Misbah has done her Bachelor’s degree in psychology. She has access to a wide range of mental health experts who treat mental illness.
Emotional disorders can complicate the lives of people who suffer from them to a radical extreme. One of the most dangerous and obvious is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which fills your life with pathological doubt and needs for verification. Does that sound familiar to you of checking again and again if you have closed the door? I'm sure you've ever been nervous. Well, imagine if that behavior dominated your life. This is OCD.
What Is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?
When we talk about OCD, we are talking about one of the most severe forms of anxiety. It is a dangerous disorder that causes many limitations in the life of the person suffering from it and goes beyond manias. It's not just about being clean, worried, or orderly; it's about an obsession with many risks.
This disorder is obsessive due to the character of your thoughts. If I do not wash my hands, I will have germs, which can give me health problems; if I do not organize my clothing in a specific manner, my universe will crumble; and if I do not follow the set procedures, something horrible will happen.
These obsessive and recurring thoughts are like added compulsions. Compulsions are recurring actions that are performed virtually, physically, or mechanically and are motivated by an urgent need. Anytime, anywhere and at any cost.
And where does the need for verification and pathological doubt fit into Obsessive Compulsive Disorders?
The Need For Verification
The need for verification is something that we have all experienced, yet it is not always a pathology. When you are more worried than normal, you double-check if you have locked the door, shut off the lights, closed the gas key, sent that email to the proper recipient, glanced attentively at the clock time, etc. Haven't you ever done it? You must have done it, but that's not OCD.
When these gestures are performed repeatedly and over a lengthy period of time, they cause a problem. Nothing will happen to you if you only feel this way for a day or two. However, if the anxiety problem develops, the temptation to check or verify if anything is okay or not, in place, closed, switched off, or what relates, ends up swallowing your entire existence. It is OCD and it is bad for your health.
Obsession manifests as a result of unmanaged anxiety. How can you get out of the maze of obsessive thoughts? You must, without a doubt, seek psychological assistance and engage in cognitive behavioral therapy.
But first, let's talk about pathological doubt, which is both a source and a result of this verification OCD. Is the door shut? Have I switched off the light? Will I be able to arrive at work on time? Have I sent that email to the correct recipient? They are the doubts and insecurities that go from normal to abnormal when they take over your entire existence. Can you imagine living in constant doubt?
It's not about having existential doubts or trying to find purpose in life. These are the everyday uncertainties that convert your days into a living nightmare of insecurity. You need to double-check it because you're not sure whether you closed the door securely enough. The worst part is that the doubt does not go away once you perform the obsessive act of double-checking it.
Doubt generates compulsion. It is the OCD trap or the vicious circle. After a while, your thoughts will return to that pathological uncertainty and will demand proof, as in every addiction. How can you put a stop to all of this? If you have OCD, seeking psychological help is necessary because this is a serious illness that demands treatment. Remember that the most crucial thing is to seek professional assistance. OCD can be cured!
Tips to Overcome OCD
Always remember that no one can help you the way you can help yourself. Following are some tips to Overcome OCD.
Don't depend on others
Keep in mind that you are solely responsible for dealing with your symptoms. Do not involve others in your therapy homework (unless your therapist instructs you to do so), nor should you expect them to push or motivate you. They may not always be available when you need them, but you are always available for you.
Try to cope with it
When you have a choice, always choose to go toward the anxiety rather than running away from it. The only way to get over a fear is to confront it. You can't escape your thoughts, so you have no choice but to confront them. You must do this if you want to recover.
Expect the unexpected
Expect the unexpected at all times. An obsessive thought can strike at any time or in any location. Don't be surprised if you come across old or new ones. Don't be taken aback. Prepare to use your therapy tools at any time or in any location. Also, if new thoughts arise, inform your therapist so that they can help and assist you.
Agree with all obsessive ideas
Always try to agree with all obsessive ideas – never question, dispute, or fight with them. The questions they raise are not genuine, and there are no true answers to them. When agreeing, try not to be too specific; simply believe that the ideas are accurate and real. Don't panic. Accept it as it is.
Accept the risk
Risk is an unavoidable element of life. One can never eliminate risk from the journey of life. Face it with bravery. Remember that the greatest risk of all is 'not to get recovered'
You're in it for the long haul
Try not to be a black-and-white, all-or-nothing thinker; don't convince yourself that one misstep equals utter failure. If you slip and engage in a compulsion, you can always reverse it and do anything to cancel it. The good news is that you're in it for the long haul, and there'll always be another opportunity. When acquiring new skills, especially in treatment, it is usual to make mistakes. It happens to everyone from time to time. Accept it. Even if you face a huge setback, don't let it derail you. As the saying goes, "A lapse is not a relapse."
Don't compete yourself with others
Don't become too upset with your progress or start comparing yourself to others. Everyone moves at their speed. Instead, try to focus on completing one day's treatment assignments at a time. When choosing between two options, choose the more difficult of the two whenever feasible.
You have the right to speak out if your therapist sets you a task that you do not feel prepared to complete. As part of the therapist-patient team, you should be able to choose your therapy. The goal is for the project to bring you some anxiety that you can become accustomed to, rather than to overwhelm you and cause you a setback. So, don't be afraid to push yourself when you can.
To lessen your anxiety, try not to rush through your therapy tasks. Take your time and consider how much good it will do you. The aim is not to get it over with as fast as possible; rather, it is to establish a reasonable degree of worry, to stick with it. Learn to relax your brain. It’s your thoughts, keep in mind that it’s you, who own your thoughts not your thoughts own you.
Learn to trick your brain
Have faith in yourself. Even if you are stressed, strive to keep your thoughts under check. Learn how to deceive the brain. For example, if you close a stove knob and are always doubting whether you have done so, grab a pen and draw a tick on your hand or on a piece of paper so that anytime you think about it, the tick mark will ensure you that you have closed it. You can do similar things to calm your troubled thoughts. Tie a knot on the corner of your shirt, for example, or come up with another creative approach that suits you.
The only trick to overcome is to learn to relax your mind. It's your thoughts; remember that you own your thoughts, not your thoughts own you.
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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2021 Misbah Sheikh