Escape Plan

Over the past year, learning I have OCD and finding ways to manage it has been a difficult journey. It seems I’ve learned a lot about OCD — from reading, from my psychologist, and from talking to others with similar problems. So why do I still struggle? I realized yesterday the problem is not that I don’t have solutions. The problem is that I frequently catch myself giving in to obsessive thoughts, fears, or urges, without realizing it at first. And then when I’m stuck in the middle of that process, my perfectionism tells me something like: “Well, if you’d caught this at the beginning, things might be different. But now that you’ve given in to this fear, there’s no hope of fighting it.”

It’s kind of like making a plan for if the house catches on fire, but not making any plans or having any idea what you might do if you catch yourself suddenly with HALF the house ALREADY on fire. The problem with my OCD is not that I don’t know how to deal with it, as was true in the past; but rather, that sometimes it catches me off guard, and I find myself in the middle of a battle I didn’t even know had started.

So what did I do? I set aside a notebook. I made a rule that I can ONLY write positive things in the notebook. And then, I wrote myself an “escape plan.” Not only for what to do when I recognize an obsessive-compulsive thought process beginning, but also what to do if I suddenly catch myself in the middle of one. I always need to remember that it’s not too late to escape. OCD is in my brain; it’s not a real house fire, so there will always be a way to escape. I must always remember to be willing to admit that MAYBE, just maybe, “the house is not on fire” and it is just OCD and a false alarm. I must not burn the house of my life down while trying to prevent an imaginary fire.

This process is ongoing, because it has to be. During my life, there will be many different situations where I’ll inevitably catch myself in the middle of an OCD thought process because there is no cure, I will always be this way, it’s simply the way my brain works. So I have to continue finding new ways to deal with it. There is no set procedure; it will be ever-changing, and I hope the “positive things” notebook will help.

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3 thoughts on “Escape Plan

  1. Matt Marinello says:

    Good luck! Don’t give up hope! I’ve heard of people getting all the way better completely (okay only one guy on a forum), but every case is unique so just following someone else’s advice may not work. What cured some may just help others a little or not help at all, because everyone’s case is different. The advice I’ve heard so far for OCD hasn’t helped too much, because I have unique problems. My own unique OCD. You have to find your own path I think, and that goes for people with all sorts of problems not just OCD.. I definitely have to pathe my own way. That positive notebook plan sounds like a good idea.

  2. Very interesting post which shows how OCD is always trying to sabotage… Good for you for realizing you can always have a plan, even in the “middle of OCD.” Good Luck!

  3. willitbeok says:

    Thanks, both of you. Haha Matt — well, I’m so glad if there are people who can get over OCD completely! But I am skeptical. It seems like the very nature of OCD is that if you have it, it’s just how your brain is “wired” to work. But I don’t want to make anyone give up hope because of that. You’re right that each of us is unique, and so is our OCD.

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