How To Stop Derealization
Man, this video is a long time coming. Derealization. Have you ever experienced this before? It can be so scary for the person experiencing this. They can feel so trapped like there is no other way out. Derealization is a mental state or an individual may feel detached from their surroundings. People, objects, things around them may seem on unreal. You are even so aware that something is wrong that this can often be an obsession on how to make it right again. How to feel attached again. Unlike something like psychosis or delirium, individuals no that there are in an altered state that something isn’t normal.
Jeep and mill that more than half of people will feel this disconnection from reality at least once in their lifetime.
Hi my name is Nathan Peterson…..I am the creator the online OCD and BFRB courses and release videos every week that can help give you different treatment strategies for what you’re going through.
Deralization is similar to Depersonalization. The difference is depersonalization will experience the same thing except for adding a detachment of their own body, thoughts, and feelings. Almost as if you’re watching yourself as an outsider. I will have a whole separate video on this.
Derealization usually happens in different pockets of time. Meaning that these symptoms may come in they may go. Some common experiences that people have are these:
-The sounds around them can feel distorted, they can even seem too loud or too soft.
- Often individuals will feel like they are in a dream state or have some brain fog.
- The world around sees pretty lifeless, useless, what’s the point, you can seem fake that everyone is just doing their own thing every single day.
- Objects around them can look wrong. They can look different than how they actually appear. Things may seem to sharp, others may seem too small or too big. You can even seem blurry.
- Some may feel like there is something separating them from the world around them almost like an invisible wall. This wall that they cannot just break through.
Some have experienced these for only a few minutes while others may experience this for months at a time. Individuals often feel like they are going crazy. They recognize that something is off. And all the brain is wanting them to do this is to find a connection again.
Many will ask me: where does this come from?
Guess what, every person is different.
Some say that common events that trigger the derealization is emotional abuse or neglect. Others say it’s completely random. Some say it’s only linked to anxiety or OCD.
There is not currently a medical way to see if this is something you are experiencing or not.
When derealization manifest as part of anxiety or OCD the treatment I typically do is exposure and response prevention. Individuals may obsess and continually think about how to get out of these experiences. Their problem-solving is so much that they’re allowing themselves to continue being stuck in these Episodes. With exposure and response prevention the whole idea is how can you take power away from the bodily response or thoughts that you are having. Instead of pulling away from the experience we are moving closer to it. Meaning if somebody were to go through this experience right now, would focus on all the threats the brain comes up with an essentially answer every single one of them with either an uncertainty answer such as maybe maybe not, or we completely agree with the threat.
If the brain says all know what’s happening what if you don’t come out of this. The answer is maybe I will maybe it won’t. Or I totally hope I don’t come out of this, man it be wonderful if I was stuck in this forever. When we agree with the threat it takes the power and value away from it.
Instead what people try to do as they had the thought oh no it’s coming but I don’t come out of this. Maybe if I sit down it will go away, maybe for drink much water it will go away. Maybe I don’t go to that event because all make it worse. Maybe for research on the Internet it will go away. If I just on that answer I can get this to go away. The brain is coming up with plenty of ideas on how to solve this problem.
We are no longer trying to solve this problem. We practice not doing compulsions. These are the things you are trying to do to problem solve yourself through this. You may experience the moment even mindfully. I don’t feel connected to the moment, cool what do I experience. What do I see, what do I feel, that it’s not to make sense of it all is to show yourself that your living life here in the specific moment.
When people practice this exposure and response prevention every single time they go through an episode the brain finally gets it. It learns that it’s giving you these thoughts and feelings and disconnection and when you’re not responding to it the way it wants you to learns. He learns that if it doesn’t have value then it no longer needs to bring this into your life.
You don’t give yourself a timeline of when this is going to go away. You allow it to be there regardless of what’s happening in your life. You allowed to leave if it wants to that you are not the person that is pushing it away. A lot of acceptance is needed with derealization. You will continue living your life the way that you want to live your life not changing anything because of this feeling of disconnection.
Often I see derealization connected with OCD, if you’re looking for a little extra help with your OCD I do have an online step-by-step course that takes you through treatment. A link that down in the description below.
Here is my question for you.
Have you ever experienced derealization before? What things of help to you what things make a worse?
