Working on OCD by Working with My Dog

Ghost upside down

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.

 

 

How I Create Peace In My Life

peace tree.jpg

The moment I found out that I had limited myself to a definition of ‘peace’ in my life that involved running away, escape, and complete removal from my daily environment, was    the moment I was asked to really have a look at it. I would like to experience more peace in my daily life, but I have never really taken a step in awareness to actually create it.

After involving myself in a process of self-change about 10 years ago, I have taken many steps in awareness to create things in my life, resulting in a life and experience that is tremendously different from the path I was on back then. In this blog, I want to share an example of how this kind of life creation works for me, how it starts so small and so simply, and how it can seem so insignificant at first, but with a little attention and nourishment, can grow into a real and substantiated way of living.

In this case I was having a look at the word ‘peace’. The action of looking is always the first step for me in the journey of my own self-creation. I immediately saw that I had been living the word ‘peace’ as something that can be attained mostly when I am away, ideally on vacation at a tropical destination with a beach, the ocean, and being faaaar away from work, bills, stress, home and all of daily life.

The first thing I did when I decided to look at this word was to apply a little honesty: this way of living ‘peace’ is unrealistic because I can’t afford to do it regularly, and I simply can’t spend all my time avoiding my real-life reality situation. Also, this would mean that to experience ‘peace’ I would need to spend money, “extra” money I don’t always have, and when I do, I usually end up stressing about it later.

And now a little more self-honestly: ‘Peace’ defined in this way is more like escape. It is a temporary hiding from myself. Even when I do go on vacation I still feel anxieties come up, I still worry, I still judge myself and, for example, my body… I still face concerns and uncertainties the same as I do when I am home. And when I get back, it usually takes less then a week for me to move back into the things I was trying to escape in the first place, because the reality is that I cannot escape from myself, and I cannot escape my own mind.

Is it enjoyable to escape on vacation? Yes! Without a doubt! But is it real? No, unfortunately it is not real peace.

So how do I define real peace? I define it as something substantial that I can integrate into my life at any time, no matter where I am. I define it as peace in mind, being and body, where I understand and am confident about who and what I am in that moment, even if I am not perfect and even if I have made mistakes, I can be at peace with myself and where I’m at.

Now I ask questions: How do I live this? What is the first baby step I can take where I plant seeds of peace within me that I can nourish and grow to develop over time? This is what I did:

I took a look at these questions while I was at work. I brought them up within myself I moments that were the opposite of peaceful – emotional moments of stress, rush, anxiety, pressure and distress- and I had a look at how to create peace in those moments. What I found was if I take a moment for myself to bring the emotion up (instead of pushing it down and moving on with my day), that I would feel it all throughout my body. Yes, it would be uncomfortable to immerse myself into emotional experiences of stress, worry, anxiety, pressure and distress, but I saw I could stabilize myself within that discomfort, and have a look around at what was creating it, and then ask my questions about how I can create peace in these moments.

I saw that in order to create peace, once I identified what was creating the inner turmoil, I would have a look at myself, as a person, and see all the steps I had already taken to support myself within and through turmoil in the past.  This helps me to see that I am not so lost and alone as I sometimes feel in moments. I have really stepped up over the past ten years to be there for me, and how rarely do I give myself credit for this process I have walked to support myself? Well, now is the perfect moment to do so. This helps to set the platform for peace, as I really feel that I am here for myself no matter what, and I can depend on me.

The next thing I did was to look at what steps can I take to resolve the current situation. What am I resisting, avoiding or hesitating on? Do I need to make a decision, do I need to take a step? Do I need to re-align my focus? Do I need to take 10 minutes to just go breathe? Maybe I need to do some self-forgiveness, or maybe I need to write something down instead of relying on myself to remember it. All of these have come up for me as solutions at different times, in moments of inner emotional turmoil.

The action of taking the experience into me entirely, looking at it, and scripting a solution for myself, I saw creates a little peace within me. Once I have taken steps to actually walk the solution, I feel even more at peace. At the end of the day, when I take a look back at how I lived that day, at how I stood up with, as and for myself, how I walked a different path than I would have had I continued on with or suppressed the inner turmoil, I can breathe and live that peace that ‘I got this’. This is just my start, it will be a process because some days I do not live my best potential, and so I understand from here it will take time. I am at peace with that.

I can see that over the past ten years I have proven to myself that I am here for me. I have little by little created a self that can take this process of redefining and living words for example, and implement it over time and watch it actually take root and grow in my life. I can see that I can create myself, develop and expand myself in ways that are beneficial to me. I can see that the tools and principles of self-forgiveness and self-honesty along with self-change I use have had a huge impact in my life because when I first heard of them, I could see the common sense and self-empowerment, but when I actually asserted myself to apply the information, I saw real change.

