Working on OCD by Working with My Dog

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My dog is a husky, and a hunter. In fact, he was given away from his last home due to him being a threat to the cats that lived there. I have been working with him to correct this behaviour through moment-to-moment application when the programming is triggered, on walks and when he is loose in the yard, for example. I understand that this hunting programming is deeply embedded in his genetic coding, and there only be so much I can do, but so too is my OCD inherited through my genes and is in my DNA.

Throughout the months of working with him, I have noticed so many similarities with how I have been working with myself with OCD. I have to become very vigilant and observe him and his body language so that I can tell when he is triggered, see what his triggers are, and notice when he is in full-fledged hunting mode. I use my sound and some physical intervention to snap him out of it, to support him through it, and to redirect him.

Interestingly, this is the same application that applies to me in my own self-support, where I have to watch out for a learn my own triggers, observe my internal reactions and changes, and then snap myself out of it, support myself through it and/or redirect myself.

One cool thing about working with myself through animals has been practicing and playing with my sound, my voice and accordingly who I am within myself when I speak, act and direct myself, the animals, and myself with the animals.  To illustrate, I have shared my experiences here:

Becoming the Alpha Female

The Quantum Moment Before the Death of A Chicken

Horses of No Value?

Animal Experiences with Kim and Leila

I have noticed that when I speak to the animals, so much of who I am within myself comes through and can be revealed and reflected in the animal’s behaviour. In my current position in life, I deal with animals daily, namely dogs and horses. It has been over a year now in this environment, and I have done much work on taking a stand, being clear, working through my uncertainties and being able to speak and sound my words in such a way that is different than it has been in the past.

In the past, my insecurities, my uncertainty, my inferiority and so much more, would be the predominant factors coming through as my Who I Am’ in my voice, my words and my sound. There is an element of ‘fake it till you make it’ involved in the learning process, as one plays around with different words, tones and volumes, but with animals (and small children), you can only get away with so much. Mostly they will hear these characteristics even more so than what you are actually trying to say! I have had instances of speaking or yelling loudly, only to be completely ignored and brushed aside! This would cause me to react in frustration, irritation and disempowerment, showing me that I still had work to do on myself with regards to the aforementioned characteristics I was living and bringing through as me as I spoke.

This is not to say that I have perfected my sound/speaking/voice, not at all! It is definitely a work in progress, and I work on it every day, especially as I walk my dog. This relates to OCD/derma very much though, because as I develop and transform these weaknesses (uncertainty, insecurity, inferiority) into strengths (certainty, confidence, equality), in order to work with the animals, I have found that I naturally turn into and towards myself now, and work with myself more effectively because of it! For example, when I get triggered, I muster up the same assertiveness I have to muster up with my dog when he is triggered into hunting, or the horses when they fight and bicker with each other. To me, it is very motivating, because I do not want my dog to catch and kill the chickens or other small animals on the farm, and with the horses, I do not want them to get hurt, or hurt me when they begin rearing and kicking, so the situations can become quite serious.

It is this seriousness that I am now able to see and recognize with my disorder. Before, I would not see it as such a ‘bad’ thing, because I wasn’t harming anyone but myself. But from that perspective, I am making the statement that it is ‘ok’ to harm myself. The reality and truth of me that is/was hiding behind that statement is that I hadn’t valued myself, cherished myself or honoured myself in such a way where self-harm would just naturally be a serious matter that must be stopped.

In the end, the qualities that I saw were important to develop when working with my dog and other animals assisted and supported me to be able to stand up within and as my SELF! Where, when I would be/am triggered, I immediately go into the certainty of who and how I want to be in that moment, the confidence that I am worth it, the equality of being equal to and not inferior to my disorder – equality meaning, the disorder that I have does not rule and direct my life, I have a say, I decide, and as I continue to strengthen my resolve, I decide whether or not there is a place for it in my life, and it’s looking more and more like my decision is NO.

 

 

The Decision to STOP

stopThe decision to stop never really happens in one moment. Even when I make a decision to stand in one moment and I stand, I realize that the moment was never an isolated incident. Moments of Decision Making and ‘Taking A Stand’ open up, but are only ever the result of all the other moments that took place before, the thousands of little moments that accumulated and contributed to who we are in this moment Here. This is what determines if Who I Am is someone that will stand, or someone that will fall.