Thank you so much for watching, and I will see you next time.
The derealization cure
How to stop DPDR
COVID and Anxiety
COVID-19 and OCD. Wow. Can you believe it’s been a little over a year since the pandemic started? I’ve debated making this video multiple times and with multiple requests and emails I finally decided to take the plunge. I wanted to say with the disclaimer that I am not a medical doctor and I’m not giving you medical advice. I will however give you my thoughts on how somebody who struggles with OCD can do when it comes to the fears of possibly getting the virus. Not only the virus but any sickness.
Hi, my name is Nathan Peterson! I am a specialist with OCD and anxiety related disorders and the creator of the self-directed courses for OCD and BFRBs. I create videos every single week with tips and treatment strategies for OCD, anxiety, tics and Tourette’s, hair pulling and skin picking. Make sure you’re subscribed so you do not miss any of these.
You probably know what COVID-19 is. If you missed it, knock knock knock hello is anyone there. This virus in pandemic has sure set panic throughout the world. And rightfully so. When this thing first started, I made an ignorant comment. I said this is no different than getting the flu, or putting so much value and power on this thing. Boy was I wrong. With the countless lives lost, jobs lost, and mental health issues on the rise, I could never imagine what was going to happen.
Many people have asked me. Nate and I say uhuh, and they say so I’ve been doing treatment for my OCD, how does it now change because of the pandemic. This has been so difficult to figure out a great guideline. Because just like any other anxiety fear in our life, it is very uncertain. There isn’t going to be an answer that is given that is 100% sure.
When it comes to contamination OCD and the fear of possibly getting sick. Individuals felt the need to wash more, avoid more things, Thus sending them through massive spirals where they didn’t know they were following guidelines for fear creating their own rules.
Here is how I have been treating OCD in the midst of this pandemic. I have people create a guideline. How many times a day I want to wash my hands. Is it before I eat, after use the bathroom, or if I come in from outside. Maybe it’s if I physically see dirt on my hand. So typically maybe is five times or less a day.
I then say, we will follow the guidelines of the CDC. Even if we think they are incorrect or wrong. We have to follow some type of guideline or else the rules that your OCD will create could be catastrophic. For instance the CDC said, if you are vaccinated you no longer need to wear a mask. So guess over going to do, no longer wear a mask. But this doesn’t mean I’m no longer wearing a mask but I’m just gonna stay inside. We are following all the guidelines. They say I can go to a restaurant, I’m going to restaurant. They say I can hang out with my other friends vaccinated, I’m hanging out with my friends.
Here's the tricky part however, what about the things are not part of the CDC guideline. They can’t give every scenario possible that you are ever going to run into. This is where you take your best judgment. Meaning, the CDC didn’t mention if I go to my friend’s birthday party and is probably going to be 30 people there. What should I do? I say you do whatever you want to do. Sounds risky, but you do it following the CDC guidelines. They say wear a mask there’s over 20 people, I guess I’m wearing a mask.
I also wouldn’t want individuals to solely focus on this the rest of their life. I want individuals to live their life, sometimes feel like they are risking a lot. But knowing that the base of what I said was I want to wash my hands five times or less a day. How my going to do this.
Typically we use exposure and response prevention. We expose ourselves to things that make us scared or nervous and respond completely different to them. A lot of people hear this and I think that sounds pretty dumb. You want me to just go out and get myself contaminated and dirty and hug everyone I see. This is not an all or nothing approach. This means that I just went to the grocery store I got a lot of groceries other people probably touched, I’m putting them away in my pantry without washing them because the CDC did tell me I needed to. I did say however that if I come in from outside I can wash my hands.
But did the CDC say I need to wash my hands with 5 to 10 pounds of soap? NOPE! Did the CDC say that the water must be scalding hot? NOPE!
You may need to create your own guideline and foundation. I wash my hands for 30 seconds, one pump of soap, and the water may be hot or not.
Overall I want somebody’s experience to be a thoughtful one. Not in anxiety one. Meaning my decisions are based off of just general thought not my decisions are based off of my anxiety. And if anxiety is there I might risk the rules that have created in my brain and learn to respond completely different to them. A lot of times the magic words to the things we don’t know or maybe maybe not. Meaning I’m choosing to only solve the problem when there’s a problem presented in front of me. This is so incredibly hard to do. Because people have gone sick, people have died.
