Beating OCD Top Tips

So this year I haven’t managed to post as often as I’d like, Covid-19 and my yoga course have taken most of attention and I do find the OCD isn’t affecting me as much.  Is this because I am so busy?  Partly I think yes but I am definitely not naïve enough to think it has gone away completely.  Some days I can feel it there at the back of my mind, ready to come back with a vengeance when things calm down and this is quite a scary thought.  

So I wanted you all to know that I haven’t forgotten about you and hopefully the yoga will come together with this blog to give me more tools to help us all in conquering OCD completely.  

I’ve looked back over the stats for the year and still right out in front is the post I wrote on Pure O and False memory OCD. It has double the views of any other post and to be honest having had OCD it’s pretty obvious why it’s up there in front.

I think Pure O and false memory OCD are arguably the worst parts of having OCD, they’re completely hidden from view so people don’t know they’re happening and the thoughts are so terrifying at times that just the idea of uttering them to another living sole can be completely debilitating.  In fact OCD works in a way that it will find your deepest, darkest fears and go to town, making you feel like the worst person alive – you’re not by the way.  

Here are a few things to remember;

  • The first thing is that OCD likes you alone and isolated, it wants to be your only ‘friend’. Laughable isn’t it, OCD is probably the worst friend you could possibly have, the one who just takes from you and only gives you shit in return, if we had a friend like that in real life we would get rid of them pronto! It might not feel like it at times but you are separate from your OCD and you can be in control of it.
  • However hard it is you must try and speak to someone, even if initially it’s just yourself.  This might sound odd but I’ve found even by verbalising the thoughts out loud their power is reduced. I think most of the time we know the thoughts aren’t real and so by saying them out loud  it can reinforce this.   
  • Always remember everyone has these thoughts! You should take comfort not fear in the fact that the thoughts repel you and make you uncomfortable, this is the natural reaction and 100% means you would never act on them.  
  • Believe in yourself, you are not a bad person – self love is essential for recovery.  
  • Be mindful and live in the now, it is all we have, your version of the past only exists in your mind.
  • Avoid alcohol and other mind numbing substances, they are only short term fix’s and will actually make the thoughts worse overall.
  • Write it down – when I started this blog it was for the purpose of passing on helpful tips to others struggling but surprisingly it has also become a form of therapy for me as well.  Putting things on here detaches them from myself, allowing me to look at them more objectively.  
  • Remember there is light at the end of the tunnel, I still have very dark days but I am far enough into my journey now to know that that feeling doesn’t last forever and the darkness does lift – even though at times it feels like it won’t.  
  • You are not alone – though at times you will feel like you are – around 750 thousand people suffer from OCD in the UK and that stat is closer to 2.2 million in the US.

Wishing you all the best Christmas and New Year, I’ll see you in 2021!

Lets hope it’s a good one!  
As always,
Stay Strong xxx

OCD Awareness Week

So next week is OCD Awareness week.  What a fantastic opportunity to get talking about OCD and helping people understand it better.  I found a great list of ways to get involved on the OCD UK website.  Here are a few of the simpler ones below.

7 ideas for 7 days of OCD awareness

(OCD Awareness Week: 8-14th October 2016)

  1. Change your Facebook/Twitter cover photo for the week
  2. Talk to someone new about your OCD and tell them how OCD impacts on your life.
  3. Invite a friend to watch a movie which features OCD.
  4. Change your social media profile photo.
  5. Get a great photo of you with your ’Supporting OCD Awareness Week’ placard on social media.
  6. Blog about how OCD impacts on you and post that link across all your social media pages.
  7. Contact your local newspaper or local BBC radio station and ask them to interview you about your OCD for OCD Awareness Week.

Together we can make a difference,

Stay strong xxx


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

OCD – Never giving in

This is probably one of the hardest parts about fighting OCD.  You can never give in, not even to one compulsion because if you do it will never go away.  OCD never gives in, so you mustn’t either.  It can be so tempting sometimes, particularly with a new intrusive thought which can catch you off guard.

