I’ll never forget the day I was diagnosed with this condition. For those who don’t know, Obsessive Compulsive Personality Disorder is a condition where one often preoccupies their mind with thoughts of rules, orderliness, and control. It comes at the expense of things such as focus, calm, and rest.
I was in my 2nd year of college and finally sought out therapy because I could not focus. My mind was running nonstop and I could feel my life slipping out of my control. My relationship, work, and school suffered. I questioned whether it was ADD, OCD, insomnia, or depression. Upon learning of my condition, the proverbial weight was lifted from my shoulders. The monster had a name.
But what next? I still suffer and lapse into moments of obsession and fail to enjoy the present moment so I like to think I’m a work in progress. I have learned methods to calm my obsessions (from a recent 2012 Belief Net article):
1. Identify the fear or doubt – often times, there is a deeper reason for the obsessive behavior. Try getting to the root and you’ll see it’s something minor not worth obsessing over.
2. File it away – physically imagine yourself filing away the particular issue. I’m a huge fan of visualization.
3. Write it out – hence my blog and/or personal journal
4. Laugh it off – it’s the best medicine
5. Snap out of it – I have a rubberband tied to my wrist to snap myself when I feel obsessive thoughts taking over. Pain can be quite the distraction.
6. Pull over – physically imagine yourself pulling the car over to regroup your thoughts. Breathe, damnit.
7. Learn from the mistake – there’s always a lesson to learn with each passing moment
8. Forgive yourself – we are far from perfect. Acccept that.
9. Imagine the worst – not my favorite exercise but worth trying when attempting to move past a certain obsessive emotion
10. Put your worry on hold – if you really can’t move past a particular obsession, perhaps the best idea is to move it aside and put it on hold for now
11. Dig deeper for the cause – similar to #1, digging deeper could in fact help you get to the root cause
12. Reel it in – obsessions can easily get out of control; recognize when it’s time to bring the emotion back in
13. Interrupt yourself – like Biden in a Vice Presidential debate, interrupt your self and be aware of when things get out of hand
14. Stay in the present – by far, the hardest lesson I’ve learned. We only have this very moment. Enjoy it while it’s here and don’t spend it thinking about the future or past.
15. Give in – For just 90 seconds, embrace the emotion so then you are more prepared to move past it
16. Love more – practice compassion and giving
I have to constantly remind myself of these principles to move past my obsessions. It’s a task some days but in the end, its helping and I recommend adopting at least if not all of these. Hope this helped someone.