Routines and rituals are commonplace with OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). But why does OCD have this power over us, and what can we do about it?
What is it for you?
Cleaning rituals? Scanning your body for abnormalities (health anxiety)? Checking doors and locks? Counting routines?
Just a few of the common routines and rituals OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) will have us do.
To the balanced mind, these things might seem crazy.
But to someone who suffers from OCD (like I used to), these routines and rituals are very real.
So, the question is:
Why does OCD have this power over us?
It comes down to one thing: control.
OCD and control
An OCD-related routine or ritual is a way for us to try and take back control.
When we have OCD, we feel out of control in an area of our life, and OCD gives us a way to try and take back control.
OCD is a dysfunctional way of trying to deal with our anxiety, stress and problems. It’s not pleasant, and it’s not something we want to be stuck with for the rest of our lives.
This is the exact reason why we need to manage our intrusive thoughts in a different, more functional and constructive way.
Knowing that we use OCD to try to take back control doesn’t make OCD acceptable.
I mention it here because it’s a nice thing to know.
Like all anxiety-related conditions, there is a complexity that surrounds them, giving us the belief that overcoming them is impossible.
The same goes for OCD.
When we’re armed with answers, we can overcome anything – OCD included.
You now know what it takes to overcome OCD: A new way of taking control of the areas of our lives that make us feel out of control.
The first step to making this happen is to drop the false belief of negative consequences.
Negative consequences OCD has us believing
The real power behind OCD is consequence.
If we don’t do a routine or ritual, OCD will have us believe a negative consequence is in store for us.
That consequence could be any number of things.
Those intrusive thoughts will have you believing all sorts – and it’s usually the worse case scenario.
When we put our rational thinking cap on, THIS IS COMPLETE RUBBISH.
How would not cleaning our hands five times in a row mean we’re going to die?
I’m not watering down the power of OCD here. I know first-hand how insidious OCD is.
If you’ve suffered from OCD for some time, it’s a very hard habit to break.
But it can be broken.
The way to start breaking the habit is identifying the areas of your life you feel are out of your control.
Getting the control back
The most common areas of our lives that cause us stress and anxiety can be split into three.
They all intertwine with each other, but these are the three categories most likely to be affecting your anxiety and stress levels – and therefore your OCD.
> Relationships (family & friends)
Most of us aren’t great at dealing with our stress and anxiety, so we tend to try and sweep it under the carpet.
That’s when issues arise.
When we don’t face our anxiety (fear), it continues to grow. This growth usually comes with more anxiety-related issues, like OCD.
It starts with a bit of stress, and that quickly grows into something bigger, until we find ourselves dealing with intrusive thoughts that make us do these OCD-related routines and rituals.
What area of your life do you feel is out of control?
When you can bring your anxiety (fear) to the surface, you can start dealing with it.
Allowing your anxiety to get bottled inside, or trying to sweep your fear under the carpet, will only mean more issues (including OCD) that continue to get bigger.
Some fears (anxieties) are a little trickier to bring to the surface so you might need professional help, like counselling, to help you deal with them.
When you’re prepared to face your issues, you’ll begin to take back control.
This control will help you deal with your OCD, and with time and practice, you’ll find those intrusive thoughts, routines and rituals, will naturally fall away.