Mindset | Blog

What NOT to Do with Your Doubts During Treatment for OCD


Whether you are considering or have begun treatment for OCD, you might doubt that your unwanted thoughts are related to this mental health challenge. You may believe the unwanted thoughts and doubts are your fault. They are not.

It has been said that OCD is the “doubting disease.” So, naturally, you will also doubt whether you have OCD. You may also question the treatment and whether you need to practice psychological flexibility skills to clear your mind. You might not be willing to engage in values-based exposures. You are not alone. Most OCD sufferers experience these doubts and feelings.

We can compare treatment for OCD with roadway detours. For example, if you were on your way to work and you encountered a detour, how would you respond? Street detours can be inconvenient, especially if you’ve taken the same road every day for many years, and you love it because there is hardly any traffic. You might have timed your travel to and from work and the changes can cause you some stress.

Usually when we are forced to take detours from our normal route, we do it begrudgingly. Besides being annoying, these type of detours will require more focus as the new course is unfamiliar and undesirable.

We don’t have a choice regarding highway detours and how long they’ll disrupt our drive to and from work. When road repairs take a while, we can choose to complain or be willing to adjust.

Your decision to engage in treatment for OCD is likely your choice. You want to enjoy your loved ones and experience vitality in your life. Nevertheless, treatment will be unfamiliar and troublesome. The fear of the unknown might creep in. You may feel weary and unwilling to do it. Because it’s so difficult, your mind will want you to reject it. Remember, the human mind’s main function is to keep you safe and comfortable.

Your mind will want to take you back to your old ways. Those paths are still accessible but they are not under repair. You are actually building new brain pathways with your hard work. It will take time. And you will determine if you’ll do it willingly or begrudgingly. One sure thing is that your persistence will be worth it.

Meanwhile, here are five steps your OCD mind will insist you need to take because they provide the easy way. Just be aware, following these steps will keep your doubts to stick around longer than you want.

  1. Push your doubts as far away as you can. Neptune could be the optimal choice.
  2. Ruminate and review your doubts until you find the answer. Though it may take you a lifetime.
  3. Seek reassurance about your doubts from anything and everyone. Your pet may also appease your mind at times.
  4. Avoid life. Bunker down in your basement. Eventually the switch in your mind will go off. When? You’ll need to wait to find out…
  5. Keep therapy at bay or quit treatment if you’ve already started. Just listen to your mind’s advice. These tips will suffice to get your doubts to stick around!

You don’t have to let your mind convince you that those actions are the answer. Though they are comfortable and familiar, they will not allow you to enjoy life with meaning and vitality.  

Though changes are difficult, remember that “comfort is the enemy of progress.” On hard days, ask yourself, “Why am I doing this hard thing?” Then remember who and what matters most in your life. ERP (exposure and response prevention) practices will allow you to recognize there is a higher value for what you are doing.

You can learn to respond to life’s challenges with flexibility so you can find peace in your life. You can do this because you care!

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A guide to help you find relief and happiness in spite of religious or moral OCD (scrupulosity OCD). Learn more about Annabella Hagen's book.
Imperfectly Good - Book by Annabella Hagen

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