How to tell if it's OCD or me
I asked you to tell me the most common thought you have regarding your OCD and here is the resounding answer. "How do I know if my thoughts or feelings are OCD or if they are really me.?" If it really is me, it means I'm a scary, dangerous, dirty, and bad person. But if it's my OCD, then I get a pass. So why can't you tell if it's really your OCD or if it's really you? In this video you're going to learn why it's so difficult to see the difference, if it even matters, and you how to respond the next time you question it. No time to waste! Let's get to it! I'm going to give you the quick answer, but that doesn't mean you'll leave the video right...right...right! I need you to stay to the end.
Here's the sitch, You cannot tell if it is you or your OCD because of the emotion and attention you are bringing it. Because you have OCD, the connections in your brain are attaching a big emotion such as anxiety to an intrusive thought. An intrusive thought that is likely to be had by most people. It's okay for our brain to throughout intrusive thoughts. Doesn't matter what it's related to. This anxiety felt make everything feel dangerous and important. It activates this fight or flight response.
When we're in this mode, the brain and body go into problem solving. You have to know if what you're experiencing is true or not. You have to know if you're really in danger. Protect, protect, protect! So in simple terms, the reason you question if it's really you or your OCD is because you don't want it to be you. Because it goes against your value system and who you are as a person if these thoughts WERE you. But, that's the nature of OCD, going toward your values, making something feel extremely real, putting lots of power to it and then it stands back to see how you're going to respond to it. Before we give that response to the OCD,
We're going to keep it waiting, because it hates it. Hey bro! You're not sure if this thought is you or OCD, so on the safe side, do the compulsion. Does this sound familiar? Most will feel guilt or shame because they feel like they need to....just in case that thought wasn't really OCD. So we know it's tough to decipher and let me give you the golden answer of how you can know if it's OCD or not..... "Shifty eyes" ...... That's not your job. Ahhh, I see you ready to click off the video. Seriously, hear this.
The more you attempt to discover if it's OCD or not the more you stay stuck. And I hear you on the other side of that screen. "BUT, I NEED TO KNOW IF I'M A BAD PERSON OR NOT OR IF I WOULD REALLY DO THAT THING OR NOT." FALSE! You don't, your OCD would like to know that answer only to make you doubt again.
So here is a response instead.... Ew..."did you just have that thought about that person? I can't believe you did that?" My answer... Thanks for the thought, bro. Yea, but that's really you and not your OCD, this is important. "Okay, thanks for the feedback, riveting stuff." You need to feel guilt. Shame on you. "I'm loving all those feelings." We don't reason with it. We don't use logic. We don't figure it out. We live our lives!
Your job isn't to figure this all out. It's to NOT do any compulsion because what we learn is that the obsessions don't matter. They really don't. It's all white noise. The way you are responding to this question, "is this me or my OCD?" will determine the trajectory of your triggers, anxiety, shame, doubts and guilt. Some make commitments, "I choose to not figure out what is real and what is my OCD?"
That's not my job. My job is to live life right now in this moment. I will not do any compulsion. This does not mean that for the rest of your life you're suffering. It actually means, you're brining more rays of hope that bring you closer to recovery. These compulsions are tough to break, so please go watch this video where I give some simple tricks to help you stop these compulsions. Thanks so much for watching and I'll see you next time!
OCD vs normal thoughts
What is false attraction OCD
Ahhhh, you're attracted to someone other than your significant other. Attracted to someone of your same gender. Someone older than you, someone younger. Someone close to you. Someone or something you feel like you shouldn't be attracted to. What the heck are you supposed to do about this? It's making you anxious mixed with a lot of doubt. Is it OCD or is it really you?
By the end of this video (and I know you'll stay to the end) you will learn why you may have false attraction and what to do about it. However, this video is not meant to be used for reassurance.
For most who struggle with OCD, false attraction seems to rear its ugly head. I use the word FALSE attraction, but most don't actually recognize the "false" part.... They will continually wonder, check, ask questions, research online and problem solve until they are blue in the face and STILL at the end of it all, not be sure if it was REALLY them that is attracted or if it was their OCD.
