Monday, October 22, 2012

Fighting OCD: Making a commitment

I have decided to make a bigger commitment to fighting my OCD.
I am going to use Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recovery Program for Living with Uncertainty, by Jonathan Grayson Ph.D., as my chief guide.
I am going to follow the program as closely as I can.
This decision has been a while in the making. I started cognitive behavioral therapy for my OCD earlier this year, but my therapist and I decided to concentrate instead on my chronic depression.
We’re still working on that. But I want to work on my OCD, too.
Here are my reasons:

  1. I’m tired of feeling the constant anxiety related to OCD.
  2. My scattered approach to fighting the disorder has not been effective.
  3. I’ve read about and heard about people who have had success with an intensive program of therapy, specifically exposure and response therapy.
  4. I want to be free of the control of OCD.

Though it’s usually best to work with a therapist on this program, the book does provide guidance for those wishing to work on their OCD on their own.
I’ve been working hard—and I don’t say that lightly—in preparation for beginning. I have completed an extensive assessment checklist for both my obsessions and my compulsions, so I can group together those that cause the most anxiety.
I’ve been thinking about and noting my daily routines, so I can be sure I include as many of the OCD symptoms as I can in my work.
And I’ve been working on my fear hierarchies, which will provide me with the basis for the exposure and response therapy.
I’ll be writing scripts to help me get through the exposures and to help me avoid doing rituals.
And I’m making a commitment to live with uncertainty.
I was taking a shower this morning and became aware of how much tension and anxiety my body was holding because of the rituals that I go through during my routine.
I knew then that I had made the right decision in committing to focus on my OCD with Grayson’s book, and other sources, helping me.
Here’s my first script, one where I talk to OCD:

   OCD, I am going to win this. You’ve influenced me for most of my life—for over 40 years. I know you’ll still influence me. But you’re going to have a very small influence. You are not going to win. I don’t want to think of myself as at war with you. But we’re going to make peace, and it’s going to be on my terms. I am going to stop giving you my time, my effort, my tears, my feelings, my life. I will give you nothing. I will not feed you with rituals. I am going to have time on my hands, and I’m going to fill it up with helping others, with doing things I want to do, and with the life God made for me. OCD, I am going to win this.

This is a sentence from Grayson’s book that gives me hope and something to look forward to as I fight my OCD: “Your ultimate goal is to be less conscious of your environment so you can be free to enjoy the flow of life, to take all your creative and imaginative energy and have your thoughts dominated by things that you actually want to think about” (p. 125).

   When you have made a change in your life, what helped you to stay committed? Any tips to share?

35 comments:

  1. You have my full support to try that new program. You cannot loose anything!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wish you the best with this new challenge and my I am cheering you on!!

    When I have made a change in my life what keeps me staying commited is thinking that if I continue on the same path I am on, I will be in the same position. That alone makes me keep pushing forward and thinking, 'eh, what the heck. I have nothing to lose, but maybe something to gain!'

    Good luck!!

    Only real tip - 'just keep pushing on'

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Yaya, for the support and the tips. You're right--nothing to lose, maybe something to gain!

      Delete
  3. Tina all the best as you face this new challenge. Praying for strength for you at this time. Blessings.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your good wishes and prayers!

      Delete
  4. "...have your thoughts dominated by things that you actually want to think about” How great that will be!! I am SO excited for you as you fight your OCD, living with uncertainty. I'm rooting for you! You can do it! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Janet, for your encouragement and support. It's much appreciated!

      Delete
  5. SO PROUD OF YOU as you embark on this new journey! I also suspect that getting more control of your OCD may help your depression as well. It helped mine. I mean I still struggle with depression some, but not nearly as much, as my life is under my terms now, and not under the OCD's. I KNOW you can do this, and I believe you when you said the preparation was a lot of work. It IS a lot of work. Beating OCD is like a job. If anyone can beat this, I know it's you. We will be here for you every step of the way, just like you've been here for so many of us. Totally rooting for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Oh, and what's kept me going is when I've had success beating the OCD. It's like when I'm on a diet - once I lose a few pounds it's like, "Hey, maybe this stuff works - I'm gonna keep trying!" Of course, unlike a diet - this is a lifestyle change and lifestyle changes take time - so don't be too hard on yourself - it's a process.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sunny, for your support and encouragement and for the tips. It will not be easy, but it's so wonderful to have support.

      Delete
  7. What a beautiful statement of commitment! You're really taking your power back. I also applaud you for listening to that inner voice that tells you what you need to do...therapists are great, but when we start listening to our own inner therapist, powerful things happen. We are all with you with virtual hugs and hand-holding as you embark on this new phase of your journey. Woo hoo!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your lovely comment and encouragement, Nadine! My inner voice definitely is telling me to do something.