Anyone can do this, but it is not a quick fix. It is a way of life where the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months and years put in to it – time that would be passing anyways – are all moments of opportunity to turn self around and direct self into a way that is really how life should be lived. Where I (self) decide who and how I am in any given moment. I choose the direction, I am at the reigns and steer my ship through the stress, the anxiety, the breakdowns and the build ups, the highs and the lows. I parent myself. I soothe myself. I give myself peace that is real. I find stability.

 

Carrying an Emotional Burden as Atonement

emotional burden as atonement

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a certain feeling or emotion for seemingly no reason at all? With a mental disorder, every day is like a challenge, and oftentimes upon waking up, coming into the realization that the beginning of another day is like preparing for another battle. Sometimes I wake up feeling like it’s not going to be a good day, that I will lose the battle this day, and I will experience the consequences of that loss. I have only recently begun to ask myself how much of this is self-created, how much of it is a self-fulfilling prophecy?

In this blog I will look at how defining this morning experience in words, tracing back the source of how I created the experience, and then creating new more supportive words to live instead has changed the way I live out my days and determines so much of who and how I am within them. This application was created by Sunette Spies, who you can watch HERE for a deeper understanding of many aspects of what we live and experience within ourselves and our minds. In this blog, I will describe my own personal experience with this application.

I woke up one morning with an underlying emotional experience of frustration and agitation. It’s interesting, because there was no apparent reason for it. I was on vacation from work so the usual stresses and rush are far from my conscious awareness. What I realized is that we as humans are so programmable that we can condition ourselves into certain experiences, wherein our bodies can carry within them energetic charges that can influence who and how we are throughout the day.

What I ask myself is: where within this is my choice? Where is my decision-making ability where I decide who and how I am and experience myself throughout the day, and what I accomplish and whether or not I stand or fall? What I understand is that we do in fact have a choice, and we can in fact be the decision makers in our realities simply because we are here, living in our bodies, making those decisions and choices every day.

What we end up doing a lot of the time though, is succumbing to these un-named and un-identified emotional experiences we just seemingly feel as if it were all of who and how we are. But what if this experience is changeable? What if we have simply programmed ourselves to feel this way over time, but it doesn’t necessarily mean we have to follow through on the feeling? The unavoidable fact is that it took time to do this programming, so it will also take time to undo it. The realization is that it just takes a patience, practice and application.

Over time, we accept an allow our minds to run rampant, thinking all sorts of thoughts that are rarely directly connected to actual reality, however these thoughts do have an influence on how we feel about ourselves and our participation in life. When I woke up with frustration and agitation I had a look at how I had, over time, actually grown used to this underlying experience within me. Upon looking a little deeper I realized that, not only had I become used to it, but I had also been using it as a weight to carry around as my burden, a burden I carried around as if I deserved it, and as if it were some kind of atonement for past bad behaviour and bad decisions or choices.

I realized that, due to not having directed my experience with OCD my whole life, and having instead constantly and continuously submitted to it, I had an awareness on a deep level that I was harming myself in every way possible and on so many levels. Common sense would dictate a change in self and living is necessary, but how rarely do we look at and listen to common sense? What I had instead been doing was carrying around frustration, agitation, and even guilt, anger and regret, mostly due to self-judgment,  as my emotional burdens in a way to atone for the sins I had committed against myself.

It is as if we look to burden ourselves to make up for the harm we do and have done to ourselves and others. This religion of the self where self-flagellation takes on the form of self-criticism, self-sabotage, self-judgement and the carrying of emotional burdens. What is not realized here is that two wrongs don’t make a right. All we are doing is making it more difficult to self-correct. That the best and only way we can atone for our sins (real or imagined), is to invest into ourselves and our process of self-forgiveness and self-change.

This is where we come to the concept of self-forgiveness. Although I don’t associate self-forgiveness with religion, I am aware that Christ taught of forgiveness, and despite many manipulations and harms caused by religion, forgiveness is a concept of immense value that stands and can be taken and applied in one’s own life. This can be done in a way where the forgiveness is like a gift to ourselves, regardless of whether or not we judge ourselves as worthy or deserving. If you take away the judgment and view all life as equal – equally deserving, equally valuable, equally worth the opportunity for a chance to make it right – then the concept of self-forgiveness is one that atones for any sin, so long as it is accompanied by self-understanding and self-change, because it allows us to let go of the burdens we carry (much like forgiving someone in your life can have the same effect).

I realized that I had been carrying around an emotional burden that actually caused me to be and live less than my utmost potential throughout the day, the week, the month, the year, my life. If I choose to accept and allow this experience to be the deciding factor of who and how I am throughout the day, then what I am that day is someone that is impatient, someone that explodes in frustration and irritation at others due to nothing they themselves have actually done wrong, but due only to my own impressions, judgments and perceptions of their behaviour and actions. But the truth is, I am only looking at and projecting myself, and all that have done unto myself onto others, and reacting towards that mirror instead of forgiving myself and changing.

