Personality Cafe banner

1 - 20 of 45 Posts

·
MOTM June 2015
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Looking for those who may be familiar with OCD ~ especially compulsive thought loops. Hoping you'll be willing to share what you know, and especially interested in hearing from those who have figured out how to stop doing this.

I get stuck in destructive thought/theme loops, and desperately want them to end. When I'm under stress, it often gets worse. I've dealt with this vicious cycle for years but have never really known why I do this or how to put an end to it. The last several years I have found myself doing this more and more. The past several months have been more stressful than usual due to family member nearly dying. (lengthy hospital stay and rehab) Thankfully they are back home now and things are a little more "normal."

Since I've had more time lately and I'm tired of doing this, I started looking for answers.
Why do I get stuck in endless destructive thought loops, why don't I have the willpower to stop?
I am sick and tired of living this way. It prevents my husband and I from enjoying life more fully. It almost always leads to bouts of depression. I want it to stop. My recent search for answers led me to conclude that OCD is a possibility.

I always thought of OCD as something those who repeatedly wash their hands do. I stumbled on the video below and I thought wow, this is what I do. I've dealt with these silly thoughts loops for years. I didn't want to talk about it to anyone because it was so illogical and I value logic greatly. Why couldn't I just stop with the nonsense. I certainly didn't want anyone else to know about the ridiculousness that I allowed my mind to engage in.

The video below is what it is like for me when things are out of control. (basically this can be anytime my mind has time to wander) I don't obsess about my health, I obsess about making mistakes, saying too much, not saying enough, speaking up when I shouldn't, not speaking up when I should, I might make things worse by acting, I might make things worse by not acting, or moral/religious themes.

I tend to research those things I'm hung up on endlessly. Always feeling like there is something I'm overlooking, something that's keeping me from getting things absolutely right, even though I know deep down that absolute certainty seldom exist for anything. Even though I know I've exhausted most of the material available on a topic, I still doubt and continue seeking reassurance for the same things over and over and over. Just like in the video where the man was telling himself don't look it up, I usually end up looking it up anyway. Even though I know I'm going to see the same things I saw the previous 20 times I looked it up. But...that little voice inside my head eggs me on, maybe you missed something the other 20 times you looked. Maybe there is a puzzle piece just waiting for you to find it.


It paralyzes me and I don't do things I know I should for fear of making a mistake, and then I obsess that my inaction makes me a horrible person. There is almost never any peace and eventually depression sets in. (this too is a repeating cycle).

Unfortunately, like the man in the video, I also do the counting thing. I have no idea why I count. I also constantly reflect upon things I might have said or done that are stupid. Then I'll find something to beat myself up for. Sometimes I even dredge up things I did years ago to punish myself for. I often tell myself how stupid I am. Although I don't wish this on anyone, it was strangely comforting to know as I watched the video, that I am not the only one who does this. I really need to figure out how to stop doing this.

Watching this video made me say yes, this is what it is like, someone else understands. I'm not the only one who fights mental thought wars.



My husband is a sweetheart but I know that dealing with my constant reassurance seeking, my inability to make a confident decision, dealing with subjects that I beat into the ground, etc., etc., is frustrating to him. He likes to take care of problems and fix things. He doesn't know how to fix this and it frustrates him. After watching the video, he said my behavior makes a lot more sense to him now.

If you know of someone who has dealt with this and learned to control it, I would love to hear about it. Or if you just want to post some helpful suggestions that would be great as well. Trying to figure out how to overcome this without medication. I want to learn how to fix the disorder, I don't want to be medicated. Currently reading books and lots of on-line information about this but, I'm aware that too can become an obsession,

I know this is rather lengthy, I appreciate those who take the time to read this.

Thanks!
:smile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,199 Posts
Might sound odd, but coding used to be an effective solution due to its mentally-consuming nature; it's much less effective now, unfortunately (and impractical for most people). I can spend hours researching, checking, verbalizing and mentally reciting the same line of reasoning. It's control and certainty I desire, and homing in on the most likely outcome/determining plausible worst-case scenarios really gives a pleasant, illusory sense of it. But honestly, capitulating to your brain's anxious side is very bad long-term. Whatever comfort your get from the rituals has a close expiration date, so it's better to mentally tell yourself "I'm not going there" if you're capable of it. Otherwise you end up checking the same things over and over and over and over again with an irrational expectation that it will finally convince you of something, and it won't.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that socializing helps me. That might be less useful if your concerns are directly related to your behaviors in groups, but I find it draws me out of my head a bit, which is always good.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,367 Posts
It's unhealthy but I try to cut everything that I can pinpoint as a negative out of my life; it's more escaping rather than overcoming, but I find that it's less stressful to start at a baseline and build on that; like everything else in life - the hierarchy of needs. Of course this doesn't work well because things out of our control are always being encountered.

To be super cliché, not everyone will agree with the choices you decide; you have a right to manifest your own happiness and what's good for you, so go easier on yourself because we all make mistakes.

For destructive thought loops, look into cognitive therapy.
 
  • Like
Reactions: castigat and jamaix

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,834 Posts
I think there's a difference between 'uncertainty' as in the absence of knowledge and information and 'uncertainty' as in the actual feeling of doubt and insecurity. I think obsessive-compulsive tendencies are rooted in the latter (something like constantly checking to see if the door is locked is due to the feeling of uncertainty even though one knows intellectually that they've already locked the door. Constantly washing one's hands and other compulsions might have nothing to do with a feeling of uncertainty but there's still a compulsive need to ritualistically do something to minimize a feeling of insecurity or some kind of discomfort (I can see why perfectionism or even indecisiveness if that involves ruminating over possibilities would be considered obsessive compulsive). The focus of obsessive-compulsive tendencies can be external (like hand washing) or internal (like making sense of how someone is treated). An obsession or interests isn't/aren't necessarily 'obsessive compulsive' or distressing in any way.

There have even been times when I would look at dark blue skies with puffy white clouds or other natural scenery or an attractive woman and feel this mild need to 'analyze' how 'shockingly' beautiful it/she was and it was like a chore.

