Now I’m guessing this is a trigger for a few of us out there, I know for sure it’s always been one of mine. There’s something about blood which just makes my mind go,
‘If you touch that you’re going to catch something horrible’.
In the past if I walked past a plaster in the street it would play on my mind for the rest of the day. I didn’t even need to touch it, my Magical Thinking OCD could work out a way to make sure I could still catch something from it. Sometimes it didn’t even have to be blood, just a red blob, it could be marker pen, jam, jelly, anything that could potentially be misconstrued as blood and my OCD would see to the rest. I don’t know how many times I’ve thought about what I would do if I caught an infectious disease and how many hours I’ve catostrophised and stressed about all the possible outcomes, once again it’s actually very sad to think about.
Today I’m still battling these thoughts but I don’t seem to dwell on them or catostrophise about them anymore. I still have an aversion to blood but that feels a little more ‘normal’, I’m not sure anyone likes other peoples blood on them or would want to voluntarily touch some.
One of the best things I heard when trying to combat this trigger (from my CBT therapist) was that,
‘diseases can’t live in blood outside of the body for longer then 48 hours’,
now I’m not even sure if this is 100% true, but I choose to believe it and it pretty much cured this phobia for me. So if you see a plaster on the street that has blood on it, the likelihood it can hurt you is pretty much zero.
Once you can convince yourself of something then the thoughts are easy to bat away and eventually they stop coming all together. All these things are a work in progress of course but I’ve found through my recovery sometimes you’ll hear something and it’ll just work for you and then that’s another trigger down.
Hopefully this one will help someone else out there.
Stay Strong xxx
This is one of the saddest things about OCD for me. When I look back over the last 20 plus years of my life and realise all of the opportunities I’ve missed just because of ‘The OCD Fear’ of; going places, driving, watching the news, reading the paper, reading books, some days even stepping out of the front door, I could go on and on and on! So many things lost. Even my friendships and relationships have been massively impacted because there’s always some sort of OCD monologue going on in the background getting in my damn way!
Mindfulness has been a fantastic tool for dealing with this in recent months but I still find myself avoiding things such as the news because I know if I hear one really upsetting thing I won’t be able to get it out of my head for the rest of the day. In fact if it is something that has happened locally sometimes my OCD can even start to make me believe I might have been involved in some way, madness I know, but yet somehow OCD can make it all plausible.
However more recently I’ve gotten a lot stronger, using mindfulness I am able to dismiss my OCD thoughts more easily then I used to. Also I have been working a lot on liking myself something that seems so simple but actually the better you know yourself and the more you like the person you are the less capable of these terrible thoughts you will feel.
So my advice would be to get to know yourself better, write down the things you like about yourself, if you’re finding this hard ask someone close to you what they like about you and write that down. Read these things when you’re feeling low. Always keep in mind that the fact that these thoughts disturb you means you know the actions are wrong and you would never act of them. Remember, Everyone has intrusive thoughts.
Sometimes it feels easier to let the thoughts win but if you do this they will never go away. I like to think I’m pretty strong nowadays but I still have the odd OCD compulsion which has actually become so natural to me that I forget I do it and that it’s even OCD at all. One in particular that springs to mind is that I always rip off the first piece of toilet roll through fear it may have been contaminated in some way.
My pledge this week is that I am going to try and stop that compulsion bringing me just one more step closer to beating my OCD! Maybe you could try and beat just one of your OCD compulsions too and let me know how you get on. If you need any additional motivation this week, just think of one of the memories/opportunities OCD has stolen from you and say NO, you’re not having anymore of my life OCD!
Stay strong people!