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6 Ways To Beat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

6 Ways To Beat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

“Oh, I’m a bit OCD…” – we have all heard this phrase, people say it almost as a boast. Well, I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and people who do suffer will know that it can be an almost debilitating condition which can prevent you living your life.

A little background… I have no idea where my OCD came from, I don’t have a traumatic memory or some obvious trigger but I started to find that certain things were becoming more difficult for me. I have a form of OCD that encompasses checking, ‘is the door locked’, ‘is the gas off’ – what started as me having to double check something, such as going back to check I had actually locked the front door became a nightmare when I would have to check a number of times, I used to get to my office and have to turn around and go back to check again.

OCD is a ridiculous condition,  as an adult you know if you have or haven’t done something but OCD is the demon that sits on your shoulder and says ‘have you?’, worse it will make you think of all of the impossible things that will happen because of your actions. You will think… ‘Oh no I left the iron on.’ immediately you will think ‘…and the house will burn down’, ‘…and people will die.’ so you find yourself going back and checking. You create routines, I had to check each knob on my gas cooker three times each to be sure I could safely go to bed, even if I had not used the cooker on that day.

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For me my life was becoming increasingly difficult, I was regularly late for work as I had to complete my checking routines and it was affecting my relationships so I knew I had to change, but did not know how.

I have to say upfront that I am not a medical doctor and the advice I offer worked for me, it may not do so for everyone, there are no guarantees, however I hope this will be useful, sensible advice for anyone who is suffering.

1. Realize You Have An Issue

The first and most important step for me was to admit that I was suffering and that this was no way to continue. I had tolerated the compulsive behaviour for a long time and made a conscious decision to change.

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2. Understand What OCD Means To You

I analysed the issues I was encountering, I had problems with checking and with doing certain things three times. Recognising that this was what I was doing meant I could start to make changes.

3. Start to stop…

Recognising what I was doing, for example, checking my door was locked three times did not mean I could stop this action straight away. I knew what I was doing was a compulsive reaction, but my mind was telling me I had to keep doing it. So I looked for steps to mitigate the actions. I would tie a knot in my handkerchief when I knew I had locked the door (touch the knot and know it was done. I still often had to go back and check again but it was a support). Then I created a leaving the house checklist, a small pad that looked like this.

  • Gas off           Yes
  • Iron off           Yes
  • Door locked   Yes

When I then felt myself trying to recheck I would look at the list rather than go back and physically check.

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4. Realize This is Not An Instant Process

I wish I could say ‘and I stopped overnight’ – sorry, it took ages, even with a checklist my mind would not let me walk away. However, I was getting closer, I would maybe check twice not three times, eventually I was able to stop rechecking the physical items and just believe the list and further on from this I was able to stop all together.

5. Recognize When You Carry Out An OCD Action

When I am stressed I can find myself doing things which I now recognize as OCD. Stupid stuff in my case, for example having to tread on a certain manhole cover on my walk to walk, I realized I was ‘having to do it’, changing direction to carry out the action. When I recognized that I was doing something like this I would tell myself (often out loud) that this was an OCD reaction and force myself to stop doing it. The idea was to try to stop doing something before it became ingrained.

6. Talk To Others

It was difficult to admit, first to my doctor and then my partner that I had OCD, but when I did I realized that there are people out there who will help you and try to support. Not everyone will understand, but help is out there.

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I have to admit that I still sometimes carry out actions which could be OCD routines however I am now very good at spotting them and stopping myself repeating them. I am more aware and open about my condition and, I am pleased to say, I have not double checked my front door in many years. So, if you do suffer, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Good luck!

Featured photo credit: FIU News via news.fiu.edu

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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