Relapse Prevention Tips: The Right Attitude
When you are in the middle of suffering from OCD, all of your attention is upon overcoming OCD, that future time when everything will be okay forever. But it won’t be that way. Life will be wonderful, but real life is also full of ups and downs. After a honeymoon period of having freedom, your next task will be living – finding out how to fill all of that time that used to be devoted to OCD, whether that time way eaten by behavioral or mental rituals. If you have OCD, you have a wonderfully creative mind and if you don’t use it, OCD will.
And then there is slipping. It turns out that for any behavior a person has to work on changing , slips will occur. Your OCD was like a garden full of weeds. You’ve gone through treatment and worked incredibly hard cleaning out the weeds and planting what you want – your garden is beautiful, but weeds will grow. You have to decide how much effort you want to put into keeping it beautiful, because you can let it get overgrown with weeds again. The good news is that no matter how much you slip, no matter how weedy your garden becomes, you can always come back, but the more you slip the more work you will have. In future posts I will discuss some of the relapse prevention that is in my book. The main focus of this post is a friend of mine, Shala Nicely who is an OCD Therapist; that is, she is a wonderful therapist who treats OCD and she has OCD. She attended the 2014 International OCD Foundation Conference in LA and attended my “virtual camping” trip. Shala’s OCD is never going to take control of her again, but she will slip. Slipping is normal and your relapse prevention work is to make slips less frequent and to keep them small. A major part of the work is learning to have the right attitude. If you expect to have slips and expect to have to battle them, you will be ready. If you expect to never have a slip, OCD will blindside you and you will fall. Click on this link for Shala’s 2014 IOCDF experience to see the fighting attitude you want to learn to adopt to maintain treatment gains. Shala, I can’t thank you enough for sharing your courage and wisdom.