Sunday, April 22, 2012

How do you talk to friends about how OCD affects you?

looking out

In a comment on a recent post, a reader asked the following question:

I have a question for anyone reading this ... how do you let others know about your OCD so they can cut you some slack? 
I only recently realized how much this disorder messes with my daily and weekly functioning. I thought I had adult ADD but it's anxiety, not ADD. 
I live alone and my "circle" does not have any idea how much energy it takes me, sometimes, just to get out the door. Any advice on how to help them to help me would be great.
For myself, I told very few people about my OCD.  My husband, my best friend, people in my OCD Goal Support Group and then as I started Exposure Therapy, a couple more close friends.  With my husband, it helped that he was willing to read Jonathan Grayson's book Freedom from OCD.

I'd love hear what other readers have to say about how to talk to others regarding your OCD and how it affects your functioning.  

Sunday, April 15, 2012

OCD Recovery as a Continuum Rather than All or Nothing

Two laundry baskets, two cats.

Right now I'm reading Monica Ramirez Basco's book Never Good Enough, about dealing with perfectionism. She is a cognitive behavioral therapist(CBT), and describes common thought patterns for people who are perfectionists, including "two basket thinking," where everything either falls into good or bad, right or wrong, safe or dangerous, done or undone, all or nothing, one basket or the other. Basco offers a continuum as the alternative, rating experiences, feelings or events on a scale of 0 to 100%.

Two basket thinking causes me a lot of distress, especially in relation to my OCD treatment, where I assumed I would go from having OCD to not having OCD, jumping from one basket to the other in a single leap, and anything inbetween was failure, hopelessness and despair.

Basco argues that most victories in life are small ones and if we discount those, we are missing much of our progress in pursuit of making the big jump. Paradoxically the harder I try to skip all the middle stuff and just make OCD go away, the more likely I will get stuck in an OCD flare-up, trying to accomplish something that is impossible. When I encourage myself, I gain more energy to fight my OCD and make that journey inbetween the two baskets.