When it is a new intrusive thought (as opposed to a recurring one, which over time can be dealt with and it’s power diminished) the associated anxiety can be more intense and sometimes before I know it I’m spiralling internally downwards, becoming outwardly more touchy and irritable, my heartbeat is starting to rise, I’m getting hotter, my brain is trying to work out what to do to return me to equilibrium and more often then not giving into the compulsion is the quickest fix at this point.

Here are some of the scenarios I have personally faced over the years:

Whilst making a sandwich I thought I saw a black mark on the bread and my mind starts catastrophizing about what the mark could be and before you know it, I’ve convinced myself its going to do the person who eats it irreparable damage.   At this point the thing I most want to do is throw the sandwich in the bin and start again.  Even though I know logically that the black mark I saw was actually just an air hole in the bread but can I convince my OCD mind of that?


Whilst buying items in a supermarket, I pick up some toothpaste which has a grubby mark on the packaging.  Once again my mind starts catastrophizing about what the mark could be and what I then want to do is just walk out of the supermarket and leave the basket behind.


Whilst leaving a store carpark I drive over a pot hole in the road.  Once again my mind gets riddled with doubt and all I want to do is drive back to the car park and check the pot hole I went over wasn’t a child or animal.

Because hey, wouldn’t that be easier??  Well actually no.  No, no, no, no, no, no NO!

This is where all your CBT training, mindfulness, distraction, the lot, all comes into play.

A couple of other tips that can sometimes helps me are:

  1. To take yourself out of the situation completely.  So if I’m in the kitchen washing something and all of a sudden I have the thought that it’s still dirty for whatever reason and I need to rewash it, I can very often start to find myself in a spiral (as described above) and the only thing I can do is step away.  Go and do something else for half an hour and then come back.
  2. Distraction:  sometimes I sing to myself, I realise this sounds a bit nutty but actually the process of singing or even humming out load is sometimes a big enough distraction in my head that I can get my task completed.  Even if I’m just singing “The washing is clean, it’s all fine” over and over to myself, lol.

Of course the price we sometimes pay for not giving into our compulsions is that they then hang around like a big heavy weight on our shoulders.  I have had intrusive thoughts which have stayed with me for days, years even and this does make the fight particularly hard at times.

I find sharing the thought with someone as early as you can (if you have someone you are able to share them with) helps to diminish the thoughts power significantly.  If you don’t have someone you can talk to easily about this stuff then try writing them down or say them out loud to yourself when you’re alone.  Almost by getting the thoughts outside of your mind in someway, you can help to detach yourself from them and diminish their power.  Sounds a bit crazy but this actually really works, give it a try.

and as always, Stay Strong xxx


OCD & Trust

Over the years I’ve found that OCD has completely destroyed my trust.  So with the exception of a few close family members, I don’t fully trust anyone.  I think OCD gives you a very bleak outlook on life.  You become a negative person who sees danger everywhere, you think the worst of people and you don’t trust anyone, which is incredibly sad.

The outcome of this is that you never really let go and so real friendships are never formed and opportunities are lost.  Of course if you never fully let go, how are you ever going to know who you really are?  Or maybe that is who you really are – whoa deep!  I suppose the conclusion you have to come to is if you’re happy where you are or whether you want to change?

So how to build trust?  It’s a very good question, it feels like it’s something that takes years to build and seconds to be broken, something that’s super fragile and this in itself is terrifying to me.

So now I realise (after rambling for a couple of paragraphs) that I may have to work on this and come back to this topic at a later date.  Any advice or useful comments would be most welcome, I’m just sorry that this post itself hasn’t been more useful but I am still working through all this myself and actually just writing this post has made me realise I must face this issue.

Stay strong xxx

False Memory OCD

So today is the first day I’ve actually been able to put a real name to this.  Up until now I’ve always described my ‘false memories’ as ‘warped memories’, as this is what it has always felt like to me.  A real memory being skewed by my OCD rather then a completely made up/false memory.  All of my ‘False memories’ have been based on something which was originally fact so for example:

“I know for a fact that I definitely drove home from work on Tuesday.  “  – Real memory

but by Wednesday I’m thinking:

“How can I be sure I didn’t hit someone when I was driving through the high street on my way home on Tuesday?  I can’t remember every inch of the drive home so I can’t be entirely sure I didn’t.  “  – False Memory

Over the years I think this may actually have been my biggest issue.  The fear of having done or even just said something I shouldn’t of and having to reanalyse and think back through events over and over and over again.  It is completely sole destroying and can really take the joy out of doing pretty much anything, as after a while you know these false memories are going to be triggered and it can actually feel easier to just not do anything that’s going to trigger them.  writing this makes me so sad, I’ve probably missed out on a lot over the years.