Conversely, I have also been on the receiving end of such treatment and outbursts, whether at work, with family or in my relationships, and I must say, it does create a lesser experience of what is possible. When the experience is not checked, it creates sub-par relationships and interactions between human beings. It creates hell for some, depending on the situation and context, where the hell is created for both the giver and the receiver of the outburst reaction. Where depth of communication and intimacy is possible, only protection and defence is expressed and lived. This is the type of day I was setting up for myself if I had just let myself go with that flow.

When I woke up with this particular experience, I decided to step up, to be instead the decision-maker in my life, to check myself and really have a good hard look at who I would be and how I would behave if I were to submit and succumb to the emotional energy of frustration and agitation I carried within myself the moment my eyes open in the morning. What I saw, when checking myself in awareness, was that there are so many other possibilities that I could live instead throughout the day, the week, the year, my life.

The word I chose to support myself with in this instance was ‘Release’, wherein I give myself a re-lease on how I am living, like a new lease on life, one where self-responsibility is taken, things are faced and forgiven, I move me, and I do not punish me and hold charges against myself. I instead live Real Ease, as I ease myself into my day. Release, let go, move on.

There is the path of following the reaction or emotional experience, and treating myself and others in a way where I use that interaction as my outlet to indulge in the frustration and agitation, letting it explode in an apparent release of tension, where I end up not only diminishing myself and making myself less than I am capable of, but also diminishing anyone else that I react towards, causing and creating reactions in them instead of assisting and supporting them to create and maintain stability and balance in their lives as well. But there is also the path less-traveled, the one where I decide – in this case- to instead release myself of this burden and this weight by taking self-responsibility for it, and go about my day with a clean slate, bringing the best of me forward to live and experience with myself and others.

What I saw is that we all have the choice every day; The choice to correct ourselves, to check ourselves, to step up and forgive ourselves in order to understand and release our energetic build-ups in our own time, on our own watch, how it should be done, in self-responsibility – not exploding at ourselves or others due to all the build up.

It’s not being tough or strong to become emotional, angry, frustrated… it’s actually the weaker alternative. Real strength is defined in our ability to take responsibility for ourselves and everything we are and have become. To really stand as that example of what is possible for humanity. That is how we create a better world, through simple participation in our reality, that little slice of it within which we have an influence. It’s how we teach our children and show our peers what we are capable of, and each and every one is in fact capable of it. And that is how we show ourselves what we can be.

This is a daily practice that is necessary in all of our battles. I have OCD and that is the hand I was dealt, that is what I must step up to and overcome and manage for myself. So every day, upon waking up, I take a good hard look at what I’m feeling and what that will create. I take that moment to define it in words, to self-forgive, and to create new more supportive words to live instead.

In this, I am actually creating living words – a living vocabulary- which over time can be used to live and apply in many different situations, not just for that day. And what also happens over time is that the words can be used in conjunction with each other, to compliment each other. As each word is lived it becomes stronger, and I define myself more and more within these words, instead of defining myself within and as feelings and words that I had programmed over time to be filled with hidden friction, anxieties, stresses and frustration among other things. There is another way.

 

From Hiding and Feeling Unwanted to Living and Expressing Fully

hiding.jpg

Any kind of mental disorder is still taboo in our society, unfortunately, and the result is that those that need to speak up and reach out most end up being those that hide and isolate most. Having a mental disorder myself, OCD, dermatillomania – a self-harm disorder, I know from first hand experience what it is to be alone with intense emotional baggage and how big and overwhelming it can become within the experience of isolation. I stand here now as an individual that has begun to take self-responsibility for my own personal healing and correcting, and would like to share about learning how to come out of the hiding and isolation of OCD, to emerge from hiding within self into Life and living.

Not understanding what is going on within self, not knowing how to manage it, and feeling like it is coming from anywhere but self had, especially as a young child, created a world and reality that seemed cruel and harsh. My inner experience felt like a sort of inward spiral, a self-perpetuating black hole that sucked me into isolation and hiding. Within this, one of the most prominent experiences for me was feeling I needed care, and needed people that I trusted to come in to my world and connect with me on a deep level to assist and support me to navigate my experiences, and to find a way to bring me out, and to see and realize another way to live and experience life.

This continued on into adulthood and influenced how I felt about my innate value and worth, as I had over time taken it personally that no one could see what I was going through. It’s ironic that in hiding and isolating myself within and as the disorder, and presenting a fake front as my ‘social self’, I was sending out the message that I am fine and don’t need anyone, while the reality was one where all I really wanted was to be saved.

What I didn’t realize until recently was the fact that everything I longed for from others, where I wanted others to reach out to me, to pull me through, to help me, to save me, to make me feel good, to make me feel loved and wanted – all of it was only there because I had never learned how to give it to myself or how to be that for myself. Even when I realized that that is what I had to do, I still had to walk a process of making it real, of really doing it for me.

