OCD – Having a Plan of Action

This is something which came from my Cognitive Behavioural Therapy or CBT for short.  As the therapy came to an end a plan of action was put in place for times when I’m maybe not feeling as strong as usual for some reason.

I have found that it is vitally important to know what to do when you can feel the doubt kicking in.  It’s also really important to be aware of your triggers so you can be prepared to deal with them straight away.

For me a massive trigger is time on my own.  I know that if my husband is away for some reason and I spend longer then a day on my own, then the OCD thoughts, doubts and associated anxiety will start to creep in, sigh.

So, I do my best to prepare in advance and plan activities which I know will keep me busy.  For me socialising is massively important, it makes me feel normal somehow to interact with people.  I have to keep this in mind when my head is telling me that I don’t want to go out in the car in case I crash (worry) and that I don’t want to go somewhere new in case I’m faced with a situation I can’t handle (anxiety) and I don’t want to get dressed this morning because I’ll have to find an outfit which doesn’t have some sort of negative connotation (OCD).

OCD and it’s associates does everything it can to keep me locked away in the house with just my thoughts, but all this causes is a downward spiral which I know, after many years is the worst thing for me and so I have to push myself past them all and go for it.

Of course it’s not always possible to prepare for these situations and even if you try to sometimes every single person you know will just happen to be busy on that day.  In cases such as these you need to find a way to cope healthily on your own.  Again this isn’t always easy, my first step is always to get out of the house.

I say to myself, ‘put your shoes on and go‘ (baby steps).  Most of the time just by walking out of the front door and taking a deep breath I feel slightly better.

I then try to be mindful as I walk, notice things in more detail than I normally would.   The sky, the buildings, the grass and trees, whatever is around me I take it in and appreciate it.  I remember how lucky I am to be alive and free enough to do these things.

Next I think about what makes me happy, just something small and see if I can incorporate it into my walk.  A warm drink at the local cafe, a book from the local library, (maybe combine the two), sometimes I treat myself to a magazine, a chocolate bar or a piece of cake (maybe all three).  Whatever I do, I try to appreciate it and do it mindfully.

Small acts of kindness are another thing I’ve come to appreciate recently, if you can repay them it can make you feel good.  Hold the door open for someone, offer your seat on the train to someone more in need.  It’s a bit sad that I’m still always surprised when someone does something unexpectedly nice for me.  I have found if I’m feeling particularly negative a small act of kindness can quickly change my perspective on things for the better.

OK so to summarise:

Prepare for situations you know will be triggers for you with activities you enjoy.

If you have no time to perpare

  • Get outside
  • Be mindful
  • Think of something you enjoy and do it and try to do it mindfully
  • If there is an opportunity along the way help someone, it will make you and them feel better.  Who knows perhaps they’re having a bad day as well.

I hope that this has been helpful, I’m just trying to pass on the things that help me in the hope that they can help you too.

Stay strong xxx

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