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Once you start trying to overcome OCD it can be confusing as to whether you are actually starting to make progress or not. In this blog we explore some of the telltale signs that show you really are making progress. If you can recognize some of these in yourself, then you will know that you´re on the right path.
Recovery is not Linear
If only getting better from OCD were more straightforward, but the honest truth is that they are plenty of ups and downs. In fact, as you start to challenge the intrusive thoughts and sensations, you may even notice in the short term, that anxiety starts to go up. That´s ok!! To get better we need to face the challenge head on.
This doesn´t mean that we dive in and give ourselves the most challenging exposures straight off the bat, we need to be patient and build up exposures to triggers, but it does mean that when we face our fears, it might cause us to fall back from time to time.
The important thing here is not to give up when we experience these setbacks, but to stick to the plan. When we do we will move past these difficult experiences and learn that we can face our fears without falling back into old coping mechanisms. So if you spot yourself, facing fears, doing well, but then having a setback, try not to let it concern you to much because actually it´s a sign that you are moving in the right direction.
You suddenly notice that you spend hours or days not thinking about obsessions
One of the most blissful and encouraging signs that you are improving from OCD is obviously a reduction in the obsessive thinking. The funny thing about this though is that often it happens out of the blue. Whereas in the past you may have been spending hours every day focused on your obsessions, suddenly you realise that you spent an entire afternoon, or a whole Sunday without even thinking about them at all. If this starts to happen for you, then this is a clear indication that things are improving.
You no longer care that much if OCD shows up or not
This is an important one. When you adopt the attitude that no matter what happens, you´ll deal with it, things begin to change. OCD is only as powerful as the attention we give it and the good news is that we can choose how much attention we will give it. It may not feel like we have that choice, but it is a fact. Even when we focus in on obsessions, it´s us choosing to do that.
The good news is though that you can grow the ability to choose the right course of action and to not perform compulsions. The more that you are able to adopt this ´I don´t care´mindset the easier it´s going to be for you to manage OCD.
You no longer get annoyed when you hear psychologists talking about acceptance
This is classic. We always hear that we have to learn to just ´accept´ the thoughts, but this advice can be really annoying when you don´t really know how to do that. As you start to overcome OCD though, acceptance will become something that you intuitively understand because you will be practicing it whenever difficult thoughts come up.
With that in mind, if you´re starting to truly understand what is meant by acceptance, then you are starting to make big progress with OCD.
I hope this was helpful for you and try to remember that OCD is treatable and you do not have to suffer in the long run. If you would like to get in touch and find out how I can help you to start achieving all of the above, then please feel free to drop me a message and arrange your free consultation call.