“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

If, like me, you suffer from OCD it’s more than likely you’ll have more than one type of obsession / bad thought.

Those of you who have read my other posts will know mine fall into 2 broad categories – contamination & security. That doesn’t mean I face 2 thoughts. Each category has several things I worry about, although some will be stronger at different times. Let me give you a few examples:

1) stains
2) food
3) drink
4) door handles
5) public toilets

Every day any of these could come into play. Some of the time they’ll sit there in the background and I’ll deal with them. Some days I’ll deal better with one than another.

One of the therapies for OCD is exposure & prevention of response. It works for a lot of people. I’m not ready for that yet – my illogical thoughts are still too logical for me.

Instead I try to do it by myself. OCD can be awfully overwhelming at times especially when more than one type of thought hits. There’s no point trying to eliminate them all at once. It’s like giving up all food except lettuce in order to lose weight. It’s only going to lead to failure and a sense of guilt. It takes a lot of strength and energy to battle against your inner voice which is telling you bad things so you’ll get tired and then less able to take on the fight. If you feel guilty you’ll likely give up.

Instead take it one obsession at a time. Pick one, an easy one, to start with and gradually make yourself face up to whatever the issue is. At the moment I’m having issues with drinks so I’m challenging myself to take a proper look at my drinks to see what is actually there not what I imagined is.

Over time you’ll get stronger and more importantly you’ll get out of the habit of your compulsion. You will break the cycle. In a few weeks you’ll be doing them less, maybe you’ll even have stopped doing it completely. With this will come satisfaction and evidence that you can overcome the thoughts. The less compulsions you have to do, the less tired you’ll be and the stronger you will become to win the war.

Don’t beat yourself up when you fall off the wagon (notice I said “when” not “if” – I’m afraid it will happen). Remind yourself it’s okay. It takes a lot less time to make a habit than it is to break one and some of our compulsions have been with us, in some format or other, for a while.

Take a breath and say you’ll try again. Don’t let the OCD win!

“Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.” – Doug Firebaugh


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