A while ago, I met a client whose family loved the ocean. Every opportunity they had to go on vacation, they chose a place where they could body surf. I asked him to tell me the skills one requires to succeed at this pastime many ocean fans enjoy. I find the parallels useful in understanding treatment for OCD. I especially use these comparisons when my clients love the ocean also.
- Patience is king if you want to learn the trade.
- Learning to recognize the waves is important so you know what to do.
- Be in good physical condition. You need to know how to swim and tread water, in case the ocean water flows high and you can’t touch the ocean floor.
- When the wave comes, go under it or ride it before it knocks you down.
- Take breaks. Don’t exhaust yourself.
- Body surfing is more fun when you are with others.
- Learning the skills takes patience and work.
- Recognize your particular OCD issues so that you can “tackle” them when they come. Do not stop doing exposures.
- Practice your skills and be ready when stress triggers OCD to a higher point.
- You can decide whether you will allow anxiety to creep in or ride it before it knocks you down.
- You may have OCD but your life is NOT OCD. Enjoy life and focus on what you value most.
- The right support from your friends and family members is essential in your recovery.