My biggest tools for fighting false memories (along with all the other brilliant OCD fighting tools I’ve mentioned in previous posts) are:

Firstly: Self Belief

I’ve talked quite a lot about self belief in previous posts.  It really is worth taking some time to sit down and look inside yourself (a scary thought for someone with OCD I realise).  Understand that you are a good person, if you’d done something awful (even when drunk) your body would have an extreme reaction to it which you wouldn’t forget.  Know the person you want to be and when you look at yourself you most likely are that person already, your OCD is just covering it up, don’t let it!

Then if you still can’t shift the memory:

Check reality, Accept the Consequences, Don’t Catastrophize and Be Mindful, this is probably best explained with an example:

So say you believe you have run over someone on the way home.  You think about every moment of your drive over and over again but even though you can’t find one scrap of evidence that you have run someone over you cannot shift the false memory.  

Firstly Check Reality: think about your reaction, would you really be able to drive over someone and:

  • a) Not notice
  • b) Have absolutely no memorable reaction
  • c) No one else notice?

unlikely I would say

Next: Accept the Consequences (I realise this one sounds a bit odd but it does help me to move on.)

So the consequence of this event would probably be that you would be arrested and have some sort of trial, you may end up in prison and would have to live with the guilt of what you’d done.  I don’t know how many times I’ve imagined myself in police interview rooms explaining that ‘I don’t even remember doing it, sorry’ but actually when you start to realise you wouldn’t have anything to say to the police and that you shouldn’t be able to feel guilty for something you don’t even remember doing.  You start to feel yourself relax.  A lot of the time acceptance of these consequences is easier to deal with then the OCD feeling and constant thinking over of the events.

Next: Don’t Catasrophise the event:

You have no memory of this event so you don’t know what happened, therefore tell yourself that the best outcome occurred rather then the worst.  In this scenario it is just as likely, isn’t it?  So instead of thinking that the person you think you ran over died.  Think that you didn’t run anyone over (which is the actual reality).

Lastly: Be Mindful

OK so even if these consequences are coming your way, (which of course they’re not) they’re not happening right now, right this second are they and even if they do (which they won’t) you will deal with them then, not now.

No one knows what’s around the corner and this is why we bring mindfulness back in at this point.  Right here, right now, non of that is happening and until then you must make the most of every single second you have because life is super short and you can’t worry about the future.

So that was a lot of information (deep breath), I do feel like I’ve rambled quite a bit in this post (sorry about that).  I really do hope you’ve been able to follow it and it’s made some sense.  These tactics have really worked for me in fighting my false memories so I really hope that they can help you too.

Stay strong xxx


OCD – Skewed gut feelings

So many people rely on their gut feelings for big life decisions.  I have never been able to trust mine.  Most of the major decisions in my life have been hampered by OCD and so I’m never sure whether I’m unsure about something for a ‘real’ reason or an ‘OCD’ reason.  This has led to most decisions being incredibly hard for me.

I remember driving to look at wedding dresses and on the way a little girl was standing by the lights waiting to cross the road.  She was on the pavement but quite near the edge and I can remember driving past her and my OCD saying: ‘She was a bit close to the road, what if you’d hit her?’

From that point on the trip was completely pointless, as any dress I picked on that day would mean I would run over a little girl in the future.  Writing it now it seems completely crazy, somehow my mind had catastrophized the event, then connected that to the dress shopping.

I quite often have to ask my husband whether a situation I am stressed about is something someone ‘normal’ would also be stressed about or whether it’s just my OCD.

For example:

Whilst cooking if something you’ve chopped lands on the floor, maybe a carrot which is going to be put into boiling water.