Ignoring the compulsion is supposed to be desensitizing (the same with social anxiety and exposure to social contact) but that hasn't helped me in a very a long time (and never in the case of social anxiety. I've noticed at times, years ago, that I would become more anxious when being in public or exposed to other people or interacting with them when it was routine - going to work - than when it was occasional. Now that I think about it I've always been relatively shy but I don't think my social anxiety is organic). There's only one thing that really bothers me now (in an obsessive compulsive way and it does in other ways as well. It's uncertainty about something important that I remember) and I ignore it, although it instinctively goes off on it's own, and it doesn't help so I've just accepted it. The only thing I can do is use it to clarify my ethical views (why I think suffering is the only intrinsically bad thing) but that doesn't necessarily 'help' like it used to.




 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,876 Posts
1. It's biologically driven. Seek help. There's medication.

2. Do CBT/Meditation. Learn to recognize though patterns and as you realise what they are when they come about, they will begin to dissolve.

However, OCD is not curable, it's only manageable through medication and CBT.

Mediation helped me through anxiety a lot but It's only manageable this way. I am currently getting assesed and it looks like I have issues with dopamine regulation.
 

·
MOTM June 2015
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
I can spend hours researching, checking, verbalizing and mentally reciting the same line of reasoning. It's control and certainty I desire, and homing in on the most likely outcome/determining plausible worst-case scenarios really gives a pleasant, illusory sense of it. But honestly, capitulating to your brain's anxious side is very bad long-term.
 
I can definitely relate to the need for certainty, but I hadn't really thought about whether it was control that I'm seeking. I know that feeling out of control or powerless creates a very unhealthy degree of anxiety for me. You are right though, the constant searching, checking, etc. only creates a very temporary sense of control and certainty. It is never long before I'm searching for that feeling again.

Whatever comfort your get from the rituals has a close expiration date, so it's better to mentally tell yourself "I'm not going there" if you're capable of it. Otherwise you end up checking the same things over and over and over and over again with an irrational expectation that it will finally convince you of something, and it won't.
Exactly. I remember telling my husband that although I know it is unlikely that the continuous searching and analyzing will yield anything new, I keep feeling like if I just look a little more things will make sense to me or I'll understand. That I'll find that one missing puzzle piece. This can be about someone's confusing behavior, a comment, belief, etc., etc. I feel like a cat chasing its tail. My husband has even asked before what would it take for you to be able to move on (in regards to whatever it is I am stuck on that time) usually I can't give him an answer, which makes it all the more impossible to resolve. Again it's like that missing puzzle piece, I tell myself that I'll know it when I find it but for now I don't know what it looks like. Yeah, this sounds really irrational and I know it, but I get stuck on the idea that maybe just maybe I'll find the perfect answers this time. At the heart of it for me is the need for perfect solutions/answers, certainty, and probably control.

I read some information that basically said what you mentioned, I have to deny that urge to keep looking. However for me that feels like asking me to jump out of a helicopter without a parachute. It's so frustrating to know the futility yet stopping creates extreme anxiety. But from what I've read, I'm creating more pathways in my mind for this to continue every time I give in to the compulsions. I have a book now that is for family members and it tells them they have to stop giving in to my need for reassurance, I find that it scares me to give this book to my husband because I seek reassurance all the time. Yet from what I'm reading he too is reinforcing the destructive behavior by giving me what I think I need.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that socializing helps me. That might be less useful if your concerns are directly related to your behaviors in groups, but I find it draws me out of my head a bit, which is always good.
I know this is an issue for me. I've withdrawn from people and basically keep my exposure to those outside of my family very limited. When my kids were at home I was forced to be more social, I did what I thought was best for them. Turns out it was probably what was best for me too. My kids have been gone for the last 2 to 3 years and I can see a direct correlation to when I really started letting all of this get out of control. I'm going to have to force myself out of my comfort zone. Especially since my comfort zone is destructive.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. You are reinforcing some of what I've read on this subject.


It's unhealthy but I try to cut everything that I can pinpoint as a negative out of my life; it's more escaping rather than overcoming, but I find that it's less stressful to start at a baseline and build on that; like everything else in life - the hierarchy of needs. Of course this doesn't work well because things out of our control are always being encountered.
To be super cliché, not everyone will agree with the choices you decide; you have a right to manifest your own happiness and what's good for you, so go easier on yourself because we all make mistakes.

For destructive thought loops, look into cognitive therapy.
 

Some negative things are impossible to cut out, but I do need to do a better job of eliminating those things that can be avoided. As far as religion, I wondered about that but even if I didn't have religion in my life (belief in God), I would still have a plethora of compulsions. I did some reading on religious compulsions, scrupulosity, and it does seem to describe some of my compulsions, but they are irrational and I know it. So really it is the way my mind works that is the problem not religion.

I have spent time thinking about the role actions and ideas some people of faith might have played in this, and I've concluded that some of the behaviors and teaching have exacerbated things, but they didn't cause it. I've talked to my husband about this as well, and he'll say yes but you know they are wrong so why do you let it bother you? I say but what if they are right, he'll say what in the world could possibly make you think they are right? I can't answer but I keep endlessly searching, just in case they might be right and I'm missing something. I'm hoping they are wrong, but I want absolute proof. Again, this is the same type of pattern that I use with all my other compulsions. Endlessly seeking perfect answers, yet never finding them. So you see it is not religion that is the problem, it is the fact that I am inclined to obsessive compulsive thinking.

