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Real Event OCD: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living
Do you often think about past events imagining you could respond better to certain situations? If so, then you may be suffering from Real Events OCD. This sub-condition is a form of OCD that focuses on events that happened in the past, and the way you acted back then still bothers you.
If you are struggling with Real Events OCD, don’t worry – you are not alone! This article will discuss Real Event OCD, what it is, how to manage it, and treatments that work best.
Real event OCD
Real event OCD is a type of OCD where you become obsessed with certain past events in your life. You may worry that people still remember what you did years ago, which makes you feel shame and disgust every time you get back to that thought.
These feelings can lead to anxiety and interfere with your ability to enjoy life. If you have real event OCD, there are ways you can do to manage your negative emotions and live a more stress-free life. Although many OCD sufferers experience obsessions about events that haven’t happened, Real Event OCD primarily focuses on events that have occurred in the past.
Identifying the main symptoms of Real Event OCD is the first and most important part of the process. Some of those symptoms include but are not limited to:
· Constantly doubt whether you offended someone with your words or actions.
· You often think about whether you did something wrong or caused a tragedy with your actions.
· You often experience a never-ending battle with yourself about whether your actions were correct.
· questing your value as a person. Do others perceive you as a terrible person?
· You usually wonder about the situation’s outcome if you did not do this and that.
It is clear that Real Event OCD is not a joke. It causes constant self-doubt and overthinking. All this can be quite energy and time-consuming. Therefore, do not avoid talking with a specialist if you have those symptoms.
Can an event trigger OCD?
Yes, an event can trigger your OCD symptoms. In some cases, the anxiety caused by the event can be so severe that it leads to a full-blown panic attack. It is essential to seek help from a professional therapist or doctor.
For instance, a specific traumatic event can cause some people to develop OCD symptoms. Alternatively, for other people, it might mean that a life change or series of changes (such as starting a new job or moving house) can trigger OCD symptoms. Whichever is the case, if you are experiencing OCD symptoms and believe an event may have triggered them, there are various things you can do to help manage your anxiety and enjoy life. These include:
- Acknowledge your anxiety, but don’t feed it. Your thoughts are not going to help you. Don’t try and stop them; just let them be and focus on doing something else instead (such as meditating or practicing mindfulness).
- Write down a list of things that make you happy. Some of those things might include spending time with friends, taking care of pets, or playing sports. Then schedule a specific time for these activities each week.
- Talk about what is bothering you with someone supportive and understanding, such as a family member or friend.
- Challenge any negative beliefs by asking yourself, “what evidence do I have for this? What evidence do I have against it?”. Then think about how you would respond to a friend struggling with the same thoughts. What advice would you give them?
- Practice self-care such as eating well and getting plenty of sleep. Go for walks in nature, listen to uplifting music or read a book that makes you laugh.
- If you have a dog, take it for walks. This routine will help distract you from your thoughts and provide companionship.
Common examples of Real Event OCD obsessions and compulsions
Real event OCD can involve obsessions and consequent compulsions about anything that has happened in the past. These events could be anything from a minor detail to a traumatic experience.
Most often, the OCD sufferer asks himself, what if he did certain things better. Those recollections, therefore, lead to immediate feelings of guilt, shame, and other debilitating emotions. Some common examples of Real Event OCD obsessions include:
- You feel like a terrible person for thinking that you didn’t do something right.
- Inability to stop imagining past images of the corresponding events
- Experiencing a plethora of unhealthy emotions such as shame, regret, confusion
- Wondering what if you got caught and therefore being punished and humiliated for your actions
- An overall idea that you are an awful person
On the other hand, by definition, OCD compulsions associated with Real Events OCD are either mental or physical actions that the OCD sufferer performs.
Often the individual is resistant to perform those compulsions but is eventually overpowered by the drive to do them. Real event OCD compulsions may include
- Trying to talk about your past actions hoping you will get forgiveness
- Attempting to twist past events to see what you would do in a different way
- Repeatedly remembering past actions trying to re-evaluate all you did and said and how ashamed you feel about it
- Trying to imagine how you could have acted as a hero making everyone else proud of you
How to stop Real Event OCD
There is no single answer to this question, but I’ll start with how I did it. Below are five tips for coping with real events OCD:
- Recognize Your Triggers
The first step in dealing with OCD is recognizing your triggers. This process includes identifying what events or situations cause your anxiety to spike. Once you know your triggers, you can work on strategies for managing them. For example, if attending social gatherings causes stress, try slowly increasing your attendance at gatherings before the big event.
- Develop Healthy Coping Mechanisms
Once you’ve identified your triggers, it is vital to develop healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with them. For example, accepting that you have OCD and intrusive thoughts is an important and healthy coping mechanism that can help ease your stress. It means you have a malfunction in the brain, the intrusive thoughts are a symptom of OCD, and there is nothing to be afraid of.
- Seek Professional Help
If you struggle to manage your OCD symptoms, it is crucial to seek professional help. A therapist can provide you with the tools and support you need to deal with your anxiety healthily. There are also medications available that may help manage OCD symptoms. Talk to your doctor about what treatment options may be best for you.
- Don’t Isolate Yourself.
One of the worst things you can do when dealing with OCD is isolated yourself from others. The isolation will only make your anxiety worse and cause you to feel more alone in the world. Instead, try to surround yourself with people who will support you and help you through this difficult time. Call up a friend or meet them for coffee if possible so that you have someone to talk to about what’s going on.
