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OCD issues making me late
MissCaptainKirk posted:
Hello all, hope you are having a nice calm day.

I have always struggled with OCD tendencies, having to do things in a certain order and having to do certain actions even when I don't need to.
The more stressed I am, the worse it gets. I've been able to control it a little before but now it's worse than ever.

Lately it's been making me really late for things. When I'm trying to get ready to go I always tell myself I need to cut certain actions out or do things in a different order since I'm always shorter on time than I think I am.
But the more I worry about being late, the more I panic, which makes me forget to do some actions and when I realize I didn't do them or didn't do them in order I have to start all over. Even if I manage to leave an action out of my routine, it makes me feel panicky/moody/awful and my brain keeps focusing on the fact that I didn't do it even though I try to focus on something else and it causes major panic to the point of distraction.
Needless to say, it makes me really late and I would really like it to stop.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
Patricia Farrell, PhD responded:
I think one thing that you should try is to use relaxation breathing every day, any time you begin to feel you are becoming rushed. Yes, it's true that becoming more anxious will increase your OCD symptoms and make you feel even worse. So, your anxiety must be nipped in the bud and relaxation breathing plus positive self talk and physically slowing yourself down can all help towards this end. I

f you slow yourself down physically, your brain begins to get the message that things are better now than they were before. So walk a little slower, take your time when you're doing anything, make a list if you need to, and allow yourself to just relax for a few moments before you begin to do anything major.

If you are unfamiliar with relaxation breathing, we do have it in our Tips column and I would highly recommend it. I would also recommend that, if your PCP agrees, you begin to exercise on a regular basis. We know that exercise decreases stress, decreases anxiety and helps the body overall. You don't need to join a gym, buy expensive equipment or do anything more than walking in place, walking up and down stairs, doing some exercises while sitting in a chair, anything that will get your muscles moving.

I hope that these suggestions are helpful and that you do feel better.

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