Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

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L J, modified 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 3:05 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 3:05 PM

Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 166 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hi all, I'm sure you all know of me from my previous logs like what tf to do after having a mental breakdown and so on. Anyways, I am doing much better. I have been doing lots of research on OCD and have found a therapist/life coach who owns a YouTube channel, he had experienced the same thing as me with false memory/ real event OCD and struggled with chronic guilt and anxiety for a long time just like myself. I have been taking his advice and spending a lot of time and effort in disputing my irrational beliefs that have been fueling the fear cycle and I have been doings lots of reading of books from the founder of REBT therapy which transformed into CBT, his name is Albert Ellis. I have been strongly working on accepting myself and my life unconditionally and this has been a life saver. I have still been doing mahasi noting for about an hour a day but I feel this is too much to do alongside my recovery work as well as university and my job. I feel as if it is making my depression worst and it is burning me out. I still want to meditate and make some progress but I want to focus on my OCD recovery and put meditation on the back burner for now, but I still want to have a consistent daily practice that doesn't require too much effort, won't burn me out like mahasi noting and will bring some small calming effects, anyone got any ideas? I would much appreciate your input, thank youemoticon 
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 4:41 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 4:41 PM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
Hi Louis and well done for reaching out for help! I did a fair share of therapy and did not do any meditation during these. 

Im not good in multitasking emoticon and focus on one aspect at a time. 

Mental and physical health first if you ask me. 

In case you do want to spend time in meditation I can wholhwartly recommend Shamatha as in Calm-abiding. 

You buy into the whole body breathing in and the whole body breathing out emoticon very zoomed out so to speak. With each in breathing calming the whole body, with each out breathing calming the whole body. Thinking comes, anything comes ... fine, one is aware of it but one goes back to the whole body breathing. 

If urge or guilt, for not doing noting, arise, you just notice it and go back to breathing in and calming the whole body, and breathing out and calming the whole body. 

emoticon I hope this helps! If it doesn't resonate with you ignore it of course. Follow your gut feel! emoticon 
​​​​​​​Best wishes! 
T DC, modified 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 5:07 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 5:06 PM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 473 Join Date: 9/29/11 Recent Posts
I agree with above, I would also recommend more of a gentle shamatha-vipassana type practice.  Look up "calm abiding" meditation, or basic breath meditation. The object is not to develop hardcore concentration like the theravadan strict shamatha style in mctb, but rather to relax into present moment awareness while using the breath as a grounding object for meditation.

​​​​​​​It's a more relaxed and gentle form of meditation compared to mahasi noting or vipassana, but will still let you to cultivate mindfulness while hopefully being less of a strain.  And you can always put more or less effort into it depending on how it goes.  emoticon
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L J, modified 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 5:06 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 5:06 PM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 166 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks very much papa! How long should I do this a day? Half an hour you reckon? emoticon
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Stefan Stefan, modified 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 7:26 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 7:26 PM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 238 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
OCD has two components. The obsessive-intrusive thoughts and the compulsions that usually follow on from them. 

You can use meditation and Mahasi noting technique to re-train the compulsion aspect of it. OCD causes a really vicious negative reinforcement schedule where the person suffering with it finds that stress is reduced from acting out the compulsion to get rid of the thought. 

It sounds like this youtuber (are they a qualified professional, I wonder?) has helped you with the obsession-intrusion aspect, but not the compulsion aspect. Learn to simply watch the obsessive-intrusive thought manifest and then notice how there's a resultant need to act to dispel the thought. This sort of behavioural therapy, the literature has shown, really works wonders for helping people with OCD. Once one can observe the obsessive-intrusive thoughts go away on their own, the need to act will go away. Eventually, the thoughts themselves will not be prominent because they're not seen as stressful, simply a part of the minds we have.  This'll take work, but I've heard that behavioural self-conditioning therapies like this can be effective in anywhere from two to twelve months. 

From the sounds of it, it's not specifically meditation that's stressing you out, but the quantity. Drop down to a time that feels more manageable. 

Shamatha can help, although if you're specifically looking for things to help with OCD, I'm not sure how it'll help other than calming you down. And in any case, the first part of Shamatha will be developing the skill of learning that thoughts are simply thoughts and body sensations are simply body sensations -- so that could definitely work if you approach in the right angle to help with the OCD issues. 

As for false memories. This is also a really interesting thing about OCD, where people will develop false or misleading memories that essentially corrupt the sense of self one has. If you're at the point where you know which thoughts are false and which are true, I would begin a re-conditioning program where you start bringing up false memories and identifying the aspects of what the mind is trying to correct for. While I've never treated OCD in my formal training as a psychologist, I've been mentored by those who have, and they talk of finding the core essence of these false memories. E.g., one of my mentor's clients had false memories that he was a pedophile. The essence of that false memory was actually calling him to value as respect his youthfulness and youthfulness in others, to not violate it. To not corrupt the naive happiness that comes with youthful outlooks. 

