You may be someone who has been struggling with OCD for some time. It’s not uncommon for many of the clients I see to have had symptoms for years, if not decades.
Over this time, it can feel that people’s own ‘inner voice’ has been drowned out by the voice of OCD, the dictator within who is always quick to point out what will go wrong with yourself or others if you don’t perform the bizarre ritual that it is urging you to do!
However, it’s important to remember that your own inner voice hasn’t gone away!
Even if it is only gently whispering, we need to learn to listen to this voice again. The part of you which ‘knows’ that you don’t have to, or don’t want to do a compulsion which is only making the problem stronger; only making you feel less in control and more of a victim to OCDs commands!
That’s one unique aspect of OCD compared to other mental health conditions such as Schizophrenia or Psychosis; we never lose our ability to logically see that what we are doing is bizarre and non sensical!
So what can we do?
A huge part of my recovery journey involved; turning down the volume of OCDs commands and tuning in more intently to my own inner voice! That part of me that said;
“Paul you know you don’t need to wash your hands again. You can see that your hands are clean” or
“You don’t have to say that phrase a certain way until you ‘feel right’. Its fine the way you said it.”
As you begin to listen to your own authentic voice again, OCD will really throw its toys out of the pram! It will scream and shout that all these catastrophic consequences will happen to yourself or others! You will feel anxious, you may think; “I can’t tolerate this, it’s easier to just do the compulsion”. Yes it is easier- in the short term! However, in the long-run you are only strengthening OCDs grip over you!
Over time, when you listen more to your inner voice and less to the voice of OCD, you will find yourself getting stronger, your belief in your ability to cope and manage without doing compulsive behaviours will improve and you will begin to see light at the end of the tunnel!
Recovery from OCD takes time and effort. However there is nothing more important than getting your life back and living it on your own terms as opposed to living like a puppet on a string to every command from the dictator within.
Paul Mc Carroll
OCD & Anxiety Specialist