minor ocd management?

Discussion in 'Braaaaiiiinnnns...' started by Maya, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    I have one set of intrusive thoughts that always turn into spirals and my therapist said it sounds very ocd like but so far hasn't found me any tips and resources ;; I won't share what the specific thoughts are so any general advice for how to manage them would be great!
    • Witnessed x 1
  2. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    (this does not constitute medical advice)

    Short term: accept that the thought might be true in theory, but that you can't handle it any better while spiraling. Do some grounding exercises. Then do something easy but engaging whether you feel like it or not. Something that you have to actually do but not something that's difficult.

    Medium term: surround yourself with calm people and/or animals, and don't talk about anything, stressful or not -- just do your own thing among them. If you don't have irl people, storebought Bob Ross is fine. (Actually, I think @jacktrash knows YouTube channels that post the same sort of stuff?)

    Long term: run negotiation and then if that fails a campaign. Try to find out what concrete event you're scared of, and what a doable set of precautions would be against that fear. If the fear settles, if you can find a set of precautions that lets the fear self-resolve, you then get into the nuts and bolts of how you're going to go about implementing those precautions. If you can't, then the fear is non-falsifiable, and you can circumvent it with a clear conscience.
  3. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    the youtube channels i watch for self-soothing are mostly cooking and science channels. i find science in particular super reassuring because like... chemistry stays chemistry no matter how i feel, you know? so nile red and veritasium chill me out every time. as for cooking vids, they're sometimes too perky, or the chef's super skills make me feel inadequate, but liziqi will always make you feel better, she's some kind of mountain spirit and it's impossible to be jealous.

    and here is a playlist of uglycute animals with funny narration:

    ime comedy is the best for distracting from intrusive thoughts.
  4. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    can you explain this one a bit more? my brain is mushy today so im having trouble like,,, understanding what you mean. i can answer that first question, but again i dont wanna say exactly what it is so lets just say the concrete event i'm scared of is... idk. my house catching fire. how would i apply the other steps you said/what do they mean?
  5. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    also thank you for the channels, jesse! i love the true facts about [x] series so much aha, and i've been meaning to find a cooking channel that wasnt me lusting after babish's skills and equipment
  6. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    Doable set of precautions is basically like -- what does the fear want you to do? What's it aiming at? In the case of your house catching on fire, you can say: okay, let's say you're right, let's say my house is going to catch on fire. What can I do about that? And then you think, I can check my smoke detector. I can look around, see the distance between electronics and water, see the distance between the stove and paper, ask if realistically I'm going to be lighting any candles and if so where and how carefully. Think, am I scared of losing all my clothing and bedding? My house? My life? (Where are my escape routes?) Would I have a backup of my data? Where would I go? If things went even more wrong, and I was stuck alone outside with nothing but the clothes on my back as my house burned right in front of me, what would I do? Go down the line of houses nearest to me knocking on the door and shouting for them to call 911? Go back in for my pets?

    So then you have a list of things you can do. And you say, okay, fear. I'm listening. These are things I thought of that I could do for you. What do you think?

    If the fear says: yeah actually that seems good. thanks then that's a win/win, you've resolved the issue constructively
    If the fear says: do all of it now you are not safe you are not safe work on fire safety forever infinite for rest of life you say no, that's unreasonable, I have other priorities, but I'll do some of it, apparently without your help 'cause you're being a dick; get back to me if you have something to contribute.
    If the fear says: okay, okay, but I'm still fucking scared you say yeah, that's fair, sorry about that buddy, wanna do something constructive about it? And check the batteries in your smoke detector, and do some self-care, and go back to living your life
    If the fear doesn't even fucking notice and keeps screaming your house will burn down! danger! danger! you say, hm, okay, you're terrified that my house will burn down but you won't even let me look around to make sure that I've got a place to put my menorah that doesn't have paper nearby? interesting. it's almost like you're engaging in bad faith and will only move the goalposts until I'm miserable again. well, I'll check that anyway, because it's a good idea, but also, I don't trust you and I'm not gonna trust you until you get back in line and give me something to work with.

    (I like to think of my fears as online messages from people I don't know. Some of them need help, or are sincerely trying to help me. Some are assholes, scammers, and trolls. Most won't be relevant in a couple days.)

