‘I’m struggling with anxiety and OCD every day – I need constant reassurance’

By | August 4, 2020

Dear Coleen

I live with my parents and brother and love them to bits – they’ve done so much for me, including financially.

I contend with obsessive-compulsive behaviour (OCD) on a daily basis, where I feel I have to check things multiple times to alleviate anxiety.

The worst part is the intrusive thoughts I have, which range from reliving hurtful things others have said to me in the past to worrying that I’ve committed crimes, even though I know I haven’t. I need constant reassurance.

Even if my family use words such as “idiot, stupid, pathetic, sly, horrible, cunning” in general conversation, I can’t deal with it as I think they’re implying that these words relate to me.

Could it help if I were to be more assertive and try to have a greater level of self-compassion?

I feel I’ve developed some self-awareness where I understand my emotional triggers and bodily sensations, and realise that even my subconscious thoughts and biases can affect how I react to things.

Could I try to remember that I can’t control this illness, but only how I react to it?

I want to be less black and white about things, so my thoughts don’t cause me so much anxiety, and wondered if you had any advice?

Coleen says

I think you have a lot of self-awareness, but it doesn’t mean you won’t struggle and don’t need support.

I’m not an expert, but I think it’s important to work on your self-esteem – if you feel stronger in yourself and have more self-belief, then these words, which, as you say, aren’t directed at you, won’t have the same impact.

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I think you’re on the right track of getting to know yourself and your triggers, and how you respond to situations.

The mental health charity MIND (mind.org.uk) has excellent advice on helping yourself, as well as guidance for friends and family.

It also has case studies of people living with OCD and how they manage the condition.

You sound open to getting help, so well done – that’s a big start. It sounds like you have a good supportive family, and they will probably welcome you opening up more to them about how you feel, and finding ways to tackle the condition together.

I think therapy would help, so speak to your GP about the options.

Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can be very effective in managing the condition and providing coping


Good luck.

Mirror – Health