I read something recently about cognitive therapy but I need to learn more about it. I want to figure out how to rewire my brain (figuratively speaking) I don't want to take medication. Lot's of bad experience with meds by other family members. Including one that died at the age of 40 as a result of medication.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and suggestions. BTW no offense was taken in regards to religion, I had already looked into this and spent considerable time thinking about it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24,367 Posts
I keep feeling like if I just look a little more things will make sense to me or I'll understand. That I'll find that one missing puzzle piece. This can be about someone's confusing behavior, a comment, belief, etc., etc. I feel like a cat chasing its tail. My husband has even asked before what would it take for you to be able to move on (in regards to whatever it is I am stuck on that time) usually I can't give him an answer, which makes it all the more impossible to resolve. Again it's like that missing puzzle piece, I tell myself that I'll know it when I find it but for now I don't know what it looks like. Yeah, this sounds really irrational and I know it, but I get stuck on the idea that maybe just maybe I'll find the perfect answers this time. At the heart of it for me is the need for perfect solutions/answers, certainty, and probably control. I read some information that basically said what you mentioned, I have to deny that urge to keep looking. However for me that feels like asking me to jump out of a helicopter without a parachute. It's so frustrating to know the futility yet stopping creates extreme anxiety.
Even though it's irrational, it can seem completely rational while it's happening because of the nagging feeling or effect it leaves. I have this problem with maintenance of certain things; I'll constantly clean, simplify, monitor, check, think on etc...

What I find helps is to;
  • Have source(s) for Research.
  • Set limits for self.
  • Badly implemented cognitive therapy(lol).
The latter two being much harder to execute if the 'problem' isn't resolved, but also the easiest to accomplish in terms of 'time'(even if the fix isn't permanent - which won't actually be recognized in the short run anyhow). i.e. Allowing myself to know that a resolution might not be reached at this moment, and that it is okay to 'let it go'.

It might not be possible in all situations, but it's probably more about recognizing that certain things are out of our control. Which reminds me of the Serenity Prayer

With the pathways, it should be possible to rewire/recondition overtime so know that effort and correct implementation won't go to waste in the long run. Don't be discouraged if immediate results aren't what is expected and don't be discouraged if you fall every once in awhile. It's a learning process that is attainable and one which you're capable of.

So really it is the way my mind works that is the problem not religion. I have spent time thinking about the role actions and ideas some people of faith might have played in this, and I've concluded that some of the behaviors and teaching have exacerbated this, but they didn't cause it... I can't answer but I keep endlessly searching, just in case they might be right and I'm missing something.
I think sometimes things go hand in hand, or that one might elevate another. It's hard to determine with certainty what actually are causes when looking at things from such a distance in relation to all these minute events. Being brought up in certain environment to respect social norms could possibly play a role in that unknown 'trust' of others' 'opinions'. But people are easily misguided by misinterpretation even when everything comes from the 'right' place; which again reminds of the above prayer.

So you see it is not religion that is the problem, it is the fact that I am inclined to obsessive compulsive thinking.
When touching on religion, I didn't mean to say that religion itself was the problem; it was more a guess at what some of the plaguing thoughts might be, and by accepting and differentiating them from 'belief' or 'faith' would be a helpful start to replacing the negative thoughts; which is something cognitive therapy attempts to do.

**Thanks jamaix!!
 
  • Like
Reactions: jamaix

·
Registered
Joined
·
17,161 Posts
Being brief but my understanding of psychosocial approaches to OCD all try to address the anxiousness that follows intrusice thoughts as we all have intrusive thoughts. I have violent thoughts about purposely having a head on collision while driving or stabbing someone with a steak knfie during dinner or saying something dreadful but the thing is that I don't have significant emotional response to these and not concerned it will eventuate. So in this sense the issue is the reaction to the thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves. Its actually an adaptive feature gone hyperactive and thus becomes progessively maladaptive as anxiety can help us be concerned with important things, a nagging feeling to check on things like that we locked the door, turned off the oven. So I imagine some of the reasoning would go in framing that its not an unhealthy behaviour in itself just the degree in which it becomes problematic may be based on the contexts of your life. As say doctors can develop overly clean behavioural tendencies since hospitals are just sterilizing places as a doctor cleans their hands before touching almost anything and upon entering rooms.
I might try and find more apt info and be more apt in my response later.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
874 Posts
@jamaix I used to do this. Until I came up with a solution
Whenever I sensed my thoughts would escalate to end up in this kind of loop, I would dissociate from my body. I would look at myself as if I am behind and out of my body. I would look at my thoughts from afar and laugh at how unecessary and odd my thoughts are, this way they do not affect me.
And it's working.
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
14,130 Posts
The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook was helpful to me. I've heard good reviews of it from others as well--it's thorough and also constructive. I would recommend it.

Mainly, I've benefited from understanding more of what's going on. Like understanding that intrusive thoughts are more a reflection of what I find frightening and abhorrent than who I will become or something (feeding into other fears). Just realizing what they are reduced anxiety around them in half and I don't even struggle with them anymore and haven't for years. When I do start experiencing them I ask myself whether I'm under stress or what's wrong, and I think of it as a warning to try to be a little more careful about finding healthy ways to cope with the stress.

The other is exposure, or entertaining the possibility of what I'm afraid of happening happening. This is helpful because repeated avoidance of situations that cause anxiety reinforce the anxiety behavior. Compulsive behaviors also reinforce the anxiety, as do avoidant behaviors. So sometimes it's helpful to remember that and to make small challenges to face those situations with the realization that they will cause anxiety, but that eventually that will actually reduce the anxiety level. The reason for this, I think, is that some anxiety is based on inaccurate projections of what could happen, or maybe they aren't well articulated. But when you face the situations you'll find them to often be things you can handle...reminding yourself that it is okay, that you can get through it, and that it is really not as bad as you thought can build confidence and reduce some of the hindrances. It's similar to understanding the reality of intrusive thoughts--understanding the reality of day to day situations that we may fear, and understanding that they aren't as powerful or say so much about us as perhaps we feared. That I am not helpless even if the situation isn't completely under my control. It can build confidence and empirical evidence against the fears (which are larger due to imagination).

But the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook will probably explain better than I, as can some other sources.
 