- Stay Busy With Hobbies You Enjoy
When dealing with OCD, it is essential not to get too caught up in your thoughts and worries. This overthinking can quickly lead down a path of negativity which only exacerbates your anxiety symptoms further.
One way of avoiding this is by staying busy with hobbies that make you happy such as reading books, painting pictures, playing instruments, or even writing stories! Keeping your mind active will distract you from any obsessive thoughts that may be going on and help you to feel more positive overall.
These are just a few tips for coping with real events of OCD. Remember, every person’s experience with OCD is different, so find what works best for you and stick with it.
Treating real event OCD
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the most common treatment for OCD. It involves therapy sessions where you and your therapist will identify and change the thoughts and behaviors that contribute to your obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
According to numerous studies, CBT is considered highly effective and improves OCD symptoms and higher quality of life. You will also learn how to better deal with stressors in your life that can trigger OCD symptoms.
The primary purpose of CBT is to help identify irrational thoughts that OCD sufferers experience so that the individual does not turn them into irrational behaviors.
Thus, CBT therapy helps individuals healthily reassess their beliefs. The main aim of this process is for the OCD patient to realize the general truth himself.
There are plenty of ways to help the problems mentioned above heal effectively.
However, other treatment techniques are essential for long-lasting results. Therefore, once the individual reassess their previous way of thinking, the new and better way is put into test through ERP exercises.
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy
Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP) therapy is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that effectively treats OCD. This type of therapy involves exposing yourself to the things you fear and avoiding any rituals or compulsions that you use to control your anxiety.
This process helps lessen the severity of OCD symptoms and improves the quality of life. If you are struggling with OCD, there is hope. ERP therapy is an effective treatment for OCD.
To make the most of ERP therapy, you should be willing to take risks and face your fears head-on. You may find that some exposures are easier than others, but it is essential to push yourself to get the most out of this type of treatment. With time and patience, you can learn how to live a life free from OCD symptoms.
ERP therapy is the golden standard for treating OCD, with nearly 80% effectiveness. As a matter of fact, CBT and ERP should be your first choice in terms of treatment for OCD.
ERP therapy is the only type that helps individuals directly confront their fears while learning how to resist compulsions.
In other words, this technique treats OCD effectively by helping you to gradually face situations that cause anxiety until your response to them becomes normal.
ERP therapy aims to help individuals overcome their phobias, fears, and anxiety by exposing them to the things that trigger those feelings. Individuals struggling with OCD encounter four stages during the treatment process:
1- Psychoeducation: It consists of teaching patients about OCD and its symptoms as well as providing information about the rationale of treatment.
2- Exposure consists of facing one’s fears in a controlled manner under therapist supervision. As individuals with OCD confront these fears, their anxiety will lessen over time.
3- Response Prevention: This stage aims at preventing compulsions during or following exposure to fear-inducing stimuli. Compulsions are rituals that individuals with OCD use to control or reduce anxiety.
4- Generalization consists of applying the skills acquired during treatment to real-life situations.
Additionally, patients might also take medications while going through this type of therapy; however, they are only used as aides in the process for lasting recovery.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that can effectively treat OCD. ACT helps you accept your thoughts and feelings instead of fighting them or getting rid of them. This therapy can help you to live more freely and intentionally.
In addition, ACT teaches you how to commit to important actions, even if your OCD tells you not to do them. This way, you will be able to overcome the fear and avoidance that often accompanies OCD symptoms.
Furthermore, ACT helps OCD patients more readily accept the way their mind works so that they can build the life they want based on their actual values. When we look at ACT, it is helpful to divide it into two general parts: acceptance and commitment.
The term acceptance in the context of ACT means recognizing the present moment as part of reality and living in it. It might not be easy to put a precise meaning relevant for everyone when it comes to fact.
However, being present and acknowledging your real feelings, no matter if they make you feel uncomfortable, is all part of the process of acceptance.
There is no possible way to live without a single negative thought or emotion. Therefore, accepting anxiety as a natural emotion that you and everyone around you experience is crucial for healing.
Thus, the meaning of acceptance in the ACT is helping OCD sufferers make peace with their real feelings and thoughts without the need to escape from them. Doing all this teaches an essential lesson that anxiety is not an enemy but a naturally occurring emotion. It has no power over you.
The term commitment here means building your perfect life little by little with predefined steps. When It comes to OCD, however, sufferers often act impulsively or avoid acting at all instead of keeping track of their goals.
The crucial moment here is learning that those compulsive thoughts and emotions are imaginary and should not influence your decisions or actions. Once you master this step, you will be open and build your life forward while enjoying the process.
If you are interested in trying ACT for your OCD, talk to your therapist about it. There may also be groups or workshops available in your area that focus on using ACT for OCD treatment. Remember, the most important thing is finding a treatment approach that works for you.
If one method doesn’t seem to be helping, don’t be afraid to try something else. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to OCD treatment, and what works for one person may not work for another. So keep exploring until you find what you need.
A final word of advice. When Real Event OCD takes over your mind again, you need not despair if you’ve already recovered from this type of OCD before. You know what you need to do: revisit the steps outlined above and start working on them one by one until the recovery happens! As always with any form of mental illness treatment – especially OCD treatment – patience and perseverance pay off in the long run.
- About the Author
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I’ve been struggling with OCD for as long as I can remember. After a long CBT course, exposure therapy, mindfulness meditation, and many self-help books. I can say that I’ve started to understand how my mind works. It’s not always easy, but it gets much easier when I learn about OCD and its triggers, symptoms, and behaviors meant to ease the intrusive thought. I want to contribute to this community by sharing what I’ve learned. Read my OCD story.