Its time to give up the rituals ....

Missycat

MyPTSD Pro
I’m not sure if i’m posting this in the right place?
anyways .... After accomplishing so much and feeling so strong and at the start of year 5 of therapy ( well slightly less as i had a 5 month gap) ive decided to work on/tackle my ocd and rituals . These have previously felt like a protection for me , as a kid to try to stop the abuser, throughout my life as something that kelt the monsters away . They helped me settle a little when going through some hard times in therapy and when going through the police and criminal justice system .
But now , they are a burden often taking me hours to do before i go to bed. I feel this is the final chapter in my healing journey and i want to remove that link that ties me to my past. Ive grown so much stronger and grown so much in therapy that recent work on some ocd stuff worked really positively and i was able to reduce a lot of the ocd ‘checking ‘ i did.
My therapist is fully supportive and is managing my expectations always focusing on keeping me safe - she wants to take small steps whereas my approach sometimes- and especially when i feel positive - is to just to go for it. I trust my therapist implicitly and know we will take the right approach.
Im excited but also terrified- ive had these rituals 47 years and have done them everynight.
i wondered if anyone had done any similar work and how you coped / what approach - treatment did you take etc etc . I appreciate your time reading this and any advice anyone can give. Thank you.
 

Friday

Moderator
On the PTSD side of things...

I was talking to my therapist awhile back (or rather he was talkin to me) about “all’s well” rituals // things that act as active grounding in the present, mean we’re “home” (military/deployment home vs in the field kind of thing), etc.... versus... the hot standby type rituals that mean mentally/emotionally “be ready”.

Home
- Shower first thing when I wake up // aaand periodically during the day.
- Bare feet

Field
- My hair is always pulled back a certain way
- My bag is always packed

There’s some crossover between them? For example, at home I usually have MANY bags, all packed / restocked immediately after use, for a whole helluva lot of different activities. Having them packed provides a sense of peace... but I’m also not living out of the suckers (much less just one of them). They’re adding peace into my life by being ready. Meanwhile there’s nothing better on planet earth than a real shower, with hot water AND soap, in the field. But I’ve gone weeks, and on a few occasions months, without a shower when I was working.

So one of the tells I’ve learned to look for, which is why he was talking to me about 2 sets of rituals and paying attention to which set I was operating out of, is if I’m kicking into trauma-rituals when there’s no need for them. Catching myself pulling my wet hair back to braid a certain way? Is a common early one. Ditto, recognizing that my headspace starts getting dark fast if I wake up and DON’T take a shower, or need/want to later in the day & don’t or can’t.

Now... I only gave 2 examples of each, but there are easily a dozen or more in each grouping. Recognizing them took a bit of work. Some? I was very very aware of. Others I found by paying attention, or having them pointed out to me. Deliberately using the “all’s well” rituals, and undoing/backing up & starting over when I caught myself working out of the BE READY bag o’tricks? Wreaks some maaaaaaaajor in my life and overall functionality... in the most subtle and pervasive ways. Like it “shouldn’t” have as much effect on my life and my outlook as it does, but it really really does.

OCD Side of things...

I can’t speak to.
 

Missycat

MyPTSD Pro
@Friday , many thanks for your reply and for sharing your experience and insight. It makes total sense to me - particularly the ‘alls well’ rituals.
 
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