But we are living our life, OCD does not get to dictate what you do anymore. Because there is new value that is been placed in front of us doesn’t mean OCD treatment goes out the window.
A task that some choose to do is to write down all the rules are brain has created because of this pandemic. See if they match up with the CDC and the ones I don’t they may choose to do treatment with these. They feel like they’re doing a lot of risk. But without the risk there tends to not be the reward. The sound so incredibly scary, but what I’ve seen time and time again that the brains really good at saying once I get vaccinated then I will feel anxious about it. Once this one thing happens I will be nervous anymore. Guess what happens, a person gets vaccinated and there still anxious. The brain thinks it’s problem-solving but is continuing to keep you trapped. It’s only going to know that you’re the boss if you treated that way. Sometimes going against the rules that you’ve created in your brain.
I am in no way diminishing the effect that this virus is had on the world. I am diminishing the way OCD is making you think about the virus. Taking power and value away from OCD. It no longer deserves your attention.
If you’re looking for a little extra help, I’ve created a very specific course for OCD that takes you through understanding yourself, the treatment, and building your foundation for success. I will link this down in the description below.
Here’s my question for you. What rules are you following or are taking over your life because of this pandemic? Also, what you can start doing differently about your behaviors?
COVID and OCD
COVID 19 and Anxiety
Inhibitory Learning For OCD
When somebody is facing their fear, they repeat this process over and over again their body tends used to it. We’ve seen this in many different ways such as jumping into a really cool swimming pool. At the very beginning it is very cold but their body adapts and get used to it. We didn’t have to spend time convincing ourselves it was going to get better, it just happens. This can be seen when we are using exposure and response prevention. When you are exposing yourself to the upsetting fear it’s going to feel very difficult at the beginning. Overtime, you may face the same fear but notice that the anxiety level is a lot less. This is seen as the habituation model. That we essentially are doing exposures to reduce your anxiety by half or more. You’re getting used to it, you’ve taken the value away from it. When it comes to the habituation model, it’s all about this anxiety reduction in your body adapting just like the swimming pool. We will often use us as a measure of success if you were doing exposures correctly. If you’re anxiety is reducing this is a good thing.
There are definitely some drawbacks from using the habituation model. Anxiety is something that we want to take value away from as well. If we are focusing solely on anxiety and having us go up and down individuals can get stuck in paying attention to the anxiety and wondering if they are doing the exposure correctly or not. Let me start obsessing about the actual anxiety versus the actual fear. Many will start to question and wonder why they’re in anxiety is not reducing. Well evidence shows that the habituation model does work, individuals can you get stuck with these pitfalls often.
This is why there is another approach to exposure and response prevention called inhibitory learning. While this is still being researched there is evidence that shows that this helps reduce OCD symptoms as well. The difference is not the actual exposure you were doing but rather the way you were approaching it. With the inhibitory learning model you are teaching your brain more than reducing anxiety. Exposures are all about what can your brain learned from this experience. It doesn’t matter if your anxiety reduces or not. It might not even matter if you have anxiety while you’re doing the exposure. The whole mindset is all about your brain learning something new. So if I was facing a fear that really caused some anxiety, the way I approach is designed is to face the fear, expose yourself to it and RESPOND differently to the fear. You sole focus is what am I teaching my brain by every movement, words I’m saying, what I’m thinking, how I’m behaving.
If I avoid touching something because it’s contaminated, my brain learned that that thing is dangerous. If I touched it and acted like it wasn’t a big deal and didn’t do any compulsions, then my brain learns it’s not a big deal. You may learn time and time again that you faced your fear and NOTHING happened. That is what the brain is learning.
If you’re confused by the two, here is an easy way to remember:
The habitual model means your body is getting used to it and your anxiety is reducing.
Inhibitory learning model means your mindset is all about what your brain is learning from the exposure regardless of the anxiety felt.
Realistically, there isn’t the right choice comes to do an exposures. You do what you feel like is best for you. I have used both models together where I focus majority of my time making sure that the person knows that the brain is learning something. We use anxiety as a measure but ultimately it doesn’t matter if the anxiety reduces or not.