    Is that any clearer? Is there anything else I can explain? I'm more used to doing this than talking about it; I might still be making leaps in logic that are nonsensical to anyone who isn't me.
  7. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    there's also this essay (cw suicidality mentioned, abuse and violent intrusive thoughts discussed), which ironically enough uses house fires as an example to discuss the issue of addressing risk while managing anxiety -- I'm not sure how well it'll apply to your situation (it, uh, makes a lot of assumptions about who would be reading it and why) but idk, seems potentially useful
  8. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    brain still mush and havi g bad time rn but that essay is actually very helpful because it gets closer to what my intrusive thoughts actually are (fear of being an abuser of unspecified type) so thank you
  9. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    I don't wanna be forward but if you wanna pm me about the bad time you can?

    and I'm glad it was useful for you! hopefully your brain will solidify again soon so you can do stuff
  10. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    i appreciate the offer! im fine now, it was just a mini spiral. (i like to call it my quarterly mental breakdown)

    but okay uhmmm... your example makes sense, its more on me that im being secretive of the thought and cant find a good alternative. heres a better alternative..

    i'm scared that i'm gonna... hit a dog. i do not want to hit a dog. i love dogs. dogs sometimes annoy me with their barking, but i love dogs. they're cute. but im so scared that im gonna hit a dog that it crops up every time im near a dog, and i get so distraught that i have to leave the situation as quickly as possible. i know that, physically, stopping myself from hitting a dog is easy, but i feel guilt that i even think about hitting a dog. im scared that makes me a dog abuser. im scared people can somehow know that i think about hitting dogs and that makes me no better than someone who hits dogs. i dont want to have to just avoid dogs, i still love them and want to pet them, but im scared that how good i end up treating dogs is tainted because i cant help but think about hitting them.

    ...yeah, sure. that works.
  11. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    i know, logically, that my intrusive thought(s) do not reflect my actual morals or what kind of person i am, but i cannot connect the logic with my emotions. i feel guilty. i feel guilty for having them. i feel guilt when the dog dies in a movie, as if i somehow contributed to that, and that im responsible for the emotional blow that deals to other people when the dog dies, because i think sometimes about hitting dogs and therefore dogs are hurt in movies and its my fault because my thoughts somehow contribute to that
    • Witnessed x 1
  12. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    Okay, reworking the doable-precautions to be about hitting dogs. What's the fear aiming at?

    Let's say you're right. This is somewhat different from if it was something fundamentally outside your control -- hitting is a pretty deliberate action, and "just don't do that then" is the usual response -- but let's say that, given the opportunity, there is a chance you will find some reason your present self is not capable of understanding to hit the dog. (Which is theoretically true although seriously unlikely; mental illness in general simply does not work like that, and statistically OCD has the reverse effect.) What can you do?

    Well, if you think it's warranted, you can set up a fallback. This is for when you're under unbearable strain, and there's nothing you can do to manage the fear, and you know you'll want to have arranged restraints ahead of time: someone who will actually, materially prevent you from hurting yourself or others, if it comes down to it. Activating the fallback is an extreme measure, for a case where you genuinely can't tolerate the situation, and even setting it up may not be necessary; I only mention it because for a long time my fallback was suicide, and that's no way to live a life. (A less drastic version is, if being around dogs is too stressful, you can arrange to avoid them -- long term that is probably not the best idea, but it does let you tell your brain "what fucking dog?" when it starts shit.)

    Research. Learn about animal abuse. Learn why people do it, and what circumstances make it more likely. Try to figure out why you would do it, what circumstances might induce you to do it, and avoid those circumstances. Watch videos of people playing with their dogs and see how abuse is not inevitable and respect and mutual benefit is an achievable goal. Arrange to be near dogs and examine your impulses: what do you do? what do you feel yourself starting to do? what do you think of doing and immediately reject? Also examine your actual behavior, and see if you do anything you consider wrong (not just that specific thing), and if so why you think you did it.

    And... trust yourself. You have data on how you act around dogs. You can get more data if you want it. I highly doubt that you have a pattern of mistreating them. You have, as expressed in these posts, the inclination to be kind, respectful, and beneficent. Trust that you'll make the right choices. You might make mistakes, sure, but you have a pretty good track record of not attacking people, right? That'll transfer. Your reactions to, and analysis of, your thoughts, the conclusions you draw and the sentiments you hold, are your self -- the thoughts themselves are mere phenomena.

    Oh, and a comparison point: I just hit a pillow and pretended it was a dog. I felt bad about it. But I also thought... yeah, wow, my hand is not gonna make that motion around a dog, it's not gonna happen. So that might help you? And the original purpose of that experiment was to say: do you think that makes me an animal abuser? I didn't choose to hit a dog, or try to hit a dog, and no dog was in fact hit. Just thoughts and symbols and actions that affected only myself. You can't be an animal abuser from just thinking about animal abuse; that's not how it works. (Admittedly I am now responsible for showing you something that could be described as a depiction of animal abuse -- but not in order to hurt you, or in order to hurt any entity; and hopefully I didn't.)

