How long does it take until I can stop gi... - My OCD Community

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How long does it take until I can stop giving into my ocd and compulsions and feel okay?

How long will it take until I can stop giving into y ocd mainly my compulsions and I will be able to feel okay with it? How long did it take all of you guys to feel okay with it?

17 Replies

This is a really individual and complex topic. For me it varies a lot by which obsessions/compulsions I'm dealing with. Some of my lesser OCD tendencies have been possible to deal with over a few weeks or months where I will no longer get strong anxiety in any situation. Some of my more difficult topics still occassionally send me into a state of near-debilitating anxiety even after a year of working on them. These strong reactions, however, are not the norm and a lot of the times now I'm able to do things anxiety free that I was terrified of a year ago.

It can be really hard to measure your progress by how you feel. Instead I have found it more helpful to view my progress by what I'm able to do and how fully I'm able to engage in activities. I'm losing so much less time recently to being caught in an obsession/compulsion loop and I'm able to realize what is going on and change my behavior much more quickly than I was able to do previously. I still end up realizing that I'm doing mental compulsions every day, but I'm losing maybe only an hour or two of time to it and I'm getting better about not avoiding activities.

It is all a process to go through and not a task to complete. You can't say that after resisting your compulsions 15 times that your anxiety levels will drop by 20%. You just have to remember what is important to you and remember that you can make progress. Progress will be slow at times, and there will be setbacks and times that it seems just as hard as ever, but you are still learning along the way. Your emotions are not facts and just because you feel like you are back at the start does not mean that you are. You still know all of the things that you have learned from standing up to your OCD and you can call upon that knowledge at any time.

I have more to say, but I really need to get back to work.

in reply to Selesnya

I don’t know if it’s because maybe I haven’t fully come to terms and accepted the fact that there’s no magical cure or thing you can do to make it completely go away; unlike hurting your foot and having to get surgery on it or being sick and taking some Tylenol that makes you feel better

Selesnya profile image
Selesnya in reply to

If you view OCD treatment as a task to complete then it is easy to get frustrated and disillusioned. I know that at the start of treatment I felt like I just had to learn the right steps to get better, but I hadn’t found them yet. If I could only find the right 10 things to do (and then repeat as necessary) it seemed like this was a condition that could be conquered and fixed for good. I think that a lot people fall into this trap with medication as well. If only I could find the right medication then everything would be better.

OCD is not a curable condition in that sense. We need to remember that anxiety and fear are useful emotions. They tell us what we care about and tell us to be on guard to danger. If we forget that fear and anxiety are inescapable and we run from the emotions whenever they come up, we are trying to turn our backs on part of our humanity. Relearning that fear and anxiety have a place in our lives and are simply information to use gets us more acclimated to the inherent uncertainty and unpredictability of life. It reminds us that it is ok to be scared or anxious and that we can function. Going from the extreme of where we start, however, means that we have a lot of work to do. When our brain has been told that our fears are deadly dangerous (like real life and death threats), then we have a lot of work to retrain our brains. This is why it is so hard.

The reason that I say that this is a process and not a task to complete is that we have to continually remind ourselves that fear and anxiety are a part of life. If we retreat again then we will end up right back where we were. To keep functioning well we have to welcome that anxiety as a clue to how we want to behave and actually embrace it as part of life.

Actually changing ourselves to believe this and to function with this mentality is hard. It is a work in progress and not something that can ever be done.

in reply to Selesnya

It’s just hard not to think of it as a task and certain things need to be checked off. I don’t know how to think of it to make the process or treatment work for me. And it’s just hard to know that it’s not curable and how do I come to terms with that and the fact that I’ll be dealing with it for the rest of my life. So, you’re saying we have to unlearn the anxiety that made us do the compulsions and relearn it to accept the anxiety and know that the anxiety may not always go away? I just don’t know what to do I feel like I’ve been doing it on my own and need help from my counselor on what I need to do in the process for it to happen because I kept quiet about my compulsions because I didn’t like to talk about it and am embarrassed and that’s made it worse.