·
MOTM June 2015
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
i think there's a difference between 'uncertainty' as in the absence of knowledge and information and 'uncertainty' as in the actual feeling of doubt and insecurity. I think obsessive-compulsive tendencies are rooted in the latter (something like constantly checking to see if the door is locked is due to the feeling of uncertainty even though one knows intellectually that they've already locked the door. Constantly washing one's hands and other compulsions might have nothing to do with a feeling of uncertainty but there's still a compulsive need to ritualistically do something to minimize a feeling of insecurity or some kind of discomfort (i can see why perfectionism or even indecisiveness if that involves ruminating over possibilities would be considered obsessive compulsive). the focus of obsessive-compulsive tendencies can be external (like hand washing) or internal (like making sense of how someone is treated). An obsession or interests isn't/aren't necessarily 'obsessive compulsive' or distressing in any way.
 

I agree. I usually know that I have more than enough knowledge and information, yet I continually doubt. Which sends me off into continuous quest for something I might have missed. When it comes to those things I become obsessed about, I almost never find anything new, yet I still tell myself maybe I missed something. This is especially true if I still fail to understand why something happens, or why someone does something, or why someone holds a certain belief, etc., etc., This is especially bad if I need to arrive at a decision or take action, I become paralyzed and fail to do things I need to do or should do. I let myself and others down because I fear that I will make a mistake because I haven't figured things out perfectly.

I definitely don't think uncertainty is necessarily bad, and in fact I believe it is a good thing to be certain about what one believes or does. The problem is that nothing I find is ever adequate (perfect), which means I end up endlessly searching repetitively for answers. Some of the things I can't resolve in my mind cause me a tremendous amount of anxiety. If you've ever seen any of the videos of ants trapped in a drawn circle, that is what I feel like. If only the ant would just walk over it, they would be fine and I logically know that to be true for me as well. Yet I still allow myself to get caught up in endless unsolvable thought loops.


there have even been times when i would look at dark blue skies with puffy white clouds or other natural scenery or an attractive woman and feel this mild need to 'analyze' how 'shockingly' beautiful it/she was and it was like a chore.

Ignoring the compulsion is supposed to be desensitizing (the same with social anxiety and exposure to social contact) but that hasn't helped me in a very a long time (and never in the case of social anxiety. I've noticed at times, years ago, that i would become more anxious when being in public or exposed to other people or interacting with them when it was routine - going to work - than when it was occasional. Now that i think about it i've always been relatively shy but i don't think my social anxiety is organic). There's only one thing that really bothers me now (in an obsessive compulsive way and it does in other ways as well. It's uncertainty about something important that i remember) and i ignore it, although it instinctively goes off on it's own, and it doesn't help so i've just accepted it. The only thing i can do is use it to clarify my ethical views (why i think suffering is the only intrinsically bad thing) but that doesn't necessarily 'help' like it used to.
The information I've been reading indicates that I should ignore the compulsion. I try to do that, yet the effort required to resist the compulsion often creates a great deal of anxiety and I usually give in to it. Yet, I can see that as one book I've read indicates, I'm reinforcing the compulsion by giving into it. As I was reading the book it made me think about how I became addicted to nasal spray years ago. I had a lot of sinus problems and as a result ended up using sprays way beyond the level indicated on the bottle. The more of it I used, the more I needed to achieve the desired effect. It got so bad that I went to the doctor and he looked at me and said you're describing classical addiction. He said you've got to stop, you will be utterly and totally miserable for a few days but it is the only way to improve the situation. Although the two things are completely different, I've thought about the parallels. Giving into the compulsion only supplies me with very short term temporary relief, but in the long run perpetuates the misery. Eerily similar pattern to the nasal spray addiction I had.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and knowledge!


1. It's biologically driven. Seek help. There's medication.

2. Do cbt/meditation. Learn to recognize though patterns and as you realise what they are when they come about, they will begin to dissolve.

However, ocd is not curable, it's only manageable through medication and cbt.

Mediation helped me through anxiety a lot but it's only manageable this way. I am currently getting assesed and it looks like i have issues with dopamine regulation.
 

What I've read indicates that it is not curable since it is a disorder, but that one can learn to manage it. That's what I'm trying to learn how to do, although I've not been real successful so far. I understand why it is not logical to do these things, but I haven't been able to successfully stop giving in to the compulsions. I am much closer now than I've ever been before. Previously I just kept all of this to myself because I didn't realize others do these things too. I isolated myself because in my mind I was very defective and I didn't want anyone to know. It has been a tremendous relief to me discovering that there is information on this, to find out that I'm not alone. Definitely going to try to learn more about cognitive therapy.

Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and knowledge!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
54 Posts
Hey,

I have seen your post and I feel like I can understand somehow.
It is like a pattern in your brain. You think and overthink and it is like you live in your own mind instead of expressing yourself outwards. I don't think that there is a magic trick to fix this because it depends on individuals, but I have to say that something makes me a little curious about you. Your signature says that you have to control your thoughts to be happy. Maybe your excessive control is actually the compulsion. You think everyday by acting in a certain way, you will be happier and then, you end up in a loop because everything outside is constantly changing. So it is like you are constantly running in circles but never getting where you want to be.

What I would suggest is that you break the pattern by doing something you have never done, something that would cut you out of your inner comfort zone and make it an habit. You need to do something that would require more "doing" than "being" (perhaps sports?) By constantly breaking the pattern in your mind, you will not only experience a new sense of self-discovery but also feel better with yourself and other people. I would personally avoid too much meditation because you would think too much again.
You see, your anxiety is much internal and not so much external, which is why I would encourage you to act more than you think. Try also new activities, it helps to shift your focus. You should avoid spending too much time on the Internet either, especially Facebook because then you have this unhealthy pattern of thinking of other people and they might or not relate to your situation.

Hope it helps. Good luck with everything, I am somehow on the same boat for a few years but I think that it will only make us stronger.
 

·
Referral Princess
Joined
·
1,386 Posts
You should search past threads based on this just very topic of OCD. Especially a great discussion in the INFJ section of this forum, written by @elvis2010 - a genius personable doctor with a level of frankness that answers your questions. I take Vistaril three times a day and I don't feel near as anxious as I used to. Also, I bought a bunny because @elvis2010 was insistent it helps soothe INFJ's and raise their oxytocin levels to combat levels of anxiety!! It works, I even have a leash for it :p (thanks for that tid-bit elvis ;-) )

Good luck on this! it's not impossible but with hard work, your brain is so much more powerful than we allow ourselves to let it be.