Here is what's happening. OCD by nature not only makes someone doubt their thoughts, but our emotions and physical sensations too. So a natural thought of, oh wow, that girl's cute can send someone through a spiral. They get shocked by the thought. I'm married, I can't have these thoughts. Great...what does it mean? It must mean I don't love my spouse. Maybe I don't think they are pretty enough. I'm thinking about it so much now and avoiding looking at that person again, that I'm starting to notice physical sensations. I'm not sure if I'm aroused. GREAT! If I'm aroused, it now verifies my attraction to them. My anxiety is also verifying to me that this is true.
So what's happening here is all the value I'm putting on a simple thought. What if I just saw someone and had a thought of "they're cute" and moved forward. Nothing has to mean anything, unless we put meaning to it. Without it being reassurance, people simply are feeling attraction or "false" attraction due to the meaning we've put behind it.
With OCD, it automatically wants to throw this meaning in and simply wants you to problem solve. But you're not going to do that anymore. Do you know what you're going to do?
Not figure it out anymore. Dun, dun, duuuuunnn! That's right! Nothing. Nada. Ziltch. See that person and think they're cute. Get aroused. Allow the thoughts. BUT, when it happens, you no longer are going to figure it out and this is what you can say...."Yep" That's a thought. "Coolio" I'm feeling all the feelings" "maybe I'm super attracted, maybe not." You are not problem solving this. Our job is to continue to move forward regardless of the thoughts, feelings, emotions, urges, etc.
When you finally surrender to not finding the answer, your brain stops putting value to it and as I mentioned, it does not matter what you feel "attracted" to. OCD is OCD. White noise throwing out anything to see if you'll connect.
Do you ever wonder if you're really attracted to anyone or anything, mixed with strong anxiety emotions? Live your life! That's your job. Not figure any of this out. This may mean, getting rid of the compulsions. Those things you're doing to avoid the perceived threat.
To gain the upper hand, go over and watch my video about what to do when your OCD tells you that you LIKE these thoughts.
Thanks so much for watching and I'll see you next time.
Am I feeling false attraction
How do I know if I'm attracted to someone
OCD and mood swings
OCD mood swings are a thing. You may have depression, anger, guilt, shame, stress, worry, low self-worth, get easily overwhelmed, and may even cry for long periods of time. But I wonder.....if you didn't struggle with OCD, would you experience all these other emotions?
By the end of this video, you're going to learn why your OCD may a possible cause to some of your other moods and feelings AND what we're going to do about it.
OCD can big whirlwind of distress and doubt. What happens when you're distressed and cannot find a good solution to relieve it. You get angry. Frustrated. Annoyed. You may even lash out at someone else. When there isn't a good answer to your OCD worries, sadness comes about, some may isolate. When we feel overwhelmed, we cry. The body just cannot handle the situation anymore.
There is often a drastic fluctuation in mood with someone who experiences OCD. We tend to think it's just anxiety. But when these unwanted thoughts, images, impulses and triggers happen, where are we to turn? Our body has to compensate somewhere. If I have a thought that God is not real, I may have intense guilt. If I have intrusive thoughts that go against my value system, I may experience disgust and shame.
It seems like a lot of these filter down to depression. The ultimate emotion that says, you're stuck, you're not moving forward, there is no hope for you. What's the point?
It's easy in these modes to start blaming others for triggering the OCD or not helping you engage in a compulsion. Rage and anger join the party. Ultimately, the person just wants relief.
So to me, OCD tends to be the base and intensifier to so many other emotions. Causing them to skyrocket at times and causing someone to feel very low. Even feel like they are going crazy.
So here is what we're going to do about these OCD mood swings.
So here is one method many choose to do is externalize their OCD. Some have given their OCD a name. Sup Jimmy. Oh Karen, there you are.
Externalizing the OCD separates yourself from it. So the intrusive thought you're having is no longer YOU. We're not using this as reassurance to convince yourself that it's not you. We're simply giving you a new mindset to say, "my OCD is telling me this intrusive thought" "my OCD is telling me I am a bad person." "My OCD is throwing some interesting thoughts my way"
We're less likely to feel an emotion attached when we simply acknowledge a thought and move forward. We do not however use phrases like, "this is just my OCD" as a way to convince you. We still sit with the distress and uncomfortableness of it all. Staying uncertain. Choosing to not figure it out or do any compulsion.