If your brain can learn that the fear that you have is not happening and it is it because you’re trying to control the situation what is the compulsions and to me that’s one of the best ways to do an exposure. Let things be. Stop controlling. It feels like an experiment, but the experiment is worth taking for your brain to learn something major. That you’ve never been a danger.
Habituation For OCD
Inhibitory Learning Exposures
How To Stop Asking For Reassurance With OCD
Click to watch
This video is sponsored by NOCD – NOCD is great. You get connected with a licensed, OCD-trained therapist right on your phone. They help diagnose what you’re experiencing, you actually do the the most effective treatment for OCD with live video appointments online and you get support in between sessions by messaging your therapist. You can check them out at www.treatmyocd.com
A really common question that I get often is this. How do I know if I’m seeking reassurance? How do I know what I can ask and what I can’t? Our entire life we have been trained to seek for reassurance. We been trained to give reassurance. But if you think about any moments of your life, when someone gives you reassurance whether this is OCD related or not has it actually helped. And if it has how long does it last?
Before you’re about to go on stage in front of a lot of people someone will say you’re going to do great or you got this. Does this automatically change every emotion you have and now you’re super confident and nothing to worry about? I would guess not. So then why do we give this reassurance. We do it because it’s a temporary fix someone might feel great for a second maybe 10 seconds but we are who we are. Before feeling anxious or feeling anxious. If we have a what if in our mind were going to have a what if in her mind.
But because of this natural training we seek this reassurance throughout life. When it comes to OCD, reassurance tends to be one of the biggest compulsions that I see. So I can see where individuals are cautious when they’re trying to figure out if they’re seeking reassurance or they just want to know something.
Here are some indicators that might help you recognize if you’re using reassurance or if you’re generally curious. The first thing you do is recognize your motivation. You have a question in mind that you want answered. If you don’t get the answer to this question are you studying to be okay? Will you move on? We move forward? If you are motivated to find an answer only to feel better or to feel some relief you are likely searching for reassurance. If you’re only wanting an answer because you feel curious about something then go ahead. But again look at your reason for why you are asking. You have to be okay with not knowing the answer.
You can almost assume that if anxiety is present within an urge to know an answer we are just going to say OCD. Even if you’re wrong. Individuals sometimes come up with this guideline, if I’m feeling anxious whatsoever I don’t get to know this answer right now. I may reevaluate after the anxiety is gone to see how important it is for me to know this thing I want to know.
Reassurance is not just asking questions. It can be in the form of researching online, checking your body for different symptoms, or even reassuring yourself that everything is going to be okay that maybe thoughts are not facts.
While reassurance gives that very temporary fix. When some to go through treatment they are really learning not to seek this reassurance. Some may choose to write down every question that they continually ask on a piece of paper and have that handy to remind them that this is not the thing that you’re asking anymore. Some may ask their loved ones or friends to give them an answer like “maybe maybe not” to a question that you may have asked them multiple times. To remind you all right a message to be asking this.
But when individuals choose to not do the compulsion of reassurance, they need to know to do about this. It’s not just sitting through the anxiety and staring at a wall. It’s teaching your body how to respond differently to these thoughts and feelings. So we do this through exposure and response prevention. You are essentially responding differently to the fears that come your way. Through your body language, through thoughts, and through behaviors.
So to go back to the original question, how do I know if I’m asking for reassurance or not. Come up with a guideline for yourself, if you feeling anxious you’re not gonna do it. If you’re genuinely curious maybe you do. If you’re questioning if it’s reassurance or not you might just assume that it is.
Finding a therapist can really help you through this. I’ll leave the link down in the description if you’re looking for a live therapist for an NOCD and for my online self-directed course for OCD.
So here’s my question for you, what things do you find yourself seeking reassurance for?
Reassurance and OCD
Reassurance OCD compulsion
My OCD is different
You are not special! WAIT! Don’t don’t run away! I needed to get your attention for a moment. If you leave now you think I’m just a big jerk. Here’s what I mean by this!
So here is what I mean by you not been special. First of all your special. You matter in your feelings matter. Because you’re even watching this video right now it shows a lot of strength.
