Living with OCD and Anxiety is a difficult reality for many people. As many as 2.2 million Americans at any given time. As much as the general public tosses around the term “OCD” in a flippant way – sometimes referring to people being “neat freaks” or frequent hand-washing – OCD is a very real condition.
What is OCD?
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is defined as “a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions). These can make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions). The repetitive behaviors, such as hand washing, checking on things or cleaning, can significantly interfere with a person’s daily activities and social interactions.” (psychiatry.org)
Often when people suffer from OCD, there is also a level of anxiety. The feelings of not being able to control their environments can lead to unease and feelings of panic and unrest.
OCD and Anxiety in the News
“There isn’t a waking moment of my life when ‘we could die’ doesn’t come into my psyche,” Mandel says. “But the solace I would get would be the fact that everybody around me was okay. It’s good to latch onto okay. But [during the pandemic] the whole world was not okay. And it was absolute hell.”
Mandel goes on to say that it’s his goal to remove the stigma from OCD and anxiety, and mental health issues in general. After his diagnosis in his 40s, he has received treatment for both conditions.
The therapists at Waters Edge Counseling work with clients with OCD on a daily basis. We have helped many people to work through this disorder and keep it from controlling their lives. Here are some tips our counselors recommend to help keep OCD from disrupting and taking over your life:
Accept that you may have OCD
No one wants to admit the fact that he or she may have a disorder of any type, but if you find yourself having fears that you are trying to stop by engaging in compulsive behaviors, then there is a good chance that you may be experiencing OCD.
The first step in getting help for this is admitting that you may have OCD. Repressing the thoughts that you may have OCD will only feed this disorder and make it more consuming.
Pay attention to your triggers
What are the common thoughts you have? Are there compulsive behaviors you have to do when you have those thoughts? Is there a trigger for those thoughts?
Write the answers to these questions down. Becoming more aware of what triggers your OCD will help you to exchange the compulsive behaviors with a more healthy alternative.
Do the opposite of your anxiety
This sounds backwards, but when we do what our OCD tells us to do, we actually feed it. Everytime we give into our OCD, we are opening the door to making it bigger. When we do the opposite of what our anxiety or OCD tells us to do, we actually make our OCD weaker and smaller.
For example, if you feel the need to check the door for the 3rd time at night, you should not check the door. You have already checked it, and you need to not check the door again. If you continue checking the door 3 times each night, you are telling yourself that you NEED to do this in order to feel safe. Breaking this cycle takes away the power of the OCD and helps you to realize that you do not NEED this to feel safe.
Replace your compulsive behavior with something else
In the above example, instead of checking the door for a 3rd time, engage in a different behavior that helps you relax and feel safe. Some people find journaling, prayer, meditation, and reading can help them to relax and alleviate obsessive thoughts.
Work to find the strength within yourself so that you do not have to engage in that compulsive behavior.
Reach out for help
If your OCD or anxiety is controlling your life, reach out for help. There are many therapy techniques that are used to successfully help those with OCD.
Some of these include Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Dialectical Behavior Therapy, and Family of Origin Therapy. Most people find that after 6-8 therapy sessions, they are seeing a huge decrease in their anxiety and OCD tendencies.
If you or someone you know is struggling with OCD, please reach out to us for help. Our therapists have helped many people to break free from the control of OCD, and they would love to help you, too. Give us a call at 912-319-5552 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are here for you!