Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
OCD is an anxiety disorder. It has two main parts: obsessions and compulsions
O for Obsessions
An idea or thought that continually preoccupies or intrudes on a person's mind. Obsessions are persistent thoughts, pictures, and doubts that keep coming back in your mind again and again leaving you with no energy to be focus on what really matter to you. Obsessive thoughts interrupt your thoughts against your control which can be really frightening, graphic and disturbing, it is important to list theses obsessional thought to understand that they are part of your condition and not your personality:
Violent intrusive thoughts or images of yourself doing something violent or abusive, or sexual. These thoughts might make you worry that you are a dangerous person.
Relationship intrusive thoughts often appear as doubts about whether a relationship is right or whether your partner is supportive or loyal enough, this precise point can lead to paranoia toward the love one and anger and might lead you to end the relationship to get rid of the anxiety and anger. In some cases, the person with OCD may have obsessive doubts about an intimate partner and become fixated on thoughts or mental images about infidelity.
Sexual intrusive thoughts or images. These could be related to children, family members or to sexually aggressive behaviour, what you think doesn’t define what you do or who you are, your condition speaks not you. You might worry that you could be a pervert a paedophile or a rapist, or that you are sexually attracted by someone in your family, all of this is related to negative thought bring about by your OCD, not your personality!
All these thoughts may make you feel anxious, disgusted or 'mentally uncomfortable', and inevitably, you might feel you can't share them with your partner, friends or family because you think there is something wrong with you that you have to hide... It’s hard and the fear of losing your close friends or family member’s support is unbearable, but remember that you do not choose to have such thoughts and start by speaking to a professional if you don’t feel ready to share your negative thoughts with your loved ones.
C for Compulsions
Compulsions are repetitive activities that you feel you have to do to avoid the anxiety and distress causes by your negative thoughts.
You might know that it doesn't make sense to carry out a compulsion, but it can still feel too scary not to… then develop anger or guilt and a lack of self-esteem causes by your “failure”. This feeling is very commune when having OCD, the most important is to remember that every little change compte, every time you do fight the negative thought and/or the compulsion is a victory!
Substance abuse, alcohol and other self medication might seem to help avoiding to think about your compulsion but these options are only short term, and can have a major impact on your life.
What you can do:
The only way to overcome a fear is to face it, you can’t run away from your own thoughts, so you really have no choice but to face them. You don't have to accept the catastrophic predictions of it but only the fact that you have these thoughts.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems by changing the way you think and behave. It's most commonly used to treat anxiety and depression, but can be useful for other mental and physical health problems.
How Exercise Can Help
Exercise may cause the release of “growth factors,” which trigger neurons to make new connections and these new connections may help to reduce symptoms of OCD and also release endorphins, the “feel good” neurochemicals, boosting mood and fighting off stress. Exercise can also help improve your self-esteem. If you start exercising regularly, you may find yourself feeling better both physically and mentally and the power of self esteem help boost your self-confidence as well as decrease your stress.
An accumulation of negative thoughts can definitely lower your self-esteem and discourage you to fight your condition. Being proud of every little change you make in your life is the first step to feel better, instead of comparing yourself to other, compare your week to the previous and keep track of your anxiety, obsession and compulsion. Try this:
Try using the app(s): Youper / Impulse
What can you do?
Cognitive behavioural therapy uses a structured approach to tackling your OCD, analysing how you think and then making small incremental changes to transform your current obsessive form of thinking.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a branch of CBT and works on the basis of accepting the thoughts in our mind and feelings of our body
Exposure and Response Prevention refers to exposing yourself to the thoughts, images, objects and situations that make you anxious and/or start your obsessions.
Mindfulness - The principles of mindfulness attempt to move attention away from the thoughts in your head and focus on your environment and body.