What I had not been shown, seen or realized as a child was my responsibility to reach out and ask, to invite others in, to show and reveal what it was that I was experiencing. I felt alone in an unfriendly place. I felt abandoned and left to fend for myself. Without learning how to take self-responsibility and unknowingly leaving my needs unanswered in the hands of others, the lack of understanding felt as though I must be doing something wrong, or that there was something innately undeserving about me. Instead of learning how to take self-responsibility, I learned to punish myself through self-harm. I learned to carry a burden of guilt, shame, anxiety and frustration as atonement for unnamed sins I did not understand.

The point that is missed here, and the point that we don’t teach children is this point of self-responsibility within the understanding that no one can change they way you live, the way you experience yourself, the hundreds of little decisions and choices made throughout the day regarding the kind of person you will be towards yourself and others. The truth is that yes – there is medication and drugs that can influence and change the internal experience, but without the understanding and with no life skill development or support teaching us how to manage ourselves and our internal realities, all we are creating is the continuous dependency on factors outside of ourselves to make us feel ‘right’ – all the while, perpetuating low-self esteem, diminished self-worth, self-damning depression, and a lost people looking to everything but themselves to save them.

Through walking a process of self-forgiveness to ease the burden I had been carrying, and to better see what my needs were and also, how to create an independence within my life, I was better able to see how to assist and support myself to walk out of hiding and out of isolation. What I began to do and what I am still working on is how to clearly define and express my needs to others in my world instead of waiting for them to notice or figure them out for me.

There are many things I can do for and by myself as well, in terms of moving myself to do the things I know will support me. Within and as the disorder I have in my life at the moment, I am always walking a fine line between being sucked inward towards hiding and isolation, and battling feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem. I have many opportunities throughout the day, moments of choice and decision where I can pick myself up and get myself out and moving instead of staying in (both physically in my house or my room, and emotionally as not speaking up and speaking out). Or if I stay in, to do it in such a way where it is a decision made in awareness, where I have a plan or a structure for myself so that I don’t fall into self-harm and self-sabotage.

For me it starts first with what I can give myself, doing writing and self-forgiveness to investigate my mind and the issues I face, and script out a better way to be, like a blueprint to guide me as I move throughout the day. And then pushing myself to participate in self-supportive activities such as yoga, small gatherings and game nights with friends, or simply going out for coffee with a good book. Anything to pull me out of my mind and into this physical reality where I can see that I am ‘normal’, I’m okay, I can do this.

It has been a process, that is for sure, and one that continues and will continue for as long as I live. But as tough a pill it was to swallow at first, it is only without understanding that taking care of oneself seems like ‘the hard way’. What I have lived and learned is that in stepping up and being there for me, I have eased the burden and actually received from myself and others that which I need to live a better and more fulfilling life.

Some self-forgiveness and self-commitments to consider:

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to look to others to show me my value and my self-worth, instead of seeing and realizing that I have in fact not been showing it to myself, living it for myself, and strengthening it within myself.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to make decisions throughout my day that tend to cater to my subtle expressions of giving up on myself and calling it ‘relaxing’,  giving in to my addictions and calling it ‘treating myself’ or ‘spoiling myself’, and not living my self-worth and calling it ‘giving myself a break’ – and then wonder why I react to and feel hurt when others do not consider me, instead of seeing and realizing that all that is being mirrored to myself is the ways in which I already do not consider what is best for me in my living actions.

I forgive myself that I have accepted and allowed myself to make it someone else’s responsibility to show me my value and worth instead of seeing and realizing that only I can live that as an actual self-creation point, it is not something that can simply be shown to me or experienced as a feeling or emotion, but rather something that I must live for and as myself in many moments and decisions throughout the day in order to give to myself and make it a real, substantial, untouchable, unwavering point of myself that is here within and as me.

I commit myself to stand in awareness in moments of decision throughout the day, where I see which choice/decision/path will contribute to my self-creation as self-value and self-worth, and which will lead to the creation of self-diminishment, self-limitation and self-compromise, and I commit myself to stand as the self trust that I will, in those moments, push myself to chose what is best for myself.

I commit myself to take self-responsibility for my own self-consideration and self-regard, until I see the evidence in my world that I am in fact standing as that for me by seeing that I no longer react and feel hurt when I think and perceive that others are not considering and regarding me.

I commit myself to stand up for myself, and speak up for myself when and as I see that I am being treated less-than I would accept/allow myself to treat another – not in and from an emotional reactive state, but from and as that point of self-regard, self-consideration, self-value and self-worth.

