Although possibly one of the best decisions you’ll ever make, freeing yourself from OCD is a challenging project. Here are some things to think about, informed by experiences of other people recovering from OCD, that may help you on your road to recovery.

  • Acknowledging you are individual: Everyone’s experience of OCD is different, and there is no single right way to overcome it. It’s about fitting the treatment principles to your problem and making it work for you.

  • Expecting setbacks: Setbacks are a natural part of the process. Forewarned is forearmed: If you expect to have setbacks, you won’t be so surprised or upset when they crop up.

  • Being realistic about your recovery: There is no rule about how long recovering from OCD takes; recovery may be different for everyone. Focus on making small steps and maintaining the gains you’ve made.

  • Owning your progress: Only you can really know how much of the battle you’re winning. Sometimes friends and family may not see when you triumph over the OCD internally; instead, they may focus only on the occasions when the OCD appears to get the better of you. This situation can be frustrating, but bear in mind that the people supporting you probably have your best interests at heart.

  • Dealing with other problems: As your OCD improves, you may find other problems start to rear their heads. These may be problems that the OCD was masking or ones that have developed while you were busy dealing with your OCD. Getting to grips with these is another stage in the recovery process.

  • Surviving the emotional backlash: People imagine they’ll feel elation as their OCD improves, but often there are other more challenging feelings to deal with. These may include anger about having had OCD or a sense of loss for time, opportunities, confidence, experiences and so on that OCD has stolen from you. Allow yourself to take time to grieve; this is an important part of the recovery process.

  • Maintaining support: Even when you’re through the worst of your OCD, you may need continuing support to help you stay on track, deal with any new issues that arise and make the most of the new status quo.

  • Filling the void: If your OCD consumed much of your time and energy (as is often the case), you’ll find there is space both in your head and in your routine for doing other things. Focus on activities that enrich your life; these will help you keep the OCD at bay and give you satisfaction.

  • Treating yourself with compassion: The road you’ve travelled is a rough and exhausting one. Give yourself credit for the things you’ve achieved and forgive yourself for times when it doesn’t go so well. Treat yourself with the kindness you’d bestow on others in your situation.

  • Refuelling and rebalancing: Give yourself time and space to get back on track and adjust. Rebuilding the good practice of healthy eating, good sleep habits, regular exercise and making time for pursuing rewarding activities doesn’t happen overnight.

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