How to stop obsessing

brainIt’s hard not to obsess. I obsess about what I might have done to cause a miscarriage. I obsess about what stage in the pregnancy I would be now had I not lost the baby. But most of all I obsess about having another baby or the worst obsession of all, not being able to have a child. “Stop obessessing”, my husband keeps telling me. “It’s not doing you any good”. Well, duh! I know that,  but what can I do when those thoughts keep going round and round and that record gets stuck in a groove in my head? Well, I could try following some of the tips posted by Thererse Borchard on how to stop obsessing. She has fifteen of them!

“The French call Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) “folie de doute,” or “the doubting disease.” And that’s what obsessions are—a single doubt caught in an endless loop of thoughts”, she writes. Now, while I don’t suffer from OCD, I do recognise that I may well be suffering from “folie de doute”.

Step 1: The first tip Therese gives is quite simple to name the fear or obsession. So…I am afraid I will never have another child, that was my one and only chance and I blew it. Ok, so that’s step one. It is supposed to rob the fear of its power. I don’t quite feel that yet, but I am willing to go onto step 2.

Step 2: “Once I have named the fear or doubt, I try to see if I can file it under any of the forms of distorted thinking that Dr. David Burns describes in his bestseller “Feeling Good,” like all-or-nothing thinking, jumping to conclusions, magnification (exaggeration), or discounting the positive (ie “None of my accomplishments count”). My obsession almost always involves at least three forms of distorted thoughts. So I then consider Burns’ ten ways of untwisting distorted thinking to help me to undermine my obsession.”

Ok, so I would say I am jumping to conclusions and exaggerating the fear. I mean I don’t actually know for sure that I cannot have another child. So let’s move on now to step 3…

Step 3: Ah! Something practical! Therese advises scheduling  a time of day where I was free to ruminate. So when you catch yourself obessessing, simply tell yourself, “Sorry, it’s not time for that. You’ll have to wait until 8 in the evening, when I give you, My Head, 15 minutes to obsess your heart out.”

Another practical tip Therese gives is to snap out of it…”I mean, literally snap out of it. That’s what I did for a few months when I couldn’t take the obsessions. I’d wear a rubber band around my wrist, and every time my thoughts would turn to an obsession, I’d snap the band as a reminder. (Fair warning: by bedtime, my wrists were a tad red. Another behavioral technique you could try is to write out the obsession on a piece of paper. Then crinkle it up and throw it away. That way you have literally thrown out your obsession.”

It really helped me to read Therese’s tips and if you would like to read more click on this link. If you have any tips of your own on how you deal with the obessions or fears, please let me know. I need all the help I can get!


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. mkwewer
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 14:01:41

    So far, I’ve got nothing. I’ve tried for a while to chant over and over again “it will happen when it happens” everytime the thought that the boys were it and I would get no more chances to be a mom pops into my head. Honestly, it’s not working. I’m thinking of trying the rubberband thing…or hypnotherapy….sigh….


    • JBBC
      Jul 08, 2009 @ 16:39:52

      Well I don’t think I’ll try the rubber band as I will be red raw at the end of that experiment but I am going to try the deferring obsession until a specific allocated time. It IS hard though…


  2. iamstacey
    Jul 08, 2009 @ 20:48:48

    Hmm, I wonder if I obess? I wonder if the method really works? What if I’m OCD? What if I can’t stop obessing? Can other people tell I’m obsessive? Does it show? Wait, am I obessing about obessing?!?

    I know I’m a hopeless case. Having a touch of the ol’ OCD makes me good at my job, but annoying to poor DH! 🙂


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