Will This Even Matter In 10 Years? The Thought Process Every Person with OCD Needs To Have
OCD has a habit of forcing us to ruminate over the past and obsess over the future, in fact, you could switch those words around and it would still be true. Distracting us from truly living. Your OCD may threaten you with fears of contamination, worries of harm, obsessive concerns of paedophilia or anxieties around religion, to name only a handful. You have had this your whole life (insert your own timeframe). Ask yourself this. How many times has the OCD bully been right? I would put money on less than 1% and in a lot of cases, NEVER. In hindsight I can’t remember one obsession I had that ever came true. But yet I still wasted so much time trying to calm OCD down by answering it, checking and doing compulsions, to stop the seemingly inevitable catastrophes.
One of the best pieces of advice I can give is that whenever I get very anxious or worried, I just think "in 5 years I'll look back at this moment and laugh at myself. I'll wonder why I was ever worried" because 99.99999% of our fears never come true, and if they do, we deal with them. How do I know this? Because you are still in the game. You’ve survived this long, there is a great chance you will continue to do so.
Try it. Next time you find yourself obsessing over something or you are fearing an end of the world situation. Pause for a second, and realise that in 1, 5 or 10 years from now this fear won’t matter. Because you know from experience they rarely or never come true. Try to channel your future calm self into the present moment.
This has worked exceptionally well for me in the past and continues to work well to this day. There was this one time I was having an anxiety provoking conversation with my girlfriend. I knew we were going to have a conversation that would usually spark obsessions around me not being good enough, the relationship not being right etc. So I braced myself. This was in fact the first time I applied this idea. As we were having the conversation, I felt anxious. I reminded myself that in 10 years none of this will matter. That everything I am fearing in this moment will have figured itself out, and I will probably find this moment funny. The Buddha *said ““When you realize how perfect everything is, you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” That quote rang so true in that moment. I felt this wash of relief come over. The kind of calm that comes from realising that all my pain was a projection of the future, an illusion. I have never felt more connected to the present than in that moment. I started laughing, much to the dismay of my girlfriend. I was so happy in what should have been a vulnerable, anxious time.
This tactic has never produced the same powerful results as that day, but it does help curb my anxiety, which in turn curbs OCD.
Next time you start ruminating over the future remind yourself to relax and enjoy the now, and know whatever happens you will survive, because guess what – you’re still here!
To your success,
*It may be a fake Buddha quote apparently. Either way I like it!