By Kate Dansie, MSW, LCSW-C, Eating Disorder & OCD Specialist
Struggling with intrusive thoughts, obsessions, and time-consuming rituals is exhausting.
Many people who struggle with OCD feel ashamed about their thoughts and behaviors. However, if you are struggling, you are definitely not alone.
As an OCD specialist, my passion is helping people to find freedom from OCD and to reclaim their lives.
The following are 5 tips for your recovery from OCD.
1. Begin to label fringe thoughts.
In the Mindfulness Workbook for OCD, Hershfield and Corboy use the term “fringe thoughts” to describe thoughts that are not regularly in one’s consciousness, but that pop up from time to time.
These thoughts may be desirable or undesirable.
To someone without OCD, these thoughts pass by without distress, however, for someone with OCD, these thoughts have a “sticky” quality and can be alarming, leading to fears that the thought will lead to an action.
This brings us naturally to the next tip: becoming mindfully aware of when you are engaging in thought-action fusion, a cognitive error.
2. Thought-action fusion.
If you think something, will it automatically turn into an behavior?
It can be very powerful to remind yourself that just because you think something, it doesn’t mean that you will automatically begin to do something.
Another way to consider this is: is this thought actually dangerous? And, if it’s not dangerous, do I actually need to suppress it and engage in compulsions to make that thought okay?
3. Seek support, not reassurance.
Many people with OCD engage in reassurance seeking.
For example, they might ask a family member: I would never _________, right?
Often, family members feel tempted to say, “of course not.”
The trouble with reassurance seeking is that you typically need more and more of it to feel better.
As a result, reassurance seeking actually makes the initial fear more powerful.
Consider finding a way to seek support instead. For example, you could say “My OCD is really trying to make me think I did something frightening,” or “The OCD voice is so strong today.” This will give your loved one a chance to give support by saying something like “I know this is really hard for you. Remember that these thoughts are coming from OCD and not you.”
4. Educate yourself on OCD.
The more you understand the disease, the better.
That scary thought that you thought no one else had might be more common that you think.
Normalizing what you are experiencing will naturally decrease your anxiety and help you stop engaging in exhausting rituals as you are more and more easily able to attribute thoughts to OCD.
It can even be helpful to name your OCD and begin to identify it’s voice versus your own.
5. Reach out.
Talk to a friend or family member and consider meeting with a therapist.
No one should have to struggle with OCD alone.
You can find freedom from intrusive thoughts, obsessions, and rituals.
Kate Dansie, MSW, LCSW-C specializes in working with teens and adults who are struggling with OCD. Kate also has a speciality in helping individuals who are struggling with eating disorders.
Work with Kate: Click here to learn more and to book a free 15 minute phone consultation.
The Eating Disorder Center is a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland. We specialize in helping teens and adults struggling with anorexia, binge eating disorder, and bulimia, and body image issues. We also offer therapy for obsessive compulsive disorder. We provide eating disorder therapy in Rockville, MD, easily accessible to individuals in Potomac, North Potomac, Bethesda, Olney, Silver Spring, Germantown, and Washington D.C. We provide eating disorder recovery coaching via Zoom to people worldwide. Connect with us through our website at www.theeatingdisordercenter.com
The Eating Disorder Center
We are a premier outpatient eating disorder therapy center in Rockville, Maryland.