For me, the development of resolve is tested every day. I have stood up and made decisions, and it is almost as if by design I am immediately tested in a way that is greater than I what I believed myself to be capable of. As if the experience of power and mightiness that I feel in that moment of making a decision is matched by a direct challenge, and as a result, I fall often.

This is because it is not about the way one ‘feels’ when a decision is made, but rather how one directs self through all the moments before, the moments that led to the opening up of a moment of opportunity, where one can really make the decision to take a stand.

For me, there were moments where I was able to stand and face myself. These were moments where I believed it to be too big or too overwhelming, yet I was able to find a place within myself where there was safe quietness, a true source of power.

What I learned was, it is never about the feeling or experience one has while making a decision. In fact, if there is any kind of feeling or emotion in the moment of making a decision, I can be sure that I will be tested and fall. This is because thoughts, feelings and emotions do not create a stable foundation base from which to stand. They are erratic, unpredictable and come and go seemingly on their own. We don’t’ necessarily have control over our feelings and emotions in a way that is constructive or beneficial, in fact, we most often seem to use them in the form of self-sabotage and self-manipulation. So, how can we depend on these undependable, sporadic and non-substantial things to face our darkest hour? In my experience, we cannot.

Real strength and resolve comes from directing oneself in the decisions one makes every day, in many many seemingly insignificant, or even significant moments. When I faced myself in my darkest hour and was finally able to stand, it was only after I had spent weeks doing a little bit every day. Most days there is no feeling or experience of advancement or result, and one has to direct self with common sense, within knowing what is best. Testing, playing with all things, and keeping what is good.

I am still faced with challenges every day, and I have to make the decision to stop, to start, to move, to look, to stay still, over and over again, in many moments throughout the day. It can be a bit of a jungle out there, but we each have more power than we may think.

For me, the tools and skills I have developed for myself have been a result of studying and applying the Desteni principles. It is the only way I have had any real effect. It takes time, but not an endless amount of time.

Check out this blog for some insight into daily accumulation: Creating Structure(s)

 

 

Doing it All Alone

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I have realized many times that I can’t fight this battle all by myself, yet time and time again I find myself falling back into the pattern of shutting myself off and isolating myself as a coping technique. A part of me justifies this by holding the idea or belief that I am protecting others from me, and that this is my problem or issue and it should only be a burden on my own shoulders. And this causes me to not reach out and to ask for help, assistance or support.

I want to see myself as strong and capable and able to handle myself in any situation, and I also developed the belief that no one can really help me or do anything for me that I can’t do for myself. But circumstances in my life have made me realize that sometimes you can’t do it all alone, and that sometimes you can be surprised with just how beneficial reaching out and sharing can be. Unfortunately I took the route of learning this the hard way, through consequence rather than having taken more preventative measures when I saw things were getting tough.

I had reached a breaking point with the anxiety that I had been building up and suppressing for quite a long time. I had been feeling very overwhelmed and powerless with certain situations in my life, with things not moving fast enough, or financial situations where I didn’t see an immediate solution. Also, with a course I had been taking, I was working 7 days a week, with many obligations and responsibilities in between. This caused an accumulation of reactions which increasingly became overwhelming.

During this time, whenever I found myself alone, instead of taking that time to support myself, I would lose control and fall into OCD behaviour. It’s that repeating program that takes over and mutes out that part of me that is fighting for healing, allowing instead for the destructive part of me do the coping and the processing. Finally, one day a severe migraine broke me physically, forcing me to stop for real, and this ended up giving me the chance to see that it was time to stop suppressing and putting up walls around me like a fortress, and I allowed myself to go through an emotional breakdown as well.

After such an episode I felt much better, but alone. I closed myself in my room and told myself I would tough it out and everything would be better tomorrow. But, before this all took place I had just listened to an interview about this exact topic, also titled “Doing it All Alone” (you can listen to it for free: https://eqafe.com/p/doing-it-all-alone). I decided to take the advice from the being that had been going through similar experiences, and I came out of my room and talked to my parents. I’ve been hiding OCD for so long that talking about it with people in my world is still a bit foreign and uncomfortable for me. But I was able to express myself and speak about the anxiety and the lack of control I feel with OCD. We talked about the circumstances surrounding me reaching my breaking point, and discussed some immediate steps I could take to take care of myself. We also discussed some long-term options which I will be taking steps toward exploring as well.