 

Mental/Physical Balance

Mental physical balance

I am continuing from my last blog post  where I am working on an application of developing myself from a starting point of creation (creating a New Me!), while at the same time, letting go of OCD. Obviously, self-change and self-creation are not as easy as writing a list and sticking to it. The process of making new habits and breaking old ones requires time, dedication, persistence, perseverance and patience, among other qualities (these are just the ones that have come up for me most in my experience).  What I have found is that there must be a balance here. A balance meaning, balancing between the physical doing, and then also walking through the mind/mental elements.

 

It has been about three weeks that I have been working on incorporating these new elements into my life, and my first report is that it is a lot tougher than I thought it would be! I have managed to integrate a few of points to certain degrees. It is like having planted seeds which I am now nurturing to grow, and the seeds are sprouting and growing at different speeds. The good news is that all of them have ‘germinated’ so to speak – meaning, I have given attention to all of the points, and I see potential in each one to develop, and some have already begun!

 

One of the things I noticed is that it is tough to remember all these new things I want to incorporate into myself and my life, when I already have quite a busy schedule. Whenever I confront this point of not having time, I think of a quote I hear that says “saying you don’t have enough time is like saying you don’t care”. It’s true because I ALWAYS find time for OCD/derma, so if I have time for that multiple times a day, I then also have time to give to my own self-creation. So, time is no excuse, this CAN be done.

 

Another mind/mental aspect that has been making this application difficult is the resistances I feel in relation to doing these things. I will prepare a moment for myself to, for example write or to work out. When the time comes, it s like hitting a wall, everything of me does NOT want to do it, and all of me would prefer to go into OCD/derma instead. In this moment, I have sometimes fallen (for which I forgive myself), and sometimes stood and moved me (yay!).

 

When I have moved myself into the direction of my choice, it has never been as bad or as hard as I thought it would be. It has rather in fact always been a huge beneficial support and an empowering self-movement and self-direction. In fact, I often end up feeling a sense of relief and lightness within me, almost as if it took more energy to maintain the resistance to maintain the internal battle than to just pick myself up and move to do it.

 

Self-Creation: Who Will I Be?

The title of this post is an amazing question, because I get to answer it and decide 100% for myself, and that is so empowering! This is not the first time, however, that I have put myself into action to change. One of the biggest realizations I have had is that grandiose sweeping changes rarely last and are not so easy to sustain. Maybe sometimes, but for the following application, I will take it slow, step-by-step.

Below is a chart which is based on the application described in my previous blog. It is the basic ground-work for who and how I would like to be and become. It is, in my view, a ‘healthy’ (as in: normal, constructive, beneficial to myself and my living, self-expansive)  foundation to set for myself as that which I would like to birth as me:

Work on Developing

Exercise

Writing

Maintaining a clean environment

Find a Hobby

Reading

Preparing my Day the night before

Vlogging

Down time

 

Self-Expression

How To

Excercise: Starting with three times a week. Twice doing strength/muscular in my room with youtube videos, and then one jog/long walk on the weekends. Taking a different bus after work so I get a 20 minute walk home .Take stairs in metro.

Writing: Every night post in daily self-forgiveness. Three times a week, one of the following: blog about realizations or sf. Personal sf that is deeper/not public..

Maintaining a clean environment: Create a place for everything. Put things back in their place once done. Do laundry weekly, vacuum weekly. Weekend organizing. Get rid of stuff I don’t use/need. Take responsibility to do after dinner clean up for my mom. Keep my stuff in my room, not in the public spaces.

Find a hobby: when I have spare time I would like to do something creative/artistic. My mom has an art studio at home I can use. I would like to do bead work or stained glass or collage. I would spend quality time with my mom and relate to her through art. I would enjoy it. I would need to buy some supplies but she has all the tools. Arrange to go with her to art store next time she goes.

Reading: On the bus to and from work is when I have time to myself to read a book for pleasure. Prevents me from going into the mind and becoming stressed about the day ahead, or by other passengers.

Preparing my day: Before I go to bed, go into the kitchen and prepare my lunch, the coffee machine. Get clothes ready for the next day. Shower at night, not in the morning.

Vlogging: One French vlog a month. Do regular hangouts discussing topics of self-introspection and self-expansion. One process vlog a month.

Downtime: At least once a week bubble baths, once a week movie.

Self-expression:

Through writing, vlogging and blogging.

With my parents over dinner.

Nightly chats with my partner.

At work.

Do not speak in reaction, practice self-honest expression, breathe through desire for attention. Speak what comes up within me as points or realizations.

Practice how to: Listen. Breathe. Be Natural. Calm. Comfortable.

Write out points to work through fears in relation to communicating. Practice listening, breathing through reactions while talking on the phone or in person. Note points that come up after chatting. Push self-honesty. Listen.

 

Letting Go of OCD While Birthing A New Me

letting go of ocd birthing a new me

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.

