Thread: OCD or what?
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Old 01-28-2013, 02:37 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Seattle, WA
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Re: OCD or what?

OCD is sometimes called the Doubting Disease and you are experiencing first hand why. One of the problems we sufferers of OCD encounter is an abnormal need for certainty in relation to whatever our worries are. When it comes to our obsessions it feels like the only way to dispel the anxiety is to prove to ourselves that there is 100% chance our fears are untrue. That sets up an impossible standard and traps us in a spiral of doubt.

I'm no medical professional, just a guy with OCD, but it sounds to me like you have to big fears.

1) Being dumb
2) Being wrong

The first drives you to compulsively try and understand everything, and when you can't or struggle it feeds your fear. But really are you setting up a fair standard for yourself? It's impossible for someone to understand everything. There is just to much out there for that to be possible. Beyond that its entirely possible that there are things you might never understand no matter how hard you try. Some people just don't get some subjects. In order to start dealing with your OCD you need to accept the idea that when it comes to some things you might not get it sometimes, and you are better off moving on with your life than giving in to a compulsive desire to understand everything. It's not a bad trait to seek out knowledge and work hard at learning something, but you need to cut yourself some slack and stop worrying about how smart you are. One of the best things you can do to help yourself get better is accept that you are who you are. Smart or dumb, you are still a good person and dwelling on your intelligence isn't helping you live a meaningful life.

In a way that's connected to your second fear, the fear of being wrong. Lots of people struggle with their views on any number of issues throughout their life time, and despite what some people would have you believe changing your mind is not a crime. Again it gets back to certainty. You need to accept that it's ok to change your mind, it's ok to be uncertain.

Accepting uncertainty is a key factor in managing OCD, and yes it's easier said than done, I still struggle with it sometime and I've lived with OCD for more than 20 years. But you can make the conscious choice to accept uncertainty, and your CBT should help you with that. When you have a worry, say that you might change your mind about something, admit to yourself, "Yeah, I might change my mind, so what?" Don't try to make the worrying thought go away or argue it away, that's just giving in to the OCD. Accept that you are feeling anxiety and move on. It's hard, especially at first. But it's the way to get better.