Today’s group looked at how people deal with receiving thoughts they do not want to have. This is more commonly known as O.C.D. We cannot stop with thoughts come in to our minds but can choose how to deal with them. The obsessive part comes in when people perform compulsions or rituals to try to neutralise the thoughts. Sadly, this only serves to make somebody feel worse. Below are examples of the constant compulsions people may perform;
- Checking taps are turned off
- Keeping hands in pockets
- Checking car mirror while driving to check you’ve not ran anyone over
- Constantly asking for reassurance
- Checking kitchen stove to check it’s turned off
- Avoiding certain places
- The use of numbers in an unhelpful way
- Cleaning door handles
- Trying to battle thoughts
These examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the many rituals with the intention of keeping the person or others safe. This coping mechanism only briefly soothes the individual and keeps the obsessive checking and perceived threat alive.
Group members then went on to their experiences with O.C.D. Their experiences were, checking the door was locked, the need for numerical sequencing, having the volume at the same level on TV, checking plugs were switched off and same fitness routine. We talked about some really dark thoughts that people incur like the mother who was scared to change her baby’s nappy incase she sexually abused her or the man who had thoughts of stabbing his wife in the kitchen. To neutralise these tormenting thoughts the mother got her husband to always change the baby’s nappy and the man who struggled with the thought of knives put all the knives from the kitchen in the bin. By doing these things to keep others safe what they are actually doing is keeping the OCD prevalent. The worry for people with dark thoughts is that they will act upon them which is totally untrue. In actual fact most people who struggle with intrusive thoughts are extremely kind, caring people who ironically may care too much about others. We then looked at a survey that was completed by students in the USA about the type of intrusive thoughts they received. What was interesting with the findings was how it showed that most people have intrusive thoughts and it is perfectly natural. The problem is that some people give these thoughts far too much credence which can lead to O.C.D
What people have to do to combat this horrible debilitating condition is to train themselves to deal with the fears and face the things that they are avoiding. When you first face your fears it is natural to feel more anxious, but gradually over time with continued exposure your brain will realise that there is no threat which will over time reduce anxiety.