 

Is OCD My Identity? Why is it So Hard to Let it Go? Who Am I Without It?

ocd identity

I am in a very interesting place right now. I feel completely empty and stuck – but for surprising reasons. I was pretty bad about a week ago. I had very little control and I had visible un-hide-able marks on my face and body. It felt really bad, and that ‘bad’ feeling really motivated me to do something to assist and support myself to get better.

‘Bad’ meaning – I didn’t like being around others, facing others at work. I didn’t want to be seen without makeup on, but I don’t like wearing makeup, so once I washed it off for the day I would just stay in my room to not be seen. This creates isolation and some friction in my home as others may become concerned about me and then I tend to react to that because I don’t want to talk about it when I am in it. So I close myself off, and life becomes somewhat unpleasant and it this situation causes me to want to do it more, and then it is a downward spiral. (Check out this video on isolating self within/as feeling undeserving: ‘I Don’t Deserve It’)

But not this time. This time I stepped up and supported myself – through writing, making small commitments, supporting myself through online resources, especially Desteni.org and Eqafe.com. I also started a 21 day commitment to do something OTHER than OCD, where I take one moment a day to do something beneficial for me, and I film it, like a vlog challenge. I have not posted any of the videos because I wanted to make sure it is for me only, not to please others and to not create an accountability to others. I want this challenge to be for me only to create a self-accountability.

My plan is to do another 21 day challenge publicly, but I am walking the point alone first. It is only day 6 and I have been experiencing success. My skin is healed and I have proven to myself as able to commit for longer than I have before. And now I have hit a wall. I have no visible marks, and it’s like, now I have no purpose to move and continue. Isn’t that interesting? I just feel empty and like there is no meaning.

One of the greatest things I was gifting to myself within this challenge has been that I felt I was creating a self-value. Each time I did something beneficial for me instead of OCD, it’s like, I felt this worth growing. But now that I have no visible marks, it is like I have nothing there, no identity, no reason to move me because I’m okay. I’m no longer ‘damaged’ and ‘healing myself’.

I have noticed this before though, it is part of a greater cycle where, whenever I am in this position, I have this experience, and I fall back in to OCD. It’s like self-sabotage, and I actually can feel myself slipping away. I have already short circuited the cycle on the upward part, wherein I come out of OCD and heal, but I have never hit the top and just kept going. This time, I would like it to be different. I would like to short circuit the programming and keep it up instead of falling back.

So, I see what is necessary here is to create something new from here. I need a goal, I need to understand the challenge I will face, and I need a reason. I will give these to myself now:

The goal is to manage OCD; to live in awareness of the triggers and assist and support myself to channel the energetic reactions to something other than OCD. Basically, the goal is to live a ‘normal’ life, where my time is spent on constructive things, where I build, grow and expand myself to be and become something greater than what I had previously thought possible.

The challenge will be pushing myself through the void. The void is the space left where OCD once was. It is the platform of the creation process. ‘Creation’ because it feels like there is nothing there already, there is nothing (or very little) familiar there to hang on to, and no blue print yet.

The motivation is that I will be creating self-worth, self-love, self-acceptance, and a new me that I want to be: all things I have always wanted. Completeness, self-discipline, to be and become the decision-making authority in my life. To live a life of minimal regrets.

So I have to ask myself: do I really want this, or is there still a part of me that wants OCD?

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to want, need and desire OCD because it is all I know, it is comfortable, safe and familiar.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not know what to replace OCD with, and to feel instead like a big empty void and not know what to put there.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear that within this not-knowing, OCD will come back and settle back in to that place.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to use my self-trust that I will push this and find what needs to go into that place.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think and believe that without OCD life is cold and hard and unforgiving.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to see, realize and understand that OCD is that which is cold, hard and unforgiving.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to seek the comfort of OCD.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think and believe that life will be so hard all the time and I will live in constant discomfort without OCD.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear not knowing what to do because I can’t picture what life will be like without having OCD to constantly pre-occupy me.

When and as I want to slip back into OCD I stop, and I breathe. I bring myself back to self-commitment by reminding myself that I am more than reason enough to keep pushing, I remind myself that I have self-trust that I will not be hard on myself, and I will not accept and allow my life to be cold and uncompromising, because I have learned to take care of myself with gentleness and assertiveness together to be ale to direct myself through any storm.

I commit myself to support myself to create a self beyond OCD.

I commit myself to push myself to manage OCD even when it feels like I am in a void.

I commit myself to explore life without OCD.

I commit myself to create value and worth in my life to replace OCD.

Stopping OCD: Who Am I Doing This For?

spinning

When I have visible marks from dermatillomania, this is how I feel when others see me:

I feel ashamed

I feel not normal

I feel embarrassed

I feel exposed

I feel disappointed

I feel angry

I feel frustrated

I feel self-pity

I feel scared

I feel vulnerable

I feel like running away/hiding.

