OCD/Dermatillomania: How to Prevent the Tension Build Up

photo-1495467732811-d200fa06166a

I will be identifying what it is throughout the day that I react to in stress/anxiety/fear/irritation/agitation/anger. These reactions hit me in jolts and seem to remain within me instead of being processed out and diffused over time. For me, as an OCD/derma sufferer, it remains inside and builds up, causing me to feel tense, anxious and wound up most all of the time. What I will do is walk through my day, look at the triggers, and release them with self-forgiveness, self-commitments, and self-corrective application.

 

Morning:

 

I wake up, several thoughts get me out of bed:

 

“I need to go to work”

 

“I can’t be late for work”

 

“What do I need to do to be as fast as possible so I can get to work on time”

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to wake up thinking “I need to go to work”.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to connect emotional stress, anxiousness, and a ‘rushed’ energy to the thoughts that I wake up with in the morning of “I need to get to work”, “I can’t be late for work”, and “what do I need to do to be as fast as possible to get to work on time”.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think, believe or perceive that if I don’t rush, or go as fast as possible, that I will be late for work.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing stress, anxiety, and rushed-ness to exist within and as me.

 

When and as I see that I am going into stress, anxiety, and rushed-ness in relation to the fear of being late for work, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to comfort within myself by reminding myself that I set my alarm to give me an adequate amount of time to prepare, and that I make it to work on time every single morning, unless there is an unforeseen circumstance which prevents me, in which case I will call in and explain, which is as much as I can do.

 

I commit myself to push myself to walk through my morning routine within/as self-direction, comfort and ease, as I move from one task to the next with common sense,  instead of stress, anxiety and rushed-ness within the paranoia of being late/developing a bad reputation/being fired.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to terrorize myself with thoughts that if I am late for work, my boss and managers will be angry, my colleagues will judge me, and I will develop a bad and undependable reputation, and I will lose my job and fall into debt, and not get a good reference from which to get another good job.

 

When and as I see that I am imagining pretend consequences of scenarios where I am late for work, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to common sense by reminding myself that I am rarely late because I manage myself and my time in such a way to prepare myself to get to work on time, that this job is not the only way to support myself in this world, that I can live in such a way to avoid large debt, that I already have enough references for work and even if I didn’t, I could still get a job and make new references, and with the skills I am developing, namely discipline, perseverance and consistency, I know I ca be successful at most jobs I can get.

 

I commit myself to let go of my past self-definitions created by memories of a not too distant past where I  didn’t have the essential life skills I am now developing, I wasn’t able to hold down a job mostly due to my OCD, I was accumulating debt, and I was not in control of most elements in my life. Within this, to also see that even from there, I was able to correct my life over time, step by step, to get myself into/back into an empowered position.

 

I commit myself to talk myself down from terrorizing myself with pretend doomsday scenarios that are blown out of proportion, and to instead have a self-honest look at the actual reality of the my life situation.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think of myself as a bad and undependable person.

 

I commit myself to continue to work towards being and becoming more disciplined, consistent and organized at home, because I then bring these habits into everything that I do, and with these skills I will, over time, become someone I can depend on and therefor will be dependable for others.

 

I commit myself to continue learning how to incorporate living actions of self-acceptance and self-care into my daily life and routine.

 

I commit myself to stop feeding and following the self-depreciating and self-judgmental thoughts that ‘I am not good enough’, or ‘I can’t be depended on’, because I know this is self-sabotage, and that I am walking a process of self-acceptance and self-worth, teaching myself how to be dependable for me, through self-application and pushing myself towards becoming consistent and self-directed.

 

When and as I catch myself thinking negatively about myself as ‘who I am as a person/employee’ in judgmental and self-depreciating ways, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-worth by reminding myself that this way of thinking is disempowering and is an avoidance mechanism within which I can find the justification and excuse to not change, not push myself, not challenge my current way of being, and to continue with OCD.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to sabotage my self-trust, within and through picking my skin instead of directing myself to complete that tasks I set out for myself, tasks which I put in place to support myself to be organized and on time, such as preparing food/clothes the night before, taking a shower, and reading/writing myself out, and then going to bed on time.

 

When and as I see that I am picking my skin instead of accomplishing constructive, self-supportive tasks, I stop, and I breathe, I bring myself back to self-love and self-support by pushing myself to breathe through the experience instead of continuing on picking, within the understanding that relief or ‘end point’/completion experience will not come through picking, but will be made real through actually applying the discipline to move through daily tasks/obligations/responsibilities, thus developing the self-trust required to be able to depend on myself that I will not create anxious, stressful scenarios for myself to live out and remain in the anxiety disorder mind.

 

I commit myself to continue to push myself to replace OCD/picking with constructive tasks that serve to support me to release myself from the disorder.

