Monday, August 17, 2015
Day 23: OCD/Dermatillomania - How to Discharge the Built Up Tension
I recently made a video regardingthis process I am walking with OCD and dermatillomania. In it I talked about how it feels to stop this disorder, because I have had now many periods of time where I not only stopped acting out the compulsions, but also stopped for moments, the internal experience of the disorder. It’s interesting, because in the past when I have thought of OCD and dermatillomania, I have mostly thought about the part of it that I could see, which is the actions and behaviours, like picking my skin for example, which is the most obvious and apparent symptom in my case. What I have come to realize over time is that, these could actually be only the symptoms (and thus, the tip of the iceberg), of what is really going on inside of self.
As I took measures to stop picking my skin, what I noticed (and continue to notice) is that there is a very prevalent and over-powering internal experience that exists and takes place within self. This experience is often suppressed and avoided and is thus given the opportunity to grow, build and accumulate within self, wherein one actually loses control and is in fact overpowered by the need/desire to act out the compulsions.
I have developed and thought up many tricks and tips and coping mechanisms to deal with , avoid and navigate through obsessive compulsions (the actions/acting out), but have only recently had the courage, strength and self-will to face what was going on inside of me. What I have found is that I generally exist within varying degrees of anxiety. If I wake up in the morning anxiety-free, I can see the triggers happen and I can notice the anxiety kick in and start building.
I can notice and observe all of this because of the self-awareness and internal slowing down I have developed through walking the Desteni Process. I can notice and observe myself feeling ‘normal’, light, and ‘in control’ when I wake up. But after the first couple of triggers, I feel a sort of ‘dirtiness’, along with an anxious kind of ‘rushed’ feeling as I am getting ready for work or for my day. As the day progresses, like clockwork and this seemingly never-ending pattern that I have created over time, I will be triggered over and over. But instead of smoothly processing little moments of worry, impatience, stress, fear etc… these moments remain inside of me and build up in pockets, as if I were full of bubbles or internal pimples that I am afraid to touch, go near, or burst for fear of what putrid contents may be inside.
However, recently I have built myself up enough to be able to do just that. I go near the pockets, and I release them – without acting out a compulsion (which I have seen, does not release them in the same way as facing them AT ALL, but I will explain this later). What I do is look at my internal state, I see the anxiety, tightness, and all of the negative stuff that is going on. But instead of feeding all of this through going into the OCD mind of thinking, imagining, worrying and needlessly attaching the negative emotions to the thoughts thus blowing everything out of proportion – I instead stay present, remain physical and practice and use common sense.
So once I look at myself and look at whatever situation I am in and determine that there is no immediate threat, I then will go to bring myself into a state of relaxation. I do this through focusing on my breath, through consciously letting go of what I had been holding onto, and I breathe and let go, breathe and let go – because it doesn’t make sense, I don’t have to be anxious. I speak common sense and I stay practical (what am I in the middle of doing, what are my next steps etc….).
Unfortunately, this does absolutely NOT bring peace at all, which I surprisingly found out through persistently trying to experience myself as relaxed. What happens is that the bubbles now have to burst, because they have nothing holding them in place and holding them together – there is nothing suppressing them – and they ‘burst’, which is really what it feels like.
What do the contents feel like? I have a hard time describing what explodes inside of me and washes over my body in these moments. Physically, I am taken aback. My muscles react in some minor spasms in the abs and groin area. I have started to even brace myself when I know I am going to be doing this, but that makes the physical reaction worse somehow in that it seems to linger longer when I am tense. I have to be physically relaxed and accept it all, embrace it almost, but it is very difficult. It comes in waves, it lasts a long time, and in the end, there always feels like there’s some left and it’s not completely gone.
If I could define the experience in words, it would be ‘horrible’, ‘incredibly uncomfortable’, ‘upsetting’, ‘scary’, and the energy itself would be a mix of anxiety, anger and irritability. So, what I have seen here is that I am able to ‘discharge’ the build-up that is a large component of the disorder, which is really amazing, and will assist and support with stopping the behaviours as well. Unfortunately, this is not a complete solution, because as I’ve said, the buildup starts in the morning, and continues throughout the day, therefore, that ‘discharges’ have to happen all day long. They are extremely unpleasant, and they are more difficult to do while focusing at work, although with practice I have improved.
I will discuss and start walking my plan to prevent the build-ups I the first place, starting with my next blog.