OCD Getting in the Way?
In the Spring of 2020, Many of us find ourselves stuck at home with a lot of time on our hands. I initially thought this would be an intensely productive time. It would be like renting a cabin in the woods with the only one assignment: write! I’ll finish my book! The opposite occurred. Since the start of the pandemic, I haven’t written a single word in my book. I used to write every morning before going in to work. Having that deadline of the start of work motivated me to get something done.
I need structure to be productive. This is something I already knew. Years ago, when I had my own video production company, and no boss, I would routinely procrastinate on editing projects until the last minute, then stay up all night working. But, when I have to show up at a job, I’m a great worker.
So, this quarantine period has been tough on my book writing. But it hasn’t all been a waste. I have used my at-home time to blog, write poetry and create silly videos. What’s more valuable is that I’ve been in closer contact with family and friends (remotely).
I really want to get back to writing my book. Therefore, I must create my own structure. Maybe if I say that I’m not allowed to write after 1:00 pm, I will scramble to get some writing done in the morning. I just came up with that plan literally as I typed these words, so I’ll let you know if it works.
If you are stuck at home and you also suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder, that’s an extra impediment to productivity. When I freed myself of my OCD symptoms, I suddenly had a lot of available space in my mind. I instantly started getting more done. I was no longer afraid to read, because I wouldn’t have to re-read things ad infinitum. I wasn’t afraid that I might at any moment hear the wrong thing or think the wrong thought that would prompt me to get stuck in a loop of mental rituals.
It might be a fruitful project, while you’re stuck at home, to work on alleviating your OCD. You will never know your true potential until you you are truly free. Even a 25% reduction in symptoms will be a great relief and will open up time and brain space for more life-affirming activities.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, which you can do on your own with a book or manual, can reduce OCD symptoms. You can also try the techniques that led to my freedom from OCD. I didn’t invent any of the tools that freed me; they are all available from online sources. They all have healthy effects on your mind and body. So whether or not they prove effective for you in reducing your OCD suffering, they certainly won’t be harmful and they likely will feel good.
The techniques that I used, and continue to use, include slow movement with breath, in the form of Qi Gong, which you can do following videos on YouTube. I also enjoy yoga, though I don’t get out for yoga classes these days! And, I incorporate the Remembering Breath, from Roger Jahnke. It is simply an occasional deep, slow breath. I usually pause at full lungs, then release the breath a bit slower than I breathed in.
If you would like a more complete list of the readings and activities that were useful to me in ridding myself of OCD, please email me: ocdfree [at] comcast.net and I will be happy to send you a copy and respond to questions.
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