OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder/losing hope...

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Question
i know i shouldn't think about suicide, and i don't know why i want to die sometimes. i have it better than most people i guess... but what can i do? my life is so miserable with the ocd... wouldn't ending it be so easier? i think i was just born weak

sorry...you don't have to answer it

Answer
Hi Fi

I want to say that you're probably a lot stronger than you realize. Once upon a time, I felt pretty helpless with my condition to the point that I too wanted to just give up completely. If I had given up in this way, I would have missed out on the wealth of experiences and growth I've encountered in the past ten years.

It's probably not that you really want to die, but rather, that you want a life worth living. Most of us want that. We all deserve that. OCD can give you the sense that you'll never have a life worth living; that it will be one constant battle, and that's all it will ever be.

But it doesn't have to be that way at all.

I'd like to remind you that OCD is thoroughly treatable. Our understanding of OCD over the past few decades has grown exponentially. And research shows that people who have struggled intensely with OCD, have and do,   get better.

You might doubt this. But part of growing, is realizing that improvement is possible. Part of growing is enjoying your ability to choose recovery, even if it's difficult and challenging. Choosing recovery is not about forcing your symptoms away, but rather, doing what is necessary in your treatment - knowing that with some sacrifice you can gain greater freedom and happiness.

What are some treatments available?

*Medication
SSRI's like Paxil and Zoloft are designed to increase the Seretonin levels in your brain. This has been linked in the research to diminishing OCD symptoms, and anxiety. TCA's like Anafranil have also been known to be used and be effective for obsessions and compulsions. Please see a doctor or qualified clinician about medication. Medication can help boost your treatment in other areas.

*Behavioural Therapy
This form of therapy is known for its superb effectiveness in OCD. It focuses on how you respond to your obsessions. Sometimes it will get you to face your obsessive fears without doing compulsive action. This is also known as exposure, and ERP - Exposure & Response Prevention. Behaviour therapy will retrain you and your brain to respond differently to your thoughts and doubts - leading to far less symptoms, and giving you much greater power over your OCD in the long run.

*Acceptance psychology & Mindfulness
Mindfulness approaches can be very useful in OCD. Acceptance and mindfulness teaches you the skills you will need to treat your thoughts far more impartially, without needing to get into long anxiety-provoking fights with them. Being more comfortable just having them come and go. It teaches you to put a "buffer zone" between your thoughts and unpleasant feelings, with the power to just observe them, and refocus your attention.

*Cognitive Therapy
Cognitive therapy can also greatly help OCD patients. It can be used to alter your dysfunctional beliefs or attitudes you may have; appraisals of obsessive thoughts and their perceived consequences - and best used in conjunction with behaviour therapy, like ERP.

The great thing is that many of these therapies have shown the ability to make changes in your brain, leading to far less symptoms, like repetitive thoughts, behaviours, and anxiety.

If you still have thoughts about suicide, please talk to a mental health professional or crisis support counsellor. Additionally, if you haven't already - please give your doctor/therapist a visit and just talk to them about your OCD and other concerns you have. They're trained to be helpful and non-judgemental. They can help give you an effective, clear treatment plan to follow, on your path to recovery. If you've been in treatment before, they can make sure to improve your therapy and give you some new goals. Please remember that you're not alone in your struggles. And things do get better.

OCD - Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

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Alan Baker

Expertise

I can answer questions relating to OCD, such as:

*Washing
*Checking
*Order & Symmetry
*Contamination
*Health
*Harm
*Sexuality/sexual
*Gender Identity
*Magical thinking/superstitions

Please note: I can not give you a diagnosis or give you medical advice. I also do not offer therapy or counselling. I advise you to see a doctor or mental-health professional for appropriate treatment of OCD.

Experience

I've been a research associate in clinical psychology, written numerous essays on OCD diagnosis & treatment, and been quite active in the local OCD community (as we do group-therapy and workshops). I also consider myself an ex-sufferer of OCD.

Education/Credentials
B.A Science
PGDip Applied Psychology
Social Work

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