After talking for some time, my migraine dissipated completely. I felt like I had support around me, and my parents expressed being grateful about having a better understanding about what it is I am going through. This was not the outcome I had expected when I imagined or anticipated talking about it. In my mind I thought it would be hard and uncomfortable and make matters worse, but in reality, it felt life-saving. I know that this doesn’t mean that everything will be easy from here on out, this is obviously a process that needs to be walked from moment to moment. It will take time before I become more and more comfortable allowing myself to be vulnerable in front of others, and to learn to identify when I can handle things on my own, and when it is best to ask for support.

The moral of the story is that we cannot trust that things will turn out exactly the way we imagine them, especially not when we are in an emotional reaction or heightened anxiety. It is important to sometimes come out of one’s own mind and cross-reference things with others in order to get a clearer perspective on oneself and one’s own situation. Talking to others and seeking support can introduce new options, open up alternatives or solutions that one may not have thought of alone, especially not from the limited perspective created by anxiety.

Doing some things alone is cool, it can be very empowering and build confidence and strength of character, but so can asking for support. With practice, it has become easier to do this, and to correctly identify which path is more appropriate to take in the moment.

 

 

The Buddy-System, Does it Work (part two)

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Continuing from my last blog, where I tried the ‘buddy system’ to prevent myself from falling into what I call an ‘OCD possession’. Read the blog HERE for context.

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.

The ‘usual routine’ would be to work myself up into a state where I feel the only solution, relief, or way out is to fall into the compulsion aspect of OCD. This would be the actual ‘acting out’ of the disorder. The way my OCD expresses itself in these situations is skin-picking. So instead of going through the very normal process of getting dressed, making sure I look presentable, and then walking out the front door, I would instead be unconsciously having repetitive thoughts, and feeling unable to think clearly, focus or re-direct myself. This causes an internal environment that is chaotic, tense and uncomfortable, filled with fear, anxiety and stress. This internal environment is one which I have simply never developed the skills to cope with.

In my life, OCD has developed ‘naturally’ since childhood as a coping mechanism, due to genetics, past experiences, and actions performed in unawareness on my part.

What happens is I will go up to the mirror and obsessively examine my skin. This takes my mind off of the intensity of the internal environment. In this mental state, any small imperfection seems to me to be a huge flaw that I think everyone will look at, and is the mistakenly perceived source of my unbearable internal discomfort.

Within this, I feel that instead of seeing me, everyone would see only flaws and blemishes. So, in a seemingly uncontrollable mental-state, I would go about removing all the perceived marks and spots.

The consequence of all this, which is the play-out that I experience on a daily basis, is that due to all the time it takes to go into OCD (which, once in the possession, can be a very long time and  beyond my control to stop), plus the time it takes to carefully apply makeup to try to be presentable, leaves no time to actually get ready and do all the normal things one would do to prepare to leave the house.

To be continued in the next blog…

 

The Buddy System, Does it Work?

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I recently spoke to a life-coach friend of mine regarding ways to tackle stopping OCD. She asked me to describe the experience of what I call an ‘OCD possession’ in detail. As I described it, we together realized that there is always a trigger, or a source to why the compulsion seems to ‘take over’ me entirely. We arranged it so that I would reach out to her, either online or phone call, when I feel an OCD possession coming on. So I tried it, and I must admit, it was very difficult to do at first.

The first point I faced were the excuses my mind would throw at me in the moments before I would call her. I would feel the OCD possession coming on, and I would think about calling her, and my mind would come up with so many reasons why I should not call. The excuses looked like this: ‘she is too busy to receive a call from me’, or ‘this is silly, I can do this without her’ (I couldn’t), and so on.