P.S. - what personality type are you? Your profile is so locked up that even the antichrist couldn't get to it. Ha. No, but I strongly believe in each personality type having a certain chemical dependence and once they break the cycle, our brains have a break too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,405 Posts
I'm posting here mostly to get help out of it too, unless there are questions I think I can give a definitive answer to. I can only second what's already been said in the thread and add this: im gay, emmmpty: autistictesla: pneggy: Pretend ur...

It's hard to differentiate your thoughts from compulsive thoughts, and that takes a lot of work. The blur between the two grows so muddy that they're basically the same, but it's important to understand (or remember, when you can) that they're not. The thoughts you can't control, the impulsive/compulsive/intrusive ones specifically, are exactly that: uncontrollable. You can acknowledge them, seek out the source of the problem, and work on fixing that (which is why CBT and the anxiety workbook are both great ideas). This makes them appear controllable, but I think you know intimately what I mean by uncontrollable in this context :crazy:

It's also important to work on your triggers one at a time. Trying to tackle too many at once will overwhelm you and probably make things worse, because it'll look insurmountable and you'll obsess about that instead, lol. Avoidance will also make it worse, because by avoiding the thing you fear, you'll make the fear worse by compounding your worries upon it. Making yourself uncomfortable, in increments, is a crucial part to helping with anxiety (I feel hypocritical for saying this since I'm on my own journey lol) because you'll find that the more that you place yourself in those uncomfortable situations, the easier it becomes over time.

I'm not diagnosed with OCD or anything, but I have some serious (diagnosed if it is relevant lmao) GAD and rumination, obsession, panic attacks, and mild rituals are a big part of that for me. I can only offer you some things I've found useful for my own anxiety, and even then they might sound hackneyed because much of them are things like breathing and self-administered (and with a therapist!) CBT.


edit: and I'm going to be another one of Those Guys and tell you that medication can be helpful. I don't want to pressure you and you don't have to do anything you don't feel will help you, but do know that it can help.

As an idea, it's not medication, but tea with eleuthero(coccus? Siberian ginseng) in it might help. I believe the cheaper form of this is "Tension Tamer" by. . .Celestial something? I've got some in my fridge but forgot the name.

Also applicable is passionflower tea. Ashwaganda also applies. Hawthorne berries are also said to be good for anxiety.

These things can help take the edge off while you work on other parts of self-care, like the self-administed CBT, some form of meditation, working through your triggers, whatever works for you.
 

·
MOTM June 2015
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Even though it's irrational, it can seem completely rational while it's happening because of the nagging feeling or effect it leaves. I have this problem with maintenance of certain things; I'll constantly clean, simplify, monitor, check, think on etc...

What I find helps is to;
  • Have source(s) for Research.
  • Set limits for self.
  • Badly implemented cognitive therapy(lol).
The latter two being much harder to execute if the 'problem' isn't resolved, but also the easiest to accomplish in terms of 'time'(even if the fix isn't permanent - which won't actually be recognized in the short run anyhow). i.e. Allowing myself to know that a resolution might not be reached at this moment, and that it is okay to 'let it go'.


Nagging feeling is a good description for it. Those feelings just won't go away sometimes.

I find that I research way too much. I eventually conclude that a particular method or manner of thinking makes the most sense, but then I keep contemplating those ideas that differ. This always causes me to doubt and ends up resulting in endlessly researching topics. grrrrrr!!!!

I envy my husband, he says I just go with what seems to be the most logical. I then say but why does it seem the most logical? What if it only seems logical because it concurs most closely with what I want to think? He says well how do you know you're not right? Then I say well I may be right, but perhaps I'm just biased and that is preventing me from being able to see the correct solution/answer. I can go on endlessly like this with some issues. When I make a mistake it often results in me feeling a need to punish myself for my errors. Sometimes this feeling can last for a very long time.
It might not be possible in all situations, but it's probably more about recognizing that certain things are out of our control. Which reminds me of the Serenity Prayer
I should probably recite this multiple times per day. Maybe it would sink in. Especially the wisdom to know the difference.

I'm not good at setting limits on myself or letting things go. I set limits but I often break them. I am very hard on myself when I make a wrong choice, say the wrong thing, don't have the correct answer, etc., etc. I realize I am unreasonable with myself. But when someone gets angry or frustrated with me, I dwell even more on all the things I should have done differently, or I should have said this instead, or maybe if I had done that instead. On and on it goes. My husband is always telling me that sometimes people are just jerks and you need to accept that. I usually just end up feeling like I deserve it. Which then means I get caught up in a loop of chastising myself and telling myself how dumb and stupid I am for whatever error it is I believe I made.


With the pathways, it should be possible to rewire/recondition overtime so know that effort and correct implementation won't go to waste in the long run.
I've learned so much about this over the last week or so. Some of this seems as though it should have been obvious to me, but it wasn't.

Don't be discouraged if immediate results aren't what is expected and don't be discouraged if you fall every once in awhile. It's a learning process that is attainable and one which you're capable of.
Thank you for your encouragement. I know I need to overcome this and I plan to keep working on it. Thank you so much for the time you have taken with me on this. :smile:
 

·
MOTM June 2015
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Being brief but my understanding of psychosocial approaches to OCD all try to address the anxiousness that follows intrusice thoughts as we all have intrusive thoughts. I have violent thoughts about purposely having a head on collision while driving or stabbing someone with a steak knfie during dinner or saying something dreadful but the thing is that I don't have significant emotional response to these and not concerned it will eventuate.
 

I often have intrusive thoughts and wish I could say that I didn't have an emotional response. It has been interesting for me to learn that others experience some of these type of thoughts. I tend to internalize it as a character flaw in me, I wonder sometimes how could I ever let such a terrible thought enter my head. I don't just let it go. I want to dissect and analyze the thought. I want to figure out why did this thought come into my head.

