Best Techniques in Dealing With OCD/Anxiety/Depression

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 Rodrigo’s Best Tips

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Contact: raraya.art@gmail.com

MY BIO

My name is Rodrigo, 21-year- old guy from Costa Rica. I am a filmmaker and musician. Also, I

I guess I’ve had OCD all my life, because looking back, there are behaviors as a child that are

clearly part of the disorder. I started having pedophile-related obsessions in 2014, but to me, it

was all due to me not being “focused enough”. During the following year, plenty of more

obsessions came to me, most dealing with my future, my role in my family, my career, my

friends… OCD took over my life.  It had taken over, since I studied and practiced compulsively

ever since I dropped out of college to self-educate in music and filmmaking in 2014.

I didn’t realize it was OCD until the end of 2015. I was diagnosed in March of 2016. The

medication helps me so I’m not doing horribly, but I still have a lot to deal with. It’s been some

overwhelming months, mostly dealing with the fact that I am sick and that recovery will take a

lot of time. Only until now (July, 2016) I am starting to accept that.

I am hopeful for the future, though. I know this gives me an opportunity to shape my life in

however way I want. It’s just going to take a lot of effort and work. Wish me luck!

A LITTLE TIP

This tip sucks, by the way. It is literally sitting and letting the fire burn you. Yeah, you heard it.

Ironically, I discovered it in water. Here it is:

Fill a bathtub with cold water (or open the shower; you can do it in a river, too, just be careful).

Get in the tub and sit in there. Do not go all “OMG THIS IS SO COLD, JESUS I’M DYING.

SHIVERS. AHHHHH!!!!” inside your head, just take a breath and let yourself be cold. Feel the

water hugging your skin. If you gotta shiver, shiver.

Since I was diagnosed, I’ve had two crises of obsessive thinking and anxiety. I’m talking “not

getting out of bed” level of crises. It was hell, and I probably did a lot of stuff that wasn’t exactly

recovery appropriate. I did learn, though, that if you just let that stuff come at you, it gets easier

to deal with it. The purpose of this exercise is to teach yourself that feeling of allowing things to

hit you.

Just don’t get hypothermia when trying it out, don’t be stupid. You can also try this exercise

when you’re out and it’s raining, and water gets inside your shoes.

 

Stuart’s Best Tips

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Contact:hey@theocdstories.com

Bio: 

My name is Stuart Ralph. I’m a big fan of olives, basketball and nature. In 2015 I launched The OCD Stories, a website dedicated to sharing other sufferers stories of recovery. I also host the podcast where I interview therapists, researchers and OCD’ers who have recovery wisdom to share. Hope it helps.

Description: 

In OCD recovery I have found a few truths. One is that you have to believe that recovery is possible. If you think it isn’t, your brain will stop looking for solutions. If you believe that recovery from OCD is possible you will keep looking, testing and working hard in therapy to prove yourself right.

Secondly, find what works for you. ERP is great, and I encourage everyone to seek out a therapist and try it. It’s called the platinum standard of OCD treatment for a reason. Sometimes ERP by itself is enough, for others they may need to start meditating, learn mindfulness, take medication, improve their nutrition, exercise, sleep more, socialise more, go to support groups, try Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Find what works for you, this can often be a combination of things.

Sometimes we don’t need to face our obsessions, we just need to accept them. The more we wrestle with our thoughts whether this is trying to prove them wrong, disagreeing with them or forcing them away will only encourage the obsessional cycle to continue. Our brains are trying to warn us, it’s up to us to show our brains their is nothing to be worried about. We do this by accepting the thoughts or observing them without judgement. Being able to observe thoughts separates us from them, which makes it easier to see what is OCD and what is not. Acceptance and commitment therapy as well as mindfulness can help you build up this skill.

Here’s my OCD story: http://theocdstories.com/harm-ocd/beating-the-ocd-bully-after-21-years-of-torment/

I wish you every success in your recovery!

Stu

 

Sammi’s Best Tips

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Contact: rantsofanocdgirl@gmail.com 

Hey guys it’s me, Sammi, creator of the mental health blog Rants of an OCD Girl! Here are my Top five methods I use to combat my OCD. 