      Delete
  8. What an inspiring post Tina! I think you will do well, you seem very determined and organised.
    When my depression was so bad that I was suicidal I realized that I could not take my own life as I would put my husband and kids through hell. I've seen my kids loosing their father that way so I know what it does to them. So I decided that no matter how depressed I would become, taking my life will never be an option for me. My family is too important and I would hate to hurt them in that way.
    The same goes for the OCD. It actually takes time away from my family, time I could spent enjoying life with them. And that gives me the strength to carry on fighting.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Klaaske, thank you so much. You are right--OCD takes us away from our families, and anything that will help me get that time back will be worth the fight.

      Delete
  9. Sounds like a great program.

    When I was trying to get back in shape after the twins, I made a vision board to look at everyday and help me stay on track. If you want to see it, let me know, I can try to track down the post on my blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lisa, I would love to see your vision board. That sounds like a great idea!

      Delete
    2. Here's a link: http://www.twobearsfarm.com/2010/04/vision-board.html

      Delete
  10. Good for you! Sounds like you might be writing stuff down, but that's my suggestion if you're not. Write it down so you can look back and see your progress/success. Even if it's small, it's progress and it's hard sometimes to remember the small things.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kristina, Thank you. That's a good reminder, to write down the small things, too. You're right--that's progress!

      Delete
  11. "I am going to follow the program as closely as I can."


    It's like sicking the OCD on itself. If you used the power of it against it, there is nothing you can't do!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the support, Jodi--I appreciate it!

      Delete
  12. Tina, I love this post. I have so much hope for you, and know that you are giving hope to me and others.

    Your life is just especially encouraging for me as a younger struggler. A lot of times I feel like it's been 4 years since I was diagnosed - I should have this under control. And if I don't get it under control in time, I miss my chance.

    Let me explain - I hate that it took so long for your diagnosis and the proper help. I hate that this is still a struggle for you. But it helps me so much when you and other bloggers are honest about your struggles and share your strategies, because it makes me realize this is a marathon, and I will not "miss my chance" to fight it. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am so glad this post was helpful to you, and thank you so much for your kind and encouraging comment. You definitely have not missed your chance. You will be able to fight OCD and win. I know it.

      Delete
  13. I hope it works well for you! I like your first script stating your goals. When I started with my therapist, she assumed that I had the reasons and motivation to fight the OCD already and that we didn't need to work on that. She wasn't quite right. I had SOME motivation and reasons, but I still needed to go back and work more on building my motivation and my commitment and my awareness of what OCD had taken that I wanted to take back.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abigail, you make a very good point. I had to really think about my motivation and reasons, too. I guess I had gotten so used to having OCD, I hadn't realized all the ways it affected my life.

      Delete
  14. What helped me stay committed to change was being more afraid of not changing than I was of changing, if that makes sense. Good luck with this program. Following various programs helped me make significant changes in my life. (BTW, now following your blog.)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Galen, and I'm glad you're following. I, too, am in the position of being afraid not to make changes, more afraid than making them.

      Delete
  15. Great post, Tina. The quote by Dr. Grayson reminds me of the book, "The Gift of Fear" that I read years ago. In it, the author talks about how each of us has a built-in panic sensor that alerts us to danger so we can react accordingly. My thinking at the time I read the book was that my built-in panic sensor is on HIGH all the time. How can I sense REAL danger if I'm always thinking about the supposed dangers? My goal has been, as the author states, to be less conscious of my environment so I can not only enjoy what's going on but also free up my panic sensor for when it might be really needed.

    You're doing a great job, Tina. I know you'll have success because you're so determined.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Grace, I appreciate your comment. I love the book "The Gift of Fear." I have wondered, too, how I would know when real danger was around. I am thinking that my anxiety is different in really dangerous circumstances.

      Delete
  16. What a wonderful step you're taking - I know that you will kick the lights out of OCD. I cannot wait for the moment you look back at this post many years from now, and recognize the healing and recovery you've experienced.

    The thing that keeps my going is often the thought that I am wasting time if I don't live up to my potential. I know that there are people out there that can benefit from my story, and I will only be able to tell it if I am healthy.

    You are doing great - keep at it :0)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amanda, thanks so much for your encouragement! I love the motivation that you use--that you need to live up to your potential so you can help people. That's wonderful.

      Delete

Thank you for taking the time to leave comments. I enjoy reading them and appreciate them!

After much thought, I've implemented the policy of no anonymous comments. I have been hit by so much spam, and that seems the best way to stop it. I know that stops some of you from being able to easily comment. Please email me if you can't comment. I always want to hear from you!