I forced myself to reach out to her on Viber. I told her I was having urges to pick my skin. We looked behind the urges, and it turned out that I was anxious about going to meet with a group of people. I was anticipating all the judgments they would think about me because of my skin. My friend suggested this is a form of projected self-judgment, wherein I was taking my own self-judgement and projecting it in to the future, and ‘attaching’ it to my ideas of others and how I was guessing others would look at me (the same way I look at myself: in extreme judgment for what I do to myself).

It turns out that I judge myself more harshly than anybody, and I create in my mind this harsh world ‘out there’ that is painful to live and function in. But the reality is that I have created this within myself, and then projected it on to the world.

Yes, it’s true that, from time to time, I have received harsh judgment from others. But when I actually experience that judgment, it is not usually as bad as it is in my mind. Judgment from others does happen, and I will look at this in another blog. But for now, I have realized that the greatest, harshest, judgment I endure actually comes from within me, and this is great news!

Why is this great news? Because of the power of self-forgiveness. Returning back now to the scenario where my life-coach friend and I found the source of my anxiety as I was feeling the compulsion to pick my skin before going out to meet a group of friends – the moment she suggested I was projecting my self-judgment on to my friends, I began to forgive myself (I will post the self-forgiveness below). As I forgave myself, the pressure and anxiety went away, and I could move myself.

In the next blog, I will describe the second resistance I faced, how I walked through it, and the outcome of the scenario that was VERY different than how things usually play out!

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear facing a group of people with imperfect skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear the judgement I may receive from people regarding the blemishes on my skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear the secret thoughts that others may have about me because it is apparent that I pick my skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing the thoughts I think others may be having lead me to fall into an ocd possession and actually end up picking my skin/picking my skin more, thus manifesting that which I am actually fearing.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing the thoughts I think others are having, affect Who and How I am within myself, and how I experience myself, instead of ME deciding who and How I am, and directing how I experience myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to project my own self-judgment about Who and How I am within OCD onto others.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself for picking my skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself for having fallen into an OCD possession, leaving marks on my skin.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to judge myself as weak/flawed/imperfect/out of control when I pick my skin so much that it leaves blemishes.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear my mind being exposed to the world when I have marks which show the true nature of my mind.

I forgive myself for NOT accepting and allowing myself to live and move myself within forgiveness, instead of constantly being harsh and judgmental towards myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to be hard on myself most of the time.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel the need to punish myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive I need to be punished.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to punish myself and be harsh and judgmental with myself instead of changing myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear changing myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear change.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear losing OCD.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear self-movement.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear living fully.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to resist reaching out to my buddy when I feel an ocd possession coming on.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel undeserving of assistance and support for OCD because I feel like it’s my problem that I created, it is my burden and no one else should have to deal with it.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to make excuses for why I shouldn’t reach out for assistance and support when and as I can see that I am going into an OCD possession, instead of embracing any and all support I can get to walk myself through stopping this disorder.

I will continue in my next post: ‘The Buddy System, Does it Work? (part two)

 

The Decision to Break Down, and Start Over

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Working on managing mental health is not separate from working on all areas of our lives. Sometimes we have to realize that we are creating our lives from the starting point of a disordered mind, and that we could be creating lives that are not optimal. Here’s my blog on how I am and have been working through this reality:

This post is continued from:

The Day I realized I had A Profound Inability to Make Decisions for Myself

I left off where I had made my first real decision for myself in my life, independent from outside influence, and from a starting point of creating a better self and life. The main point being that when I made this decision my entire life fell apart around me.

I realized that making decisions dependent on other people my whole life created a foundation on top of which I built a life that wasn’t beneficial to me. When I started taking myself back and making decision for me, I rocked my life to its very foundations and all the structures fell.

This was somewhat traumatic, and maybe I did too fast and all at once in stead of taking it one step at a time. But I was hell-bent on fixing things in my life and had no patience to wait.

Some of the bigger decisions I started making was really committing to improve my relationship with my husband, and to go back to school so that I could empower myself to make a better life for us.

Within that, going back to school to get a degree was another biggie.

While I was away at school, my husband and I had our own individual realizations, and agreed to end the marriage. Another biggie for me.

I also decided to quit my job (eek!) and move back to Canada from the US (gak!).