    When the dog dies in a movie and that deals an emotional blow to people, that's the responsibility of the creators of the movie and the demand they're serving. Frankly, most of the audience of a movie where the dog dies probably like. Wants that? The same way people who watch horror want to see dismemberment -- it's not a bad thing that the genre exists, and the audience that pays to see these movies is responsible for their existence. As a sudden twist in a movie where that's not the point, it could be criticized for misleading marketing, but while it's maybe sort of understandable to claim that your thoughts about dogs being abused are connected to dogs dying in movies (though still totally incorrect and actually impossible!), I don't think you've done a whole lot of thinking about misleading marketing. And even then the issue would be if you encouraged it, not if you just happened to think about it while the movie producers were also thinking about and doing it.

    Power and autonomy both play a role: you don't have the power to make these movies, and what you do with your autonomy isn't that. Unless, like, you have a sock that posts unspoilered animal death in random threads here. Then you'd be actually doing the misleading marketing thing, albeit on a small scale. But you aren't. You're just having thoughts. The idea that your thoughts have direct consequences in the world, without any influence from your reasoning, emotions, conclusions, or indeed actions, is straight-up magical thinking. Your thoughts can't act on anyone, and therefore can't hurt anyone. You can't hit a dog by thinking hit thoughts at it any more than you can pet a dog by thinking pet thoughts at it. At a certain point you just gotta look at your actions and go "yeah, good enough."
  13. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    My current fallback or... as I described it to my therapist, my default response, is suicide. I know it's bad and I'm working on it but alas what can you do in the meantime...

    I definitely wouldn't consider you an animal abuser for that experiment, no. And don't worry, you didn't hurt me with that. This is all just a huge metaphor for my actual thoughts anyhow, dogs were just the best placeholder I could come up with.

    But what if I did? What if I do? What if I am a script writer and I write scripts where the dog dies? I have thoughts about hitting dogs, so clearly having something bad happening to a fictional dog in a fictional setting, for whatever reasons I choose to do that, makes me bad, right? It makes me an animal abuser? Or worse yet, since something bad happens to the fictional dog, and that makes people cry sometimes, I'm hurting people. Even if I tell them the dog dies ahead of time, or make it obvious otherwise that the dog dies, people are still hurt by that! People can hurt other people with it! Doesn't that make me bad and irredeemable?
  14. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    That's my biggest problem with the thoughts... they distress me personally, yes, but any outlet I have for them has potential to hurt or distress another person, and I don't want to do that. I don't want to hurt people. I don't want people to be hurt because of what I say or do as I work through and attempt to relieve the thoughts by taking control of them. I don't want people to be hurt because of me!
  15. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    So would you rather die, or would you rather check yourself in to a psych ward? Because -- I think either would be effective for your purposes, and I would encourage you to consider the latter.

    Some basic tips for preparing to go in: write the phone number of your most trusted friend or family member on your arm, don't carry anything you can't afford to lose, do as you're told once you're inside unless it would hurt you, do not speak to cops without a lawyer, and do not automatically take medications offered to you by staff. The rest, I think, depends more on the specific institution, so I'd hesitate to offer advice, but feel free to PM me for anecdotes.

    Also, re: the thread title: if you have a suicide pact as a result of your OCD, I'm pretty sure it's not minor.

    You presumably know whether you're a script writer. If you are, sure, you're responsible for having written the scripts you wrote. Other people's scripts are still not your responsibility. I maintain that I can make an educated guess that you've never written the script for a published movie where a dog dies.

    But like. Say you did. Or, say you write and publish on a small scale a story about that, because that you do have the power to do. You would, yes, have to think about it in order to write it. Let's say your reason is because you were reading a set of angst prompts and you were struck by inspiration. You think the story, then write it down and publish it. Other people read it.

    You have not abused any animals, so you're not an animal abuser. As for people... you aren't making them read it. You're giving them the option of reading it. Acting upon others with their consent is fundamentally different from attacking them. I would argue it's less like making someone cry and more like helping people make themselves cry.

