If obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is causing you to dread the upcoming holiday season, Dr. Taji Huang can help you overcome your fears in Glendale, CA. With over a decade of experience in cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy, she can help you finally have some peace of mind.
How To Manage OCD This Holiday Season
- Learn To Accept The Uncertainty
- Confide In A Trusted Loved One
- Seek Professional Help
Sit With The Uncertainty
At its core, OCD is about trying to alleviate uncertainty, anxiety, and other negative emotions. Oftentimes, the key to breaking the obsessive-compulsive cycle is learning to accept your feelings and carry on with your life without trying to eliminate uncertainty and doubt.
Holiday Stress Can Trigger Unique Obsessions
- “What if I contract an illness from a relative by hugging them or unwrapping a gift?”
- “What if I accidentally give everyone food poisoning at the holiday dinner?”
- “What if I don’t really love these relatives?”
- “What if I spontaneously harm my nieces, nephews, or grandchildren?”
- “What if I don’t recite this holiday prayer perfectly, and what if that’s religious blasphemy?”
Talk To A Loved One
Many people with OCD have seemingly bizarre or socially taboo obsessions, so they sadly go years without discussing their struggles due to immense shame, guilt, and fear. You may worry that your obsessions make you a “bad person” (even though this isn’t true!) and that others will judge you for their thoughts.
This can lead to severe feelings of isolation and depression, especially around the holidays and other types of group or family get-togethers.
Turn Anxiety Into Opportunity
Even though the crowds, activities, and questions can all make Thanksgiving and Christmastime hard, you might get more chances to connect with the people you trust and feel safe with. Sometimes, simply working up the courage to talk to a loved one about your obsessions can make you feel less ashamed and more connected.
Constantly asking someone for reassurance can become a compulsion, so it’s important to find a balance between doing this and sitting with the uncertainty.
Consult A Mental Health Professional
If you feel like your obsessions are ruling your life, a therapist or psychologist can teach you healthy coping skills to get you through the holidays and beyond. Exposure and response prevention (ERP) is considered the most effective way to treat OCD, as it teaches you to sit with uncertainty without resorting to compulsions. Many people also find cognitive behavioral therapy helpful.
Your therapist will evaluate your condition and lifestyle and help you find solutions that work for your unique situation.
Don’t Let OCD Attack What You Value Most
One particularly torturous feature of this disorder is that it often generates obsessions related to whatever matters most to those who suffer from it. Thus, if you have harm-related or moral obsessions, this doesn’t actually mean that you’re a bad or dangerous person! In fact, your obsessive fear is probably a manifestation of the fact that you care deeply about others’ well-being.
Less Commonly Discussed OCD Subtypes
As previously mentioned, OCD can have many manifestations other than the stereotypical “hand-washing” and “lock-checking.” If you know something is wrong and is affecting your life, you may need help with one of these lesser known types of obsessive compulsive disorder before, during, or after warm weather festivities.
- Fear of being irresponsible and accidentally causing harm to others.
- Fear of “losing control” and attacking someone.
- Worrying that you might secretly be “evil” and that others aren’t safe around you.
- Fear of spontaneously harming or killing yourself, even though you have no actual desire to do so.
- Fear of accidentally or intentionally hurting your baby.
- Constantly worrying that something terrible will happen to your baby.
- Fear of sinning against your religious, ethical, or moral beliefs.
- Feel like you have to confess every “bad” thought or action to another person.
- Constantly wondering whether having “bad” thoughts makes you a “bad” person.
- Worrying that you “don’t really love” your spouse, partner, or another family member.
- Worrying that something is wrong with your relationship, even when everything’s going well.
- Obsessively questioning your sexual orientation or gender identity, and feeling distressed about the uncertainty.
- Constantly questioning the meaning of life or nature of existence and being unable to shake off these obsessions.
- Being hyper-aware of a physical sensation or automatic process (such as blinking), and feeling like you’re “going crazy” because you can’t stop thinking about it.
Get A Quality OCD Counselor In Glendale, CA
OCD is a truly debilitating condition that can affect every aspect of your life. Dr. Taji Huang can help you enjoy the holidays without becoming caught up in the obsessive-compulsive cycle. Contact her office today to schedule an appointment.