Selesnya profile image
Selesnya in reply to

This is what helped me the most at the start of treatment:

What do others sound like where they seem to be dealing well with OCD? How am I approaching things differently from them? Is there some truth or wisdom there that I'm missing? I'm not the first person to go through OCD, so what has worked for others?

This became a compulsion for me, so try to keep yourself in check to some extent, but there is a lot to be learned from people that are farther along in dealing with OCD.

in reply to Selesnya

I don’t know if talking to my counselor and see if she can help me start my treatment because I have a hard time starting and doing stuff on my own

in reply to Selesnya

Thanks. I also have a counselor I go to every week and sometimes we talk about my ocd but haven’t for a while because of other stuff going on and I haven’t ever gotten any assignments to do for my ocd. So, I’m trying to figure out if not talking about my ocd makes it worse.

CJ, I will not lie or sugar coat it telling you that you will be fine in a few weeks or months. It is a process that requires determination and persistence to come to terms with OCD. Don't loose hope and have faith in the strength you possess inside, and God is always there.

in reply to ChristianWolff

Thank you. Maybe part of it is that I really haven’t talked to my counselor about my ocd because have been other issues going on in my family. And maybe I just need to talk to her to come to terms with it and feel better.

in reply to ChristianWolff

And maybe part of it is that I had to leave my last job because of my ocd and anxiety. So I’ve been trying to apply for jobs and haven’t gotten one yet and I’m not keeping myself busy I’m just mainly waiting to get a phone call about a job and watching tv

ChristianWolff profile image
ChristianWolff in reply to

I was fortunate that I was undiagnosed throughout my career years. Through the panic attacks, stresses, and social aspects I thought that I had no choice but to tough it out and get through on my own. Career wise I was lucky for having a dual path with one where all the stress was and the other where I worked alone. A complicated situation, but in the end it was the best way for me to cope and survive. I go back to my comment about having the strength to carry on through the challenging times. Not easy, but worth the effort.

Maybe once I get a job that isn’t as stressful my ocd will calm down a little bit.

It’s just hard because even when I was working I was wanting to do my ocd with my deodorant and at home I have to do it. And I have tried putting a regular amount of deodorant on and it will feel dry and normal for a regular bit and then it will feel sticky and wet later but I don’t know if it’s just because of anxiety or stress and in my head

Fargo-Guy profile image
Fargo-Guy in reply to

Ocd is a mental illness. I have had it for 67 years. It has been good and bad. I have tried counselors and med. having a job and getting your mind off thinking about it helps. Many people with ocd are successful at work. I was. Taught at a university and managed tv station. Few if any knew my ocd touching and counting problems. It impacted me and when busy I could stop it. I pray that I can someday be free from ocd but it is real. I am sure it is a chemical imbalance in the brain. Read and you will see most believe that. Some have found med that make them feel 100% better. I have be reluctant to stay on med because on my anxiety or ocd and the meds do meds with your thinking and feelings. They are mental drugs. Many gain weight. Many have worst thoughts. But ocd will not go away for me as of yet. I am working on it. Good luck to you. Get help and see what happens. Can’t hurt. If you got fired because of your ocd that is a sign it is much worse that you might know? Why did they fire you? What were you doing that caused them to let you go? Just interested?

No it was more my anxiety and it was a mutual agreement because I almost had a breakdown. But now I’m doing better without the job and my anxiety’s better but I’m still trying to deal with my ocd.

Getting back to a job would be a good step. It can provide a lot of motivation and reasons to ignore your OCD. OCD wants you to retreat and make your world as small as possible so that there are fewer threats. Don't let it win! Expand your world and pursue your own agenda. The best way to fight OCD is to stop doing what it says.

krh71585 profile image
krh71585 in reply to Selesnya

Maybe even just finding a volunteer position while you are looking. It will give you something to do and looks good on a resume. Even with quarantine you could find opportunities (staying in or going out).

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