When we’re struggling with mental illness, it’s often the compulsions that get all of the focus, both when we’re trying to figure out what’s going on and when we’re getting treatment. Many disorders are defined only by the superficial characteristics of the compulsions they’re engaging in when they show up to get a diagnosis.
But the coping, checking, and controlling compulsions we engage in are a tiny part of a much bigger system. If you don’t learn address the beliefs you hold onto, the judgments you make about your internal and external experiences, and the desires triggered by those judgments to avoid or control uncertainty, anxiety, and other feelings you don’t like, then you’re going to be constantly pushed back into old compulsions or developing new ones.
If you want to maintain recovery and you want to build better mental health, you have to go beyond the superficial compulsions that are bothering you. Mental illnesses don’t have to be chronic, but getting over them requires big holistic changes throughout the systems of your life.