December 20, 2011

An OCD Concept I struggle with.

I’ve done pretty well facing a lot of stuff lately.  I’m feeling pretty motivated and determined.  But these days – with the holiday season – I am feeling pretty down.  I’m lonely.  When I think of last Christmas – it was spent with my Mom and Dad and my ex-boyfriend and my brother and family.  I don’t think I’ve had a single Christmas without my Mom.  I really just want these next couple of weeks to be over so that I can “start fresh” with 2012. 

I’ve started a “wins” check list to help keep myself motivated, because I’m certain that I also suffer from SAD.  I get to put a tick on my checklist every time I do one of the positive things that I’ve listed....things like “eating a healthy breakfast”, “doing ERP”, “taking the dog for a walk” and “spending time with friends”.  My goal is to be able to tick ten things off per day.  I’m sure I’ll get there. 

Despite the fact that I’m doing a lot of ERP, I am still struggling to let myself go there with the anxiety and other feelings (depression etc).  I find that frustrating.  In fact, to be completely honest, I find it very discouraging. 

The other thing that I am struggling with BIG TIME is my compulsion to “analyze and figure out”.  This compulsion - in my opinion is the hardest thing to stop doing.  What’s behind this NEED to analyze and figure things out?  The MASSIVE FEAR that I’m in denial and that I should not be in therapy for OCD, but instead for gay denial and other psychological issues.  That unless I quit CBT and ERP and go to a psychoanalyst,  I will NEVER get better, because even though I might have OCD, there are real reasons for this anxiety and that I will continue to struggle and be unhappy for the rest of my life. 

This is a really tough one for me because it seems like whenever anyone struggles emotionally in life – no matter what the problem – people are always so quick to blame it on their past (usually family upbringing and experience).  Whenever people on television or the media speak of “therapy” they speak of psychoanalytic therapy – not CBT/ERP.  I can’t deny that I have a dysfunctional family and that my up-bringing was less-than-ideal.  I don’t really have a lot of respect for my Dad.  I’m sure there are many people who would say that I have “Daddy issues”.  And my OCD is VERY quick to tell me that unless I solve those issues FIRST – I’ll continue to struggle with heterosexual relationships and someday I’ll just get fed up and say “to hell with it – I’m becoming a lesbian”. 

Stopping “analyzing and figuring things out” feels COMPLETELY against what the rest of the world does in order to grow and progress emotionally in life.  Isn’t that EXACTLY what other people DO in therapy????  It feels like a BIG RISK to not do this.  In fact, by not doing this, I feel like I am PURPOSELY telling myself to "stay in denial" and that just FEELS WRONG AND SCARY.  So on the rare times that I do say to myself "I don't need to figure this out right now", the next thing my OCD screams at me is "Denial!  Denial!  Why wouldn't you want to get to the bottom of this??? You really are in denial!!"  Ugh. 

“Analyzing and Figuring Out” is such a habit and part of me that very often I don’t even notice that I’m doing it.  I analyze EVERYTHING – not even things related to my OCD.  I suppose it’s just another word for ruminating.  I HATE IT.  This compulsion is what fills up my mind and drags me down.  I don’t even know how to stop doing it to be honest. 

Does anyone have any comments about this compulsion and how you stopped? 


  1. Ahhh, ruminating. That was brought up today in therapy because for me, I ruminate in order to stay in control. If I can solve whatever is triggering my OCD; I am in control. Did I offend someone? Will the house burn down? If I can solve those problems, and more; I'm in control, I own the show.

    I'm still working on stopping it - sometimes I take a benzo if I just can't take it, other times I do whatever I can to distract myself. Some days are easier than others. :/

  2. I'm just starting my journey, so I can add no advice. But, remember what Dr. Grayson said about us. That we are intelligent and creative. My excellent skills at analysis made me very successful in grad school and at my job. This same gift hurts me in my OCD. I'm attempting to say to myself things like, "that's the OCD right now and I'm not going to pay attention to it." I am trying to choose to save up my analysis for work where it is positive and let it be unanswered otherwise. I fail a lot. But, every once in a while I succeed and write down the success. But, again I'm just beginning.

  3. I'm so sorry this holiday season is so difficult. My sympathies to you on the loss of your mom.
    My mind goes on and on and on. It's so hard to stop thinking.
    I practice a lot with meditation. I can't say I'm doing it "correctly" yet, because it's usually when I'm in bed trying to relax and fall asleep, instead of sitting up and NOT going asleep. But the important part of what I do is to repeat "not thinking, not remembering, not wanting" (it's from a Mary Oliver poem, count my breaths or repeat "om" silently. If I find my mind veering off, I try to be calm and go back to my little mantra or counting breaths. It's hard, but for short periods of time, it helps.
    I also do something that may sound silly, but I discovered it this fall when my now deceased cat was really sick. I started coloring mandalas. I downloaded some from online and even drew some of my own, and colored them with colored pencils. Doing it takes over a part of my brain and I can kind of rise above disturbing thoughts.
    Hang in there, and keep us posted. I'll be thinking about you.

  4. I like the idea of coloring or drawing. Maybe something artisitic might snag our ever analyzing minds. I know my anxiety is far less during my choir rehearsal.

  5. One Anxious Gal - my rumination is to stay in control too or prevent something "bad" from happening.
    Tina - I'm finding mindfulness to be very helpful too. I need to start practicing "formal" meditation, but the informal stuff seems to be helping too. Interesting what you say about art - I love making pottery and I find that really helps, but colouring also works for me too!! Thanks for the reminder.