Working on OCD by Working with My Dog

Ghost upside down

My dog is a husky, and a hunter. In fact, he was given away from his last home due to him being a threat to the cats that lived there. I have been working with him to correct this behaviour through moment-to-moment application when the programming is triggered, on walks and when he is loose in the yard, for example. I understand that this hunting programming is deeply embedded in his genetic coding, and there only be so much I can do, but so too is my OCD inherited through my genes and is in my DNA.

Throughout the months of working with him, I have noticed so many similarities with how I have been working with myself with OCD. I have to become very vigilant and observe him and his body language so that I can tell when he is triggered, see what his triggers are, and notice when he is in full-fledged hunting mode. I use my sound and some physical intervention to snap him out of it, to support him through it, and to redirect him.

Interestingly, this is the same application that applies to me in my own self-support, where I have to watch out for a learn my own triggers, observe my internal reactions and changes, and then snap myself out of it, support myself through it and/or redirect myself.

One cool thing about working with myself through animals has been practicing and playing with my sound, my voice and accordingly who I am within myself when I speak, act and direct myself, the animals, and myself with the animals.  To illustrate, I have shared my experiences here:

Becoming the Alpha Female

The Quantum Moment Before the Death of A Chicken

Horses of No Value?

Animal Experiences with Kim and Leila

I have noticed that when I speak to the animals, so much of who I am within myself comes through and can be revealed and reflected in the animal’s behaviour. In my current position in life, I deal with animals daily, namely dogs and horses. It has been over a year now in this environment, and I have done much work on taking a stand, being clear, working through my uncertainties and being able to speak and sound my words in such a way that is different than it has been in the past.

In the past, my insecurities, my uncertainty, my inferiority and so much more, would be the predominant factors coming through as my Who I Am’ in my voice, my words and my sound. There is an element of ‘fake it till you make it’ involved in the learning process, as one plays around with different words, tones and volumes, but with animals (and small children), you can only get away with so much. Mostly they will hear these characteristics even more so than what you are actually trying to say! I have had instances of speaking or yelling loudly, only to be completely ignored and brushed aside! This would cause me to react in frustration, irritation and disempowerment, showing me that I still had work to do on myself with regards to the aforementioned characteristics I was living and bringing through as me as I spoke.

This is not to say that I have perfected my sound/speaking/voice, not at all! It is definitely a work in progress, and I work on it every day, especially as I walk my dog. This relates to OCD/derma very much though, because as I develop and transform these weaknesses (uncertainty, insecurity, inferiority) into strengths (certainty, confidence, equality), in order to work with the animals, I have found that I naturally turn into and towards myself now, and work with myself more effectively because of it! For example, when I get triggered, I muster up the same assertiveness I have to muster up with my dog when he is triggered into hunting, or the horses when they fight and bicker with each other. To me, it is very motivating, because I do not want my dog to catch and kill the chickens or other small animals on the farm, and with the horses, I do not want them to get hurt, or hurt me when they begin rearing and kicking, so the situations can become quite serious.

It is this seriousness that I am now able to see and recognize with my disorder. Before, I would not see it as such a ‘bad’ thing, because I wasn’t harming anyone but myself. But from that perspective, I am making the statement that it is ‘ok’ to harm myself. The reality and truth of me that is/was hiding behind that statement is that I hadn’t valued myself, cherished myself or honoured myself in such a way where self-harm would just naturally be a serious matter that must be stopped.

In the end, the qualities that I saw were important to develop when working with my dog and other animals assisted and supported me to be able to stand up within and as my SELF! Where, when I would be/am triggered, I immediately go into the certainty of who and how I want to be in that moment, the confidence that I am worth it, the equality of being equal to and not inferior to my disorder – equality meaning, the disorder that I have does not rule and direct my life, I have a say, I decide, and as I continue to strengthen my resolve, I decide whether or not there is a place for it in my life, and it’s looking more and more like my decision is NO.



Dermatillomania and Self-Sabotage: Why it Happens


Within this blog, I am continuing from my last blog where I stated “I will demonstrate how to investigate, understand and find the source of thoughts, forgive them, and re-script a new way of being/thinking/doing while incorporating Mr. Schwartz’s suggestions.” Within this statement, what I am referring to is the thoughts that cause the internal energetic environment, or feeling/emotional state that leads to picking. I am going to look at where the thoughts come from/what leads to them, pulling them out like strings. I will then forgive them, which releases and diffuses them and the energy they create within self. Then I will ‘re-script’ a new way of being and doing.