  • Prepare for the worst, hope for the best: A scenario where I use this method is after I leave my house. When I leave my house, I second guess myself if I closed the garage or not. This has resulted in me driving back to my see if the garage door is closed. In order to decrease the times I drive back to my house, I imagine the garage being open and mentally accept and prepare for the consequences that are associated with leaving an open garage (robbery, etc.). This method decreases my anxiety and allows me to move on with my day because I have already accepted and prepared for the worst.

  • See my obsessions as puppies that want to be hug: By imaging my “bad thoughts” as puppies that want hugs, it makes them less scary and easier to handle. It’s hard to get scared at puppies.

  • Writing down my worries and preparing solutions: I find that by writing down my worries and providing preventive measures helps me see them as a whole rather than focus on the what-if scenarios.

  • Squeezing my self stiff and then releasing: I was introduced to this method when I first entered therapy at fifteen. In this method, I squeeze each limb in my body until its stiff and then I release each one slowly. This exercise makes me forget what I was obsessed with in the first place because I’m too busy focusing on making my body stiff.

    Meditation: I adore meditation. It grounds me and clears my mind before I go off to work. An app I use on my phone that provides wonderful guided meditations is Insight Timer. In addition, every Sunday, I attend group meditation to bond with other meditators.

I hope these tools are useful in managing your anxiety!

Tim’s Best Tips

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I don’t have a diagnosis of OCD, but I do have depression. Perhaps it’s just not discussed much, or perhaps it’s only my experience of depression, but intrusive thoughts have been a really difficult aspect of the illness for me to deal with, perhaps the hardest. I’m not very open emotionally, a stoic, so perhaps the thoughts are a manifestation of my failure to deal with feelings? Who knows…

Sometimes they come as part of an automatic thought process, a habitual way of responding to things: ‘I’ve messed up this thing, I’m useless, worthless, I probably shouldn’t go on’. Sometimes it feels like a slow and constant nagging, a little voice in the back of my mind whispering sour nothings. And at times they sneak in out of the blue, like during a conversation, I may go a bit vacant for a minute because suddenly I’m thinking ‘wouldn’t it be good to die this way?’, and all the corollaries and scenarios that might happen if I tried. And no one is any the wiser, because how the hell do you say ‘sorry, I wasn’t listening, I was thinking about ending my life’, over dinner?

Probably needless to say that these thoughts are most unwelcome, but they can be really draining too – having to internally debate your way out of suicide on a daily basis takes up more energy than I’d ever care to spend on something so unproductive. But things are getting better. With medication, and CBT, and talking with friends every now about it, as difficult as that can be, I’m improving on the methods I’d already developed over the years to steer myself out of such destructive ruminations. Working through a crisis care plan, writing down all the tools and arguments I already used to dig my way out, helped to keep the resolutions closer to hand in a pinch. So maybe I now spend only a couple of minutes musing on it instead of half a horrible hour. Nevertheless, I doubt they’ll go away without the depression going away, which seems like a long road ahead that I’m trying to traverse, but I’m hopeful.

Intrusive thoughts are one of the sick little gifts depression might throw at you. I think it’s worth remembering, or imagining – at least I’ve been thinking about this recently – that depression is a little voice in the back of your mind that, for whatever reason, is telling you you’re no good, and should just give up. It’s not you, really. And although it’s difficult, and will take work to get there, it’s good to be able to tell it to shut up!

Ed’s Best Tips

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Click on the link here-Ed’s OCD Story

Ellen’s Best Tips

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Hi, I’m Ellen and I run Ellen’s OCD Blog in order to help raise awareness of OCD and to share my personal experience of OCD and other mental health conditions too.

When tackling my OCD, I find it best at this current moment in my recovery, to dispute the irrational thoughts with evidence of previous exposures and also skills that I’ve learnt in therapy. So, I will pull apart the OCD logic in reasonable mind (paying attention to just the empirical facts). So for example, I recently was confronted with the fear that I had given an illness to my psychologist by not conforming to my OCD rituals. In response to this, I will try and dispute it. Will tapping a shoe rack really cause ill health? Nope. Will choosing the purple towel over the grey towel really cause bad things to happen? Hell no. However, I know that this alone isn’t usually enough to help me get one up on OCD. So next I will try to find evidence to back up my arguments against OCD. In this situation, I ended up thinking back to some exposures I did over 3 years ago (it’s remarkable how relevant they can still be, which is why exposures are so important people!) where I spent several weeks trying to mentally wish illness upon my psychologist in order to challenge the fear of causing illness. Did I manage to cause ill health? Nope! Sometimes I need to be firm with myself when going through my evidence, as I can easily succumb to the anxiety and OCD thoughts. So, I would also say some of my evidence out loud as I feel it gives it a bit more strength. This part of the process helps me to begin challenging those automatic OCD thoughts and not take them as immediate fact like I normally would. Hope this helps!

