Stuart Ralph has launched a podcast to go along with The OCD Stories site, all about exploring OCD and recovery from OCD. For the first episode of the podcast, which you can watch here in video, we discussed a slew of topics about recovering from OCD. Check it out:
Ruminating on reasons you can’t recover because your symptoms are different or you have very unique circumstances that prevent you from moving forward… is one of the most common symptoms. You’ll always be able to think of reasons why you can’t cut out compulsions, why you need to keep doing unhealthy things right now, why some other time in the future is going to be a much better time for recovery–our brains are so imaginative!
When it comes to dealing with horrible, weird, upsetting, terrifying intrusive thoughts or whatever else your brain is throwing up when you’re struggling with mental illness, learning to practice accepting the stuff in your head and shifting your focus to doing the things that will actually make you healthy, can stop the struggle in your head.
When I say that mental illness is like drowning and building better mental health is like learning how to swim, I’m not suggesting that mental illnesses aren’t real biological experiences. Drowning is a very biological experience. If we took some guy that doesn’t know how to swim and pushed him off the side of a boat into deep water, he’s going to have a very stressful experience. It’s going to be distressing and traumatic — for him and for those watching. He’s …
OCD isn’t chronic. But mental health is, just like physical health. If you don’t take care of your physical health, it’s entirely normal to experience consequences from that. Mental health is no different.
I often get asked what supplements I took or what medications I took to recover from OCD and all of the things that went along with that. But I didn’t take any supplements or any medications. So this is how I usually answer the question:
Recovery isn’t something you do once and are finished with. Taking care of your mental health is a lifestyle, just like taking care of your physical health. To keep from sliding back into relapse, I’ve found it helpful to put distance between myself and the way things used to be cutting out the “normal” coping, checking, and controling behaviors that would lead me right back down the illness hole.
When it comes to avoiding anxiety triggers, approach them in the same way you would if you had a physical injury: understand what’s causing the pain and stop that, do specific exercises to recover from the injury, and then gradually but consistently reintroduce the trigger, learning to embrace it in a healthy way so you don’t run into the same problems again in the future.