I see the term “OCD toolbox” being used quite a bit these days. I like it. Just as personifying OCD allows us to view the disorder as separate from the OCD sufferer, the OCD toolbox gives us a way to group together everything that might be helpful in fighting obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD is often complicated, so I’m for anything that helps sufferers and their loved ones better understand, and battle, the disorder.
So what goes into an OCD toolbox? For young children, actual objects might be helpful. Stress balls, as well as favorite toys, puzzles, and stuffed animals, may provide comfort, or at the very least a distraction, when OCD is taking hold. Older children, teens, and adults might benefit from listening to their favorite CD’s, reviewing helpful books on dealing with OCD, or reading inspirational poems. For some, medication will be in their toolbox.
In addition to these concrete items, healthy eating, exercising, meditation, and getting enough sleep are important elements of the OCD toolbox. And while everyone’s toolbox will be different, the most important components, in my opinion, are proper therapy and a competent therapist. Exposure Response Prevention Therapy is the frontline treatment for OCD and an essential part of all OCD toolboxes.
While OCD toolboxes can overflow with helpful items, it’s extremely difficult for OCD sufferers to do all the necessary “repairs” on their own, and they shouldn’t have to. Blogs, forums, and support groups can be valuable, but don’t compare to the support, acceptance, and love of family and friends. As I’ve mentioned many times before, those of us who do not suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder cannot truly understand how torturous and debilitating it can be. We need to acknowledge the severity of this disorder and learn everything we can about it so that we can be powerful additions to our loved one’s OCD toolboxes. It could make all the difference in the world.