Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OCD & Did the Contaminated Lady Kill My Cat?

People with OCD are victims of automatic thoughts which have been ingrained on the mind. Years ago I fell in love with a fluffy little kitten, who I named Lambchop. I took her home immediately. She made me incredibly happy, and if you have a pet that you love deeply, you will know how I felt.

One day, a neighbor of mine was passing by, and she walked up to my stoop and we started talking and the topic tuned to animals. I told her about my new kitten and she asked to see her. I really didn't want to show Lambchop to her, but she insisted. I felt uneasy as she was petting her, but didn't say anything.

Several days later, Lambchop became very ill and eventually passed away. It was very horrible for me, and I blamed my neighbor, and she has been "contaminated" ever since. For years, if I saw her, I would become terrified that something would happen to one of my pets. I would do a ritual to protect them.

This is the nature of OCD - We have experienced anxiety in the past, and are anticipating it again. In order to avoid the disturbing emotion of anxiety, we have inadvertently created a false belief system which tells us that our rituals will protect us.

I hope that people with OCD will be able to recognize this pattern in their minds and interrupt the OCD thought and challenge it.

I'd like to know your thoughts about this - sometimes I still wonder.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Many people don’t realize the enormous amount of mental and physical energy OCD uses and how it can deplete bodily resources. OCD is like the school bully who torments the same person day after day because he gets the reaction he wants, which is fear. Your fear makes him feel more powerful. In the past, I have often been a victim of this OCD bully. Mentally fighting him left me both mentally dejected and physically exhausted. This tormenter can interfere with eating, sleeping, working, as well as interacting with others.

One simple way to conserve energy when one is experiencing severe OCD is to just stop fighting it. Give up. Ignore your OCD bully. The more we fight him, the more powerful he will become, because anything we give our energy, attention, and focus, will only get stronger.

Accept that you feel this way at this moment and logically say to yourself that you are in the midst of OCD and that biochemical imbalance is causing this. Tell yourself that you will get through this and eventually you will feel better. Realize that you have more power than you think in this situation, and you don’t have to be a victim of this bully. It is only your past conditioning that has set up this attack. Do your best to ignore your obsession (which I know from personal experience is very hard to do, but with practice, really works.) Then try to refocus your physical and mental energy elsewhere. If possible, think of something pleasant. A past pleasant experience is just as good as a present one because your mind doesn’t know the difference. Take a walk, clean a room, make a phone call, take a bath, listen to music, eat something delicious, see a movie. Make a conscious effort to do anything that will make you feel better. What is important is the emotion that is projected. If you can manage to feel anything pleasant, it will immediately give you some relief. If you can be aware of this and practice doing it, it will make a huge difference in your life.

Refocusing your attention elsewhere and giving your OCD the least amount of effort is just like standing up to the bully and taking away his power. Ignore him and he usually shrinks away. I hope understanding this will bring you some relief.