2 Tips for OCD Flare Ups

Person on a yellow couch smiling and looking down at two flowers. Picture is by Dziana Hasanbekava on Pexels.com

A while back I wrote a bunch on obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and the various types of OCD.  I’m learning more and more about OCD both for my patients, but also for myself.  There are so many types of OCD including pure O, relationship OCD, etc. There’s so much those of us with OCD can do to feel more like ourselves in the moment and in the future and when I say us I really mean us because I work on my OCD too.  Below are two super quick and simple tips on one of the components that is often seen with folks who struggle with a part of OCD, intrusive thoughts.    

  1. I want to first talk a little bit about intrusive thoughts as this has been the place where I’ve gotten the biggest “bang for my buck” when it comes to addressing and reducing OCD symptoms with patients.  I’ve seen so many people benefit from simply learning about intrusive thoughts and I hope it will help you a bit too.  Often times intrusive thoughts will impact the thing that we care about most.  For example, if someone really values their partner’s safety, they may have intrusive thoughts concerning safety of their partner.  However, sometimes intrusive thoughts have no theme and are not linked to something the person really values like intrusive thoughts about numbers or order.  Essentially intrusive thoughts are not your fault and while they don’t always make sense, they sometimes hit the main thing of importance to you. 
  1. Thoughts intrude or jump in and try to distract or take over when we’re dealing with change.  Now change can be scary or negative stressors like losing a job or change can be positive adjustments like an anticipated pregnancy.  There can even be changes that stress in both positive and negative ways like a break from working with a layoff, but also no health insurance.  Changes can even be during menstruation or during other hormonal shifts.  Folks will often notice that use of more caffeine or other changes will even impact their intrusive thoughts.  Therefore, take stock of stressors in your life when you notice your intrusive thoughts flare up.  If you’re feeling particularly stressed from a change in your life please gently remember that this will likely increase intrusive thoughts.  This may be a hard protective part to witness, but I send gentleness to this part of you that may be trying to protect or distract overwhelmed parts of you with lots of intense thoughts.  

It can be helpful to know that these thoughts often weave into something we love and that they flare up when we’re going through any sort of change, big or small.  If you need support there’s nothing wrong with that and seeing a psychiatrist and therapist may help to differentiate between any other issues as well as to get treatment.  There’s also supportive environments like obsessive compulsive anonymous, or meditations for this protector part who is really just trying to help.  As frustrating as these intrusive thoughts may be, if they are a protective part of you I send these parts of you love.  Who knows what things would’ve been like had you not had this protector part?  With that being said I’ve seen an immense reduction simply by loving on this part of me, learning more about how it weaves into the things I care about most (just like other people with OCD), and how it gets big when I don’t have enough rest, drink too much coffee, don’t get enough sleep, or have any changes like a move or job change.  I can be extra gentle on myself when I notice these changes are met with an active protector who shows up as OCD for me.    

If you want my free course, which is more like a meditation than a course really, check it out here.  For now, I’m sending all parts of you love and I’m excited to share more about these thoughts with you next week dear Soft Hearts.

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