This OCD compulsion is sneaky
This is Nathan Peterson, licensed clinician and OCD specialist. This one compulsion is so very common and most don't even know they're doing it. I often talk about sneaky compulsions. These compulsions come in so many different forms. If you don't know what a compulsion is, it is the thought, behavior, or action that someone might take in order to attempt to gain certainty with their fear and/or reduce anxiety.
Here's the compulsion. Telling your OCD story. No don't get me wrong, there are times in your life where you need to tell your experiences. Go through the thoughts and feelings. But many tell their story daily. Whether it be on forums, groups, or to their loved ones. It seems so innocent to do so but let me share with you the dangers of taking this path. What ends up happening is that the individual that suffers with OCD shares the story time and time and time again. And when I mean story I mean they are sharing an experience they had in the day. They are sharing an intrusive thought that came their way. They are sharing a feeling that they have. Essentially, they are confessing their thoughts.
They are not necessarily looking for reassurance. Instead they are just simply sharing what they're going through. Here's the tricky part, for most, not all... They are receiving reassurance. Maybe they don't even though they are doing so. They are receiving reassurance because they just shared their experience to someone and that person did not freak out. That person may have given them reassurance. They may have looked at their facial expression to see if they think I'm crazy or do they not. Do you think I'm OK or do they not. The sense of being a roundabout way of receiving reassurance. I mean heck, we're taught our whole life to share experiences. But when it comes to intrusive thoughts and obsessions, we were verification and certainty. We want support.
See what happens if you don't. If you feel that overwhelming need to share, maybe you feel like you won't get better until you do, it may be a compulsion. Maybe delay it. You're not waiting for your spouse to get home to tell them what you've gone through. You wait two or three hours after they've already been home. See if you can wait. If your loved one or support person has asked you to share what you've gone through. You may still have to evaluate and ask yourself, why am I sharing this intrusive thought today. Is it to gain support what is the gain Comfort and reassurance.
There are obviously instances where sharing your experiences and story are important. To someone like a therapist. Some may set up checkpoints. Meaning they have set a certain time every other day or every week whatever is reasonable to share and experience at a certain time. But again it's looking at if this is going to help or hurt your OCD. I would love it if people changed talking about their OCD experience that day to here is how I used treatment with my OCD experience.
I had this intrusive thought today while I was driving. Guess what I did, I kept driving, I didn't look in my rear view mirror, I didn't go back and check. I kept driving. What does does is promote treatment more than give the story more power and value.
Think about this the next time you want to share about your intrusive thoughts or OCD story. If you've been watching my other videos, we've learned that OCD is OCD and we give the thoughts no value or power. So, to help with this process, not going through it and "figuring it out" shows that it's all fluff. It doesn't mean that you don't matter, it may just mean that those thoughts are error messages that don't need to pay attention to.
To help you build a stronger muscle to stop these compulsions, go watch this video, where I talk about simple tricks to stop compulsions all together.
Thanks so much for watching and I'll see you next time.
Compulsions people do with OCD
Recovery from OCD is possible
Isn't this the question we have with anything we want to go away in our life? How long will I have this? This question can cause a lot of anxiety to think about and bring a lot of comfort. It all depends on what mindset you have.
To jump right into it, recovering from OCD depends on many factors. Do I have the right tools and am using the right treatment? Am I actually using the treatment often? Do I have a strong foundation for therapy?
For many, treatment can be relatively quick. Individuals can feel better sooner, while others it may take longer. It also depends on the severity of symptoms. It's already infiltrated itself into your day, we might as well do something with it.
I almost hesitate to give a specific number because I do not want you to be your timeline because your timeline is YOURS. Here is what I've heard many specialists suggest their own research. Many can expect to feel recovered between 12-20 therapy sessions and can see a clinically significant decrease in OCD symptoms. Others give a timeline of 2 months. Personally in my own practice, I've seen individuals for a few weeks and others a couple of years. There is not that magical formula that fits each person, but I'll share with you what I see as a standard for individuals getting better quicker.
-Using exposure and response prevention the correct way.
-Building an exposure hierarchy to help you face your fears in a gradual way
-Doing these exposures daily and when I mean daily I don't mean 1x a day. I mean, making it your part-time job. It could be hours.
-Simply put. You've got to stop doing compulsions. Even if you're feeling anxiety.
-Your focus must be on recovery. It needs to take priority.
-You must accept the anxiety, fears, doubt, and guilt and decide they bring no more value into your life. You can't be wishy-washy. "I'll accept this fear, but have to figure out this one."
All these things are taught in my online OCD course. I'll link it here. You can even try it for free.
Ultimately, who's going to get better quicker. The person who knows the tools and will do them every once in a while or the person who's dedicated themselves to recovery. They recognize the pitfalls, where they can improve and use resources around them.
I do want you to know that you can recover from OCD. Things can get better. I also want you to have realistic expectations of what "recovery" means. For some, it may mean they are feeling minimal symptoms. For others, they've reduced symptoms up to 60% and are okay with that. Others may not feel symptoms for weeks, months, years. But here's the deal, this doesn't happen by doing treatment for a few months and then be golden for years to come. It's something you work on to maintain the progress that you've made. So when you hear others say online, "I am recovered" keep this in mind.