These OCD mood swings are arriving because you are internalizing an intrusive thought with a lot of meaning and putting value on it. So if I had a blastomphous thought and internalized it and went through the loops of trying to figure out if it was me or why I would even think that...I'm going to start feeling lots of different emotions. Shame and guilt. If I took this same thought and say, "oh hey there OCD thought" - it no longer puts it all on me. Instead, the disorder.
We can reduce the different emotions by doing treatment. Exposure and Response Prevention; (if you didn't already know that) *wink
To even better have more control over your emotions, watch the 25 tips for succeeding in your OCD treatment here.
What emotions does your OCD make you feel? Thanks so much for watching and I'll see you next time.
OCD and Depression
Anger from OCD
How do I know if I'm gay
So I have a few videos on sexual orientation ocd or HOCD and inevitably, someone will comment. "how do I know I'm not just using OCD as an excuse to hide that I am gay." Man, I don't blame you, I'd want to know this answer myself. Well in this video, my attempt is to answer this question WITHOUT providing reassurance; which we all know is a compulsion that keeps OCD at bay.
First address the random comments from strangers: "you all just need to accept that you're gay and stop hiding it." or "sexual orientation OCD doesn't exist." As you can tell these types of comments from strangers can be damaging and cause even more anxiety. So let's set the record strait. "get it.....strait."
Sexual orientation OCD is a subset of OCD. As we know, it attacks what we value and care about. It will make someone question everything about themselves. It can be their sexual orientation, make someone question if they are gay. If they are strait. If they are transgender. It makes you question if you even have OCD. Which brings us here, in this moment.
Am I already diagnosed with OCD? Have I had other OCD themes in the past? If so, there is a good chance OCD has moved to this new theme. Do I feel anxiety and a strong urge to know right now? and I mean it....like right now! I won't be satisfied until I know this answer....right now! If that's the case, it's likely to be OCD-related.
Someone who is figuring out their orientation thinks about it in an inquisitive way. Not with extreme anxiety that just won't pass. To me, this is a big indication. Denial means I am choosing to push something away and not think about it. There is the key....not think about it. Someone who is denying something has this ability. Someone with OCD may not. Their brain is forcing a thought. A thought they don't want. A thought that goes against their values and their morals. It is ego-dystonic. It doesn't belong.
But as we get so caught up in the context of am I gay or am I not; this often can be the trap. You may be watching this video right now and saying...okay Nate says, people have anxiety and can't let it go if they have OCD. Does that sound like me? I'm not sure if that sounds like me. Maybe I really am in denial. I better keep searching. So while OCD seeks this truth, it's really a lie. That's why we gain the upper hand by telling it that you're actually okay not finding the answer. It may seem so out of control that someone can accept that they will not get this answer; but just like any other theme of OCD, this is the way. This is the treatment.
Using phrases like, "maybe, maybe not" give our brain this answer that's like...okay man....I'm accepting that I don't know and I'll learn to be okay as long as I don't continue to do compulsions. So ultimately, you may be thinking. Nate, you didn't really answer my question. I still want to know if I'm gay or not. Or if I'm strait or if I'm transgender.
Here is the real answer....the way to know is to not know. Sounds nutzo, but it's so true. To commit to not figuring this out is the key. To live your life the way YOU want to live your life. To not stop yourself from moving forward. To not engage with the thought of, "am I gay or not."
To commit and I really mean commit, 100% that I am not going to figure this out anymore. I'm going to stop researching, asking on forums, engaging with my rumination or asking for reassurance.
What ends up happening is one of two things. The theme moves to something else, all of a sudden I'm worried about car emissions and if they are hurting my lungs; or your brain simply doesn't care to find the answer and stops bothering you about it. Think about this, the only reason words have meaning is because we put meaning to it. When you've stripped it all way. It's got nothing left. Your job is to live your life. Move forward, Feel the anxiety and make it your buddy. Commit to not know. To gain even a better understanding of treatment, make sure you watch this video, where I go through the treatment for sexual orientation OCD
Anxiety about being gay
Fear of being gay
How to stop doing compulsions
I'm just going to get right to it! Just stop doing the compulsions. Easiest video ever... peace. Just kidding, don't leave yet. If you don't know by now, stopping those pesky compulsions can be extremely difficult. It's those things that you brain says you have to do to feel better or reduce a "threat" that often isn't ever a threat.
