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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5808
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Hi i really hope you can offer some help. I would appreciate

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Hi i really hope you can offer some help. I would appreciate it if you could have a skim through my previous questions as this relates to the same matter. Im having pretty much the same issues i always have.

This time around however i am older and more able to deal with my feelings even though they still cause me great anxiety and stress.

I need instructions of some kind of WHAT i need to do with these OCD thoughts, something i can stick to. Should i be ignoring the thoughts repeatedly? Should i be letting the thoughts in but avoiding the compulsions i.e 'exposure response prevention'?

I just need some rules to stick to that can keep me in line and help eventually minimise my problem. Thanks so much in advance as this could be life changing for me.

Hello, I would like to help you with your questions.

There are many things you can do to help yourself cope with these thoughts and compulsions. The trick is trying many things to find what works for you.

OCD thoughts can be handled through a variety of ways:

Learn to relax- this helps a lot because one of the main issues with OCD thoughts and compulsions is the anxiety you experience with them, triggering the urge to act out. So learning how to keep calm when dealing with these thoughts can help. Here is a link to help you learn Progressive Relaxation, one of the best ways to control your anxiety:

Write down your thoughts- by keeping a journal so you have a place to express your thoughts when they do bother you. It can also help to go back and see your progress or look at repeating patterns and how you handled them.

Make a list of activities- things you can do to distract yourself when you do experience OCD thoughts. Exercise, calling someone or watching a movie for example.

Give yourself a break- realize that OCD is caused by physical imbalances in the brain as well as anxiety. So telling yourself things like "This is just a physical response and it is not my fault" or "I can control this any way I want" and doing another activity instead of giving in helps as well.

Do not give your obsession meaning- The more you focus on it, the more importance you give it. So treat it like it's nothing. "It's only my thoughts. It does not mean anything".

Cognitive behavior therapy can help a lot as well. It assists you in "retraining" your brain to think other thoughts and calming yourself so you don't feel the need to respond to the thoughts as much. And a therapist can help with exposure response prevention as well. It helps to have the support.

Read as much as you can about OCD and how to address it. The more you educate yourself, the better chance you will find things you can do to help yourself.

I hope this was helpful,

I am sorry you were unhappy with your answer. Is there anything I can do to help you get what you need?


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I just feel that i need some very difinitive answers and instructions. Any ambiguity and i feel lost. Im so worked up and i have nobody to turn to. Nothing is helping and im panicking more and more every second

It can be difficult to find what works for you unless you try many different things. Everyone is different in their experience with OCD so having many options to try so you can find what works is best. And the best way to get the specific answers you seek is to see a therapist who can do a full evaluation of your symptoms and get to know you to the level they can help you with the specifics. If you are not already in therapy, then you may want to consider going. The therapist will be able to address each symptom you have specially, which is very hard to do in an on line forum.

However, if you do have a specific symptom I can help you with, I will try.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

I have sent a self referal for some CBT which i understand is the best form of treatment for OCD. What i need is something i can do right now.


I have been getting more and more wound up all day and havent left my bedroom. I have thoughts of my girlfriends past, the possibility of other men finding her attractive and feeling the need to ask excessive questions about these events repeatedly. I already know the answers but i feel a burning anxiety inside that FORCES me to ask these questions, i go around in circles. This is beyond jealousy, it really is eating up my life and it has taken up days of time i should have spent enjoying my relationship.


I just need to understand what i am to do with these thoughts, they are persistent and the compulsions and rumination are just as much so. What do i do when this is going on??

I'm glad to hear that you plan to see a therapist. That will help. And talk to the therapist about medications. They can help a lot.

The first step you can take is to leave your bedroom. Staying there and allowing your thoughts to rule you is only going to give them more power. You want to distract yourself from them not allow them to take over. And you have the power to do this by forcing yourself to leave the room and finding something you can do that takes your attention away from yourself.

You want to find things that will grab your attention so you won't go back into yourself again. Think of it like this, if you were to have someone run in to your room and threaten you with a knife, how likely would it be that you tune him out and keep thinking about your girlfriend and being jealous? Unlikely, right? You would be focused on the man threatening you. You need to consider things you can do that will focus your attention and get you out of this loop.

You also need to change your thoughts. When the thought about your girlfriend comes, say "STOP!" to yourself. It may take a number of times to get this to work, but each time you try it helps.

Try using a rubber band on your wrist. Each time the thought happens, snap the band (not so hard that you hurt yourself though). It can become a deterrent to you and give you negative feedback each time you have the thoughts.

Talk to someone. Isolating yourself only lets you be alone with your thoughts. Go out, call someone, make contact with others. Even if you only go to the store and talk with a clerk, it can help. You are bringing yourself out of your own mind and engaging with others.

At night, listen to a radio or IPOD in bed. Read if you can. Anything that can help you focus your thoughts on something other than the OCD.

You are in control of your thoughts so don't let the OCD frighten you into thinking it is in control. Tell yourself over and over that you can think about other things, then do. It is hard at first, but eventually you will win.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Thank you! I appreciate the positive rating.

You will be able to overcome this with some practice and determination. Hang in there.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Thankyou Kate i sure hope so. I have never had an official diagnosis for what is wrong with me. Its plagued me for 6 years now. I know in many instances a label isn't important but for me it VERY much is for peace of mind, and also to be able to trust that im following the right treatment etc.


In your honest proffessional opinion what would you say is the most likely cause of my anguish?

Most likely it is a combination of OCD and an anxiety disorder. Possibly GAD, generalized anxiety disorder. But without seeing you face to face, it is impossible to be sure. The amount of information needed to accurately diagnose anyone is a lot- very detailed (which is usually a hour or two intake). So to be sure, see a therapist or if you already do, get a second opinion if you are not sure.


Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Kate i have one last thing i would like to ask you if you can spare one moment for me please as i trust your advice.


With regard to these thoughts about things that have happened in the past involving men showing interest in my girlfriend. Will continually distracting myself evenutally lessen the anxiety of the thought itself?


i.e if i consistently bat the thought away, will i eventually be able to think of that same thought without the anxiety attatched to it?


An example is a year ago a lecturer at my university asked my girlfriend on a date (before she was mine) and it causes me great pain and anxiety to think of it even though it shouldnt (she said no).

I would be more than happy to continue working with you on any new questions you have. All I ask is that you remember to rate my answers for each new/different question you ask. Let me know if this works for you.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Of course Kate i apologize. I have opened this as a new question to you now.