Saturday, 23 July 2011

Goal setting and beating obsessive thoughts

I've just came to the conclusion that I can't go on feeling the way that I do, so it's time to take a productive approach to tackling the problems that I have. However, I feel that I should sort my problems one by one rather than trying to change my life all in one go, that would just be stressful. 

I broke down into tears this morning with the feeling that I just couldn't take it any more. I started to think that I have a sick mind and that I'm just useless. I suppose the main obsessive thoughts that I want to get rid of are those about my lecturer and wanting to kill all of his female contacts to make him notice me, morbid jealousy I suppose. I was reading a book that a friend (who is a therapist) suggested to me, it's called "Overcoming Obsessive Compulsive Disorder with Self-help CBT" or something along those lines anyway. Apparently the best to get rid of such obsessive thoughts is to expose yourself to the situation, so in the case of obsessive thoughts you should just allow yourself to have the thoughts but don't attempt to neutralise them to make them seem normal, just imagine that they are a normal occurrence and they will go away. The notion of this process does sound quite daunting but it actually makes sense, surely if you have obsessive thoughts that are followed by you feeling sad and concerned because it's not normal it damages you more, you have more of an obsession with that thought because of your connotations. Thinking that the thought is normal would just neutralise it and in time it would go away or you would at least be able to deal with the thought.

Goal one: Accept your obsessive thoughts about your lecturer and his female contacts as normal, do not attempt to neutralise these thoughts to make sense of them.

I suppose I need a time frame for this goal! so I'm setting a two week trial period to see how I get on with it. However I do expect relapses in the process. I picked up two useful apps in the Mac App Store, one called CBT pad and one called Goal Chart. Together these apps should help the process of achieving the goal. Goal Chart is simply an app where you can place pictures as stamps leading up to a reward, so this makes it easy for you to monitor your progress. CBT Pad is more suitable for relapses where you might need to make sense of your behaviour again. It basically provides you with a set of forms to fill in that assist you in making sense of the situation and what you could do to prevent a relapse in future. It's certainly worth a download if you do have relapses. 

I suppose that one draw back to this goal is that I use the phrase "Do not attempt to neutralise thoughts" in the goal, this could potentially present the "Do not think of a pink elephant" effect. So to control for this I'm going to take a mindful approach with this goal.

I'll report and let you all know how I'm getting along.

Speak soon

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