Instead of the all-or-nothing approach of either do the compulsion or don't, I'm going to teach you a way to ease yourself into this uncomfortableness. "but why would I want to feel comfortable." I hear you! It's so you can get your life back. Okay, no more fluff. Here is what I want you to know. Postpone or delay your compulsion. This compulsion could be a ritual of some kind. It could be washing hands, asking for reassurance, researching online, skin picking, or plain old rumination. The attempt to problem solve.
It may not be as simple as postponing the compulsion so here's what you can do. Pull out a piece of paper and write down all of your compulsions. Maybe you rank them from 0-10 --- 0 being easy to resist and 10 being out of this world hard to resist. You may want to start with the easier ones first. Create a goal for yourself. I'll use hand washing as an example. If I feel the need to wash my hands every time I touch my phone, I am going to see if I can delay this. Don't sell yourself short, but be realistic. Can you do it for 10 seconds? I bet you could. Could you do it for 20 seconds, 30, or 40? How about even a few minutes? What about a few hours?
What's going to happen is that it's possible you'll forget to do the compulsion. That's right! That strong urge you were feeling was so overwhelming, but when you've waited long enough, that feeling reduced, allowing you to have a better chance at making a different decision. You can do anything you want to. Clique, I know. But it's so true. You need that mindset of stopping your compulsions and this may be a good place to start.
It can be important for you to set goals for yourself. I am postponing washing my hands today. I am choosing to not engage in figuring out this ruminating thought right now. I'll see how badly I want to figure this out at 10am today. At this time, If I remember, I'll see if maybe I can go until 12pm. You have all the power in the world. It's just knowing what to do with it.
Here is something to remember, you're going to be feeling some distress or anxiety. Remind yourself that it's okay. Anxiety is not the bad guy. I don't blame it, it's job is to warn you that you're in danger and gives you ways to feel better. That's the urge right there that we're not giving into. Be prepared and ready to feel uncomfortable while you're delaying compulsions.
You can choose to respond differently to the discomfort. Some may say, "yah man, love it" "thanks for this feeling." "I'm so excited to get better by not doing the compulsion." Any threat that comes your way can be answered with a "maybe, maybe not." This helps the brain be okay with no answer. No answer is the key. You got this!
To be empowered and gain an upper hand, you need to know what compulsions you do that are sneaky. You may not even know you're doing them. Go watch that right now.
Emotional Contamination OCD
Did you know that someone with OCD can feel contaminated by a simple thought? A thought like, if I associate with people I perceive as "dumb" I will become dumb myself. Not only that, but they have to do many rituals to get rid of this mental and emotional contamination.
What is emotional contamination and how is it treated? That's what today's video is all about.
Well, you've probably heard of plain old contamination. Touching things that appear contaminated, these are all physical objects that enter someone's life. When it comes to emotional contamination, it's very different. This same feeling of contamination is often felt is all because of an association their brain put on something. Individuals will often get triggered by a thought, image or memory associated with an individual.
These things that make them feel contaminated can be an illness someone has or talks about or an individual that they know and dislike their traits. The key here is association. This subtype of OCD really attacks who they are and ruining their possible future.
For instance, someone may have all these goals of becoming a doctor. They have their classes ready to go, they have all the plans for the future. You know what would ruin this for them? If they couldn't pass their classes. If they just weren't smart enough. So the brain takes this value and says, well you know what. Jimmy struggled with this class and doesn't use proper grammar when he talks. If you talk or hang out with him, you will become like him. You are now contaminated. The only way to get this imaginary contaminant to go away is for you to do some compulsions.
It comes up with ideas; for sure don't hang out with Jimmy. Don't even say his name. Any association with him is dangerous. It's not going to get me to where I want to be.
