OCD, and other emotional struggles, can make us feel that our brain has been consumed with flames. This burning feeling can be felt throughout our body. We know that these emotional struggles can lead to physically feeling the pain that our brain is trying to serve up. As we know, that feeling can be pure torment and is sometimes hard to describe. When the anxiety is high, I explain it as an intravenous mixture of splinters and fire ants. Anxiety and doubt add fuel to this burning sensation that can make us feel as if we are crawling in our skin. When dealing with these struggles, we want to remember what works, and what doesn’t work. When it comes to managing these symptoms, we know that avoidance, and performing rituals, keeps us in the pain.
If Doctor Darkness shows up with a flame thrower of obsessions for me to “fix”, I know that if I face it head on, sitting with the fire, it can lead to more light. Pushing forward by attempting to enjoy our life, this shows the demons that we won’t be joining their circus. We can notice that they are inviting our brain into the chaos. We can just notice that invitation, but then we can refuse to go to the Circus on Ritual Road.
Take note of your fears and avoidances. Try to go right at it, use a fear hierarchy to help guide you. A therapist trained in Exposure and Response Prevention can be very helpful. If we start sitting with the uncertainty, facing it head on, our lack of ritual responses and avoidance, can put out the flames.