Would you:

  • A) Throw it away
  • B) Throw it into the pot


If you got a take away coffee and the lid had a little mark on it would you:

  • A) Not even notice it (my husband)
  • B) Notice it but wipe it away and think nothing more of it
  • C) Throw the coffee away because it’s probably something horrible that will kill you (sounds a bit extreme but this is what catastrophizing does.)

I wish I could share some easy advice on how to overcome these situations but unfortunately you have to face them head on.  You do however have a wealth of tools to use against it:

To name just a few.  If it helps, every time I have found the inner strength to fight one of these thoughts/compulsions I have felt better for it in the long run and every time I have let them win I have felt worse!

The thoughts don’t go away and actually your OCD mind learns and will use new intrusive thought against you in other situations.  OCD is a huge bully which will use any ammunition you give it.  Don’t let it!

Stay strong xx

The OCD Fear

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!

Mental Health Crossovers

One of the most interesting things for me when I finally got myself into some counselling was the realisation that what I was suffering from wasn’t just OCD but actually also anxiety and worry.  I had always just blanketed all of my thoughts and feelings under the OCD umbrella and it was enlightening to break it down and understand it all on another level.

I sometimes find it really difficult to differentiate between worry and OCD.  I will try now with a couple of examples:

A worry:  

‘I have to drive to the supermarket to do my shopping, what if I crash the car on the way or hit someone in the car park?  ‘  

An OCD thought after visiting the supermarket:

‘There was a pothole in the car park that I went over when leaving the supermarket, what if that was actually a child and I didn’t see them?  ‘  

Once you start to break the thoughts down, you can start to look at how to overcome them.  To be honest a lot of the methods work for both worry and OCD but there are some separate tools which could be useful.

For worry there is a tool called ‘The Worry Tree’, best shown by an illustration here.  I have personally found the worry tree very useful in helping to dismiss worrying thoughts when they come along.

Worry and OCD are also incredibly closely linked to GAD (General anxiety disorder) and the intolerance of uncertainty.

I’ve recently found the APPLE acronym  (Acknowledge, Pause, Pull Back, Let Go and Explore) which can be used to help combat GAD.  I’m going to be giving it a go (More information in link above page 2).

As always I hope this helps, Stay strong xx




Have you ever found yourself in a room full of people but feeling like you can’t connect with anyone or almost like you’re seeing the world from behind glass?  You’re there but not there, so to speak.  This happens quite often for me, dissolving into your own mind is incredibly common with OCD, especially when you’re trying to ‘reason’ with an OCD thought – like you even could (I laugh).    In fact I often find I miss parts of or sometimes complete conversations because I am so absorbed in my own thoughts, very annoying for the person I am speaking to I expect.  I often wonder if people just think I’m being rude.

It can sometimes happen so naturally that I don’t even realise I am doing it straight away, but when I do realise the resource I always go to is Mindfulness, it’s so simple and completely amazing.


Mindfulness is all about the here and now, it’s about being in the present moment fully, 100%.  You are not thinking about what happened yesterday, this morning or even 30 seconds ago, you’re also not thinking about what could happen tomorrow, tonight or in the next 30 seconds.  You are living in the moment, enjoying each one for what it is.

So how to do this when you have an OCD thought badgering away at you?

The trick is to simplify your surroundings, pick something, anything to focus on and then really focus on it.  It could be your breathing, your clothing, the person who’s speaking to you.  Then start to notice all the things you would normally just take for granted about that item.

So for example if you were to pick your breathing you could notice the air coming in and out of your nose/mouth, focus on how it makes you feel, if you can smell anything, what that smell reminds you of, notice how your chest moves when you inhale/exhale.  By refocusing your mind on something you should be able to break away from the inner thoughts.  Now I feel a bit hypocritical writing this example, as personally for me I have to focus on something external for mindfulness to work, something such as the sky, the trees, my pet dogs, the grass, someone else’s face, the list probably is endless.  Focusing on something internal isn’t a big enough break away from my thoughts but I guess that’s the beauty of mindfulness, it’s a tool for you to use how you wish, to make it work for you.

So I think I’ve just proven that I’m definitely not an expert at this yet and so here’s a link to a really great resource which explains it better than I ever could.  I hope it helps.