Emotional contamination can show up with really any association. I could see a news report talking about the homeless population and its link to drug addiction. The news anchor was wearing yellow and standing under a tree. So now, my brain says, if I wear yellow, I'm in danger of being addicted to drugs. If I stand under a tree, it's possible my life will lead me to becoming homeless. Even seeing others around you wearing yellow triggers this contaminated feeling. It's more than something like magical thinking OCD (take a look at that video by the way). With magical thinking there is a superstitious thought, with emotional contamination it's a feeling.
It's a gross/yucky feeling. You think of touching something you know is gross and you immediately want to wash your hands. Imagine this inside you body, you want to do anything you can to cleanse yourself of this.
The compulsions individuals do really can be anything their brain tells them to do. Avoidance is a big one. I'm not even going to go there, see those people, watch shows, use social media, and even use words associated. It can be various rituals, washing hands, showering, or saying certain phrases over and over again.
We treat this just like any other subtype of OCD. With exposure and response prevention. That uncomfortable feeling essentially must be tolerated and responded to differently. For instance, the name Jimmy makes me feel contaminated, I know think I'll become dumb. I'm going to start looking at picture of Jimmy, hanging out with him, going online and searching anything I can about Jimmy. I may be writing his name out over and over again. I may be saying, "yep, I may or may not become dumb" -- That internal yucky feeling will be there, but it can't last forever. We're responding differently. Some may say, "man, I love this feeling" "I hope it lasts all day." I may be focusing on whatever the ultimate threats are. I may be using poor grammar on purpose. Sitting under that tree that makes me worried. Watching videos of the homeless population. Accepting uncertainty and breaking these associations by not engaging in the rumination or feeling that comes with it. Ultimately, doing the opposite of what my OCD tells me to do. Don't think about this phrase, I'm going to think about it. Don't wear yellow or else. I'm wearing yellow.
The brain needs to learn that you're the boss. You can handle anything and any feeling that comes your way.
Emotional contamination can feel similar to superstitious or magical thinking ocd. Watch that one here.
Also, if you've struggled with this before, let me know in the comments.
Magical Thinking OCD
Treatment for Emotional Contamination OCD
How to stop anxiety at night
Man, have you ever noticed that anxiety tends to increase as it gets closer to nighttime? In this video, I am going to give you 10 tips to help you calm this pesky nighttime anxiety and help you get a better night sleep.
There are many statistics that show that many individuals struggle with sleep on a regular basis. In fact, 50% of those who are sleep deprived say that their anxiety impacted their ability to sleep. it's like a double-edged sword. Anxiety tends to cause less sleep and having less sleep tends to cause more anxiety.
Our brain is simply tired at the end of the night. We've had 1000+ different thoughts, we had problems to solve, homework to do, and really, the biggest thing we're thinking about is....those things we don't know. Our brain can get so stuck on the future, the what-ifs, the things we have no control over. This is where anxiety loves to live.
To teach this anxiety who's the boss, here are your 10 tips to help with your nighttime anxiety.
#1 - Practice meditation - We need to learn to calm our brain from the day. Teaching it to not problem solve before we sleep. Some day, while we dream, our brain is throwing out useless information and even problem-solving. Some suggest this starts too soon, before we've gone to sleep, causing extra thinking and more anxiety. Meditation can be anything from starting a guided meditation you find online, to using your 5 senses to notice the things around you and practice not using judgment with them.
#2 - subscribing to this channel. It'll power you up. But really!
#2 - Practice good sleep hygiene - This typically means having a good schedule. You watch tv until a certain time, you turn your phone off at a certain time, you get to bed at a certain time. Consistency is the key. This may even mean limiting naps in the day and limiting caffeine or alcohol. Sticking to a schedule that you can count on trains your brain to sleep when it needs to sleep.
#3 - Avoid stressful activities before bed - It's important to create a transition from daytime to nighttime. The goal is to teach the brain that daytime Is for problem-solving and thinking, and nighttime is for relaxing. This may mean, no work past a certain time, no news and no social media. Some may even find that watching TV right before bed presents an issue.
#4 - Limit screen time - Have you heard of "blue light" - it tricks your brain into thinking the sun is up. It keeps you awake. Professionals suggest shutting down all screens 1-2 hours before bedtime to minimize sleep interruptions. This also allows your brain to slow down and prepare for sleep. For some people this is a must, for others, that's just part of the lifestyle. There are blue light filters to minimize the blue light. This isn't only for your sleep, but for your anxiety.
