OCD and the Buddy System – How it Feels When it Works

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This post continues from my last blog. In this series I am walking through a successful use of the ‘Buddy-System’ to assist and support with stopping OCD.

From my last post:

“For me, on this occasion, the buddy-system worked. Instead of falling into the OCD action of picking my skin before going to meet a group of people, I reached out to my friend who is a life coach, and together we found the source of why I felt the compulsion in that moment. Once I was able to find the source (read the first blog to see what it was), and I did some forgiveness on having created the source for myself, I was able to walk out of my house without having to go through the ‘usual routine’. This is quite a drastic contrast compared to what I am used to in these situations, and I want to talk a bit about that.”
What happened was that I had someone to be accountable to, and together we had found the source of the compulsion in that particular moment, which was fear of judgment from the people I was about to go meet. In doing some self-forgiveness on that point, within the realization that it was actually projected self-judgment, I saw that I was in fact the cause and the source. This means that I had the power to let it go and diffuse the situation. Whenever I believe that it is ‘them’, and ‘the others out there’ that are responsible for making me feel bad and judged, I leave myself completely powerless to change it or do anything about my internal experience. It then feels like I am walking into a minefield, where I can have explosive reactions at any moment.

 

One of the commonalities my friend and I discovered about what triggers my OCD, is that it is often when I feel like I can’t direct the situation I am about to walk in to. I fear the worst and then feel powerless to change it.

 

It’s like walking in to a self-created ‘doomed’ situation. I have also seen that this often causes the situation to be ‘doomed’, because it then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. I know that people with derma can relate to this, because we do it every time we go into a picking session: we create the problems we fear, which is having blemished skin, thus exposing our disorder, and the fact that there is ‘something wrong’, being judged for it and not being able to hide it.

 

So, I had to make the choice and decide, armed with all of this information and empowerment, that I was going to leave my house without picking. I had diffused the source of the OCD by taking self-responsibility for the reactions in the form of judgments that I had been having and fearing, which had been causing me to want to pick. I decided this was in fact projected self-judgment and I forgave myself for doing it, and embraced myself as I was/am, flaws and all. I also decided that I could direct the situation I was about to walk into. I was going to direct it by keeping myself in check, and not accepting and allowing my mind to go back into fear of judgment, and I would instead take events as they came.

 

I had to focus on what needed to be done to get out of the house, versus what I was being pulled into doing. I needed to get dressed, brush my hair, check myself in the mirror to see if everything was in order, make sure everything in my house was ok for me to leave, collect the things I needed to bring with me, and that was it. The interesting part of this experience was that such a simple thing as ‘getting ready to leave’, felt like walking through quicksand. It was fascinating. I literally had to put one foot in front of the other to keep moving because I felt like I was being sucked in to the OCD.

It was actually a physical sensation of being difficult to move, it was extremely uncomfortable and it just felt wrong. It was like my mind was saying ‘nooooo, stop moving forward, you’re forgetting something, everything will fall apart, you need to slow down, stop moving yourself, go to the mirror instead….” And so on like this. I mean, not the actual words, but the physical experience. It felt like it might feel if you were to turn on the hot water in your bath, turn on the oven and the hair dryer, and then start to leave your house. Imagine the feeling of opening the front door to go out… everything in your body and mind would be saying ‘no, you have to go back and turn of the water… stop, turn around and go turn off the appliances.’ Except, these are rational, practical considerations. I’m just making the comparison to explain how it feels when you take a stand and make the decision to not go into OCD.

 

The unfortunate truth is that stopping, and creating a new path is not pleasant, at all. In the moment, it does not feel empowering, it is not graceful, and it is not an easy moment. It Is hard, it feels terrible and wrong, and it is very humbling to see the power of the disorder and how it has come to control the mind and body on so many levels. BUT, and I say this with absolute certainty: IT IS WORTH IT!!!

No pain , no gain, as they say. In this instance, this was the truth. It was incredibly difficult to leave the house without having participated in my ‘ritual’. But when I went out, I interacted with people more openly, felt at ease within myself, and like I could express a confident and stable part of me. It was as if having gone through the quicksand to leave my house actually strengthened me. And so, I got to know me a little bit more, I got to enjoy me, and I got to be more me than what I am used to – which is hiding me, drawing attention away from me, trying to disappear, feeling completely self-conscious.

It is amazing how different our self-experience can be if we give ourselves a little push out the door. But we have to decide to do this, to take a stand and a stance and gather the strength. Self-understanding, and understanding what is going on in one’s mind and why, is an incredible support to be able to do this. And that is what I experienced in that moment, and it felt like I was more fully living.

 

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