You’re Beating OCD – Now What?

by stuart miles freedigitalphotos.net

by stuart miles freedigitalphotos.net

For many people, the journey through obsessive-compulsive disorder and back to good health is a long one. Getting a correct diagnosis, or even just recognizing you have OCD, often takes years. Then comes the search for appropriate treatment, followed by a long-term commitment to therapy and hard work. We know recovery is possible, but it is rarely a “quick fix.”

I try to imagine what it must feel like, after being controlled by OCD for so long, to finally have your life back. Relief. Gratitude. Excitement!

Yes, but for many, also add trepidation and confusion, with a helping of uncertainty.

What do I do NOW?

For many people, living with a good-sized case of obsessive-compulsive disorder is a full- time job. Obsessions, compulsions, more compulsions, getting stuck, avoidance, more compulsions, planning your next move, more compulsions – it can literally take up all your time. When my son Dan’s OCD was severe, OCD is all he “did,” day in and day out. It truly steals your life.

So when you finally get your life back, it can be disorienting and scary. What do you do with all this free time that no longer belongs to OCD? How can you be sure to live that happy, productive life you’ve worked so hard to reclaim?

I have heard from quite a few people who have had this issue, and it’s not unusual for OCD to try to worm its way back into their lives at this time. All the uncertainty about what’s to come lends itself to a ripe breeding ground for OCD. In addition, the person with OCD might start to obsess about how he or she thinks she is supposed to feel, or maybe even wonder if they ever really had OCD to begin with?

Hopefully, those who have made it this far in their battle will recognize OCD if it rears its ugly head and see it for what it is – a big bully trying to regain control. Of course, the way to keep it at bay is by continuing to use exposure and response prevention (ERP) therapy.

Back to the question of “What do I do NOW?” the answer is clear. You live your life the way YOU want to, not the way OCD wants you to. You identify your goals and work toward them within the framework of your values. What do you want out of life? While to some people the answers are obvious, others might need some guidance to help figure out their path. A good therapist can be invaluable.

Let’s get back to those feelings of Relief. Gratitude. Excitement! Because for all those whose lives are now unencumbered by OCD, anything is possible. Your hopes and dreams really can come true!

 

 


 

 

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8 Responses to You’re Beating OCD – Now What?

  1. Nicole says:

    Janet – I love, love, love this post!!!! It is so good and captures exactly what our minds go through!!!! I might just have to use this post in my blog in the future. Thank you for all the research, homework and time you’ve spent understanding your son’s diagnosis and sharing it with the world! It’s invaluable whet you’re doing.

  2. This is so true. I’ve always had a lot of goals, so it wasn’t as bad as I imagine it might’ve been, but when I started getting my OCD under control, I was disconcerted by how EMPTY my mind felt. I had all this space in my head for my own thoughts, instead of the obsessions. It was strange and quiet. I didn’t really like it, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. Never fear, though: I adjusted. I’m glad now to have my mind to myself to think about what I actually want to. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Hi Kira, Thank you so much for sharing and I love your last sentence: “Iโ€™m glad now to have my mind to myself to think about what I actually want to.” I just love success stories and hope to hear from you again!

  3. Hi Janet! Thank you for posting on a very important topic. I find that, the more intrusive a person’s OCD has been and the more of their life that it has taken up, the more this seems to be an issue. I frequently hear about this from patients who’re recovering. They begin to wonder who they will be without their OCD, and what they will possibly do with their time. It can be kind of scary, and it’s important to consider this, especially since OCD can beckon them back with the notion that it’s better to live with the devil you know. Great post!

    • Thanks so much for your insight, Angie, and your clients are lucky to have you! So often, I think, we all just concentrate on “getting better,” thinking everything will be great once the OCD is quieted. But obviously there are issues to address at this point as well and that’s just one of the many reasons why having a good therapist is so important.

  4. Anonymous says:

    A quote that meant so much to my sister & our family as she overcame her severe OCD & scrupulosity with intense ERP therapy was, “And just when the caterpillar thought her life was over, she became a butterfly!” My sister is certainly one of the most beautiful, strongest, healthiest butterflies there’s ever been! ๐Ÿ™‚

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