We know that OCD rituals are often done in our head. It’s still a compulsion or a ritual whether we are doing a mental ritual, or something outward like: excessive hand washing, checking the stove, turning off light switches a certain way, etc. OCD can be pure torment, I know this first hand. The good news is that Exposure and Response Prevention can help put the OCD behind us. With mental rituals we can, and often do,”perform” these in a split second. It’s automatic at times and can be very frustrating to try and conquer. We want to remember that we aren’t trying to stop our thoughts, this doesn’t work, we just want them to fall in the background like that song playing at a restaurant that we aren’t even paying attention to.
OCD often involves rumination and this is another dead end road. Rumination is when we get hyper focused on our negative thinking. We start to overanalyze what is going on in our brain and in our life. “Why is this happening, what’s causing this? Is this actually OCD? What’s going to happen? Do I need to respond differently this time?” It’s exhausting and can be gut wrenching. Then all we have is a big bag of nothing to show for it, it gets us nowhere. Rumination is the road to nowhere. I have many decades experience in this area. If rumination was a stomach exercise, I would have really nice abs. 🙂 In honor of OCD Awareness Week, through the International OCD Foundation, let’s notice when we start to ruminate and remind ourselves that this is only adding to our OCD stress, anxiety, depression, etc. I know that it is easier said than done, however with practice, we can gain some traction in the other direction, which is where we want to go. Hang in there.
“The Road to Nowhere leads to me.” “Road to Nowhere” -Ozzy Osbourne