One thing I've heard anecdotally about people with OCD is that once they commit to resolving their issues, they have a dogged determination that cannot be matched -- likely a positive manifestation of their OCD expressing itself. I'm sure this is the same for you.
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Hope this helps, all the best to you
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L J, modified 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 7:39 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 7:39 PM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 166 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Thanks Stefan for the good adviceemoticon I have pretty much knocked out all compulsions since I already have a lot of mindfulness training and can easily identify intrusive thoughts and when I am unconsciously doing compulsions. This has helped a lot too
Martin, modified 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 8:21 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 8:21 PM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 491 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Albert Ellis rocks! I once read an essay exploring the idea that Ellis was a Buddhist without knowing it himself. The ABCs are not quite the same as the 12 links of dependent origination, but the fundamental principle of causality is the same. And while rejecting self-esteem is not quite the same as realizing not-self, the mechanism he points to, by which self-esteem creates suffering is much the same. 
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Stefan Stefan, modified 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 10:39 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/13/21 10:39 PM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 238 Join Date: 3/28/21 Recent Posts
That's great to hear, well done on taking these positive steps. 

If that's the case I'd recommend dropping your time spent meditating, perhaps by splitting it up into 2x30min or just 1x30min per day. 

If the false memory aspect is particularly hard, try to find out what the meaning is behind them. There is always some sort of meaning behind these sorts of intrusive memories we have (false or true!). 

​​​​​​​Keep it up
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Papa Che Dusko, modified 9 Months ago at 12/14/21 12:37 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/14/21 12:37 AM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 2459 Join Date: 3/1/20 Recent Posts
10 minutes a day is enough in your situation of dealing with therapy and stuff. I would not stress about time. I would only focus on the aspect of a laid back enjoyable whole body breathing in and whole body breathing out and calming the body while doing his. No goals here but to chill out and let the body calm down. 

Stressed body will release all sorts of stress hormones. We need this Amygdala lizard brain of ours to feel it's all good, no reason to fight or flight! 
Abiding in calmness, ... breathing in and calming the whole body , breathing out calming the whole body. emoticon 

Do not push time limits. Feel yourself how long feels right. This ain't a race! 

Best wishes L! 
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L J, modified 9 Months ago at 12/18/21 12:41 PM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/18/21 12:39 PM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 166 Join Date: 4/25/20 Recent Posts
Hey all, I've decided to go back to doing some silent mahasi noting, but only maybe one or two sits a day of 30 minutes each. This has helped a lot with accepting all of the sensations in my experience. Most of it is filled with anxiety, guilt and shame over my past actions which is what my OCD has primarily Iocked onto. The guilt is very bad since I know for sure that I committed a wrong act, the uncertainty and the false memories only come into play when I am trying to figure out the exact details of my actions (where my memory seems to have many gaps). I have been disputing my irrational beliefs that I believe I am an evil monster and that I don't deserve happiness ever again. This alongside unconditional self acceptance has given me a clear path that I wouldn't be able to see otherwise through the "thoughts are just thoughts" lens because these thoughts have real actions behind them. I believe that I am so hard on myself and beat myself up so much because of how horrible my farther was to me and my mother throughout my childhood, which means that even a slight slip up in my behaviour causes me to beat myself up infinitely. But accepting myself unconditionally no matter how bad my actions were in the past, along with disputing my irrational beliefs and using mahasi noting to bring about more equanimity around these sensations should do the job...but I also seem to need to just be patient and accept that this journey will take a long time.
Eudoxos , modified 9 Months ago at 12/19/21 1:23 AM
Created 9 Months ago at 12/19/21 1:23 AM

RE: Working on my OCD and feeling burnt out by meditation

Posts: 106 Join Date: 4/6/14 Recent Posts
<blockquote><p>I still want to have a consistent daily practice that doesn't require too much effort, won't burn me out like mahasi noting and will bring some small calming effects, anyone got any ideas?</p></blockquote><p>You might want to consider mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, it should blend well with CBT you do already, connecting some of the dots (search for the authors: Segal, Williams, Teasdale). Mark Williams &amp; coworkers from Oxford Mindfulness Centre recently made a <a href="https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLsitozOnbmNPbZa4jV-kLDKvVzUzOhZVC">follow-up youtube course called "Frame by frame"</a> (8 sessions), focusing mostly on the vedana aspect.<br /><br />Good luck with the recovery. May you be well.</p>

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