In regards to combating my compulsions I have been told that not giving into them is the key to breaking the cycle. Easier said than done. Depending on how my anxiety is basically determines whether I can or cant do this.
If I am stressed and something is bothering me, like for example I feel the need to wash my hands, then I can probably count on one hand the times I have managed to ignore the compulsions. The idea of not obeying the compulsion just seems too much. Its not as pure as that though, I dont sit there and think “I must obey this compulsion that I am feeling at this particular moment in time” it dosent work like that. Its a feeling more than a thought. If I notice something I feel I need to act on then its the feeling of having the tight chest and butterflies in my stomach, I feel hot and flustered. Those feelings remain until I have acted upon the compulsion.
Now the above is how I feel if its what I call a “fair weather” compulsion. I mean in the sense I am not overly stressed but see or notice something that I feel I need to act on but something I feel I have a sense of control of, to a certain extent.
The times that are really bad is when something happens I feel I have no control over, like if I spilled my coffee at a time when I couldnt act on it, like if I was driving. Moments like that are the worse, its horrendous. I imagine the expression on my face in those moments is that of someone who has just been given a terminal diagnosis. I am not over exaggerating. The feeling is that of an overwhelming dread that consumes me down to my very core. Sounds heavy but its true.
I would say to anyone, and myself for that matter, that if you manage to remain mindful and ignore the compulsion, however minor you think it is, then well done. Dont dismiss it as a minor thing. its hard as hell and what people who dont have OCD will never understand (however empathetic) is how hard and how much of leap into the unknown it can be. Never mind completely exhausting.
Tonight I managed not to wipe my car steering wheel even though I was convinced on the drive home I needed to do it. Bit of a leap into the unknown for me. Low and behold the world didnt cave in. The feeling has now passed. Now ok tomorrow might not be the same and I may get stressed and cave in over something similar, but so what, I won tonight and ill take that.
Every leap I take into the unknown is frightening but whatever the unknown is, it cant be much worse than my current known. If that makes sense?