#5 - Use a weighted blanket - It's like a hug, but without the hug. Weighted blankets produce calming effects. The deep pressure can help increase serotonin and melatonin while decreasing cortisol. Ultimately, this promotes feelings of calmness and peace.
#6 - Exercise in the day. Exercise reduces the production of stress hormones. With less stress hormones, we tend to have less anxiety. Regular exercise has shown to help people fall asleep faster and more soundly. Even brisk walks. However, Individuals should avoid vigorous activity at least 1 hour before bedtime.
#7 - Set aside time for winding down - This is all about routines. Think about things that get you in the mood to sleep. Dimming the lights, listening to calming music, a warm bath. At least 30 minutes before bedtime, individuals can start this transition. Schedule this out. I am sleeping every night at 10:30 - The body and brain need to know this routine.
#8 - Write worries down on paper - Sometimes our thoughts just won't stop. But that's okay. Thoughts are thoughts. Some find it helpful to pull out a piece of paper and write down thoughts in the day. Anxious feelings or things they need to get done. The act of putting them on paper often tells the brain, it's here. I'll get to it when I get to it. But what you'll find as well is that most of things you're writing are things you have zero control over. Or they are things in the future that we are unsure of. Teach the brain that you wrote them down and are no longer problem solving them. Sometimes a quite answer to the brain like, "okay" "cool" "gotcha" can signal that you have the thought, but aren't moving any closer to it.
#9 - Avoid lying in bed awake - Leaving the bed may feel counterintuitive, but getting out and doing something relaxing can help calm the body and almost reset the loop of thoughts. This doesn't mean pull out your phone and scroll through social media. Ultimately, this conditioning is known as stimulus control and can reduce the time it takes to fall asleep. If you try this, it's important to actually leave your bedroom, get a mental reset, and try again.
#10 - Let thoughts be thoughts - The more you try to control them, the more they have control over you. Practice not putting any value to these thoughts. It doesn't matter if they bring anxiety or if they are random. Let a thought be a thought. Just like before, answer like, "okay" "cool" "gotcha" or "maybe, maybe not" signal to the brain that it's just not your thing to figure out all the thoughts. That may have it's place another time.
Ultimately, what's important to know is that many have anxiety about the act of actually falling asleep. It's actually okay to feel anxious. The body is throwing out false signals. Allow your body to do what it's going to do. When anxiety arrives, you can acknowledge it. Hey there, welcome. You can stay or leave whenever you want. The more we take value away, the more the brain learns from these experiences and is less likely to bring it again next time.
So what'd you think? What helps you with your nighttime anxiety? Let me know in the comments.
10 ways to stop nighttime anxiety
Fear of nighttime anxiety
Moral Scrupulosity OCD
We're all built with a moral compass. It tells us what's important. Who we are and what decisions are right for us to be a good person. What happens when it that compass breaks, jumping around the dial trying to find a good spot to land and never satisfied with your final decision. In this video, we will go over the characteristics of moral scrupulosity to see if you can relate and 3 ways we are going to fight it.
If you're obsessing about your ethics, it might not be such a good thing after all. Hear me out, your ethics and morals matter. It's when you have moral dilemmas throughout the day. Questioning and obsessing about your decisions, your ethics, and if you are doing things morally right.
I may have heard the term scrupulosity used to describe religious obsessions. But there are individuals oh, actually a lot of individuals the struggle with scrupulosity have nothing to do with religion. Simply put, they just want to make sure they are a good person. Moral scrupulosity is an obsessive concern about this very thing. Your life might depend on it. You value yourself as it's a very black and white person. This was a good decision, this was a bad decision. This can be determined before the decision is even made. Putting value on something that hasn't even happened yet. Once the person makes this final decision, the brain may say.....you know what bro, ARE YOU SURE?
Here is a checklist of how moral scrupulosity shows itself.
-An excessive concern with being 100% honest at all times.
-Overthinking about the possibility of getting in trouble or breaking the rules.
-Concern and ruminating about past experiences. Those things you can't change and wondering if they were immoral or not.
-Researching if others would make "this" decision. If it makes them good or bad.
-Concern that others would reject you if they really knew about a decision you made.
