Q&A on OCD
August 9th, 2021
Kelley: I so love punching OCD in the face
Lauren: It’s like one of my favorite pastimes actually
Lauren and Kelley start by talking about obsessions, compulsions and the obsessive compulsive cycle in OCD, generally.
Question 1: How can I get out of ruminating?
- Recognize you’re ruminating
- Build awareness (e.g. through meditation)
- Come back to the present moment
Oftentimes you’re going to catch yourself mid-rumination rather than before it starts. That’s totally ok. Congratulate yourself “Good for me! I caught myself!”
Question 2: I’m buying a house and can’t get excited. I keep fixating on the what if questions. Is that common with OCD?
Kelley and Lauren talk about the fact that if a person’s primary concern is with something that many people might have concerns about (e.g. buying a house) then they would likely be more appropriately diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Lauren and Kelley discuss the (somewhat arbitrary) distinctions between OCD and GAD. Side note: They also discuss this in the episode on Mental Health Obsessions.
Kelley and Lauren also talk about the differences between Problem Solving and Rumination. given that the former is useful and the latter is not.
Question 3: How do you approach unwanted images while meditating?
“You just accept the hell out of them! You just are like “Oh look, there’s an image. There it is. There is an image. Ok well, that’s, thank you brain! I’m actually trying to focus on my breath right now, so I’m gonna bring it on back. But thank you.” And the image doesn’t have to go away, it’s just about noticing that the image is there without making it the central point of your attention”Lauren Rosen, LMFT
Kelley and Lauren talk about how they’ve accepted the presence of upsetting images.
Lauren: I have a brain that’s sticky so I notice “Oh wow, this is now an image in my mind …”
Kelley: I love when that happens
Lauren: Like “wow”
Kelley: I’ll be carrying this for another week or so
Lauren: Welcome aboard passenger.
Kelley: Have you met the others?
Question 4: Every time someone I love goes out of the house I do these routines and I tell them every possible way they could die because it makes me feel like I’m protecting them from that actually happening. Am I the only one and what can I do?
First off: No, this person is not the only one.
Lauren and Kelley talk about obsessions people have related to the idea that if they don’t do something then something bad will happen. They also discuss concerns people have about feeling guilty if they don’t give all of the disclaimers.
The work is to not confess
Compulsions are sort of an insurance policy. You know that they’re not likely to be necessary but you do them anyway, just in case
It’s hard to recognize that we really have so little control over much of our lives. We like the idea that we have the ability to control something. It’s containing but then you spend so much time and energy trying to secure certainty when certainty doesn’t exist.
Question 5: Does having thoughts about harming someone mean that you’re a bad person?
There’s no such thing as good or bad thoughts.
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