Letting Go of OCD While Birthing A New Me

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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.

 

OCD and Compulsive Skin-Picking; Causes, Solutions

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What happens to the thoughts we suppress? The question is whether they simply vanish and cease to affect us, or whether they remain within our physical bodies and manifest physically such as symptoms, emotions/feelings and disorders? Unfortunately, what I have seen in my personal experience within myself over the years, is that all suppressed things are still here in the present moment. They exist in the form of the sometimes ‘childish’ reactions in moments, the inner tantrums, the stress and anxiety that has morphed over time into adult themes, and they exist within the patterns lived and within for example, dermatillomania. It requires only to be triggered, and it will re-emerge again, having never really left.

That being said, what I would like to do from here, is to ‘unpack’ this experience of suppression which is hidden from the world, and dwelt with, alone within oneself as one’s secret burden. Unpacking through taking self-responsibility for the reactions that have been suppressed in the past and which live in the present as they come up again and again, impossible to ignore.

To ‘take responsibility’ by looking into the reactions and seeing them for what they are. Isolation and loneliness are only valid if we accept and allow them to exist in us, and then we participate in actually creating them in our realities. The thoughts, ideas, beliefs and perceptions we hold about ourselves as dermatillomania sufferers are made real only through our participation within them by constantly thinking about them and acting on them. We are most certainly not the monsters we believe ourselves to be! We do not have to carry a burden or be the prisoners of our own minds. We have created this inner prison, and now it is up to us to learn how to better manage it and free ourselves.

And this is what I intend to do. Here, starting with myself, by having a look at some of my own personal examples of suppression. I am going to start by locating a pattern of suppression and concealment by looking at a recent experience where I went into a reaction which I dwelt with instead of finding and living a practical solution for myself.

1)  I had made a mistake at work, and I perceived a woman in my environment as being annoyed. She reacted in what I interpreted as impatience.

Instead of simply brushing it off, because there is no possible way I can know what someone else is thinking, and focusing instead on why I made a mistake and how to avoid it in the future, my mind was occupied with reactive thoughts. I reacted in self –judgment and began thinking negative thoughts about myself through the eyes of my colleague. I imagined the colleague thinking that I’m slow, that I’m not too bright, that I can’t be depended on, that I ‘m difficult to work with, and so on. In retrospect, I can see that the thoughts were very harsh towards myself, it was like putting myself down and then continuing to kick. Consequently, what I was doing was setting myself up to make more mistakes as I distract myself with these imaginary play-outs and as my confidence diminishes with each and every self-deprecating thought: thus manifesting the actual reality I was creating in my mind. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy made real through my participation in thoughts; participation through thinking them, fueling them, and focusing on them without directing myself to do otherwise.

To continue: I can see that the particular reaction was intensified within this specific situation for two reasons:

  • I had built up ideas charged with positive energy around the particular task I was working on, and it had become part of my self-image: me being a ‘star’ at work, getting praise from my bosses, getting a promotion, taking on more responsibility and being seen as ‘dependable’ by all.

My critical error here is Instead of humbly and diligently investing myself and my focus into my learning process (which is bound to be full of mistakes and mishaps till I get it), I instead invested into an idea of myself at the end of that learning process, focusing more on how I am perceived at my job, gaining a better title, or being capable of taking on more responsibility. This causes me to, during the learning process, feel insecure and constantly ‘at risk’ of losing that idea or image with every mistake and blunder, because in this particular situation, it is based in nothing real or of substance (yet). If I should ‘fail’ at it in any way, the failure is now absolute because it had become about how I define and see myself within myself.  I would feel like a fraud because what I had presented as ‘who I am’ has now been proven faulty, causing every mistake to be a blow to the entirety of how I view myself, which causes all sorts of reactions.

In the self-forgiveness and self-corrective application to follow, I will direct myself within how to now instead invest my self-image or self-definition within and as ‘Who I Am’ instead of ‘what I do’ or what labels I carry.