-Obsessing about an actual moral mistake made and feeling the need to punish oneself.
-Concerned that you've made a mistake because the brain poped in the idea. Having to replay the moments to find out for sure.
-Worried about being disloyal to a partner or spouse or caused someone else to be immoral. A glance at someone may mean you committed adultery.
-All decisions are over-evaluated for their ethics and morals.
Often other themes of OCD like to join the party. It could be contamination, I touched this thing that someone else touched, and if I get them sick, it was wrong of me. Checking - I didn't check all the doors multiple times and if something happens, it may be morally wrong to risk this.
Accidentally causing harm means I'm a bad person. I tripped my child, my carelessness determines who I am as a person.
You get the picture. This all is mingled with anxiety and fear. It may not be worth the risk of being a "bad" person. The compulsions that happen show this:
Lots of reassurance asking - "am I good person" - they may be mentally reviewing their day or doing certain behaviors to make the situation "right" again. Rumination is a big big big one. I'm just thinking and evaluating. Fixing in my brain but never being satisfied.
Now that you know what moral scrupulosity looks like, let's dive into the three ways we're going to fight this.
Okay, here's really #1. use exposure and response prevention. many individuals believe that they must go against their value system when using this type of treatment but this is not the case. In this treatment your whole goal is to be uncertain. this me mean got the problem solving in your brain is no longer something you're going to engage with. You are choosing to stick with what you know and leave the rest uncertain. For instance, send me think that if they have a fear of lying or being deceitful that their exposure must be to lie and be deceitful. If this is not part of your value system it is actually not something you need to do. Instead we focus on those things that you think happened. Those things that you feel you may have lied or have been deceitful. What we end up finding through this whole thing is that what the brain says and what actually happened are two different things. We are exposing to the uncertainty of not knowing if you are a good person or a bad person. We are not going out of our way to make sure that you didn't lie. We are letting life happen as it is. so when the brain says or you completely honest with your boss? my job is to not fall in the Trap of ruminating and trying to figure this out. My job is to respond differently to this.
which brings us to #2 - Respond differently -- Anytime the rain comes up with an idea and it's mixed with anxiety and you have that urge to fix it we are choosing to respond differently. You are almost committing to not find this answer. So I might say. yeah man totally, probably did. what do you think happens when I do this? I almost imagine the brain exploding. It's like, what the heck are you saying. I just told you that you are in such danger right now and that's the response you give me? it actually takes all the value away from this thing. It doesn't take value away from you are values or morals. instead, it is teaching your brain to move forward. To not fall for any threats then you can't physically see in front of you. Responding differently means that you are not doing the compulsions anymore. You might spend some time writing down all the compulsions you do. Compulsions are those things you were doing to be sure that you're a good person, be sure that you didn't lie be sure you'll never hurt somebody be sure you're honest in all your dealings. People tend to be so scared but if they no longer put so much control in this area they will just go off the rails. This is so untrue. We are just simply not responding to OCD and anxiety anymore. Allowing the body and brain to just do it sting when it comes to your values and morals.
#3 - Acceptance - It's important when choosing to do treatment that you have the mindset of acceptance. Acceptance means that you're allowing thoughts to be and choosing to not do anything with them. You accept that you're going to be moving forward in life regardless of the doubting noise in your head. You're not going to make sense and problem solve if you're a good person or not. That is one of the toughest points, choosing to not figure this out. What a lot of people say is, "but if I'm not a good person, I can't live with myself" -- But here's the thing, it's not your job. Your job is to be you, whatever YOU is. We're not determined by what we think we are or what we think we're not. Be you.
The doubts that come in can often be answered with a "maybe, maybe not." or a "okay"
Do you ever excessively question if you're making the right decisions or if you're a good person? Let me know in the comments.
Moral Scrupulosity OCD Program
Treat Moral Scrupulosity OCD
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
What are intrusive thoughts
Let’s talk about 3 types of intrusive thoughts, who has them, if they are harmful to you, and what you can do to get them to stop.
Have you ever had an unwanted thought or image get stuck in your head? Usually, you can ignore it and move on. But sometimes, it just keeps popping right back up.
