I constantly have to combat unwanted thoughts. It comes with the territory if you have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). I struggle day-in and day-out, monitoring my thoughts and deciding how to respond to them.
Two areas that my mind and emotions like to worry over are my personal performance in life and how I keep our home. On any given day, my mind can take me all over the place with all kinds of worries and obsessive thoughts, but these are two areas that my mind currently seizes on the most.
To be more specific, I worry over my personal performance because I have a very hard time accepting and loving myself just as I am. I plan and re-plan my day often. I judge how I care for our son. I second guess many of my decisions. My worries about how I keep our home stem from my worry over my personal performance. I worry if I keep our home clean enough, if I decorate enough, if I straighten enough.
I’d like to share some advice, as someone who has a mind that wants to worry a lot, regarding how to get your mind “unstuck” when you find yourself worrying about something incessantly.
First, one way that I sometimes combat worry is to pray about the issue and to tell the Lord, “It doesn’t make sense to me at all why I shouldn’t worry about this issue, but I’m not going to think about it anymore.” A few years ago, this tactic brought me out of a very dark place to which OCD had taken me. I was so worried about something, so fearful, so extremely distraught that I could barely function, that the only thing I knew to do was to determine my course and to stick with it. My course was to wrestle my impaired mind to the ground and make it not think about the specific source of my extreme anxiety.
Second, another way that I win the battle with my mind is to decide what I’m going to believe about the situation I find myself worrying about, and to go that direction. This is similar to the first tactic. However, with this tactic, I don’t just not think on my fear, I determine a new direction to take my mind and I live in that space. For instance, since I worry a lot about how our home looks, I have decided to view my home as it is: an older home with previous experience. This helps me to remember that our house won’t look like a friend’s brand new house and that’s ok. Realizing this reality helps me to lighten up a bit on myself. I also try to realize that personality types and season of life (toddle season at this house) also come into play regarding how a person keeps his/her home. So no more comparing myself to others.
Third, sometimes to get past worrying about something you have to just plain do something about the situation. Sometimes I worry about a specific individual in my life who doesn’t quite have all that he needs. For this person’s birthday, I and some other people in his life are going to get him some basic necessities to help him out. I know that I cannot change this person or his circumstances, but I can do a little to show him love. However, after we love on him this month, we must leave him and his circumstances in the Lord’s hands and know that we can only do so much.
These are some simple tactics that I use to move past my anxieties and fears. I know that anxieties and fears can range from minor to major, and, believe me, I deal with both. I hope that these tips will help someone the way that they have helped me.