2) (Reaction intensifier #2) I had built up ideas around the woman.

When the thoughts seemed innocently ‘about her’ (she’s so organized, professional, responsible, beautiful, feminine etc…), they are really all about me. What I’m really telling myself is: “I’m so dis-organized, un-professional, irresponsible, ugly, masculine etc…”. The consequence of this is that I would begin to place her above myself in some kind of imaginary ranking system wherein she is exalted in my own mind, and now her words carry more weight and power over me.

With these two trigger in mind, the pattern I see here is:

1) Placing my value on something outside of myself, such as a job, title, promotion or recognition, causing insecurity and therefore stress and worry, because I have placed myself in an ‘at risk’ situation where I become defensive instead of embracing opportunities of learning.

2) Not viewing myself as equal to everyone around me, thus giving my power away to others.

All of this re-enforces my negative self-image, and places me squarely into a position of apparent powerlessness.

As multiple such reactions take place throughout the day, the pressure builds and intensifies. To me, the pressure feels as if it were ‘festering’ inside of me. It is very uncomfortable and distracting. It is heavy and burdensome, and it leads to the feelings of, for example, the self-disgust experienced by dermatillomania sufferers which is NOT improved by the appearance of blemished and irritated skin.

Altogether, this creates a toxic environment and sets oneself up to live out this pattern of self-belittling internal conversations, which become a self-fulfilling prophecy, which makes the thoughts seem as though they were real and true in the first place. This leads to the feelings of, for example, the self-disgust experienced by dermatillomania sufferers which, after a day of talking down to oneself, one would get home feeling terribly anxious about of whole broad spectrum of things.

Stay tuned! I will continue in my next blog with self-forgiveness statements.

Diffusing the Inner Time-Bomb

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Within this blog I will be digging in a little deeper, based on the support I was given here:
 “I didn’t have such problem with my face per se but arms, and it all stemmed from perceiving myself as being flawed/ inadequate/ ugly/ anxious and it’s like a zoning out because of the amount of meticulous attention you put into this mechanical effort yet the relief was not experiencing myself.”

“It’s like one is so entertained with doing it that everything else just disappears, including the thoughts because we become that activity in itself without any other consideration. “

…”which was in essence using that physical act to cover up the Inner experience”

“for me the ocd started with obsessive cleaning/arranging stuff in a specific way when I was around 5-6, and I see how I used the point as a way to channel my internal experiences of absolute dread/horror/fear/anxiety – experiences which I had due to living in an abusive environment where I was unable to actually express my experiences.”
“What we’ve identified here is simply a series of distractions that we use to not take self responsibility, which many times it won’t be a ‘doing something’ but rather learning how to exist without a constant need to move/ do something all the time, which is like an ingrained level of ‘energy’ to deal with and channel it through any means. The ‘ways’ vary from person to person due to environmental influence as we’ve described, but the starting point is the same: existing as energy, not physical”.

Basically, what I am seeing, realizing and understanding within this recent support, is that what is being done from an early age, is not dealing with the internal experiences of emotions and feelings, but instead occupying and focusing oneself so much on one activity that the experiences become drowned out.

In this, the internal experience is suppressed, pushed down, not understood and at the same time, continuously created. This would predictably lead to the need for more and more distraction, more intense focus, deeper attention to detail, and eventually an all-encompassing disorder- as the generating of internal energies and experiences has not been ceased nor directed, but has been allowed to run rampant.

Of course then there is a sense of no control- because nothing real is being practically addressed or directed. Within not understanding what is being created within, or how it’s being created, it will just continue to build. And then in not directing it once it’s there, but instead avoiding it, it will need to come out somewhere, in some form of activity. And that activity will be unique to the individual, based on their life experience, upbringing, genetics, environment etc…

So this leads me to ask myself: what am I generating within myself, and how exactly am I doing it? This will be the topic of my next blog.

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