Disgust Contamination OCD
This is Nathan Peterson, licensed clinician and OCD specialist.
Did you know that the fear of contamination or being germy doesn't always lead to the fear I'm getting sick? What about having certain thoughts and now I am mentally contaminated. My brain is unclean. This feeling is wrong. In fact many feel this overwhelming feeling of general disgust.
In this video we will be going over what mental contamination OCD looks like and explain this feeling of disgust, also we're going to go over how you're going to handle this feeling and thoughts.
Imagine this for yourself. You touch door handles, shake people's hands, touch that shopping cart and make it home. Most of the time we just wash our hands and move on. With mental contamination, these individuals may do a physical action to try to fix something that's happening mentally. Washing my hands means I'm washing a feeling. I'm washing a thought. I'm going to continue doing this physical action until I feel better.
It actually doesn't have to be washing either. It could be tapping something a certain amount of times, avoid certain items, words, or images. When we think of contamination we think of I'm going to get some germs on my hand and get sick. These individuals are experiencing is, I'm going to get germs on my hand and I'm going to feel disgust, gross, and this feeling is not going to go away until I can fix it.
Or this, I had an intrusive thought that doesn't match my value system and I felt disgust, this feeling will not go away until I do something to fix it. I may have to repeat a certain word in my head over and over and over again as to cleanse this feeling. I may have to physically wash something. Maybe it's do some type of ritual until I feel better.
Here's what we're going to do about this mental contamination. Mess it up. That's right. We are going to purposely touch the contaminants. Purposely engage with the things they make us feel emotionally contaminated. You get to set the rules. Our goal isn't to figure out how you cannot feel this disgust feeling. instead it's to live life with this feeling as long as you're doing exactly what you want to do. But this feeling can't last forever.
You can even respond differently to the disgust feeling. Celebrate it. Have a party! When you feel disgust imagine blowing a kazoo. Yahoooo! Love this feeling. I hope it lasts all day. As long as I'm not responding to it with any value it's teaching the brain that you're not falling for it anymore. To me, it's a false signal, trying to get you to react, so why not poke the bear and do the opposite. Touching that door handle made me feel internally contaminated, I'm going to go touch it again. I'm going to watch that video clip again. I'm going to mess up the compulsion so bad that my brain doesn't even come up with this idea.
Yes the anxiety and distress will be there. But it can't last forever.
You've go to stop these compulsions and that's why I created this video to help you do so. It's a simple trick that works for most. You'll need to know it to power yourself up. Click on it here.
Thanks so much for watching and I'll see you next time.
Nathan Peterson specializes in working with OCD and Anxiety related disorders and has done so for the past 7+ years.