In my previous blog I had documented an example of how I negated a picking session. To briefly re-cap, I identified a moment where I knew I was setting myself up to pick my skin, I defined that moment in words and used the tool of self-forgiveness to ‘diffuse’ my mind. I then made a plan for how my afternoon would play out upon walking into my empty apartment, and I lived the plan instead of participating in derma. Please read that blog for context by clicking Here.


It was really amazing to walk this solution and have it work, but unfortunately, it isn’t as simple as finding a single solution and having it work like magic or like a quick fix. Everything has multi-dimensions and layers that have to be exposed and walked, and so here I will describe a point of self-sabotage that opened up the next time I tried to employ the same technique of ‘making a detailed plan and sticking to it’:


I was trying to think of a plan for when I would wake up in the morning. I knew I would have free time so I knew there would be the temptation to pick. I tried to think of a plan and I became continuously distracted; I felt bored and frustrated by making a plan. I would go ‘blank’, and then I started really resisting making a plan, saying to myself, “it’s the weekend, I’ll figure it out tomorrow, why am I putting myself through this now? “ The feeling I had within me was a strong defiance and negative emotion towards pushing myself to do what should be an act of self-support. But it did not feel self-supportive at all. I felt like I was depriving myself or losing something and there was a strong presence of fear.


This entire play-out was me using my mind to sabotage myself within living a solution I had found and proven to myself mere days prior. I am going to investigate these reactive thoughts by using self-forgiveness as follows:


(side note: at the end of this blog I gathered the realizations I revealed within and through the self-forgiveness process)


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to have an adverse reaction to making myself a plan for the day so that I can support myself to do something OTHER than pick my skin.


Now to describe the reaction in words through self-forgiveness:


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not want to make a plan for my day because I feel it is ‘boring’ and ‘constrictive’ and it makes me feel ‘trapped’ like ‘I can’t move’ or have ‘no freedom’.


Now to figure out WHY I feel this way:


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to manifest the energetic experiences of ‘boredom’ (which is generally avoidance), ‘constriction’, ‘trapped’ and ‘loss of freedom’ in connection to the thought of making a self-supportive plan to help me avoid a picking session.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel ‘constricted’ and ‘trapped’ when and as I would make a set plan for myself for a period of time because I think/believe/perceive that if I stick to that plan there will be no time for me to ‘do what I want’.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that making a plan prevents me from “doing what I want,” when I can see clearly that “doing what I want” means picking my skin because I subconsciously want to repeat the pattern and live out the compulsions because I think I need to satisfy the urge, within this I see, realize and understand that I subconsciously fear having a plan because I see it as a threat to my picking sessions, and if I don’t get my picking sessions, I will feel horrible.


Here I have to now recognize the distinction between ‘what I want’ – which is to stop picking, and ‘what I think I want’ – which is to satisfy the urge to pick my skin by following through with the compulsion.


Within the following statements I am using Psychiatrist Jeffrey Schwartz’s techniques of re-attributing and re-valuing thoughts, except that I’ve added the dimension of self-responsibility. (For example, where he would say “this thought is not me, it’s my OCD, I would say “this thought is my creation, I take self-responsibility to investigate how/why I created it, I realize it is merely a mind-creation and that it does not support me in my living, I forgive myself for having accepted and allowed this thought, and I will no longer accept and allow it to exist within and as me, I commit myself to…..” and then I will specify the change I intend to live). I’ll expand on this in my next blog.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that being free to pick my skin is the same as being free to ‘do what I want’.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that I want to pick my skin, instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that it is the OCD, the disorder that I have created within and as myself as my mind which leads me to believe this is what I want due to myself having used skin picking as a coping mechanism for various reasons throughout my life.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to not see, realize and understand that what I really want is to live out the self-supportive plans I make for myself, because they are plans made within self-direction, meaning plans that I made to intentionally support myself, benefit myself, and assist myself to walk towards stopping this disorder and healing.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel trapped if I think I won’t have a chance to pick my skin.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear not being able to pick my skin within the thought/perception/belief that I won’t ever feel better and I will feel intensely uncomfortable forever if I don’t get to pick.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that the bad feelings will last forever and that I can’t prevail or wait them out or survive them, and within this I remind myself that all energy eventually runs out.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel an intense fear when I think I’m not going to be able to pick because I feel like I am losing/denying a piece of myself.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to identify so much with dermatillomania that I have begun to believe it is part of Who I Am and a part of me that I couldn’t survive without.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to think/believe/perceive that I would die without derma, and to translate this subconscious thought/perception/belief into extreme fear and anxiety on a conscious mind level which seems undefinable and inescapable whenever it comes up.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to feel suffocated when I make a plan that doesn’t involve derma, and within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to associate the acquiescence of myself to this disorder to breath itself, as if without it, I couldn’t breathe.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to associate breathing and freedom to derma instead of seeing, realizing and understanding that I have it exactly backwards, wherein this disorder is controlling me, suffocating my natural expression, and it has me trapped like a prisoner in my own body.