 

I commit myself to NOT judge myself when I fall, but to constantly and continuously pick myself up and try again, each and every time until it is manifest.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear that if I have more time in the morning, I will pick my skin.

 

When and as I see I have spare time in the morning, creating the desire to act out OCD impulses, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-support and self-stability through self-movement and self-direction, within the understanding of the choice that stands in front of me: to pick, or not to pick. I choose not to pick, and to walk through and bear the accumulated consequences of this choice until I have processed it all and it is done.

 

I commit myself to bear the burden I have created for myself until it is processed, figured out, understood, seen, re-directed and re-scripted.

 

I commit myself to walk through the self-created consequences of having lived with and depended on OCD for so many years, because I see, realize and understand that there is no other way.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe that if I don’t feel rushed, I will not move effectively and will pick my skin.

 

When and as I see that I am creating the feeling of ‘rushed’ as a way to avoid facing and walking through what I’m really feeling, I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to presence, awareness and self-movement with breath, by reminding myself that I choose not to live a life of avoidance, and that I have it in me to face that which lies beneath the surface, no matter how unpleasant it is, because I have already proven it to myself that I can do it, it’s just a matter of continuing to do it over and over, until it is done.

 

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel physically anxious and stressed if I am not rushing and moving fast within the belief that I will not get to work on time, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that the anxious, stressful rushed energy is not valid, and it’s not what’s moving me. I am moving me, and the emotional experiences of anxiety, stress, and rushed-ness are only in my mind, and are all a part of the disorder.

 

When and as I see that I am feeling anxious and stressed when I should be feeling calm and relaxed, I stop, and I breathe. I allow myself to feel the stress and anxiety without attaching any values to it, but to accept it and understand it, to breathe through it, to speak at least one self-forgiveness statement, and to push myself to move myself regardless.

 

I commit myself to learn how to effectively walk through the OCD mind reactions, by trial and error, writing myself out, and practical application of what I script for myself through self-introspection and understanding.

 

 

Anxiety Series – Walking Through Anxiety, Dis-Arming Dermatillomania (part four)

relaxing-1979674__340

In my next blog I will continue with how I applied the practical steps of walking through anxiety, and how I was able to successfully avoid an anxiety reaction in one of the circumstances . This experience has changed my entire self-experience, opened up a new understanding of how things can be different, and showed me that it IS possible to learn how to become the master of one’s emotions, and no longer remain the slave.”

If you can recall and bring up the experience of anxiety within yourself, you can probably relate to that fact that the energy experience is sporadic, chaotic and intense. This detail is important to remark because we can use this information to see, realize and understand the best way to approach ourselves when we are in these situations (beginning an anxiety reaction). If, for example, we are too hard on ourselves, the anxiety energy can and will use this approach to further intensify itself. If we panic, it can also serve to fuel the anxiety. If we become mad or frustrated, it can perpetuate the anxiety.

It’s as if a child is throwing a tantrum and the parent screams at the child in an attempt to subdue or control him to make it stop. This can further upset the child and fuel/perpetuate the tantrum. Now compare this to speaking in a calm and stable manner to the child, this may not be an instant blanket solution, but it will not further aggravate the situation, and the child can be talked down slowly, and the tantrum can not last forever. Anxiety within self functions in the same way.

This example demonstrates how our self-approach can either assist and support ourselves to walk through and out of the anxiety in a calm and stable manner, or conversely, how it can further perpetuate the experience if we do not take the wheel, gain control and direct ourselves.

Within this understanding, one can keep in mind that any self-judgment, guilt, anger, shame, or any other emotion can and will be exaggerated when in an anxiety reaction, and therefore serves only to aggravate the situation, whereas being calm, stable and gentle can dissipate the chaotic, sporadic and intense experience going on within us. This is the difference between getting caught up in the anxiety and believing it is necessary, believing that there is no way out, and this is ‘who I am’, instead of understanding it as a reaction that has been triggered and will now play out, but that we can remain standing within the understanding that we can choose not to play into it.

The goal here is to eventually prevent the reaction from occurring in the first place, but we must first deal with what is already here, which is the existence of anxiety reactions and generalized anxiety which we see as beyond our control. It is not.

In order to see the control one truly do have, it is important to understand what is going on within self.  Within this we are practicing how to look at everything to do with anxiety completely objectively; to see anxiety as a reaction, a substance or an entity that is triggered by thoughts/memories, to recognize that this simply requires to be managed by oneself, and to understand that anxiety is not simply an inevitable part of self that one must learn to live with and constantly react to.

