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my OCD habits are out of my control...and yet...


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I've posted about OCD before here, and got a lot of support...so here I am again, because I'm in the middle of a slight anxiety attack and I need someone to talk some sense into me.

 

So, what do you do when your OCD rituals are 100% out of your control? For instance, I have a lot of rituals I perform while at work. And, since it's work, every once in awhile there will be circumstances that make it IMPOSSIBLE to perform some of my little rituals. So that leaves me here, suffering from an awful bout of anxiety...and the obvious answer to the question, which is: there's nothing I can do, it's out of my control...that just isn't settling my anxiety down.

 

What do I do, then?

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I haven't had any help...just trying little bits at a time to eliminate certain habits. But it seems like every habit I overcome, I either "relapse" in a way and panic and take up the habit again, or I find another one to fill its place.

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You perhaps need more help, like talking to someone or perhaps mild drugs for a while to help you through this...

 

As for NOW, I don't have OCD but I did use to get panic attacks. One thing which can really help (maybe not for OCD, try it) is to sort of step back mentally and observe yourself, so for example: "Oh, I'm doing that thing with the paperclips again!" It takes your attention briefly off the problem onto watching yourself having the problem - a really small shift but it can really help. (I used to be phobic about certain noises and I learnt to think, "Wow, I'm reacting to that AGAIN!" It worked for me).

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What kind of rituals do you do at work? The rituals I go through when I am with other people have gradually become entirely internal -- counting things, breathing at exact points, saying phrases to myself mentally... sometimes I think I look a little awkward, like when I have to touch something with the left side of my body because i touched it with the right side of my body, or walk a certain way, but often I can play it off like I tripped or something if I catch a strange look...

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At work:

 

The one today that was especially out of my control is that I have to park in a certain area of the parking lot...which, today, was full (for like the first time in 8 years) and I had to park in a different area. Yes, this caused me great anxiety.

 

Also, the order in which I perform my tasks. Some things I have to do at an exact time (for example, I get a cup of coffee at 2:33 every single day--I will watch my clock for this).

 

I can't do anything as far as talking to someone or getting meds for it, as that takes money and my insurance doesn't cover it...

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Ha - I say I don't have OCD but I actually do have mild versions of what you describe. Whatever, they are signs of a sort of anxiety and although I've never been to a doctor about them I certainly would if they interfered with my everyday life. They aren't anything unusual and they can be helped I believe.

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I have a relative with ocd. he is on medications now and is functioning really well.As a matter of fact a brilliant teacher. The reason I say this is because there is help for you but doing it on your own is very hard.I can highly reccomend that you see a doctor and some medication will help you get back in control of your life so you can get some quality of life back.

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I'm really sorry that you can't afford to see a doctor. I was afraid you'd say that. I am totally amazed at the [lack of] medical care in America and I hope that situation gets better for you all sometime.

 

There are things you can do for yourself but it's going to be a long haul. Are you sure you can't somehow get help with this?

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I remember one of your threads about this (i posted there as well), i know it can be pretty difficult to deal with. All of this stems from anxiety, and your mind tries to find/invent ways to cope with it by making up rituals that give you a temporary (and false) sense of security. If it's interfering with your life to this extent, i think it would be good to try some cognitive behavioural therapy? If you don't see that as an option for now, then you try to kind of rewire your mind in a way.

 

A part of your mind is still telling you that negative consequences will follow if you don't do the rituals..you really have to do your best to ingrain a new message in your mind: Absolutely nothing bad will happen. The more you challenge these thoughts, the weaker your ocd becomes; you have to keep beating it down. Imagine literally punching it down, like someone you're fighting against. lol, i don't mean to make this sound violent. Everytime you resist the ritual, you are giving it another punch, making it less strong.

 

I deal with anxiety as well, but my main issues are more related to social anxiety right now. I sometimes feel very nervous when i have to go to certain places..and even if everything goes well - my mind can still be very stubborn about it. My original worries come rushing back in when the time comes for me to do it again. I know that i have to keep throwing myself into these situations over and over again until my mind finally realizes that it's not so bad. (And right now, i'm not doing a very good job lol). You definitely have to keep doing this - keep standing up to the compulsion to perform the ritual, it will get weaker and weaker.

 

edit: i agree though, that seeing a doctor would be ideal if it is affecting you this strongly.

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It may not be as expensive as you think -- a lot of medicines that are extremely effective for OCD are generic, you can get them at walmart for under 10 dollars a month. If you tell a dr. your situation, she/he might be willing to write you a year long prescription, and many of these medicines can also be ordered fairly easily over the internet (though a legal gray area, the medicines in question--primarily SSRIs-- are not controlled substances).

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It's not the cost of medication that's the problem...it's the cost of actually seeing the doctor. Psychological-type doctors aren't covered by my insurance, so the entire visit would be out of pocket. I'm a college grad paying off student loans and my employer only allows me to work 25 hours a week...paying out of pocket for a doctor visit just isn't feasible.

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You talk to them. TBH the whole money situation may be part of the anxiety feeding your problem. I get so angry when I hear people in your situation. We grumble about our NHS but...

 

We are very fortunate.

 

Sorry, rant over.

 

It really is a question of learning to change your thought patterns. I wonder if another thing you might try would be to seek out a local support/self-help group? THere must be something...

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