Is there a root cause to OCD that we have been missing? Can it actually be healed?
Thoughts as I work with a very deep and intense layer in myself.
What is OCD? What causes it?
OCD is the repetitive need to check for harm. If the checking is not done correctly, assumed harm will be done due to failure on the individual with OCD.
I believe OCD occurs because we were failed to be monitored securely from a source meant to help us so we take on this task ourselves. When in our lives are we in great need for someone else to manage us because we can not?
- Pre natal, infancy, childhood, pre-teen, teen
- Too sick to take care of ourselves
- Help in care required from the hands of parents, doctors, teachers, church leaders, social leaders, bosses, etc
- Sense of reliability, trust, support, and help received in relationships like marriage, friendships, family, community
When the above fails, we must take over where we shouldn’t need to but have to survive. The intensity of need turns into an obsession and that turns into internalization of someone else’s failure into our own.
How do we end up internalizing it? I think it’s because they project their shame onto us. If this happens repeatedly, we start to believe we are not worthy of their help, that we are asking for too much, or we are doing something wrong to not receive their help. This internal questioning turns sinister fast when it’s constant. So a neural feedback loop creates in our nervous system and we become entangled with it by obsessing over the lack of care and the compulsion to fix it.
We are not meant to monitor every little piece of our existence. That’s what communal care is about. It’s why we are a tribal species. Especially as children.
How do we rewire this?
That is the big question. One I don’t have an answer to yet. I’ve tried lots of different therapeutic tools but none have really stuck. Perhaps it’s the tools not working or perhaps it’s my OCD masking itself so the tools fail to reach the underlying pain beneath OCD. I don’t know.
I do know that I can give myself what I didn’t receive before: self help. In the form of love, compassion, acceptance, comfort, and security, I can act out for self worth rather than proceed with compulsions that further deny or try to fix it like OCD is the problem. It’s not the problem. It was the solution to the problem I couldn’t handle before. So now, I can maybe every so slowly, step into that lack that fed the OCD and give it what it needs. I hope it works.
I can tell you that the instability of the self underneath the control structure of OCD is something else. I feel so weak and vulnerable that I want to collapse on the ground as my knees fold under me. My stomach groans with terror of “what if.” My nerves tremble and I seek support from my surroundings like a child learning to walk and not wanting to fall. I fear so deeply what my existence will be like without constant inner monitoring that I start to monitor my new experiences. It’s like a catch-22. My head hurts. A big headache starts up on the top of my skull and down my eyes and neck from all the tension held being released.
Life outside OCD
I yearn so deeply for people who can show me what life can be like outside OCD and what is normal (as normal as can be) existence is like inside the body. All I knew was control, monitor, fear, and fix. I never had someone model to me what being human is like outside this.
That’s where my focus is now – to find the tribe I did not get earlier in my life that can healthy model existence. Isn’t that strange and sad? How torn up I must of been to require help in this way?
I feel deeply for any of you resonating with this blog. My heart goes out to you. I hope this post brings some solace to you. At least diminish the inner shame a bit? I find when my inner shame releases (it’s in layers), I find more peace and happiness.
I hope you do too.
What are your experiences with OCD? What have you found helpful? Have you come to a point where you feel you are actually healing rather than simply coping? I’d love to hear about it.
Come join our Facebook group where we discuss various ways to heal.
Also check out our therapies page to learn more about different types of healing trauma.
If you enjoy my blog and my site, feel free to donate at the side or on the top. I do not work due to CPTSD and appreciate help in maintaining this site. Thank you.