Many times when our OCD triggers show up we instinctively say, “Ugh! Why is this happening to me?! Go away!” Unfortunately, that reaction shows OCD that we’re still scared of its content, and that it’s still in control.
With practice, you can learn to transform your triggers into opportunities where you can win. For instance, in the video below filmed for the #FaceYourFear campaign sponsored by the IOCDF for OCD Awareness Week in 2019, watch at the one minute mark how I transform my phobia’s reaction to being so high up into an opportunity to practice embracing anxiety and uncertainty.
Here’s an annotated version of the strategy behind my self-talk: “That totally [my phobia wanted me to say that being this high freaked me out, but I stopped myself]….that’s [I’m quickly working on transforming my attitude]—oooo, I love that! That’s awesome! That freaks my phobia out [I’m attributing being scared of this particular content, a fear of heights, to the phobia and not to me to help me separate myself from the disorder] … now I’m at a 10. This is really, really good. [I’ve transformed my relationship to the situation, and I’m now embracing everything that’s coming my way.] I’m really glad I get to see this moving thing because that makes me more anxious. [I’m reminding myself while I’m at a 10 that being anxious is what I want]. Because the longer I can stay at this high level of anxiety, the more my brain is going to learn this is fine, that I can handle the uncertainty around this… [I’m reminding myself why I want to do this, because it’s going to help me win].
For a story about how I started transforming my everyday life OCD triggers into opportunities to do ERP, see pages 181-182 in Fred. For Dr. Reid Wilson‘s expert guidance on welcoming triggers to win back your life, see pages 271 and 276 in Fred.
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FredTalks are not a replacement for therapy, and I encourage all readers who have OCD to find a competent ERP therapist. See the IOCDF treatment provider database for a provider near you. And never give up hope, because you can tame OCD and reclaim your life!