When I pick up a knife I often have thoughts about stabbing myself. Not due to depression, it just pops in there. I've also been around different people where thoughts of them stabbing me pops into my head. I know they would be horrified to know about this. I don't understand why the thought is there, it is never someone who I have troubles getting along with. It would be interesting to know what causes these awful random thoughts.

So in this sense the issue is the reaction to the thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves. Its actually an adaptive feature gone hyperactive and thus becomes progessively maladaptive as anxiety can help us be concerned with important things, a nagging feeling to check on things like that we locked the door, turned off the oven.
Yes, I believe that is a very accurate way to describe what happens. It is a coping mechanism gone hyperactive.

So I imagine some of the reasoning would go in framing that its not an unhealthy behaviour in itself just the degree in which it becomes problematic may be based on the contexts of your life. As say doctors can develop overly clean behavioural tendencies since hospitals are just sterilizing places as a doctor cleans their hands before touching almost anything and upon entering rooms.
I might try and find more apt info and be more apt in my response later.
It is interesting when reading descriptions how much I find myself saying yes, that pretty much describes the vicious cycle. I really should have dug into this a long time ago. I was too embarrassed to do so. It's amazing once I started looking and realizing how much information there is about this. I didn't even have a clue that there was even a possible name for this until quite recently. I don't really care so much about what to call the disorder, but it does help me find resources to help me learn how to stop doing this.
Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I appreciate it!


@jamaix I used to do this. Until I came up with a solution
Whenever I sensed my thoughts would escalate to end up in this kind of loop, I would dissociate from my body. I would look at myself as if I am behind and out of my body. I would look at my thoughts from afar and laugh at how unecessary and odd my thoughts are, this way they do not affect me.
And it's working.
 

I'm glad that it is working and is helping you to cope. I know as I'm describing some of the ridiculous thoughts that I have it definitely sounds silly even though it often causes very real stress for me. I'm looking forward to the day I can do like you and laugh at how unnecessary and definitely odd many of my thoughts are.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and thoughts! I appreciate it.


The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook was helpful to me. I've heard good reviews of it from others as well--it's thorough and also constructive. I would recommend it.
 

Thank you for the book recommendation. I placed a hold on it at my library. Hopefully it will be in soon.

Mainly, I've benefited from understanding more of what's going on. Like understanding that intrusive thoughts are more a reflection of what I find frightening and abhorrent than who I will become or something (feeding into other fears).
I think you are right. I'm beginning to understand more and more about why my mind is working the way it is. There are still some things that are quite puzzling to me, but I'm chipping away at this through on line information, books, and reading through the experiences and thoughts that others are sharing has also been beneficial.

Just realizing what they are reduced anxiety around them in half and I don't even struggle with them anymore and haven't for years. When I do start experiencing them I ask myself whether I'm under stress or what's wrong, and I think of it as a warning to try to be a little more careful about finding healthy ways to cope with the stress.
This is something I need to do a much better job of. I often engage in unhealthy coping strategies and I can see how many of them are only feeding the obsessions. I'm also not good at disengaging from activities that seem to fuel the compulsions.

The other is exposure, or entertaining the possibility of what I'm afraid of happening happening. This is helpful because repeated avoidance of situations that cause anxiety reinforce the anxiety behavior. Compulsive behaviors also reinforce the anxiety, as do avoidant behaviors.
I am definitely guilty of trying to avoid situations or people who make me feel anxious. Although the effort I put forth to avoid the situations or people, is pretty stressful too. When I really think about it I can see how avoidance and compulsive behaviors reinforce the anxiety. I guess rather than making myself face it, I am hiding from it which only reinforces the idea in my head that it is something to be feared or anxious about. Interesting how clear some of this seems when I'm reading about it. I don't know that it will stop me, but at least now I can remind myself that I am only growing the compulsions by continuing to repeat the same patterns.

So sometimes it's helpful to remember that and to make small challenges to face those situations with the realization that they will cause anxiety, but that eventually that will actually reduce the anxiety level. The reason for this, I think, is that some anxiety is based on inaccurate projections of what could happen, or maybe they aren't well articulated. But when you face the situations you'll find them to often be things you can handle...reminding yourself that it is okay, that you can get through it, and that it is really not as bad as you thought can build confidence and reduce some of the hindrances. It's similar to understanding the reality of intrusive thoughts--understanding the reality of day to day situations that we may fear, and understanding that they aren't as powerful or say so much about us as perhaps we feared. That I am not helpless even if the situation isn't completely under my control. It can build confidence and empirical evidence against the fears (which are larger due to imagination).

But the Anxiety and Phobia Workbook will probably explain better than I, as can some other sources.
Thank you for taking the time to share your experiences and knowledge on this. Also, thank you for the book recommendation. I appreciate it!
 

·
MOTM June 2015
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Hey,

I have seen your post and I feel like I can understand somehow.
It is like a pattern in your brain. You think and overthink and it is like you live in your own mind instead of expressing yourself outwards.
I definitely overthink and you are right, most of it stays in my head.

I don't think that there is a magic trick to fix this because it depends on individuals, but I have to say that something makes me a little curious about you. Your signature says that you have to control your thoughts to be happy. Maybe your excessive control is actually the compulsion.
Let me explain the quote a bit. I tend to entertain a lot of negative thoughts that distress me greatly. Thoughts that deep down I know aren't true or accurate, yet I give them a foothold in my mind. I also tend to spend a lot of energy berating myself for failures or mistakes whether real or perceived. Asking myself how could you be so stupid, telling myself what a horrible person I am. My crime, usually fairly insignificant or maybe even just something I'm speculating that I messed up or did wrong. I'm pretty good at telling others that no one is perfect and we all make mistakes, but I'm not very good at applying that to myself. After spending a day or more berating and denigrating myself I end up very unhappy, not surprising. My signature is a reminder to me that I need to work at controlling my thoughts. Especially those of a negative variety. I'll have to think more about whether this is or will become a compulsion.


