3 Signs That Showed I Was Getting Better From OCD

Advice for your recovery journey.

Escrito por Eric Laitman

3 Signs That Showed I Was Getting Better From OCD

01 Eric shares signs of progress when going through OCD treatment.

02 Symptoms like “too much” or “too little” anxiety may seem alarming, but he explains how they can be a normal part of recovery.

03 He also recommends getting involved in support groups, and advocacy.

You’re sitting in your house, having panic attack after panic attack, when finally, the anxiety begins to subside. You think, “How long will it take for me to fully get better? Why do I get anxious when I don’t have anxiety? When will this ever end?” 

It can be confusing to know when you’re getting better, so here are a few signs to look out for during recovery/treatment:

1. Your anxiety spikes hardcore.

Generally, when you start to work through issues and detox (resist compulsions), you’re facing withdrawal head on without anything to numb your feelings. In my opinion, an OCD detox is similar to what someone coming off drugs or alcohol would face. When you stop doing the compulsions, your brain starts to get angry, and the more real it makes your fears feel. While this may cause an increase in anxiety, remember that breaking the OCD cycle will require things feeling worse before they get better.

Remember that breaking the OCD cycle will require things feeling worse before they get better.

2. Small steps are still steps.

I remember a time when I decided to do an exposure at the beach. I had been running from myself all day, but I finally built up the courage to go to my happy place and face my fears head on. When I did the exposure, I was hit with panic attack after panic attack and felt very dissociated. As I was staring at the ocean, hopelessness rushed through me and I didn’t think I was ever going to feel okay again. However, as I was walking back to my car, I had a few seconds of relief — no fear, no pain, no thoughts or anxiety — which I will never forget. Small moments like these are the ones that should give you the hope that eventually, not every moment of your life will be affected by OCD.

3. Having anxiety about not having anxiety.

You think to yourself, “I’ve had this for years, and now that I don’t have panic attacks anymore, something must be wrong. Will it come back stronger? Is it right around the corner waiting for me?” This is known as the backdoor spike, or when you start feeling anxious when you don’t have anxiety in response to intrusive thoughts. This means you are heading into the next phase of recovery, which is maintaining your new super power of living mindfully with intrusive thoughts.

Eventually, not every moment of your life will be affected by OCD.

Maintaining good coping skills after you get over these issues is crucial, otherwise you will fall back into them. Support groups are also an amazing resource. Ones I’ve found helpful are OCD Anonymous, Refuge Recovery, and Facebook groups. OCD Anonymous is structured from Alcoholics Anonymous involving 12 steps, an OCDA handbook, personal shares, and listening to stories prerecorded from other chapters around the country. Refuge Recovery is centered around Buddhist meditation, and it features a 15 minute meditation session, personal shares and more meditation. This group is advertised for addicts, but anyone can join. There are many other groups out there, so seek and you shall find. 

Finally, try to help people, whether that’s in forums or real life, because surprisingly, this acts as a constant exposure to various unknown fears. It may be scary, but who better to help others than someone who’s been through it all, and prevailed?

You can reach me at [email protected] for help.

Series originales

Apoya nuestro trabajo

Nuestra misión es cambiar la manera en que el mundo percibe la salud mental.