Whether we are dealing with OCD or some other emotional struggle, it often robs us of our time on earth that we cannot get back. That sucks, period. We have seen that by accepting this fact, we now have a better shot at doing something about it. If we continue to deny this, or talk about unfair it is, we rob ourselves of more time by not accepting it and trying to work through it. There is no doubt that life is not fair. We see countless examples of this all over the world. If we are battling OCD, working through grief, or dealing with a difficult situation at work, these are all examples of struggles that are taking up our time. We may complain about them, try to fix them with rituals, or maybe they completely drain us where we leave little time to actually enjoy our lives. We are only human and this is where these paths often lead us. I’m not suggesting that any of this stuff is easy, far from it. My point is that it’s taking up our time and energy anyway, so let’s use that same time and energy to work through it as much as we can.
In OCD therapy, we use Exposure and Response Prevention to battle the obsessions and compulsions. This takes work, just like grief and a difficult work situation, for example. Often times there may be nothing we can do to change it, it may be a situation that is completely out of our hands. However if we are still struggling with these things, spending all our time wishing it were different, or getting angry because things aren’t different, then we probably have some work to do. Again, its already taken up residence in our brain. It’s trying to sign a 10 year lease!!! Lets do the work to process through it so we can take our OWN time and give ourselves a better chance to enjoy what we value in life; friends, family, faith, career, hobbies, etc. In the OCD community, we see that obsessions and rituals can take up hours of our day. OCD didn’t take off for the 4th of July like a lot of Americans did. It doesn’t give a damn what holiday is on the calendar, it’s full time job is to make us miserable. It’s gonna try to be there anyway, so let’s use that time to lean into exposures and uncertainty, this is where the freedom is. It’s not like living with OCD is nothing but rainbows and ice cream, it’s already time consuming and difficult. Even if we try to feel “safe” or “just right” by doing rituals, it’s still a Huge struggle, and this only feeds this overfed monster even more. Yes, ERP is difficult, but your brain is already on the OCD channel, let it stay there and let’s lean into a life filled with exposures and uncertainty so we have a better chance of enjoying our time instead of continuing to be robbed by the demon.
No matter what we are faced with in this life, let’s try to do what we can to work through it if possible so that we give ourselves every chance to enjoy what time we do have. Please hang in there. Talk with you soon.