Here is the most important thing. Your recovery is your own. Your timeline is your own. If you do get caught up in, "how long will this take" you may give yourself an answer like, "it takes as long as it takes and I've accepted this."
I want you to get on top of this, you need to go right now watch the 25 tips for succeeding in your own OCD here.
Thanks so much for watching and I'll see you next time.
What recovery looks like for OCD
The truth about OCD recovery
The idea of manifesting thoughts can sound exciting. If I think hard enough and have the right mindset, I’ll get all the things I want in my life. Sounds great right? In this video, let's talk about why manifesting and the law of attraction can be harmful to your mental health. Especially if you have OCD or anxiety.
The word ‘manifestation' means to create something or turn something from an idea into a reality. In psychology, manifestation generally means using our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs to bring something to our physical reality. Now, there is a difference between wanting something and having a great mindset to achieve it... vs. using the idea of manifesting to get what you want. Some believe that you must do certain behaviors to get what you want. If I want to attract someone else and move them closer to me, I can start by thinking really hard, putting all my energy into this thought. Using meditation, to really visualize that person coming into your life. I picture it all, I’m feeling like I want it to happen. I may be using mantras and using words like, “I’m going to get together with that person” or “when we date, we’re going to watch a lot of movies.” Some use scripting, where they will write out what they desire and be confident they are going to get that thing. Seems pretty harmless right? Maybe it's just confidence. I want something sooo incredibly bad that I simply have a commanding, positive attitude about it and expect it to happen.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of someone else’s manifesting? It’s like saying, someone else has control over you. For some reason you’re all of a sudden drawn to them. My body is moving toward the door, I know think this person is attractive.... It’s saying their thoughts made something happen.
Me having a positive attitude about getting a job, being confident, using mantras doesn’t guarantee me a job. I have to WORK for it. Positive thoughts are wonderful and great, they can bring motivation to move toward things we want and achieve our dreams, but NOTHING is guaranteed. Having this mindset that our thoughts made something happen trains our brain to make connections that are complete guesses. Maybe, I got the job because I was qualified and they liked my personality. This video isn’t about not having positive thoughts. It’s about understanding the dangers of thinking your thoughts are going to make something happen.
There is something called the law of attraction, of which I agree with. It says that you "will attract into your life whatever you focus on." Agreed..... But Here is danger. What happens when you start having intrusive thoughts? The thoughts that just won’t stop. You don’t have control over how many times you have them. You have thoughts about something bad happening. You have negative thoughts about someone else. You have negative thoughts about yourself. These thoughts can be sexual in nature, harm related, religious and just plain random. A thought like, "you're going to throw your baby down the stairs" --- Will my brain now believe that I am manifesting something. It's likely, if I believe and follow the manifesting mindset. The brain lives in fear and prevents something bad from happening when in reality, a thought is a thought. Then it applies to the negative intrusive thoughts. My intrusive thought says, something bad is going to happen as school and tells you this 100 times. With manifesting and the "law of attraction", you must now believe that something bad will now happen.
Individuals who struggle with OCD and anxiety often think that their thoughts mean something great. Anxiety warns them of this danger, so they must follow it right? This is called thought action fusion. Because I have a certain thought, it will now manifest into something real. This affects our mental health because we will now see all thoughts with a lot of meaning. It may stop us from living the life we want because of the fears associated with having a thought that you did not choose to have.
What’s even scarer is the tips those teaching how to manifest. For instance, advice given is to use the 5x55 technique. Write down what you want to happen 55 times for 5 days strait. Hello, does this not sound like a compulsion. Something you are choosing to do to get a desired outcome that you have zero control over. In fact, it plays with magical thinking OCD. People do behaviors to avoid negative situations from happening. Things that actually wouldn't have happened, but just in case, I'll do tap this thing a few times.
Ultimately, here’s the deal. If you want something positive in your life. Be confident, move towards your goals. If it happens it happens. Live and enjoy life. Not get stuck in thinking our thoughts alone will make something happen. I would love love love a million dollars, maybe, if I put all my energy into thinking about having it, I write it down a thousand times, I am confident I will have it....dude, it may show up in my mailbox. Does that sound silly? It does to me.
Thoughts are not facts. Thoughts are thought. It’s an electrical signal that spreads like a wave of a thousand neurons. The only power we have after a thought is formed is what we’re going to do with it. So if I want a million dollars, I'm going to work for it. I'm going to have a positive mindset. I'm not going to magically "manifest" it into my life or my mailbox. Maybe we change the word manifesting to to plain old planning. My goals are get a promotion at work. I'm going to write this down and create steps for me to achieve it. I will evaluate my goals and change things as needed.
how to manifest thoughts
magical thinking ocd
Nathan Peterson, LCSW
OCD can be tricky! I want to provide useful information for your OCD, anxiety, tics, tourette's, BFRBs, and many other anxiety related disorders.