I decided to start my life over on all fronts with very little money, a lot of debt, and little usable work history in order to fulfill my decision to get a ‘real’ job in the corporate world.

I got a ‘real’ job I the corporate world, and decided to stay there till my debt was paid off.

There is a list of the top 5 stressors that can really mess with your mind, things like the death of a loved one, divorce, career change, moving, and health issues. I was living three of them simultaneously.

Also, within the entire play out, I did not take easily to the corporate world, I did not have a smooth experience dating for the first time after 10 years, I did not handle living alone so well, and I didn’t integrate well back into the city.

BUT, I did not give up. I felt so strongly about the decisions I had made, because I had made them for me. Within this, I found a perseverance, commitment and dedication which I nurtured and developed throughout the 4 years that this lasted. All of this was made possible because I had discovered self-forgiveness, with which I taught myself how to be gentle and patient with myself, push myself and never give up.

Where I stand now is at the top of the hole I had dug. A perspective from which I can now look down and see all the experiences objectively. I can also look at myself in the present moment and see, I paid my debt, I have savings, I have a really cool new relationship that I find extremely supportive. I have friends in the city and have created a life there that I enjoy. And I can look to the future, wherein I have future plans that I am working towards, and I am excited about what I am going to do next!

What is the moral of the story?

For me it has been to stop being asleep at the wheel.

It is so easy to just float along in life and not realize how quickly and easily we can lose ourselves and the true starting point of SELF.

It is self first, always.

Not in a selfish way, but in the way that if you don’t take care of yourself and live with eyes open in awareness, how can you ever expect to assist or support anyone else? You can’t do anything for someone else that you have not learned to do yourself.

Also, lastly – it does not just happen naturally.

We are basically programmed into a default mode that we have to snap ourselves out of. I used online resources, where I learned about self-forgiveness, self-commitments and self-corrective application. I like the structure and the discipline required to keep it up, because again,

I am doing it for me.

Find what works for you!

Continued in: Teaching Self How To Make REAL Decisions.

Teaching Self How to Make A REAL Decision

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Continued from: The Decision to Break Down, and Start Over

After having created a life of consequence in the form of debt, health problems, addiction, wasted work experience, and isolation, I made one of the most important decisions of my life. It was a decision for myself alone at first, where I stood solid and firm as the decision-maker, in complete and raw self-honesty. I decided that I was going to stop living in such a way where the outflows of my choices, actions and decisions were that of consequence and self-diminishment and instead start the process of making decisions that would create myself as a better human being.

I saw that I had to do this for myself first, but that as a result I would be a better version of myself for those in my reality and thus, be a better human being in this world. I wrote out a list of self-commitments, such as:

“I commit myself to take complete self-responsibility for the decision that I make, and to stand within and as the decisions that I make, so that they are MY decisions.

I commit myself to stop seeking/wanting/needing/desiring validation and approval for the decision that I make.

I commit myself to making decisions and taking action based on the principles I decide to stand by, and not based on what’s easiest or what I’m in the mood for.

I commit myself to eradicate the fear of failure from my Life.”

I also wrote out instructions for myself, guidelines based in principle that I could look to in moments when I would face those moments of wanting to abandon myself within the decision-making process.
Interestingly, when I decided to make decisions in this way, my life literally fell apart. I learned that I had been holding some expectations that things would get better because I was assisting and supporting myself to create a better self. What I hadn’t considered was the fact that my entire reality had been built upon a habitual and patterned foundation of character, and now that I was changing myself at this foundational level, all the structures I had built upon it were crumbling.

I am grateful for this now though, because I can see now that in order to build the new, me must at the same time let go of the old. The things that I let go of were relationships that I had formed that were not best for me (either changed/altered or left completely), environments/living situations that were not optimal were left and new ones were created, career changes made, addictive substances were removed from my life, and many other changes, both internal and external took place.

Each of these actions of letting-go were a result of my new decision-making process. Each one taking away hiding places, dependencies and escape or avoidance mechanisms. This left me squarely in the face of the reality of myself. From this position I had to face many of my own weaknesses (strengths in the making!), I had to make many mistakes (mis-takes), and I had to step up or step out. Herein, another important decision: I chose (and continue to choose) to step up, I want to play, I am here to participate fully.