Brain-Circuit-Based Therapies for OCD
1 week ago
"I have found that people have an amazing ability to adapt and adapt quickly -- I guess it is what makes it possible for us to survive, but it can also work to our detriment. I believe our bodies want what is best for us, but sometimes a body forgets that what is best for us in the moment may not be the best for us over the long haul.
I first noticed this in March. I live in a town that is about 100 miles from the Fukushima Nuclear Plant. While my area was considered "safe" for radioactive fallout, the following days were littered with dozens of daily earthquakes day and night, no food or water to be found for miles, and no gasoline for those who wanted to go in search. After the 10th day of no more than 30 minutes of sleep a night, another Westerner and I decided to get a little distance.
After we drove about 200 miles, there were no more earthquakes, all the stores were open, it was calm and we were safe. Once my brain registered that I was safe, I had this strange feeling of my panic searching for something else to grasp onto ... I had become so accustomed to the fear and panic, that rather than it leaving when it was no longer necessary, it went looking for something else. I had to consciously tell myself there was nothing to fear and that it was OK to feel safe.
I see this in so many of the questions you get -- people are so used to feeling uneasy and unhappy, that even when things are OK, they seem to feel the need to make life fit into their adapted-to uneasiness and unhappiness. Sometimes it is OK to just allow ourselves to let it go, remember a time when life was lighter and allow yourself to go there."
There recently was a death of a 98 year old lady named Irena. During WWII, Irena, got permission to work in the Warsaw Ghetto, as a Plumbing/Sewer specialist. She had an ulterior motive...
She KNEW what the Nazi's plans were for the Jews, (being German). Irena smuggled infants out in the bottom of her tool box she carried, and she carried in the back of her truck a Burlap sack, (for larger kids). She also had a dog in the back, that she trained to bark when the Nazi soldiers let her in, and out of the ghetto. The soldiers of course wanted nothing to do with the dog, and the barking covered the kids/infants noises. During her time and course of doing this, she managed to smuggle out and save 2500 kids/infants. She was caught, and the Nazi's broke both her legs, and arms, and beat her severely.
Irena kept a record of the names of all the kids she smuggled out, and kept them in a glass jar, buried under a tree in her back yard. After the war, she tried to locate any parents that may have survived it, and reunited the family. Most of course had been gassed. Those kids she helped got placed into foster family homes, or adopted.
Last year Irena was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize....
Al Gore won, for doing a slide show on Global Warming.
Option 1 (mindful acceptance): I'm having a thought about being contaminated and it's making me feel uncomfortable. So be it. I have lots of thoughts and feelings and they're not always important. I'll just go about my business accepting that I don't know if I'm dirty or not.
Option 2 (cognitive restructuring): In my experience touching garbage cans hasn't resulted in imminent death. Though I think of it as "dirty" I don't have any actual evidence that it is something to be concerned about. Instead of saying "I'm contaminated," I'll just go with, "If I am contaminated, I'll deal with it when it appears to be an actual problem instead of trying to do something about it now."
Option 3 (flooding): I touched the dustbin and it is covered in disease-causing microbes that I definitely got on myself which I will then transmit to unsuspecting babies whose immune systems are so tiny it will kill them on the spot and I will forever live with the guilt of knowing that if only I had washed my hands 1001 times instead of 1000, the world would have less dead babies in it.
Option 3 will make you jump back from the ocd for a bit and then you can go back to Option 1.