Krista’s Best Tips

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Email: krista@darknessintolightresources.com

My Bio:

I am the Founder and CEO of From Darkness Into Light Resources, a mental health online business. I am a public speaker on the topic. You can check out my website here. I started getting OCD symptoms during college and got a diagnosis then. I also had a diagnosis of major depression and my medical team isn’t clear if I have bipolar and PTSD or not. I am an unique case.

My OCD Tips:

The summer after I got home from college after my OCD diagnosis, I began to look for a psychologist who specializes in OCD. I found a perfect one for me who does Exposure and Responsive Prevention Therapy (ERP). ERP is the #1 treatment of tackling OCD head on. It isn’t at all easy but it has saved my life and I can attest that my OCD is way better than it used to be. I recommend ERP to every single person who is dealing with OCD. It may seem hard, but every time I expose myself to a thought or a situation, my anxiety comes down and habituates. I’ve tackled my worst fears and obsessions and they now longer bother me. With ERP, recovery is possible. I am living proof that recovery is possible.

Some other tips I have for those who are dealing with OCD is to not avoid. We tend to avoid things and situations, but that won’t make your OCD better. I even avoid places and situations to this day, but I try not to. I challenge you to not avoid anything. It may seem a little bit too much at first, so just try one thing to not avoid. I bet you will feel better and proud of yourself of doing that one thing afterwards.

If you have any questions about ERP or anything, feel free to email me at krista@darknessintolightresources.com and I will be happy to walk through this journey with you. Best of luck!!

5 facts about living with OCD, by Stephen Smith (Founder and CEO of nOCD

 

  • Know that OCD is treatable

    • Each day people all over the world with OCD, even those who have been suffering for years on end, get better through CBT and ERP therapy (often given in tandem with SSRI medication). After going through effective OCD treatment, people with OCD will be equipped with the tools needed to become their own OCD specialist. It’s tough to see the forest through the trees when suffering mightily, so anyone with OCD should keep this fact in the back of their minds at all times.

  • Find an OCD specialist

    •  There are many licensed mental health clinicians who DO NOT effectively treat Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and they may not even realize it. As a result, many people with OCD spend thousands of dollars “in treatment” practicing counterproductive techniques that cause their symptoms to progressively worsen over time. If you have OCD and ask “how do I find an OCD specialist”, be sure to check out the IOCDF website. An OCD specialist uses CBT and ERP therapy to treat OCD. They also should actively help patients stick through their treatment plans, by providing structured homework

  • Find family or friends to lean on

    • OCD therapy is challenging, to say the least, so having a good support system makes a HUGE difference. Isn’t it easier running a race when having friends and family waiting at the finish line or playing a game with a stadium full of screaming fans? If finding people to trust is a challenge, they’re fantastic OCD support groups available in many cities, and we are building a 24/7 one inside our app nOCD. Know you aren’t alone and shouldn’t be in treatment.

  • Nobody should be defined by their OCD

    • Nobody should be defined by their OCD. The term “OCD sufferer”defines individuals by their OCD, which detracts from their positive qualities, giving the disorder WAY too much importance. OCD is a mental illness, and that’s it. People with OCD are often some of the most caring people in society, given their genuine nature and love for others. That’s why it’s important we say “people with OCD” and not “OCD sufferer”.

  • The OCD treatment industry is growing exponentially, so the future is positive

    •  Although there are many incredible people and organizations in the OCD treatment space, it is fair to say it’s been a “broken”system. For instance, it traditionally has taken on average between 14-17 years for people with OCD to get treated, but that fact is quickly changing. Within the next decade, the majority of people with OCD will be able to see OCD specialists online over video chat, do ERP therapy using VR, get in the moment support from licensed peer supporters, and even communicate their illness using data collected by both their smartphone and wearable devices. It will take minutes to access effective OCD treatment, not years.

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