You Can Resist Rituals [Fight The Bully, Don’t Feed The Bully]

Last night, possibly for the first time, I wanted to look at a picture and check my feelings as a compulsion. The urge was so strong, but I resisted. It is possible to resist compulsions. It’s incredibly hard, but possible. 

It feels like you’re putting a lot on the line, but in reality you’re not. I think the logical side of you knows that. And in five minutes, or fifteen minutes, or an hour, when your anxiety has gone and you’ve forgotten what started it in the first place, you will see that it’s true. 

In the moment, anxiety makes us feel like our thoughts are a threat. Like they must come true, because we thought them. However, that is only the result of our faulty brains. Making up meanings for thoughts that have no meaning.

In reality, thoughts are just thoughts. Everyone has them and they are harmless, to everyone. 

My therapist and I have been working on exposing myself to the root of my fear. That I might be attracted to someone taboo. This means, instead of writing out my intrusive thoughts objectively, I write out the meaning I (falsely) apply to them. 

I think that may be why this urge to ritualize was so strong.

But I’ve heard stories of people who have this compulsion. One minute of checking turns to two, then five, then ten. One photo brings feelings that are too conflicting, so add another, and another. Then it’s more than just the person you started with, it’s anyone who meets the qualifications set by OCD. 

But that is true of all compulsions, isn’t it? 

I wasn’t going to jump down that rabbit hole. I know where it ends. 

That’s why when I get a new compulsion I try my absolute hardest to resist. No matter how strong the urge is. One compulsion always turns into two. And like drug tolerance, we become tolerant to the compulsion. So we have to do more and increasingly intrusive rituals.

When you look at it that way, it’s much easier to not ritualize in the first place. 

Don’t look at rituals as momentary relief, look at them as giving OCD the foothold it needs to control you. That’s all it really is.

It is terrifying to resist compulsions, especially for the first time. However, it is necessary to recover from OCD.

Fight the bully, don’t feed the bully.

Bonus round: 

I like to think of OCD as the alien from Doctor Who that lives in electronics. If you don’t watch Doctor Who, you will have no idea what I’m talking about, but bare with me. If you do watch Doctor Who, I haven’t seen this episode in a while so I might be a bit off on the lore. Bare with me. Disclaimers aside, the alien feeds off of human’s faces because that is the “essence” of their being, so to speak. So the alien comes to Earth and goes into television screens, using satellite connections to be in many screens at once. 

When a person is sitting on their couches watching television with their families, the alien appears on the screen in the form of a woman. It screams, “FEED ME! FEEEEEED ME!” As it sucks the face off of the people on the other side of the screen.

I remember watching the episode and thinking the alien was so gluttonous and disgusting. It will do anything to eat the most faces it can.

Then I realized, OCD is the same way. OCD comes into our lives shouting, “feeeeed me!” It starts off small, but grows larger and larger as we give it what it wants. It feeds off of our compulsions. And in doing that, our essence disappears. We become the person OCD wants us to be, rather than who we want to be. We become faceless.

To stop this, we must starve OCD. We will feel it’s whining and the result of it’s hunger pains. However, in doing this, it will shrink. And we can be ourselves again.

Fight the bully, don’t feed the bully.