Seeking support is extremely important when struggling with mental health problems. It can be very hard to speak up and ask for help because it can feel like there is a lot of shame and stigma attached to it.
Although asking for support for OCD may be something that seems very scary but speaking up can bring so many benefits to your life. In this blog, Karin Young Counselling brings awareness to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy as a coping strategy for OCD
* Individuals struggling with OCD typically believe:
* Intrusive thoughts are important and signal a threat
* We have a responsibility to deal with these threats
* If they don't act on the threat, something bad will happen
* Short term relief is proof that I need to keep doing this
These beliefs are usually mistaken. Far from being rare, the majority of the population experience intrusive thoughts. However, most people do not place much importance on them.
When we do place grant such thoughts attention, they make us feel uncomfortable and often compel us to take action to alleviate the feelings. For example, someone feels their hands are contaminated so engage in washing them until they feel better.
As thoughts popping into our heads is common and often useful (for example, remembering birthdays or being creative), the goal is not to eliminate them but productively deal with them.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a therapy that focuses on helping you challenge and change these unhelpful thoughts, and develop coping strategies. This process is not easy or instant; for many, it requires a lot of hard work and patience. Whilst the most popular therapy, it is important to note that there are other therapies and options too which are effective in combating OCD.
Therapists would be able to show ways to combat thoughts and tools to cope. These coping strategies are personal and different for everyone because we are all unique. It’s about finding what works best for you.
It’s ok to speak out - speaking about problems can help a lot
Therapy can help you to communicate any anxiety feelings. Keeping negative emotions and thoughts inside can be very stressful. Sometimes just letting them out and speaking about them can have a positive effect.
Asking for help or accepting help is nothing to be embarrassed or guilty about. Getting help does not show that you are weak. In fact, it shows how brave you are for speaking up about challenging things.
At first, it can be difficult to feel judged because mental health is not something that is easily understood. But, judging is never something that therapists or counsellors do.
If you are worried or feeling embarrassed or ashamed, remember: seeking help is something to be proud of!
So, you have OCD or think you might have OCD, where do you go from here?
Be compassionate with yourself if you’re experiencing OCD symptoms. Do what you can to keep your compulsions in check without trying to be perfect.
Recognise that if you’re anxious about OCD, that’s normal and you’re not alone. If you are struggling in any with OCD or any other type of mental health challenges, there are CBT services available to help.
Remember that therapists and counsellors are there to listen and support you. We see a lot of people who go through similar situations and no matter how hard your situation is, we can be there to support you with OCD.
Here is a list of services for OCD support:
Royal College of Psychiatrists
Professional body for psychiatrists. Includes information about mental health problems and treatments.