Part one of many?
It is my new project for my brain, now a few years after being diagnosed with OCD, to reassess my OCD and what I need to be doing. This is a work in progress. I’m not good at works in progress, I like to get to the solution and move on. However, that isn’t realistic1 in this situation.
So how am I going to go about this, and what is the goal? Well, let’s get the notepad out…
1. What is not OCD?
I’ve come to realize that I have no issue joking about the quirks of my OCD, but even in this sentence you will notice I separate “quirks of” and “OCD.” I’m not going to stop doing this, I am one of the more self-deprecating people you’ll meet. I think this is because I want to make fun of people, I know I should not ever do that, so I choose me. And crap, am I a good target. Nevertheless, as I move forward with reassessing my OCD I should not really focus on my quirks. I don’t have compulsions as many do, so my quirks are not very relevant to the mission here.
2. What are the types and sub-types of OCD I have?
To list all the types and sub-types (or more rare types, if there isn’t really a tree, which I am thinking there is not) of OCD would be laborious only for the sake of work. I don’t want to write the OCD encyclopedia2. So I know there are conditions like pedophilia OCD, religious OCD, and others I fully understand but do not have. I then look at this very complete list of OCD types and see I have quite a good percentage of these.
I need to get each of these onto a list and thirdly…
3. Decide what the severity of each type of OCD I have is.
Right, I am good at lists—that should astound you. Ok, maybe I am not as good at sarcasm. That was sarcasm. Seriously though, I need to get the types of OCD I have that hinder my life the most to the top of the list. As well, get the ones that are mostly passing thoughts to the bottom. I believe in spectrums and scales. I believe someone can have “a little” OCD. Then, if you break OCD into categories, someone like myself with full-blown OCD can indeed have “only a little bit” of certain types.
Some good examples of the top and bottom of this forthcoming list, using the aforementioned guide:
Near the very top: “Magical Thinking Intrusive Thoughts.” Pretty much all of them.
At the very bottom: “swallowing/salivation, focusing on how frequently one swallows, the amount of salivation produced, or the sensation of swallowing itself.” Yes, I do this, I think this. But it is so rare, and passes so quickly for me (not for some others!) that it is not worth moving on to the next step…
4. How to best attack the major types of OCD I have.
Here is where things get a little bit murky. I don’t have a great system or knowledge of how to best attack my OCD. It is part of the reason I spend so much energy writing a blog about it. Because that is my only outlet. I probably need a community to be a part of or a therapist. But these things don’t really exist for me, for reasons that are beyond what I am writing here. I’m on my own here. I do know that exposure therapy is something one can handle on their own. I also know—only through my own tinkering with solutions—that flat-out ignoring some types of OCD is effective. I’m doing this for me, by the way—I am not a doctor and I’m not going to prescribe anything to anyone else. I’ll report back. I feel I have to say that here, as the idea of “ignoring” may seem a bit… wrong? Well, it works for me sometimes. As I’ve said at times: I feel I have two brains. The logical one which is generally good at “right” and the one that has all these other thoughts. At times I can tell that brain to just shut up.
Regardless, I need to come up with general methods of attack for the most harmful types of OCD, each.
5. How do the solutions fit into my principles?
I’ve defined a set of principles I look at, at 8:45 am, every day. It feels cheesy even to me, but it helps. I have it on one of the myriad home screens on my phone. Here are the principles, and I need to make sure everything I do—including but not just attacking my OCD—aligns with these principles:
Stop overthinking now.
1. Remember your mortality.
2. No greed, just productivity.
3. Ignore yourself when poisonous.
4. Others’ drama in your head, out!
5. Think: To what end? Is this useful?
Finally, the goal. First, I need to be able to apply whatever immediate solutions I have to OCD episodes that overtake me. These episodes are characterized by not being able to think of anything other than what I am obsessed with. Quelling that is paramount.
Long term? We’ll get to that later.