I don't fully understand the meditation and OCD. I still have thoughts that maybe my husband and I shouldn't be together, along with other physical OCD things, but the thoughts are the OCD part that are intolerable. I don't want it to be true, (and then see as I write that even I think "Well maybe you do") As I have said before, I have such a hard time believing this part is OCD, but when I read books, such as "Brain Lock" (just started thanks to OCDENGINEER suggestion), I realize that I have so many other symptoms and I try to tell myself this is probably just another one. IT'S DRIVING ME CRAZY! I will go to therapy and things will be good for that day and maybe the next, but then the thoughts return. I have started yoga and would like to understand the meditation portion better. My therapist thinks I need to not avoid the thoughts or anxious situations, and learn to live with them, which in turn will make them become less intense because I am not trying to stop them. The problem however is that when I try to let the thoughts just be, I analyze them and then it turns into this tornado spiraling down a sad fuzzy world. I have not tried this tactic very long (week or so), but my therapist also said things will become clearer once the thoughts are less intense and/or I just let them be. So when I just let them be, I start to think, well my mind should be clearer now. Then if I have the thought right around that moment, I think well maybe it is true then if my mind is supposed to be clear. Any suggestions???
"Then if I have the thought right around that moment, I think well maybe it is true then if my mind is supposed to be clear".
This is a very OCD thought in itself.
Meditation takes a lot of practice, because it really does take a lot of practice to ignore something as powerful as anxiety. Anxiety is the alarm bell of your brain; it rings when something is wrong and it demands your attention. Except in our very OCD case, we have a faulty alarm system and it tends to sound even though nothing is wrong. And worse, it won't shut up. Trying to ignore anxiety is a little like standing in the path of a car and not flinching, or sitting in a burning house. Only with a bit of time and practice at this do you realize there is in fact no car hurtling towards you and your house is fine.
I would just say keep at the meditation... even if you can only manage it successfully for a minute or so (or like myself when I started, only 5 seconds, haha). You get better with time. There's no magic to it really... all you have to do is relax and not react in any conceivable way to whatever your mind throws at you. Much easier said than done, I know. There's a lot of meditation and techniques circling around the net which may be helpful.
I feel your pain. I've been treated for OCD for about 10 years. I've tried everything. I'm on medication. Meditation is difficult, because meditation involves the brain, the very place your problem originates.
I agree with you that the thoughts, the obsessions, are far more disturbing than the compulsions. Though my rituals are inconvenient and embarassing, the thoughts that deceive me are my main concern.
Actually freeing my mind of those thoughts, as weird as I think they are, helps me the most. A therapist has heard everything. So try to get past shame with your therapist. Once a thought exits your head through your mouth, it holds much less control over you.
Worrying that I'm going to cause someone's death, that I'm gay, that I need to confess intimate thoughts, that I've caused irriversible damage in a relationship and so on, can be consuming because they snowball. I can't get them out of my head.
Are you on medication? I HATE taking medication. But it works for me. It has helped me gain more control over the snowballing effect of my thoughts.
Even writing the thoughts down allows me to look at them more objectively, often realizing that they are often unwarranted and ok to let go.
I haven't immersed myself in meditation. I get distracted by the 'need' to keep thinking about the thing that started my obsession.
Hang in there. Your concern is a positive step. Keep trying. You're going to be ok.
Here is what I do most days. I wake up early in the morning and eat a very light breakfast. Maybe a bananna or a muffin then I take a shower and relax a little. This gets me prepared for meditation. I find a comfortable place in my house that is quiet and since I am up before everyone else, I can choose anywhere I want. Anyway, I sit half lotus style because I am not flexible enough yet to do the full lotus and my legs fall asleep sitting indian style. Feel free at first to use a pillow to sit on and you can also sit next to the side of a sofa or something to support your lower back. These should be temporary however until you are comfortable in your position. Anyway, make youself comfortable in your surroundings. I use some inscence and a candle with complete darkness and then close your eyes. This is where it starts becoming difficult. Due to our culture, your brain and mine are constantly spitting things at you 24 hours a day. Our jobs and lives depend on it, however, OCD thrives on that very fact. This is why we need to learn to quiet the mind.
Breath in slowly through your nose and count "in 1" in your mind, then exhale countint "out 1" in your mind. Anything else that pops into your head should be acknowledged, not judged and you should resume your concentration on your breath. You should feel the air coming in through your nose fillng up your chest and expanding your diaphragm then coming out through your nose as you exhale. I usually count no higher than 8 and nobody should count past 10 because of the thought that is required and it is easy to lose count when you are concentrating on your breath. As you sit for longer you will find that the thoughts which will be all over the place, will start to slow down and you will find it easier to dismiss them with no judgement. Make sure to put your tongue on the roof of your mouth behind your top teeth so that it is out of the way during this exercise and relax your body while you are breathing. You should at the end of 15 minutes or so at least have a fully relaxed body. You are not going to stop the thoughts, so give up on that idea, you are just going to realize how worthless 99% of the thoughts that go through your head on a daily basis really are and this is enlightening in itself because you have been paying so much attention to these thoughts that are worthless and not worthy of your time and worry.
This will take some time, but afte a week or so you will start to notice that the thoughts are not as often and you may even get all the way to 8 without a single thought. That is an incredible accomplishment by the way! It took me months to just achieve that and still don't some days, but the practice in the morning will help you to do the exact same thing during the day. You may have a bad thought and now you are equiped to take a breath and dismiss and go back to your job or whatever else you are doing at the time.
Great post engineer, really useful and inspiring. I am determined to make more of meditation as a technique. I have a feeling that if I keep letting my mind see the reality of thought, that a thought is just a thought, that eventually I will be able to cast the shackles of OCD away and let my mind venture freely and wildy - to think without the clouds of anxiety. Or maybe it is more like rain.