So what I’m really meaning is that the OCD that you are experiencing is not different. Individuals can often think that the topic or theme that they are going through this special, it’s different, no one understands exactly what they are going through, its untreatable, I hear all these videos online I see all this advice but it doesn’t apply to my theme.
Errrrrr! Nope! Your OCD is not special or different. This to me is one of OCD’s biggest lies. If it can make you believe that you are untreatable and that you are different from what you are experiencing then it’s got you. Individuals will often tell me that exposures they hear the specific theme just don’t apply to them. That if people really knew all the details of everything there experiencing they would change the treatment.
So this is something that is important to note, something to tell your OCD even if you think it is different than everyone else’s to remind yourself that OCD is OCD. That follows the same route as everybody else. It’s making you doubt in question yourself and who you are as a person. It’s making you question the threats in the future and if they can come true or not. It’s giving you an intrusive thought putting a lot of meeting on this thought making you feel anxious that’s wanting you to do something to fix it.
Simple as that. When we see OCD simply becomes simple. If you see OCD is complicated, different, or special, than it has the upper hand. To take control is to see it simply. Do not see yourself as different or special. Like I said you as a person are unique and special. Your OCD does not get to join this party.
So as you’re seeing the videos that I have, your hearing advice given, and you think it doesn’t apply to your theme. Remember that this is a lie. Give yourself more credit. You can even remind your OCD that it’s not special when it’s trying to take the light. Give yourself the opportunity to do treatment. I know what people say, “but if you only heard what I’m going through you’d be shocked. You would say that mine is different.” Don’t even allow your brain to go there. Instead he focus on living life and enjoying.
This tactic the OCDs using is no longer going to be something you fall for. Treatment is available if you’re looking for a specialist.
So here’s my question for you, have you ever felt that your OCD is different than everyone else’s?
OCD feeling alone
OCD is unique
Exposure Scripts For OCD
"Exposure Therapy, in a phrase, is the systematic and intentional triggering of fear while minimizing- and ideally eliminating- all pathological responses.
Imaginal Exposure accomplishes this with thoughts and ideas. It is done in the context of addressing unhelpful/pathological responses to fear." The first thing we do besides offering good education is gaining a strong assessment data- it must underlie good exposure.
Know what you’re working with. Make a list of your obsessions or bothersome thoughts. See a specialist. Get educated. Get to know your symptoms, your motivations for getting better, and start a running log (monitoring) daily.
Once you have a tally of key examples, placing them on a hierarchy really helps to get a road map and be realistic and also to monitor progress (like the one above for arachnophobia). Once you’ve got your hierarchy, we consider conceptualizing the core fear behind an uncomfortable thought or action.
Start simple; don’t overthink it. Once a person can tolerate facing their fear at a lower level with scripting (or exposure in general), they can then move up the hierarchy and face higher and higher ones. Don't worry if you run into issues- that's what specialists are for! But also don't hold out from facing fears that you have a good reason to face.
How to write an exposure script for ocd
Exposure story for OCD
How To Stop Compulsions with OCD
How many things do we do in our life because “just in case”. Our brain comes up with an idea of “something bad” happening and we tend to follow it up with….well just in case, I’ll do this behavior. I want to talk about the traps we can fall into when we use “just in case” when it comes to OCD and anxiety.
So if you really think about it, this just in case mentality is the root of a lot of anxiety and OCD. Most people are not doing certain compulsions because they know a hundred percent no doubt in their mind that the thing they're scared of is going to happen. They are doing these behaviors because they want to prevent something that they don’t know could happen.
For instance, those who may struggle with contamination OCD wash their hands just in case there are germs or contaminants.
Those who struggle with sexual orientation OCD might ask for reassurance again just in case the person didn’t understand them correctly.
Someone who struggles with relationship OCD may just end the relationship just in case it was never meant to go anywhere.
Someone with real event or false memory OCD may spend a lot of time ruminating, their thinking through all these different types of scenarios just in case they find some new evidence to what they’re thinking.
These just in case behaviors keep people trapped in their OCD. And what I want is for people to turn this all away around and say just in case my theory is wrong I’m willing to risk it. Risking it means they are using exposure and response prevention. This is something to think about when you are going through your OCD topics or themes. You think about your motivation for why you are doing whatever you are doing. You can follow it up with I’m doing this just in case ….. -- if there is even a just in case there and you know it’s part of your OCD this is a moment to step back and say I am purposely not going to do this behavior or this compulsion.
