How to Move Beyond OCD — Even Just for a Moment
Here’s the thing. The truism none of us will move beyond: there is no solution to obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It cannot be wiped away forever. It is not that type of disorder (as many mental disorders aren’t).
This is OK! It is not a sentence for a life wasted. It is not a death sentence. With OCD, the key is to manage it to the point where it is less of an issue now than it was before. The measurements here are intentionally vague. Because there is no need to measure performance on a numbered scale. This is not about losing or winning, this is about mitigating a mental health issue.
So, simply: the only key is to manage it to the point where it is less of an issue now than it was before.
The first exercise (and this is not a phony step-by-step guide here. Those do not exist. Or, if they do, they can safely be ignored the majority of the time) is to understand what it feels like to move beyond OCD — just once.
Whenever one wishes to help mitigate a mental disorder, the core of it is knowing the feeling of doing such. How this “moving beyond” is done is something only you can come up with. However, the feeling of having succeeded in doing this once will be something you can use in the future.
What is “moving beyond” OCD? For one, it is not something you can apply permanently. The key is to do anything you can to put a mute on what your OCD is telling you. Only you know where this figurative mute button is. It is there, in your brain. We’re not looking to solve anything for good — we’re just looking to press mute once. Just press it.
This may mean moving away from something giving you OCD. This may mean not looking at something, not having something in the same room as you — intentionally thinking about something different.
Knowing where the mute button is — and understanding it is completely temporary — is the first step. The OCD will come back. No one is sure when, but it can be temporarily muted. So do that, somehow.
Once your OCD is on mute, the next step is to get your brain involved with something completely different. Something that has nothing to do with what you’re obsessing over. This can be social, this can be … anything. This is completely open-ended, other than it needing to have nothing to do with your obsession. This, too, is temporary. Just do something else.
All the while, we know we can return to that which we were obsessing over to try to fix it. There’s no stopping that, we’re going to do it.
But the exercise is to move beyond it temporarily. Just for a bit of time. Maybe an hour, maybe a day. Maybe the more we try this exercise, the longer we can go. The measurement, again, is not important here.
Now, the most important part is to completely understand — take in, imbibe, log, note, everything — how you feel. Note when you feel your best, moved beyond this OCD episode. This may only be a two on a scale of one to 10! You just need to know when your feelings are at their peak in terms of “good,” beyond the OCD. You’re not stretching for a specific measured level.
Be simple, let this be easy.
You simply have to move beyond your OCD for a short while, you need to do something else of any sort and then you need to take in how you feel.
Now that you know this feeling, keep it. Keep it in a locket in your mind.
That is all you need to do right now. You can now use this feeling later, you’ll know what to do with it.
The key is to experience life beyond OCD — intentionally beyond OCD. Even if for only a few minutes. Maybe for a few hours. Just experience it, and note the best feeling you got from this exercise.
That is all you need to do right now. No more. Just hold that feeling, and simply don’t forget it.
Later you will be able to use this memory of this feeling.
Unsplash image by Nathan Boadle