To illustrate, here is a practical example from my life where I was able to recognize the anxiety quickly and dissipate the reaction:

Last week, I was about to start cooking (which, in my previous blog I had mentioned as one example of when my anxiety is triggered). I had just had a very busy day and when I got home I could feel I was high strung. I felt a stress and a buzzing sensation in my body, and instead of calming myself down, I immediately moved myself to begin the next task, which was to prepare dinner. Within this internal energetic experience of ‘stress’, ‘rushed’ and ‘buzzing’, it feels like there is a pressure to do everything quickly and hurriedly, everything is rushed and there is no time for rest. This set of circumstances set me up for falling into the anxiety reaction I described in my first example from my previous blog, where my anxiety connects to a sense of overwhelming-ness.

 

I was alone at home at that moment so I was able to speak to myself out loud. First, I used the breathing techniques, and then I used a specific voice tonality (calm, stable and directive, to offset the intense, chaotic and sporadic energy of anxiety), and spoke some self-forgiveness for what I could see I was doing to myself.

In the same calm, directed and stable voice, I talked to myself about what I was doing, how I was making things more difficult for myself and that it wasn’t necessary, and how I could proceed calmly and in an organized way. I was able to slow down and create steps for myself, and eventually I put together a meal while remaining as present and aware as possible. When my partner came home I recognized the fact that my mood was light, I was able to have fun and communicate easily and enjoy the moment, which then allowed him to be light and open, even after a long day at work.

If I had accepted and allowed the anxiety reaction, I would have instead experienced what I had become so used to, which was feelings of varying degrees of irritation, impatience, or no desire to communicate. When another person is subjected to this the mood feels heavy and tense. If ones’ partner comes home after a long day at work and is met with someone that is overwhelmed/stressed causing irritability, impatience and being non-communicative due to anxiety, it affects the entire atmosphere, the moment and the overall relationship negatively. This can contribute to creating a toxic home environment, especially when repeated daily over many years. This is one of the consequences of accepting and allowing oneself to live with generalized anxiety, it doesn’t just affect yourself, so the responsibility to face and manage one’s anxiety disorder is a self-responsibility which extends beyond self, to create a harmonious environment with others (sometimes by standing as a living, leading example – yes, we are THAT strong).

 

Within my own self-assessment, what I’ve learned over the past few weeks has been that it is of utmost importance that one recognize the brief moment where anxiety first starts – before it is able to connect to and amplify other emotions, memories, personalities and patterns. This is because in that small moment, when I look at it and recognize it, and can say to myself “oh, this is just anxiety sneaking in because of the particular circumstances I am in,” and the anxiety feels small, insubstantial and powerless. But when I miss this moment, the anxiety is able to connect itself to the emotions, memories and thoughts, then an anxiety reaction has been triggered and it must now be navigated through.

Once an anxiety reaction is triggered, it must now be walked through.

Walking through an anxiety reaction:

Being within an anxiety reaction feels so real, and the anxiety feels so much a part of me that to deny it would be to deny my own existence. I try saying to myself “it’s just anxiety, it’s just anxiety,” but part of me fights back, proving to myself it is real and valid, and I experience rushes of emotional energy, and I am flooded by negative thoughts and future projections. In these moments, when I’ve missed the opportunity – I direct myself to breathe, I feel the waves of anxiety pass over me. It feels extremely uncomfortable and unbearable, but I tell myself it will end, it can’t last forever, it has to end eventually. I sometimes speak self-forgiveness to understand where the reaction came from in order to trace it back to the thoughts or memories that triggered it. This is what the tool of self-forgiveness allows one to do. I have to continuously pull myself back into my body, even f it feels exceptionally uncomfortable in there. I pull myself out of my mind, because I understand that is where it is all taking place. I try to keep myself as physical as possible, feeling my body and focusing on what I’m doing. Continue to do these steps, to focus on breathing and self-acceptance.

Embrace and accept self within the reaction – do not perpetuate it by judging self or becoming angry or upset, instead embrace it as what you are experiencing FOR THE MOMENT because of having gone into auto-pilot in unawareness the moment before. Watch for the thoughts/emotions/memories/fantasies that will come to fuel the anxiety. Gently but firmly direct oneself to stop thinking about them, and focus on the HERE, NOW moment in your physical environment. The anxiety will end, and things will go back to normal in a matter of time. It’s just a matter of time.

Prevention is the Best Cure

The best solution is to keep practicing being able to recognize the moment anxiety first starts, because that is where it can be stopped. The goal is to prevent the reactions from taking place at all. This requires a slowing down within self, and a self-awareness perhaps not previously developed. I will work on these aspects over the next weeks, by studying my examples of ‘anxiety-triggering situations’ I wrote about in my last blog. I will ‘study’ them by walking through them one by one, doing self-forgiveness on all the points so that I reveal to myself any hidden self-sabotage and to see what exactly is going on that leads me to create an anxiety reaction within myself. This will be the topic for my next blog.

Thank you for reading, and stay tuned for more!