The moment I realized that all the “different ways” OCD and anxiety show up are really all just part of the same thing, that’s the moment I really started to change the war I was fighting. In fact, that’s the moment I was no longer fighting in a war at all. I had to make a choice to intentionally lose the battles that OCD was placing in front of me: They’re all the same thing, over and over again, disguising themselves in different appearances. I realized that if I kept fighting those battles, they would continue to exist. If I bought into one and “fixed” it and felt better, another one was gonna come along, slightly transmuted but functioning the same way. But, when I decided to step out of the war created by OCD, that’s when real full recovery really began.
Although it may work in the external world to fix a problem when it comes along, it doesn’t quite work this way with our internal experiences. In the very act of trying hard to fix them, we make them worse.
The process of recovery is so counter-intuitive at first. You’re surrendering and accepting. You’re facing the very thing that horrifies you and saying, “Ok. That may be so. I don’t know and I don’t need to know.” You’re letting it just be and not doing anything about it. You’re saying “Thanks. That’s cool that that’s there. And I’m gonna go do something now that I actually care about.” By NOT solving and NOT fixing the “problem”, you actually remove and platform for the problem to exist in the first place. The reason this is where full recovery really takes off is because you change the game. Instead of being in the middle of the war, you can see the war from a distance, from the outside. You can step into your life again, and begin living, no matter what war may or may not be going on on the sidelines. You’re no longer intimately involved. Essentially, you no care the same way.
It’s all the same. OCD would like to trick you into thinking, “Ok, this time, this one is real. This one really IS important. Ok, this I have to attend to.” And it’ll keep doing that over and over. But once you realize it’s all the same the game gets old. You might still feel the feelings, and the spikes of anxiety, but you’re now at a different vantage point. You’re outside the war, no longer perpetuating the battles by fighting in them.
It may be really hard work to lose these battles and to let the war go on in whatever form on your sidelines without trying to fix it. But it’s so worth it, because it gives you the opportunity to LIVE! And not just any life, but a life of such openness and acceptance, and a life based on what truly matters to you. You don’t have to hide from or avoid anything, and you end up with more energy to put towards the amazing things you do want in your life, and the way you’re choosing to show up and and be in this world, because it’s what matters to you and what you value. You get to live the most amazing life imaginable!
Rather than giving in, attending to an intrusive thought or difficult emotion, and doing a compulsion to feel differently than you do, or to avoid or get rid of something, try just letting it be there. Whatever it is. And at the same time engaging in action that is in line with your values. You don’t have to not have one to have the other. You don’t have to feel a certain way before you can begin living your life and doing things that matter to you. You have a choice in your action whether you’re experiencing a difficult thought or emotion, or not. It may be hard at first to take action when really all you want to do is fix something and feel differently than you do or make a difficult thought go away. It’s hard because it’s new and not in your habits, and you’re literally changing your brain… But overtime it can become your automatic way of operating.
So give it a try. I dare ya. It just may change your life 🙂