Besides parenting books, I’m not really a “self help” book connoisseur. However, I have read some books relating to OCD (obviously), and Reid Wilson’s “Stopping the Noise in Your Head: The New Way to Overcome Anxiety & Worry” may be one of my favorites.
Of course, the book is not specifically for obsessive compulsive disorder (though he does mention OCD throughout). However, it is definitely applicable. I’m not a novice (aka totally clueless) when it comes to OCD treatments, so for someone like me (who is personally familiar with exposures/cognitive behavioral therapy and is on the maintenance side of the spectrum versus pure survival), Wilson’s book hits the spot. It reminded me of what I should be doing, gave me new ideas on how to look at and face my obsessions, and overall provided motivation to keep going.
Repetition the teacher
Throughout the book, Wilson teaches, repeats, and then re-repeats his instructions. He gently and thoroughly pounds his principles into your mind, but he does it with humor and optimism. He doesn’t bring in so many success stories or experiences that you are left overwhelmed, but he still proves his points powerfully.
The gist of Wilson’s method is to change your attitude or game plan toward anxiety and worries. He instructs you on how to sift real worries from things that don’t actually matter, and mostly hammers home the point that successful OCD treatment is also based on: don’t run away from your anxiety or worry. Face it. Confront it. Be uncomfortable. And wait to see that you do, indeed, survive!
Wilson adds a really nice little twist into the formula, though. He wants you to not only stay put and confront your anxiety but challenge it. Make it a game. Be offensive and shift your attitude so that you “want” anxiety to try and freak you out. Taunt the worries. Ask them to make things worse. Wilson’s general premise is that anxiety and worry survive as long as you keep trying to avoid them. Once you step up to them and become the more dominant aggressor, they will gradually (or even quickly) fade into the background.
Again, Wilson reminds us of the essential fact that the obsessions, worries, and anxieties aren’t necessarily going to disappear. No, you have to maintain your stance to keep them subservient and in the background rather than the foreground. He gives tips, mental fighting words, and encouragement along the way that provide a path for you to use his theories and find success. I’ve incorporated many into my own life and found that they work, going hand in hand with other techniques that I have learned to combat my OCD.
I highly recommend “Stopping the Noise in Your Head,” whether you are trying to fight obsessive compulsive disorder or anxiety. It’s a fun read, but it is also extremely productive and helpful. I checked my copy out from the library, but I may just have to go buy a copy for myself so I can keep it on hand and read through pertinent chapters when I need a pep talk. Because honestly, buying the book is cheaper than a therapy session copay! (Don’t worry, Dr. Bob. I won’t quit just yet 😉