dear! I draw inspiration from people like you!

  6. I found your blog from "Relearning Happiness". I, too, have suffered with OCD from childhood and, while I feel like it is most under wraps right now (as long as I'm not dealing with germs/raw meat...still haven't completely tackled those ones), I could TOTALLY relate to this post. And the depression/anxiety thing? Totally on board.

    You can check out my blog Methodical Musings of an Unbalanced Woman at and particularly the posts on my struggles with OCD

    I'm interested in the book you mentioned. I wouldn't mind hearing more about it.

  7. Thanks for your comment, Melanie, and I'm glad you found me. I'll hop over to your blog!

  8. Sounds like a major, not minor, accomplishment.......looking forward to hearing more success stories!


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