Because what the brain needs to learn is that you are saying I’m going to fix this before there’s ever a problem. The problem that doesn’t happen in all the brain knows is that you had a lot of control over the outcome. This can be completely false because in reality, you may have not had any control. The brain doesn’t know this, this is your job to teach it. The only way for it to learn is for you to not do the compulsion to respond differently to the thoughts and fears.
Because what happens is that when your brain says This thing five times or a family member will die. You choose not to. You see that the outcome most likely doesn’t happen. When it doesn’t happen it starts correcting the brain and retraining it to say, hey you completely lied to me. You said I had to tap five times, and nothing happened. Maybe it’s time for you to stop lying to me.
Your brain congratulates you for taking care of the just in case moments. Of course, we can never be 100% sure that these bad things will never happen in your life. But that’s not the point, the point is that you may need to risk that the fear in your mind may happen but it’s not because of any compulsion were not doing a compulsion.
So the next time your brain says just in case. Look around you, if you don’t see immediate danger then you may choose to make a different choice, you may learn to sit through the anxiety, not ruminate through it, not do any other compulsion…. And see what the outcome is. You may be surprised.
So here’s my question for you, what just in case things do you do?
Stop What if with ocd
Just In Case with OCD
How To Stop Ruminating with OCD
Rumination and OCD
This video is a long time coming. Let’s talk about rumination. Do you know what rumination is? I would say most, If not all individuals who struggle with OCD ruminate. The official definition of rumination is “the action of chewing the cud”……
Wait, that’s not it. How about this. “a deep or considered thought about something.” That’s better. We can all be in deep thought from time to time. It can whisk us away from the present moment. It can distract us from noticing the surroundings around us. Some have said that rumination is often considered to be a silent mental health issue. No one can see what’s going on except the person. They often don’t know the harm they may be causing themselves because of this rumination.
But why would thinking something very deeply be an issue? Well, it only tends to be an issue when it actually starts interfering in a person’s life. When it comes to anxiety, rumination is essentially a way for the individual to gain answers and problem solve whatever they’re feeling anxious about. It’s trying to problem solve the future. Trying to problem solve the “what if’s”.
If you think about yourself, are you ever able to actually come up with a good answer to the things you are ruminating about. I would guess the answer is no. Because we think we have a good answer, we react as if we have a good answer, we do behaviors assuming we have a good answer, and in the end it ends up being different than what you thought.
Rumination is a huge part of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Individuals who struggle with this often are looking for certainty. They want to know for sure what they are experiencing is true or not. If there really that type of person or not. If they would really do that thing or not. If that catastrophe in the future is going to happen or not. Rumination is thinking about all these things. Thinking about your specific topic or fear when it comes to your anxiety and OCD. Often rumination is just trying to figure out if what you are experiencing is OCD related or not. It’s problem-solving through what your brain says is a potential problem.
Here is an example: somebody you may experience contamination OCD may attach to door handle. Their brain has attached meaning to this. Here’s the rumination and what my sound like: “ I can’t believe you just touch the door handle. Do you have any people touch the door handle? What if somebody was sick that touched it? Do if you touched your face or no after you touch the door handle? No is probably okay to touch it. But if it’s not okay then I’ll get sick. I get Sick, then I won’t be able to go to work. If I can’t go to work, then how am I going to support my family. You know even though it’s probably fine, you should probably wash your hands just in case.
The person goes to wash their hands.
I know you washed your hands, did you know if you touched your pants afterwards? I know you trust your phone is a something you probably need to wash? How about you just change her clothes just in case. Well I know now you just kept yourself safe, but did you see that your child just touched the door handle. What things did they touch. Maybe need to go ask them, wash their hands change their clothes washed the door handle.
As you can see, this person is problem-solving they are doing just in case behaviors. There trying to think through it and prevent whatever the fear is from happening. Often I see rumination as very automatic. It will throw out these threats to you as quick as it can. If you go down this road and problem solve or think through the situation. You are doing a compulsion.
The compulsions are the things that are keeping you trapped. All your brain knows is that you may have saved yourself from whatever fear it says was going to come your way. It is a liar. You cannot think your way through your fear.
