[Experience] Personal Experience on OCD by Anonymous

When I was a kid I was very fond of putting coins in my piggy bank whenever I got them for my pocket.

I would count them several times a day to ensure that they were as many as I counted them the last time. It is quite normal for a kid to do that. The one thing that I noticed was my constant urge to check my piggy bank. Unless I did that I would be restless. This, I could see was not normal as I had seen many kids of my age who would not be as obsessed as I was. I didn’t know what this was but I was not able to handle it as it took up huge portion of my time and energy every day.

Little did I know that I was becoming entrapped in a vicious cycle of psychological security that would further set ground for my anxiety. What had this psychological security to do with my anxiety?

Well, a lot.

We are creatures of habits and beliefs. We live in beliefs because they give a subconscious sense of security and assurance. This security is of great evolutionary importance. They have kept our ancestors safe from various dangers that could be fatal. You love your beliefs because on a subconscious level you believe that these beliefs keep you physically safe. Any uncertainty is always contradictory to our well established beliefs and that’s why we hate change. Now, you know why you feel threatened when someone doesn’t conform to your beliefs with which you strongly identify yourself.

In some people like me, for some unknown reasons, a deep subconscious belief gradually develops that if certain rituals are not performed something bad might happen. That’s why some people have this powerful compulsion to wash their hands over and over again because they believe if they don’t do it they might catch harmful germs. There could be other perceived reasons also. These people perform certain physical rituals over and over again to achieve a sense of assurance. This assurance is short lived and soon they have to perform rituals to assure themselves that everything is fine and good. Paradoxically, this makes them more and more insecure and they need this constant reassurance. No matter how many times they perform their rituals, there remains a dreadful feeling of uncertainly that never goes. It consumes their lot of time and energy and hampers their ability to lead a normal and happy life. This type of chronic anxiety is also called obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). If you have such symptoms then you might need a psychiatric intervention. It’s been almost 15 years since I have OCD.

There are some life lessons that I have realized and they have helped me in coping with my chronic anxiety. I strongly insist you to see the truth in them.

  1. There is no belief that can provide real physical security. Life is tremendously uncertain.
  2. Seeking psychological security in beliefs is only going to make you more insecure.
  3. There is a subconscious belief in people with chronic anxiety that they need to cling to a particular ritual to remain assured. Subconscious mind can be suggested certain evidences to convince it of the falsity of these recurring thought patterns. Look around. Do other people perform the same rituals to stay assured? If no, then why do you need to have them? This particular technique has proved very effective for me.
  4. You need to face your fears. You have to stop giving in to your anxiety rituals otherwise you will never be able to break free of them. Realise that these rituals are not helping you. They are like sweet poison. Let the urge come. Embrace it fully. Don’t judge. Don’t perform your ritual. Constantly remind yourself that ritual is not helping you. Initially you might feel heaviness in your body parts. Uneasiness will linger. But this is how a bitter cure works.
  5. Meditation is powerful. It helps break old conditioning patterns.
  6. Sublimating your rituals will not help you. You would be simply replacing one ritual with another.
  7. Read books that can impart deep wisdom. Jiddu Krishamurthy’s “as one is” is a good start.
  8. Trust your intelligence. We have learned to seek validation and answers from outer sources. But the matter of the fact is that our intelligence is far more powerful than we think.
  9. If something triggers your anxiety just let it come. Don’t resist. Simply take several deep breaths and look around. Do you see any danger around? No? Give your subconscious this evidence that anxiety is giving you wrong physical signals even when there is no immediate danger around. Give such evidences to your subconscious mind.
  10. It takes some time to reduce your chronic anxiety to an acceptable level. You need to be persistent in your efforts.

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