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Could you suffer from OCD?

Do you suffer from OCD or an impulse to keep doing something over and over again?

We all go through times where we think “did I lock that door?” Or “did I turn the Oven off?” But when it becomes a regular obsession something is wrong.

If you keep going back to check the door multiple times or must wash something over and over again to remove every little germ, then you may be suffering from an Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder isn't a thinking disorder – it's a feeling disorder. The feelings produce the thoughts, not the other way around.

Our imagination will ALWAYS win against thoughts (in gaining and locking our attention) because it is aligned with emotion, and emotion ‘demands’ attention.

Just like any fear deemed to be ‘Irrational’ by others it is not the act itself that causes the fear but the emotion surrounding it.

Take for example the fear of flying.

The idea of getting on a plane and flying to an exciting destination whilst watching a movie and being served food and drink doesn’t cause the anxiety. It is the emotional thought of what might happen (which rarely happens) that causes the fear.

This tendency to mix fantasy with reality, known as 'inferential confusion', makes a person believe their fantasy over immediate perceptions of reality. So, they may see that the plane is still

on the ground and hundreds of people are getting on and off planes safely on an hourly basis but feel and imagine they are walking into their death.

When we enter trance (our imagination) we escape from our usual mode of consciousness. some people use this to their advantage whilst others dream up the worst that could happen and focus on that. This causes the conscious mind to ignore the present reality and instruct the body to go into fight or flight mode. This then causes an ‘Emotional hijack’ where it becomes almost impossible to think rationally as the part of the brain which does this shut down.

It’s rather like trying to reason with a toddler having a tantrum, you can try to reason with them however you want, but at the end of the day until the tantrum runs its course you will not get anywhere. This is why parenting gurus advise you give the child time out to come back to reality when you can then discuss the problem.

Recent research found that not only are people with OCD tendencies disassociated from reality during the trance of obsessionality (and therefore not necessarily thinking at all), but they also rely heavily on their imagination as a guide to reality.

Once we stop taking our cues from observable reality, we become prey to our own imaginations, which can stop us in our tracks.

So how can you control these strong beliefs before they take hold?

  1. Stop and focus on what is happening. Notice how your emotions are causing you to react and refocus your mind on your breathing. Take 3 deep breaths and then look at the thoughts going on in your head.

  1. Ask the OCD what it is trying to do for you right now. What it the end goal?

  1. Listen to what it's trying to do for you (such as trying to make you feel safe or in control).

  1. Think of three ways you could feel safer or more in control outside of the OCD and write them down.

When you calm your mind and look at what you are doing rationally you realise that what you are doing isn’t alleviating the root cause or concern, once you understand what that is you can replace those fears with empowered real solutions and the OCD will fail to continue to take its hold.

Ask the following:

* What arguments does OCD, or the behaviour or phobia use to try to convince you to exhaust yourself and waste your time?

* What are all the persuasion techniques it uses?, how does it maintain its hold on you?

* What does it seem to promise you if you continue the action and how long do you need to continue before it will be completely satisfied?

* What lies does it tell you?

Once my clients become aware of the real reason behind the compulsive behaviour it loses its power. If the behaviour is questioned each time the temptation to repeat action is noticed then the action quickly begins to lose its power

Once the underlying need the OCD was promising to meet and generate are identified alternative and healthy ways to meet that need can be sought.

If you feel the compulsive behaviour starting to take control focus on reality, whether its breathing or, studying something in front of you in great detail until you change your focus from imagination back to reality.

Call the Compulsive behaviour a name so that you can easily sperate yourself from it and understand that it isn’t a part of you.

If you need help in finding the underlying cause contact me

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