You think everyday by acting in a certain way, you will be happier and then, you end up in a loop because everything outside is constantly changing. So it is like you are constantly running in circles but never getting where you want to be.
The bolded part is definitely true of me. I keep covering the same ground over and over and over. (topics, problems fears, phobias, etc.)

What I would suggest is that you break the pattern by doing something you have never done, something that would cut you out of your inner comfort zone and make it an habit. You need to do something that would require more "doing" than "being" (perhaps sports?) By constantly breaking the pattern in your mind, you will not only experience a new sense of self-discovery but also feel better with yourself and other people. I would personally avoid too much meditation because you would think too much again.
I have a gym membership and when I force myself to go regularly, I definitely do better. I plan to try to start making it there at least 3 times per week.
You see, your anxiety is much internal and not so much external, which is why I would encourage you to act more than you think. Try also new activities, it helps to shift your focus. You should avoid spending too much time on the Internet either, especially Facebook because then you have this unhealthy pattern of thinking of other people and they might or not relate to your situation.
True, my anxiety is definitely internal which is why I'm often able to tell people I am fine and no one is the wiser. The battles are all going on in my head. Much as I hate to admit it, the internet is generally not my friend. Like the man in the video, I argue regularly with myself to not look it up.

Hope it helps. Good luck with everything, I am somehow on the same boat for a few years but I think that it will only make us stronger.
Thank you for sharing your struggles and the things you have learned about this. I really appreciate it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,172 Posts
I suspect that I may have a milder form of OCD, and the only ways I've tried overcoming it was through meds (most help came from antipsychotics), therapy, and not giving into compulsions by repeating rational thoughts in my head. I don't experience it on a regular basis, but when I have intrusive thoughts it makes it difficult to be productive because my irrational thoughts are usually death or injury-related. What I mean by this is that if I don't give into compulsions, I often have concerns that someone close to me might get seriously hurt due to my actions. For example, I went on an out-of-town trip with my sister one day, and after about an hour of driving, I realized that I hadn't put up my guitar cables out of harm's way and they were lying askew on the ground. I was terrified that someone would have walked into my room and tripped over those cables resulting in injury. I let these thoughts haunt me for the rest of the trip. Although these meds have been prescribed for other disorders, I've seen a dramatic decrease in having these ugly intrusive thoughts for a while. They still come up on occasion, but it doesn't affect my life due to how rarely it occurs now.

There has also been a book that my therapist recommended to me. It's called The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook (Bourne), and there's a ton of step-by-step exercises in there to help overcome different anxiety disorders that have helped.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
703 Posts
Looking for those who may be familiar with OCD.

I get stuck in destructive thought/theme loops, and desperately want them to end. When I'm under stress, it often gets worse. I've dealt with this vicious cycle for years but have never really known why

Since I've had more time lately and I'm tired of doing this, I started looking for answers.
Why do I get stuck in endless destructive thought loops, why don't I have the willpower to stop?
Renna linked me to this thread Jamaix. Let's start with the basics. Normal blood sugar is 80 to 110. I put a cupcake in front of you and say, "Don't eat it." I saw you are an ISTJ, a very disciplined type. If your blood sugar is 100, I expect you not to eat the cupcake. If it is 60 and you feel badly, I expect an ISTJ not to eat the cupcake and suffer through the hypoglycemia while many other type would eat the cupcake to relieve it. Now what if your blood sugar is 20 and you feel horrible to the point of being disabled, and you are at risk for stroke and a heart attack if you don't eat the cupcake? I would expect you to eat it, and here is the important part: I would also expect you to beat yourself up about it while other types would not.

My point is this and it is may be hard for an ISTJ to get: YOUR BEHAVIORS ARE A LOT MORE CONTROLLED BY YOUR INTRINSIC BRAIN CHEMISTRY THAN BY WILL POWER! Got it? You are in far less control of your behaviors than you think you are.

Unfortunately, like the man in the video, I also do the counting thing. I have no idea why I count.
Counting is called stimming behavior that is used to counter high brain glutamate levels.

I also constantly reflect upon things I might have said or done that are stupid. Then I'll find something to beat myself up for.Sometimes I even dredge up things I did years ago to punish myself for.


That is CLASSIC oxytocin deficiency, very common in ISFJs and ISTJs.

The rest of your posts show obsessions (low serotonin) and high stress (high cortisol). Serotonin and cortisol have an inverse relationship. If serotonin is low, cortisol is high.

The best article on OCD I have read is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2853748/pdf/nihms178368.pdf

It will probably help you to know that scientists can genetically induce OCD in mice and then have the OCD go away with fluoxetine.

The only thing that kind of bugs me with this is that I wouldn't expect OCD in ISTJs due to their typically having normal dopamine levels. Let me ask some questions about that. Do your legs cramp at night a lot? Do you kick your husband while sleeping? Frequently have muscle spasms? Get much less pleasure out of things you enjoy than you used to? Always forget where you placed your phone, wallet, and keys?

In my opinion, Ns/intuitives are born with deceased levels of dopamine than Ss/sensors. That is the chemical basis for the Ns strength, what could be, and the Ss strength, what is.

There are causes of secondary decreased dopamine, and the most common in women is iron deficiency/anemia.

So with excessive glutamate in Ns, the cause is usually low dopamine. With Ss and high glutamate, the dopamine levels are usually normal (high glutamate, normal dopamine is seen with autism) or high (high dopamine, high glutamte is seen with mania).

Before I say anything more though, I would like to know about the symptoms of low dopamine because you have all the symptoms of OCD but your personality type is not fitting into my chemical model of type, and it would therefore affect what I would tell you to do to combat the OCD.
 

·
MOTM June 2015
Joined
·
4,378 Posts
Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Renna linked me to this thread Jamaix. Let's start with the basics.

