When I began this blog I was coping quite well with my OCD. Unfortunately it’s reared its really ugly head over the past few days and it’s got quite bad. Not the worst it’s ever been, but I’m stressing out over all sorts of things across my entire spectrum of worries.
For the past 4 nights I haven’t got to sleep before 2.30am because I’ve been up checking on the imaginary noises I hear. Clearly this makes me tired and then my brain becomes weaker and can’t fight off the thoughts as easily.
So, how do I get myself out of this part of the cycle? Good question. I’ve not really logged it before, but I am going to monitor it this time because I know it will get better. One of the things I know works is distraction. I need to give my brain something else to think of, something quite powerful and quite absorbing. Right now I don’t think gardening, baking or doing a jigsaw will help. I need something active rather than to zone out to.
Having a good song in the background I can sing along to helps; if I can’t resist the urge to sing the words, I can’t be having those thoughts. Currently I’m singing along to Gary Barlow & the Commonwealth Band’s ‘Sing’ which is proving very catchy.
Television is also a good distraction – if it’s something good then I can’t zone out and it’s a form of escapism; I’m transported to another world – one where my problems don’t exist. Reading is another great way to lose yourself into another world.
If I can find a time when my brain isn’t having to fend off too many thoughts (ie not late at night) I find meditation quite good too. For that half an hour my brain is active but resting. It feels like it’s repairing itself and it’s so absorbing that there are no negative thoughts and can sometimes break the specific cycle of the day. I’ve found the ones by Deborah Kerslake particularly good and there’s even a free one you can download and try for yourself on her website (just scroll down towards the bottom).
My other weapon is writing. I love to write. I’ve wanted to be a famous author for as long as I can remember. I’m under no illusions about my skill – I know I’m not actually that good and I’m not going to be the next JK Rowling, but it doesn’t stop me dreaming. One of the best things to distract me from my OCD is to throw myself into a story – then I have other problems to focus on. What are the characters names, their backstories, how do they come together, what are their strengths, weaknesses, what is the landscape they’re living in? To me all these questions are highly important and I find I can’t just pick out anything, it has to fit with the same sense of ‘rightness’ as a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. These questions go round and round in my head until I figure them out. The great thing about this is, not only creating something, but also it means there’s no room left for those obsessions or compulsions.
None of these distractions actually cure my OCD, but they do give my brain the chance to rest, recharge and come back stronger to fight those thoughts.
What ways have you found to distract from the thoughts?