Sometimes I don’t even try to stop OCD because deep down I like it in some ways and am very attached to it. But then the consequences become too great and I come to a point of wanting to stop again. Common sense dictates though, that no matter what my feeling or emotional relationship to OCD is, I must push myself to end it because it is destructive in my life.
The main way I have been trying to stop OCD for a long time has been to ‘just stop’. When that obviously didn’t work, I tried to ‘replace’ it. Meaning, I would garner all my will power and avoid triggering situations and do other things instead of OCD. This made sense to me and seemed really good and right. The problem is that I would always reach a certain point and then fall again, each and every single time, for years.
It happened again recently, and I did some searching online and found an interview recording (called ‘Addiction Replacement‘, and part two, ‘Creating Balance While Changing Yourself‘) containing advice for just such a situation that made A LOT of sense. It suggested that within the word ‘replace’, there contained some suppression, some avoidance and some running away as a starting point. In a way, I was trying to ignore the problem and do everything I could to replace the problem, but within this, it is obvious that the problem is still at the center of everything I was doing. I mean, if you think about it, when has “ignoring the problem” ever worked? It is a classic mistake and avoidance/suppression technique.
In the recording, there was a suggestion of a slight re-alignment to this application, which at once assists and supports me to let go of OCD, while at the same time, bringing forth something new. This is more a process of letting go and creation, rather than a process of replacement. It seems like a small difference, but the implications are HUGE.
So I am still going to look at the activities I had been wanting in my life instead of OCD, which includes exercise (creates discipline, increases self-image, decreases self-judgment), writing (self-forgiveness/re-defining words/sharing realizations etc… which helps with vocabulary building, self-expression and finding my voice), keeping my environment tidy (lessens anxiety, creates structure and discipline), finding a hobby (for enjoyment and self-expansion), reading (rest and relaxation or informing myself), preparing for my day the night before (instead of rushing/stressing in the morning), vlogging (I find it helps with self-expression, walking through fears and resistances and so: self-acceptance), and down time (resting/relaxation, like bubble baths or movies). The goal here is to strengthen my strengths, and develop my ‘weaknesses’ (aka “strengths in the making”).
The important thing to realize that this is not about chasing these activities in a way that is ‘running away’ from OCD, but to instead focus on creation and to focus on self, while at the same time working with the OCD. It was explained to be like a see-saw, where you place yourself squarely in the middle of the two ends: letting go of OCD, and creating a new me.
Within this understanding, you can see that if the focus is only on letting go of OCD and not CREATING me, OCD remains because I am the same and thus will recreate the same. If the focus is on only creating me and not walking through OCD, I am supressing OCD and thus, OCD remains. The balance is where I am equally letting go of OCD, and creating me at the same time.
I will continue in my next blog with a practical exercise.