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Ocd And Help.

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Hello my name is David I have had OCD for more than 20 years. I had a severe OCD ranging with many issues. Over time I have been able to control them or eliminate them. But there is one remaining that I simply can't shake off. I have been hospitalized in Boston for this with no result. It is religious OCD. Basically it is a fear of hell. I have this obsession and panic attracts over the illusion that I broke my girlfriend's former marriage. I am 99% certain that this is not true but my emotional brain doesn't care about that. I get panic attracts and major depressions over this like if it was 100% real and therefore I feel that I am going to hell. ERP (exposure and response prevention) has been very effective in treating many other issues in the past. But when it come to this I don't know how to do ERP. How can I do ERP over hell? How can I do ERP over something abstract like this. Hell I don't even know if this place exists! I know there are many risks in life but this particular risk gives me major panic attacks. I lost my job because of this. I have now severe depression! If someone out there have an idea of how to help me please don't hesitate to tell me. Thank you!

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I don't know if any of this will work for you but I have been given a few tips for abstract thinking that have helped. I personally had a strong fear of death or losing loved ones with my OCD, which is also something that cannot be treated with traditional ERP.

The first tip I was given is to attend CBT and talk therapy. Many of the fears of OCD are irrational, but they can also be triggered by events in our lives. In your case it seems that you feel guilt over an event relating to your girlfriend's past marriage. Sometimes it is very helpful to attend weekly sessions that will help you discover what elements you fear most and how to restructure your thinking so that you can learn to fear them less, or at least deal with them when they happen.

The second tip I was given was imaginative ERP. You imagine the situation over and over again until it begins to cause you less anxiety. For example, for myself, I would write or imagine a story involving my obsessions. Something like "I will fly in a plane to visit my family, and the plane will crash and I will pass away." Then, you look at the story and read it over and over and over again. Eventually, it starts to feel less scary. At some point, you'll realize that it doesn't seem that scary at all. It may take a long time, but every time you read that story you should be able to deal with it better.

You can also do CBT similarly. You can think "I am going to Hell", then see how much anxiety that causes you. Then work on writing reasons why it's unlikely that you are actually going to experience that. They can range from "It's unlikely Hell exists" to "because I do not do bad things". Then, every time you think that bad thought, you can remember how unlikely it actually is and move on from the thought. It's harder to do this with the unknown, but I know it is possible from experience.

Finally, I don't know if you are attending or willing to attend church, but it might help with this particular obsession. The problem with this is that a lot of people with OCD can use church as a compulsion.(Lots of people begin to confess compulsively and attend compulsively when they struggle with scrupulosity). But, if you can avoid doing that, it may be very helpful in your treatment.

I hope this all made sense. :)

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