I say don’t engage with rumination. Do not give it any power whatsoever. This is a very tough task. But here are some tips you can use. Making sure you give your brain the same answer every single time it threatens you. It says you hit someone with your car are you thinking through this whole situation. Your answer is maybe I did maybe I didn’t. Some choose to agree with the threat to take the power away. They may say, sure I totally have someone of my car.
I can only imagine the OCD screaming you just gave it that answer, that you agreed with it. Are you sure you actually love your partner? Maybe I do maybe I don’t. Are you attracted to somebody of your same gender? Maybe I am maybe I’m not. Will I harm my child? Maybe I will maybe I won’t.
There is not a topic or theme you cannot use this phrase with. Everybody thinks their special and that their specific topic or fear does not apply. To help you not ruminate, it’s committing to not engage by giving it the same answer every single time. Even if it feels real, even if you feel like this one’s different.
Some choose have different catchphrases. That’s not my thing. Sure man totally. Thank you for your opinion.
These statements need to be followed up with not engaging in the compulsions. The individuals that do the compulsions are not really committed to the maybe maybe not’s that they are saying. Because you cannot say maybe maybe not, and then go wash your hands because you’re just not sure. Or avoid the knife because you’re just not sure. Or go back and check to make sure you did hit a pedestrian because you’re just not sure. Ask for reassurance again because you’re not sure. That is the whole point. You need to be unsure. Being unsure on purpose as a way to stop the rumination.
One of the first parts is recognizing that you’re even ruminating in the first place. You might think about what is my reasoning for thinking through this right now. Am I just genuinely curious, or do I feel this urge for this need to figure out this answer right now. If it’s the urge, you’re not gonna do it, you choose not do it. Is actually your choice. The thoughts will start coming in that’s the automatic part, but you engaging with them is completely your choice. Give yourself that power.
Did you know that I created a very specific course for OCD. It takes you through understanding yourself, the treatment and a way to maintain your progress. We talk about rumination, hierarchies, exposures, writing scripts so much more. There are over 41 videos in this thing. I’ll link it in the description. You can preview you it for free.
Do you ruminate? What do you ruminate about?
Overthinking and OCD
Real Event OCD Anxiety Treatment
You may have had an experience of something that happened years ago. It’s possible that you forgot about it for quite a while and all of a sudden BAM, it hits you. Now you can’t stop thinking about it, you can’t stop thinking about what you’ve done. Even if it is something so small and meaningless. Your brain has all the sudden put a lot of meaning to this. You’re spending a lot of time convincing yourself you didn’t do anything wrong. This isn’t enough. Your brain replace it over and over and over again, the guilt sets in. It almost verifies that what you are experiencing must matter. The thing in the past must be rectified. You must fix this in some way, even if it is absolutely impossible to fix. Extreme anxiety and fear join the party. This past experience now consumes your life.
This is what we call real event OCD.
If you want to know more about real event OCD. I will link my video down in the description and you’ll be able to click on it here.
You may already know you struggle with real event OCD. I want to be able to help you learn how to retrain your brain and use the evidence-based treatment of exposure and response prevention. With permission from “turning point psychology” and the clinical director Anna Prudovski; I will be providing 10 tips that can help you right now with your real event OCD.
#1 - OCD is known for attacking what matters the most to us, so this is your chance to use your obsessions as a guide to understanding yourself.
Which values lie underneath your regret? What is your pain trying to tell you? What matters most to you in your life? What kind of person would you like to be? How would you like to treat yourself, others, and the world around you?
As opposed to to being consumed by your intrusive thoughts, memories, and emotions, use them to uncover your core values and start taking active steps toward them in the present instead of being consumed by the past.
This exercise is not to ruminate in the past. It’s not to problem solve whatever it is that you did. Instead this is focusing on you right now. What your values are, who you are as a person, and allowing your brain to move forward instead of going backwards.
#2 - Start making a list of what gets neglected while you continue being entangled in the battle with your mind.
Is being consumed by the past preventing you from having a present? Do you find that being hooked by your thoughts prevents you from taking effective action toward your goals? Are you spending so much time in your head that you don’t feel present or engaged in the moment with people you care about and in doing what you love? What would you be doing differently if you could put your memories aside and reengage with what matters to you in your life?