 
Normal blood sugar is 80 to 110. I put a cupcake in front of you and say, "Don't eat it." I saw you are an ISTJ, a very disciplined type. If your blood sugar is 100, I expect you not to eat the cupcake. If it is 60 and you feel badly, I expect an ISTJ not to eat the cupcake and suffer through the hypoglycemia while many other type would eat the cupcake to relieve it. Now what if your blood sugar is 20 and you feel horrible to the point of being disabled, and you are at risk for stroke and a heart attack if you don't eat the cupcake? I would expect you to eat it, and here is the important part: I would also expect you to beat yourself up about it while other types would not.

My point is this and it is may be hard for an ISTJ to get: YOUR BEHAVIORS ARE A LOT MORE CONTROLLED BY YOUR INTRINSIC BRAIN CHEMISTRY THAN BY WILL POWER! Got it? You are in far less control of your behaviors than you think you are.
 


Counting is called stimming behavior that is used to counter high brain glutamate levels.



That is CLASSIC oxytocin deficiency, very common in ISFJs and ISTJs.

The rest of your posts show obsessions (low serotonin) and high stress (high cortisol). Serotonin and cortisol have an inverse relationship. If serotonin is low, cortisol is high.

The best article on OCD I have read is here: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2853748/pdf/nihms178368.pdf

It will probably help you to know that scientists can genetically induce OCD in mice and then have the OCD go away with fluoxetine.

The only thing that kind of bugs me with this is that I wouldn't expect OCD in ISTJs due to their typically having normal dopamine levels. Let me ask some questions about that. Do your legs cramp at night a lot? Do you kick your husband while sleeping? Frequently have muscle spasms? Get much less pleasure out of things you enjoy than you used to? Always forget where you placed your phone, wallet, and keys?

In my opinion, Ns/intuitives are born with deceased levels of dopamine than Ss/sensors. That is the chemical basis for the Ns strength, what could be, and the Ss strength, what is.

There are causes of secondary decreased dopamine, and the most common in women is iron deficiency/anemia.

So with excessive glutamate in Ns, the cause is usually low dopamine. With Ss and high glutamate, the dopamine levels are usually normal (high glutamate, normal dopamine is seen with autism) or high (high dopamine, high glutamte is seen with mania).

Before I say anything more though, I would like to know about the symptoms of low dopamine because you have all the symptoms of OCD but your personality type is not fitting into my chemical model of type, and it would therefore affect what I would tell you to do to combat the OCD.


Do your legs cramp at night a lot?
I often have troubles going to sleep because my legs hurt, but they don't really cramp that often. I draw my legs up in different positions trying to make them feel more relaxed. It isn't really excruciatingly painful, but it is uncomfortable enough to hinder sleeping. I haven't seen a doctor for this, I just assumed it was what many call restless leg syndrome.
Do you kick your husband while sleeping?
Not that I know of and my husband has never complained about it. He is such a sound sleeper that he probably wouldn't even know if I did.
Frequently have muscle spasms?
Not really. I do have aches and pains but nothing out of the norm. I was diagnosed as fibromyalgia many years ago, but I never gave much credence to the diagnosis. I had been in 6 automobile wrecks in about 2 years time and I attributed it to that. As well as having a very physically demanding job at the time.
Get much less pleasure out of things you enjoy than you used to?
This is a bit hard to answer. My husband and I have had some major life changes the last 3 years. Daughter married and our son left for college. So my husband and I are empty nesters now other than when our son comes back home during the summer. I became very depressed after they were both gone. Nothing was the same and I didn't feel any sense of joy in anything. Lots of crying, which is kind of funny because I've always been someone who wanted to look for the nearest door when someone was crying. Not because I didn't care, but because I didn't know how to respond to it. Crying was just something that I viewed as silly and a hindrance to actual solutions. I always prided myself on being stoic. So it was weird to find myself engaging in a behavior that I always found embarrassing. To cry was to lose control.
As far as feeling less pleasure, I'm not sure how to answer. It's not really something I've thought about much. I guess I would have to say yes, but I am gradually adjusting.
Always forget where you placed your phone, wallet, and keys?
Lately yes. I have always been very good with my memory but over the last 6 months or so I've had a lot of problems with memory. It has kind of freaked me out a bit. I began to worry that I was developing Alzheimer or something. I'm 52 so I guess it is possible, but I hope not. I don't have any family members who have ever developed it.

I found myself driving somewhere and suddenly I wouldn't be able to remember how to get there. Even though I might have been there a dozen or more times previously. After a moment of panic, I could make myself hyper focus and remember, but there was the freak out moment of, "I don't remember how to get there." I also found myself forgetting bank log in numbers that I had used for years. I had to get new passwords on a couple.

The memory problems have been disconcerting to me because I've always been the one who could remember every detail and number. That just hasn't been the case recently.

Before I say anything more though, I would like to know about the symptoms of low dopamine because you have all the symptoms of OCD but your personality type is not fitting into my chemical model of type, and it would therefore affect what I would tell you to do to combat the OCD.
I've taken a lot of different personality test and get ISTJ far more often than any other type but I also get ISTP and INTP from time to time. My son is an ESTP and boy does he remind me of myself when I was younger, except he is more aggressive and outgoing than I was. Perhaps one of us is mistyped? I explored the possibility that I was typed incorrectly but even the keys to cognition test (which I've been told is one of the most reliable) said ISTJ. I did a couple of threads trying to figure out my type MBTIEnthusiast helped me interpret the results. Here is the link with my test result.#27 and here#28 is the link where she put my scores on a chart with other ISTJs. It seems my Ne and Fi are higher than average for an ISTJ and my Te is on the low end. My Si is still my top function and my top extroverted function is still Te.
I really don't know for sure that I'm ISTJ, but I get that result more often than not when I take test. Plus, other than a few areas, I do relate more to the description of ISTJ than I do to that of ISTP or INTP.

You have supplied me with many things to look into and think about. I really appreciate it.

Thank you!


BTW, the cupcake story is spot on. I would definitely beat myself up for giving in and eating it. Even though I would logically know that there were extenuating circumstances.
 
1 - 20 of 45 Posts
Top