 

When no one sees the marks I feel:

I feel Fine

I feel that I like myself

I feel I want to help myself heal

I feel like it doesn’t matter

 

Why is it that I experience myself differently when I am alone and when I am with people? I think the common misconception is that it is the people that are causing me to feel these negative emotions. But the truth is that if it exists inside of me, no one put it there but myself. So, in essence, when I am alone, I am better able to hide from those negative experiences that are brought up when I am with other people. When I am with other people I feel like they are judging me for what I have done to myself. However, what I can see is that it has nothing to do with people outside of myself, I can’t know what is going on in their minds. But I do know very well what is going on in my own mind.

So basically, when I am placed in a situation where I am with others, I am being shown how I am in fact judging myself, and what it is that I accept and allow to feel, think or believe about myself already.

The interesting thing here that can be used as self-support is the fact that, when I am with other people, I am more strict with myself. I am more ‘motivated’ to stop and really apply myself due to not wanting to experience these negative things. I can see more clearly what it is that skin-picking is doing to me, my life, and my self-relationship.

So I see that I can make a re-alignment here wherein I stop making it about ‘other people’ and how ‘they’ are making me feel, and instead make it about ME, and how I feel about myself, and how I create a heaviness, burden, tension and stress.

I have walked this point in this blog specifically, and touched upon it in many others, where I see that I have used makeup/concealer/cover up to present a ‘normal’ picture presentation of myself and function in the world normally. This can be like hiding from facing myself, but I see that as long as I am using and applying it IN AWARENESS of what I am covering up and why, I can still bring my reactions back to myself and take responsibility for them. I still know what I do and how I live, and I will not hide that from myself.

What I have seen in terms of these reactions still coming up to this day however, is because deep down, on a much deeper level, I can SEE and I KNOW that I am not applying myself as much as I could be to stop this disorder. I know that I accept and allow it in moments where I am alone and don’t have to face it by reflecting it off of others. I see that I do not push discipline and self-movement when I don’t really have to do it for anyone else.

So here I ask myself, why do I value doing it for others above and beyond doing it for me? Shouldn’t I be the most important reason? Shouldn’t I be even more motivated and disciplined to do it for myself, and then as an outflow of this, be able to be cool and satisfied with myself around others as well? I see that the message I am giving to myself when I do it in reverse, where I do it for others first to avoid feeling bad, instead of doing it for myself first to be able to know that I am stable and doing everything possible to support myself, I am sending the message that I am not as important, not good enough, not worth it. I am saying that I only value myself through others, through their validation of me.

The point and realization here is that I need to start doing this for myself first, not just in my mind as a realization, but in my living actions. Even if it doesn’t feel like it right away, I see that when I push myself for ME, such as in moments where I am alone and I know I can ‘get away’ with it, but I instead decide to stand and take supportive actions and move myself, that those are the most empowering moments on so many levels. Things such as stopping, even after some damage is done, AND being GRATEFUL to myself for stopping, and not just looking at my fall for having succumbed for a moment. Things such as making a commitment and sticking to it, even if I fall or miss a day, to forgive myself and stand back up, showing appreciation and gentleness, cause I am learning. Things like making myself look and feel nice for me, even if I am just alone with myself at the time.

If I don’t do these types of things for myself, I can already see that I will waste so much of my life hiding, isolating myself and diminishing myself in my life and living. This is not the life I would choose for myself, or anyone for that matter. I choose to stand, and I choose to live out the actions that tell me directly that I see and realize that I am in fact worth it, and that only I can bring out that worth that is already inherently there.

This can only be shown and proven to self in living actions, because that is the evidence that what I am saying is for real. I can and have spent many moments up in my mind about how I want to change, value myself and show me that I am worth it, and I can get quite emotional about it. But unless I actually SHOW myself by ACTING on it, creating visible evidence and proof for myself in my life, it will only ever remain in my mind, acting instead as a form of dis-empowerment, because I have realized it, but not taken the initiative to do anything about it. This is where I create shame, embarrassment, hiding, disappointment, sadness, anger, frustration and self-pity, all of the things I feel when I am seen by others. It is not them; it is all me and who and how I decide to be every day.

 

In this Moment – I Changed (Planting the Seeds of Change)

seed

I just read a blog I had written in 2013, and I was struck at how much I have changed since then. It’s funny how we can forget how much we have changed over time because it tends to happen quite slowly, and it’s cool to blog and document progress because it produces moments like these. Here is the blog, and at the end I will give an update on how I am doing now:

“I’ve noticed that while on my way to work, regardless of what time it is, I will become anxious about getting to there on time. I have been late to work SO MANY times because of OCD and skin-picking, because I would become trapped within a skin picking session up till the last minute, and then I would have to hurriedly apply make-up to look ‘normal’ again for work. Throughout this entire play-out I would be building and generating anxiety until I was tightly wound up; and this would be the starting point of my day.

