November 25, 2011

OCD & Motivation

I don't really have a full blog post....just a few things to "comment" on. 

Lately I've been feeling very un-motivated to fight my OCD.  I don't know what it is - just the stress that I've been under lately or maybe it's just the fact that I STILL DON'T WANT TO ACCEPT THAT I HAVE OCD.  I don't know. 

The other day I discussed this issue with my therapist.  Basically since we've started working together last spring, I've been "dabbling" in ERP.  Nothing too extreme, and certainly on days when I found the anxiety difficult - I would want to back off. 

Which leads me to believe that I just haven't had the right attitude.  Maybe I really am not ready to face these fears head-on.  Like I said to my therapist on Wednesday - "My OCD isn't going to go away suddenly from this epiphany that we have in session."  Nor am I going to find the magic drug that takes it all away.  How I will overcome and learn to manage my OCD is by purposely, courageously and adamantly making the choice - in every minute and every second of my day - to face my fears and NOT do what my OCD wants me to do. 

So last night I set out on a quest to find some motivation.  I know that reading "helpful" books definitely keeps me motivated.  (Right now I'm reading "The Mindful Way through Anxiety".) I also know that it is helpful to look at my "wins".  While doing some research on the web, I also found these two quotes:

"You cannot solve a problem with the same mind that created it." - Albert Einstein

"Between stimulus and response there is a space.  In that space is the power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and freedom." - Victor Frankl

So these are the things that I am going to do in order to mindfully motivate myself:

1. Create an acceptance script (as per homework from therapist).
2. Continue reading helpful, educational books.
3. Keep a log of "unhealthy" behaviours (compulsions and other reactions such as eating junk food, not exercising etc), and then keep track of all of my "wins". 
4. Remind myself of these two quotes as needed. 

It's amazing how many times today I had to remind myself of that Einstein quote.  It really hit home with me.  How can I expect things to change if I'm going to continue doing the same thing????  OCD isn't suddenly going to go away.  One other thing - I have to remember to have compassion for myself.  Something else I am working on. 

I would love to hear how you stay motivated to fight your OCD......


  1. Hi POC,

    Hmm, how I stay motivated to fight my OCD, you have me thinking. My daily life and wellbeing is a huge stimulus in keeping me motivated to working towards my OCD. When the irrational thoughts creep in and attack what I hold most dear, which is about everything lately, I do the exact opposite of what they tell me. Feeling the anxiety of OCD is enough to motivate me to work on it and manage it like hell.

    For some reason, I can't get into self help books, I start reading them and they either trigger me or I loose interest, funny... I continue to blog, have confidence in my "tool box" of managing tools, and push forward.

    Hope you're well...


  2. I'm floundering here with motivation too. When i beat ocd i'm motivated to do it again. When ocd beats me i wonder if i'll ever have peace from ocd. i am slowly trying to accept that i have this. I just don't know what it means. Will i be doing erp for the rest of my life?

    What i tell myself is that with every erp sucess i get more of my life back. If i never find freedom from ocd, at least i can function, because of the erp's i have done.

    However when i've just 'flunked' erp, i have a hard time remembering the above and i just get upset with the whole thing.

    With pure o, i guess counting the amount of time that my head was quiet would be the measure of success. Having a still mind (which i still practice) brings me peace.

    Looking back and realizing how far i've come also helps, when i think i'll never get it. I think i need to go back and read old journal entries to remind myself of how far i've come instead of always focusing on how far i need to go.

  3. Just a random question for any of you. Have you found that exercise really helps? I played division 1 athletics and my body has been accustomed to hard core exercise my entire life. Since graduating,however, I have become incredibly lazy. Walking my dog is pretty much the extent of my exercise. Input on if it helps you or not would be appreciated.

  4. Currently, I've felt that my OCD was a minor enough problem that I wouldn't worry about it... I guess I should go back to ERP, but not doing my compulsion seems unacceptable. One thing I've found helpful in the past was writing down every exposure that I did that I thought of. This let me see that I was doing more exposures than I remembered later. That helped me feel better because then I had "proof" that I was still fighting OCD. The thought of recording all my unhealthy behavoirs sounds too discouraging to me. Does it help you?

  5. I guess my motivation is to be at peace. Being in the middle of an OCD or anxiety episode definitely impedes peace. So getting better with the OCD, etc. get me closer to peace.

  6. Lolly - interesting that you can't read self-help books. Probably saves you a lot of time - more time for reading for enjoyment.
    Karin - I think for those of us with OCD - we will be doing ERP for the rest of our lives.
    Finding Normalcy - they say that hard cardio exercise does help and I really think that it does - but I haven't been getting a lot of hard cardio exercise lately!
    Abigail - I'm not writing down all my unhealthy behaviours - I'm writing down "signs" and my compulsions - so I can be aware of them, and then when I successfully prevent myself from doing any of them I acknowledge it.
    Tina - Yes - peace of mind is a good motivator. The problem is - very often I get caught up in wanting the OCD to go away so I can have peace! Not facing it head-on.

  7. I remember asking my son, when he was working so hard at therapy in his residential program, what was motivating him so much. His two main motivators were "wanting to get his life back" and "freedom." At the time, I thought he meant freedom from the treatment facility, but what is so obvious to me now is that he wanted freedom from OCD. My guess is these factors are still strong motivators for him....

  8. My counsellor asked me this question last session. So i thot about it some more. Besides wanting as much of my life back as possible these things help motivate me:

    humour. Ocd is not a fun, or funny illness. However, looking back at an episode or a problem and making light or fun of it, helps me to keep going, to not be overwhelmed. And i think i just like it, the fact that i can turn my lemon into lemonade just to amuse myself. I have a rather strange sense of humour, and often ocd plays right into it- usu. after the event has settled down. If i can see the humour DURING/ BEFORE the event, it helps to lower my anxiety- after all who can REALLY be afraid of a mop???...(ME :)

    The other thing is that i love to travel. And to camp. I camp even WITH ocd, but due to finances havent travelled much, and when i have, ocd interferes. So that to me is another motivator.

    Peace. i love a peaceful day. anxiety takes that away. So anything that brings me back to some kind of peace.

    I mentioned to my counsellor that i must have been a member of the inquisition in my past life to do this self torture called erp. (She makes me pick my own erp's to do, so i can't curse HER while i'm doing them :P. Smart for HER. snicker.) Only thing is i'm NOT enjoying it much. Until it's the 3rd or 4th time and the anxiety level is lower.

    I've never done erp on thots. I just would eventually find a phrase or piece of info that i could repeat to myself that would take all the guilt and sting away from the thot. This would happen over and over until the thot didn't bother me anymore...until a new thot hit. I think it's harder with thots because they seem MORE part of 'who you are', then an outward compulsion like i have now. Getting rid of something that has been such a part of your identity seems a lot harder to give up emotionally than getting rid of a physical habit, because i can SEE that a habit is not 'who i am', and it is STILL so hard to give up.

    I thot for years that as i was changing my son's diaper or at other inopportune moments that i 'might' be molesting him. And i had been diapering butts since i was 10 yrs. old! This lasted until finally i had a comeback thot for ocd: well,, 'if i did, i'll just give him the money for therapy when he's an adult.' That's what i'd repeat every time the thot came, that and 'it's just a thot'. it's not true. until said thot slowly went away. I had NO idea at the time it was ocd, so i didn't have any guidence or erp to do. (So far ds hasn't come for money for that:))

    Good luck with thot erps. Hope this helps.