Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Struggling With Intrusive Thoughts

I hate that there are people that think OCD is trendy.

"I washed my hands twice, I'm so OCD!"


Just because you like things clean, in a specific order, or wash your hands doesn't mean you have OCD. It means you like things the way you like them. And by the way OCD isn't something you are - it's something you have.

Now when things aren't your way and it causes you distress or anxiety, that's when it might be OCD.

I see memes online and I used to get extremely angry at them, but I don't have the energy to devote to that anymore so I shake my head and move on.

My OCD is all consuming and has lead to three and a half years of being almost 100% homebound. I suffer from a subset of OCD called magical thinking. In a nutshell, it means that my OCD brain - whom is named Pam by the way - thinks that thoughts or actions can affect outcomes in life. An example of a ritual for somebody with magical thinking might be: "I have to wash my hands while counting to ten or something bad might happen to [insert person, animal, item here]." My magical thinking revolves around my own mortality, that's as far as I'm able to explain it at this point, but that's why I need to start facing my OCD. I have "bad" words and phrases that I avoid at all times.

In an effort to work on my own OCD, I'm making a list of my obsessions and compulsions so that I can use them to make a hierarchy or fear ladder and work on ERP - exposure response prevention.

See/hear "bad" word(s) or phrase(s) on computer or television = wash hands

Think "bad" word(s) or phrase(s) = wash hands and repeat whatever I was doing including walking     in/out of rooms, standing up/sitting back down, or pretty much any activity. If I'm holding food or drink and I see/hear/think "bad" word(s) or phrase(s) I'll wash my hands depending on what it was or throw the food/drink out.

Washing hands ritual = must wash hands and wrists, usually more than once, but number depends on the "day's number". I have a mantra that I think or say while I'm washing my hands, though it might take awhile for me to be able to share that.

Numbers = I break numbers down to a single digit by adding them together. Each day has a number, for instance today is the 25 therefore 2 + 5 = 7. Today's number is 7. Whenever I do something including washing my hands, it can never be or add up to be the next day's number. My "good" and "bad" numbers change often.

Walking into rooms, up or down stairs = must start on right foot.

Lights = right hand turns on, left hand turns off.

At some point I developed a tiny bit of scrupulosity. I apologize when people say "God", "Jesus Christ" or "Jesus" alone or in a phrase. By the way, this is exposure. I generally avoid typing/saying/thinking those words if at all possible. Go me. If it's in person, I say whatever they said substituting "gosh", "cheese and rice", or "jeez" with their "wrong" counterparts and then add that they're sorry. I then say it for myself and that I'm sorry. If it's on tv, I do the same thing. If it's in a movie, I say the word or phrase ten times replacing them with "non-offending" words. So it would be something to this affect, if somebody says "Oh my God", in my head I then say "Oh my gosh, she/he's sorry" and "Oh my gosh, I'm sorry".

I have an intense fear of being drugged so I often pick at my food, separating any parts that look different in any way. I also do this with toilet paper, because that's a good place to put drugs, right?

The past two years or so I've also dealt with intrusive thoughts. These are generally geared around my "bad" words and phrases and literally pop into my head with no warning. There are no rituals that ease this type.

LOL ~ I do understand how laughable all this might seem, but when you're stuck in an OCD loop it's definitely hard.

I might be missing some things, but I think this is a pretty good list of my obsessions and compulsions. I hope to use it so that I can start focusing on doing my own exposures and beating this painful shit that has me trapped in my home.

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