Make a list, put it somewhere visible, and use it for motivation in the moments where your OCD tries to hijack your attention by making you compulse.
3. Every time you have an urge to check, ruminate, neutralize, reassure, or do any other compulsion – ask yourself, “If I let these thoughts and emotions determine what I do in the next few minutes or an hour, will it get me closer to the person I want to be or will it move me even further away?”
Think about how powerful this is. Your living life right now. The compulsions were only to keep you trapped. It seems important, I get it. What do you know what is more important. Living life right now, feeling joy, looking towards the future.
4. Put a visible reminder somewhere that OCD is the issue, not your past event.
We tend to put so much power and value to past experiences and events when really all filters down to the same thing. OCD and uncertainty. The past event, no matter what it is can be seen as OCD. The OCD thinks it’s protecting you when really it’s your job to retrain your brain to show that you don’t need that protection. You’ll find that it wasn’t protecting you from anything.
5. Practice self-compassion.
This is not the same as forgiveness (which, in your case, most likely will just constitute another compulsion).
Self-compassion is acknowledging that you are suffering. You can remind yourself that suffering is a common human experience and is a part of life. Give yourself a moment of kindness without reassuring yourself.
(Yes, yes, I know: your OCD will probably tell you that you don’t deserve kindness. Or that the kindness is another way to trick yourself into thinking you didn’t do anything wrong. Please treat this thought just like every other obsession – let it be… and continue practicing self-compassion)
6. Do not try to get rid of your thoughts and emotions. They will come and go at their own time. Let them be and redirect your attention toward taking a step toward something that is important to you (not to your OCD). Don’t wait for the difficult emotions to subside to move forward in life. You can have them and still live your life the way you choose to in the present.
7. Ban rumination. Rumination is a compulsion. It deserves none of your attention. It’s wanting you to problem solve and you don’t problem with anxiety anymore. You don’t “problem solve the past.” Don’t give it any attention or power. As thoughts come, you can answer them with, “totally” or “maybe, maybe not.”
Even trying to figure out whether it is really OCD is an example of rumination.
8. This is a tough one. The only way to recover from OCD is to be willing to live with the fact that your scary thoughts may be right.
WAIT, WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?
That’s right, your scary thoughts may be right. It doesn’t mean that you accept that they ARE right. It just means that you accept to NOT know. To not problem solve to know.
As long as you continue living with the hope that you will have certainty about the past, the future, and the kind of person you are, OCD will continue to have a grip on you. Yes, the thoughts about what you did and what kind of an immoral human being you may be are horrific. But these are thoughts. Not facts. (don’t use this as a compulsion). Hold them lightly. All our thoughts may or may not be true. As long as we don’t take them too seriously, we have the freedom to live our life. Allow the uncertainty to be there and continue with your day.
9. Seek treatment. Your OCD will, of course, tell you that treatment will not help, that you will be judged, that going to therapy is just an excuse to avoid repenting, that nobody can possibly understand what you are going through, that the shame will be unbearable, that your OCD is very different from other OCDs and that, of course, it may not even be a real OCD.
Just like with the other thoughts, hold these thoughts lightly and don’t allow them to sway you from getting your life back.
10. Make sure that your therapist specializes in OCD and practices ERP (Exposure and Response Prevention) and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy).
This is crucial. Seeing somebody whose method of treatment is CBT but who doesn’t mention ERP as their treatment approach on their website or in your phone conversation is not enough. Not all CBT is applicable for OCD and the therapist needs to know a very special way of using CBT for the treatment of OCD.
Don’t see a coach. They tend to charge less and use words like, “cure” “overcome forever” or “fully recover” making it sound very enticing. I mean, I’d want to go to them. Don’t fall for it. See a true specialist.
Treat My Real Event OCD
Anxiety From Past Mistakes
Health anxiety, OCD, Sitting with uncertainty
Jenna and I go through our health scares and talk about what to do when the "what if's" actually happen. We go through tips you can use for your OCD and health anxiety. Uncertainty is the key to feeling better. It's time for you to learn how you can sit with it comfortably.
When the "what ifs" actually happen
Lifestyle of uncertainty
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.