These thoughts can be sticky. Uncomfortable. And likely not something you want to think about. So if you don’t want to think about these thoughts why are they happening. It is intrusive. You didn’t invite it in. You’re also having a hard time getting rid of this thought. It seems like the more times you push the thought away, it comes back even stronger.
You may have heard people say this before. Everyone has intrusive thoughts. But just because everyone has them doesn’t mean that yours do not matter. An intrusive thought can be literally anything. It could be random images, disturbing and violent ideas. It can be completely random in the sense of the brain continuing to say “what if” this were to happen. These can feel more than just thoughts. Some can feel them. They can be constant, relentless, make you cringe, make you even question yourself because you’re having certain thoughts.
I find that these thoughts love to come when you want them the least. They definitely are not easy to ignore. It is like a relentless child meeting your attention. Waiting for you to put value want to what they just said. Repeating something over and over and over again. Dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad, dad.
So the question is, are these intrusive thoughts harmful to you? The short answer is no. They are actually harmless. But, if you obsess about them, but value to them, and even try to find a way to get the thoughts to stop…. Then it can be a time where your life is now interrupted.
This can be often a sign of a mental health condition, often intrusive thoughts can be a symptom of anxiety, depression, OCD. When we say that everyone has intrusive thoughts. Somebody might have I thought that comes to your mind that causes some concern. This thought comes and it goes. If someone is struggling with a mental health condition, these thoughts come, and they come and they come and they come. That usually is accompanied by anxiety. By fear. By meaning. The brain is trying to interpret what just happened. It says that it must mean something important.
That right there is the trap. Once we start putting meaning on these thoughts, then we just put a value on them. Once they have value, they want to keep coming. Making individuals often feel bad about themselves.
Intrusive thoughts have many forms. Here are 3 types of intrusive thoughts
Sexual thoughts. It’s natural to have a sexual thought. They often come in they go. They’re very automatic end up to find you in anyway. When they are intrusive, they may come in the form of worry. Sexual intrusive thoughts can often include images and questions. It can be about anything and anyone.
Violent thoughts: Some may have harm thoughts. These thoughts may be related to hurting yourself or someone else. It could be an intrusive thought about pushing someone in front of a car. It can be fairly aggressive, he can make you wonder if you would ever act upon those thoughts. These thoughts can feel very real and graphic.
I called the next one just junk thoughts. You have no control over them, they have zero relevance to your life. You can be a thought about an interaction you had with somebody. It can be certain words that just repeat in your brain, certain images that keep coming back, more than them causing distress, they may cause annoyance. Individuals know that these thoughts don’t matter, yet they can’t get them out of their brain.
So here’s what you do with them…..NOTHING. --- Wow Nate, crap video bro. --- Wait, wait wait….hear me out. Nothing means, don’t come up with a list of things you can do to get the thoughts to stop. The second you devise a plan, the more thoughts you are likely to have. This is because we’re putting value on the thoughts. We’re saying they matter enough for us to problem solve how to get rid of them.
So with the NOTHING attitude, we see a thought as a thought. Don’t matter if it’s a harm thought, scary thoughts, or simply a plain on boring thought that just won’t stop. We can’t stop the thoughts, instead we can practice responding to them in a different way. Something like, “I’m loving these thoughts, you’re welcome to stick around” “join the party” “I may or may not have these thoughts all day, I’ve accepted it either way.” A thought is neither good or bad.
INVITE, INVITE, INVITE….It’s more enticing to a thought to want to come when it’s not welcome. When you’ve opened the doors and let whatever happen happen….it’s not as fun. There is a greater chance that this thought won’t come around.
Many may be asking….sooo when do these thoughts go away then? We don’t put a timeline on it. We don’t expect them to. We don’t look for freedom. We accept where we are now and enjoy the ride. The thoughts will slow down, when they slow down. In the meantime, your job is to LIVE life, let the thoughts be, don’t fix them, don’t make sense of them, don’t label them.
It’s doing what you want to do, NO MATTER WHAT thought comes your way. So, are you going to try it….Try Nothing. It’s worth your time to do nothing.
You know what will power you up? Subscribing to this channel. Thanks so much for watching and I will see you next time.
Sexual intrusive thoughts
OCD scary thoughts
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.