    Any story is going to touch different people in different ways. Some will dislike it, or be distressed by it. Others will love it as escapism or drama. Still others will find that it forms part of a framework for understanding themselves and their experiences, and helps them feel understood. If someone does read the piece to an actual nonconsenting listener, you didn't violate that person; the reader did. If someone crosses their own boundaries to read it, well... that's sad, and it'd be nice to be able to prevent that. But boundary-respecting people as a group (not you specifically) have got to write controversial fiction, or the only people providing that fiction to demand (and there is demand!) will be abusers. More thoughts on that dynamic here -- the example given is the rape-centric fanfiction genre noncon, and molestation is mentioned in the comments (which are, at the time of this writing, eminently non-terrible).

    So -- what have you done? You've made a tool. You've let people use it. Some people have used it to hurt themselves. Some people have had accidents with it and gotten hurt. Possibly someone has used it while attacking someone else. Most of the audience just used it once and didn't really care much one way or the other, but many had fun or otherwise rewarding experiences. You certainly have not attacked anyone with it, and you made an effort to properly label it so accidents can be minimized. You did nothing whatsoever wrong.

    ouch, mood

    The thing is... that's only if you think of an outlet as something that transfers the thoughts to other people, where the thoughts can then hurt those other people the way they've hurt you. That's not true. An outlet can be a way of taking those thoughts, rendering them inert, and distributing them as warnings, as tools, as introductions to difficult conversations, as scary stories to tell in the dark.

    If you don't object to readers having one cake (and I assume you do not otherwise advocate for censorship), why would you object to the idea of them having two? Who knows, maybe your story about pet death is the only one someone can find that, say, makes them feel understood about the grief from their friend dying, while not being so close to their experience as to bring up the helpless anger.

    The publication of a piece of art typically is good for people, on the whole? It's going to speak to someone, help someone find words for an experience they had, give someone courage, make someone's day. That's why books being published is celebrated, and books being destroyed or lost is mourned. The assumption that this isn't true when it comes to certain types of art is... idk, it comes up every now and again, but I never really saw the argument. Any art made by humans will touch on the human experience. What people buy, what people link to and recommend to each other -- what floats to the top -- is clearly doing so in a way that many people find useful.

    I guess like -- you'd need a really strong argument to convince me that any art does more harm than good. My experience has been that art generally finds its way into the right hands, and while mistakes along the way can cause harm, it's typically indirectly as by misjudging aim with a tool, not directly by malicious attack. Also, art is inert -- even art that's intended to be malicious can be rendered harmless or even helpful just by people saying "and here's an example of what NOT to do." Of course, you don't want your work to be in that category, but my point is that there aren't any undiscussable concepts, just biased or otherwise misleading presentations of concepts.
    • Agree x 1
  16. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    I'll reply to the rest in a bit, but please please please please never suggest institutionalization to me as a potential solution. It's been used as a tool to threaten and silence me in the past and I've had one too many "wellness checks" on me to ever, EVER trust the system. I'm not at tremendous risk of harming myself to the point where I'd need to be under supervision. I consider the option but I've never made a concrete plan that I could act upon. I'm fine, trust me, and I cannot afford to do anything that'd jeapordize my ability to go to class.
  17. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    I retract my suggestion, and want to confirm that I'm not gonna try to call a "wellness check" on you -- I have no reason to think nonconsensual institutionalization would be warranted.
    • Like x 1
  18. Maya

    Maya smug_anime_girl.jpg

    thank you ;; I apologize if that sounded snappish I just react very badly to any suggestion of that bcus my mom and a shitty ex friend kept threatening it (and my mom frequently acts on the threat and calls the cops on me when I openly disagree with her) whenever I'd be even slightly bad and I just... no. nope no no nada.
  19. bushwah

    bushwah a known rule consequentialist

    yeah, I figured it was something. I maintain that restraints could be an option worth looking into, but having their nature and duration determined by policy as executed by psych ward staff is... obviously not ideal.

    the advantage is that institutionalization is quite accessible -- basically anyone can get in, and most people can get out again.

    I mean "worth looking into" as "a thing to prepare to try, in the case that things get untenable," btw, not "this is a good way to deal with your current issues." and by restraints I don't mean being tied up, I mean things like arranging to be accompanied by friends, or having an agreement to check in with someone before and/or after making certain decisions -- some external measure, taken on by your autonomous choice, to make it more difficult for you to impulsively or accidentally do the thing you're scared you'll do.

    your mom sounds terrifying and her behavior is a compelling argument against suspending your legal rights, on top of the obvious fact of your nonconsent.

    I'm sorry for scaring you.
  20. jacktrash

    jacktrash spherical sockbox

    if you're afraid of involuntarily doing a bad thing, that means you don't want to do the thing, and want to make sure you don't do it. that's the OPPOSITE of being an animal abuser.
    • Agree x 2
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