This has happened so many times over the years that I find, even when I am not late I  will automatically go into this anxiety before work as a habit because it’s what I’m so used to. It’s become all that I know. I feel as though, if I do not go through these motions I will not be able to get to work at all, because in the past, it has been the anxiety of getting to work that has broken me out of the skin-picking possession and got me moving towards actually getting out the door. So now there exists the belief that without the anxiety, I cannot move myself, and I won’t get to work.

 

Continuing with this common sequence: after I would get myself out the door and off to work, I would be in a really unpleasant state. I would get to work, and would probably have an air about me, or a presence about me that others may react to. Whether I did or not, I can never be sure, but what is certain, is the fact that because I felt so anxious already, and because I would also feel insecure due to the fact that my picture presentation was covered in flaws, and because I created and manifested the anger at myself, the fear, the self-loathing caused by picking, I would reflect it back to myself off of my coworkers.

 

For example: one day as I arrived to work, and as I was walking by a couple co-workers I said “good morning”. One of them looked at me and replied, but the other one just looked at me and turned away and began talking again. As I continued walking to put my coat away I remember this having given me a really bad feeling, I felt like they disliked me, did not want me there, and painfully endured my presence.

 

So, the interesting thing about this is that these thoughts or emotions can only be experienced by me if I created them already- somewhere in my life I accepted and allowed myself to feel these ways about myself, ways which are now activated within and through certain situations. So, within self-honesty I can see, realize and understand that I in fact painfully endure my own presence at times, especially within and as OCD. I dislike myself when I participate in the self-abusive habits that I participate in. I in fact don’t want to be me when I feel the way I do after I have had a pick session, for example.

 

I thought about this that day, and I tried something new to see if they were in fact feeling this way about me, or if I was simply creating it all in my mind. I walked back over there and asked how they were doing, and the other one ignored me again. So I pushed through the fear, self-consciousness and anger, looked straight at her and asked if something was wrong. This seemed to surprise her or catch her off guard, she sort of snapped out of it and apologized. She actually reached out and touched my arm, and participated in a very warm and welcoming interaction.

 

As it turned out, she was dealing with an extremely stressful situation within one of her work-cases, and she was trying to figure it out with the other co-worker. She was just completely wrapped up in it, and had probably worked herself up into a state where she was so self-involved in her own situation that she was not concerned or aware of the impression she was giving off to others- which is the exact same way that I become. So when I pushed it a little by asking her if anything was wrong, I learned it had nothing to do with me at all. I had just been taking everything personally, and consequently feeding my own cycles of self-loathing, insecurity and lack of self-acceptance.
Within the state of mind I enter into within and through the disorder of OCD, I become even more prone to these self-experiences, by taking so many things throughout my day personally because I set myself up to already feel this way: so a glance, a comment, my own internal conversations, etc…  using all of this to accept and allow myself to feel terrible; creating and manifesting an absolutely dreadful internal experience, and then getting home to abuse myself within OCD as a release and escape from it, only to start the whole cycle over again- waking up the next morning and not wanting to face the day ahead. Reluctant to get out of bed, and feeling fatigued on my drive to work because of this absolute reluctance and the anxiety that I create for myself—I mean, is this living? Or is this simply enduring the day? Within and through OCD, I create a life which that I can’t endure and which I would rather escape, but I see now that with a little awareness, I can stop a LOT of the experiences by pushing through the situations I create for myself, simply by using common sense and pushing through a small wall of emotion.”

That is the end of the older blog, and it has been a few years since then…

So how am I doing now?

 

Well, in the mornings, I have a routine that does not include OCD or skin picking. If I slip, it is very minimal, I can get out of it and move on to the next point quite easily or fluidly. I am more aware.

 

When I look at how I arrive at work now I can see that it puts me in a good mood (sometimes a little distracting as I enjoy my co-workers so much that I have to pull myself away and focus on working). I do say hello to everyone, even at times going around to people that sit further away to make a connection and ‘check-in’. I really like this and the dynamic it creates between us.

 

I laugh a lot with my co-workers and generally have a pretty good time, even spending time together outside of work (and have gone on two vacations with co-workers). I would say the relationships I have at work are worthwhile, deeper that I have been used to, but have a light, easy-going feel to them. I am so glad I walked this point, and it is cool to see one of the first moments of correction where it started years ago.

 

So what am I reflecting to myself now within my experience around others? I would say a lot more self-acceptance and self-appreciation. It is to the point where I am now pushing more self-expression, to express me and get to know myself as who I am when I am not constantly judging me and looking at my flaws.

 

This is how the process works, one moment at a time, which accumulates into many moments and then just becomes a way of living. This is how we can create a life worth living for ourselves. Not just with getting along well at work, but within realizing that we are the creators of our own lives, starting with the small, and working to the great. My one condition is that the life I create will be one where I value, respect and honour all Life in my living application, and live according to principle, such as giving as I would like to receive, and doing what’s best for everyone, not just me.