I know how to beat OCD

We all know someone who describes themselves as “a little OCD” they are meaning that they might like things to be neat, tidy, and organised in a specific way. That is not OCD, that is just liking things to be a certain way. I used to describe the anxiety and fear I would get from my OCD as the sheer
fear I would get from the OCD was debilitating! This was not a little OCD!

OCD which I like to refer to as the monster that can be life-limiting, causing depression, anxiety, self-harming and in some cases suicide. The monster does not only affect the sufferer and their lives but it will also impact the lives of their loved ones. To overcome OCD you must learn to sit with the anxiety it causes without giving in to the compulsion to make the monster less powerful. This is not an easy thing to do but it is possible, believe me, I know!

Many moons ago, I had therapy for my OCD and my therapist said “Anxiety will not kill you”. My response to that was “Really?? it feels like it will!” I used to describe the feeling as what I would imagine it to feel like if someone was holding a gun to your head! I had to learn how not to give in to the anxiety and carry out the compulsion the monster was telling me to to make it all ok.

When anxiety kicks in you are no longer able to be rational and make rational decisions. After the anxiety subsides your choice will be different.
Let me give you an example from one of my therapy sessions (based in Hertfordshire):

To give you a bit of background one of my fears was contamination of many different kinds, for this example, I will use salmonella food poisoning. At this stage in my life, I didn’t cook as I was so worried, I would accidentally give someone food poisoning. Raw chicken was a big no-no for me as I
believed I would get salmonella and my entire kitchen would be contaminated!

So there I was in my kitchen in Hertfordshire and my therapist told me that I was going to cook a whole chicken, up pops anxiety and now of course my entire kitchen and myself will be covered in raw salmonella-contaminated chicken! My therapist got me to hold the chicken, put it on a baking tray and put it in the oven. When I had done that I was allowed to wash my hands just once ( normally I would do this 5 times at least) my anxiety was through the roof and I wanted to wash more and bleach the kitchen within an inch of its life! But we went for a walk and gradually the anxiety subsided. When I got home I was able to rationally not obsessively wipe down the surfaces.

Now that one task didn’t instantly cure me this was something that had to be practised and I had to
question myself with things like:

What would happen if I didn’t wash my hands 5 times?
What evidence have I got, am I that powerful that I can cause things to happen?
Am I acting rationally?

I learnt lots of distraction techniques while I sat with the anxiety so I could react rationally. The NLP communication model is a great way to understand that we can choose how we decide to think about things, feel about things and what our reaction will be that takes us to the end result. Having first-hand experienced with how cruel and life-limiting having OCD and how it can create other problems is what primarily led me to my career as an NLP Practitioner and NLP4Kids Child Therapist in Hertfordshire.


By Layla Hearn
NLP4Kids Practitioner

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