I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to sabotage myself by adversely reacting to making a plan because in reality I subconsciously want to continue to pick because I have lead myself to (subconsciously) believe that if I don’t pick I will suffocate and die, within this, I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to place this disorder as more important and more vital than myself and my real life and my real breathing and Who I Really Am.


So what the this investigation process reveal? Reality check:


1) That I sabotage myself from supporting myself to heal because deep down I don’t really want to heal, I don’t want to let go of derma because I believe so strongly that I need it and that I would die without it. I have led myself to see and experience it as a coping mechanism that I cannot cope without, although here I remind myself that I have never actually tried, and that it might not be as bad/difficult/terrible as I imagine. Please read a similar blog I wrote on the topic: The Fear of NotHaving OCD.


2) That I had never clearly made the differentiation between ‘what I want’ and ‘what I think I want’. This point needs to be hammered home because ‘wanting to pick’ is my default programming that I immediately go to, I trust it and follow it through despite experiencing the same consequences each time.


3) That I blind myself to the reality consequences I create for myself when I pick. It’s like I forget each time I start a picking session, that the consequence of that session will probably feel just as bad or worse than the feelings I’m escaping through picking.


4) That I feel trapped if I see I’m not going to be able to pick. When I look at this statement now I see that I am only trapped to face myself and the feelings/emotions I have created. I will look into this in blogs to come. Conversely, I feel that if I can get the opportunity to pick, I feel free and liberated. I have this exactly backwards in my mind.


5) That I irrationally believe that if I don’t participate in derma I will die, and this deep deep belief creates an underlying fear that builds up regularly.


I will go up till here for this blog, and continue with scripting my self-commitments and self-corrective application in my next blog.


The False Victories

Within OCD, there are many vicious cycles. The vicious cycle is one that self-perpetuates, where one action feeds the next, and the next, and then it loops around back to the first, like a snake eating its tail. Within OCD, some cycles are quick ups and downs, highs and lows, or lows and lowers. I’ve also noticed is a longer cycle which over-arches the others. It is a slow decent towards a fall, a giving up or giving in, or towards varying degrees of rock bottom. Rock bottom is a place of consequence. It is the outflow or result of actions which one had accepted and allowed oneself to participate within and as, which one usually already knew would be consequential, yet did not practice prevention.


Dealing with consequences and picking oneself up from a point of consequence is not easy, and I find it necessary to be clear on one’s starting point when directing oneself out of consequence and back into a standing, self-directed living. The starting point that I have stood from in the past has been one of guilt, polarity and regret for what I had done, and that which I accepted and allowed within myself. This does not create a stable foundation from which to build, but rather creates self-judgment, and thus things like self-hate and other forms of self-compromise, which are only ever self-sabotage, and will therefore always be followed by another fall. The only starting point that will stand the test of time is one based in the principle of equality and oneness as what’s best for all. So I have to ask myself: Am I contributing to this life to my fullest potential when I have OCD? No, because I spend an incredible amount of time dealing with the disorder in one way or another, which is an incredible amount of time focused only on myself. Am I equal and one? No, because the disorder has directive over me, thus I have separated myself in so many ways, including myself as the disorder, and myself as the sufferer of the disorder. I am not equal to myself as the disorder; I have accepted and allowed the disorder to become greater than my self-directive principle.

Herein, I continue getting to know myself as OCD/dermatillomania, because I cannot be equal to that which I do not understand. I am looking specifically at the above mentioned cycle: the rise from the rock-bottom experience of manifested consequence: I always rise from rock-bottom, if for no other reason than a lack of alternatives. It is necessary for me to clear my starting point within this inevitable and predictable cycle, so that I can continue working towards a permanent solution for myself, to be able to live and express as ME, and not an endlessly limited version of myself.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to give myself slack and loosen my grip on the reigns in my life when and as I am on the upside of the cycle of OCD.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to see, realize and understand that the strength I feel that comes in cycles is not necessarily something I actually directed myself to, but rather simply the upside of a cycle within which I would have experienced the down side of the ‘low’ just before, with the rise being mostly only an inevitability for one that has not given up completely, thus making the disorder at times bearable enough to not have to really face changing/stopping for real.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to waste any real and actual progress I may have made in pushing myself to stop and change, by taking slack at the most important moment, the actual moment/opportunity where real change is possible, by giving in and becoming aloof in that moment, showing that I still fear to really stop and change, and I still have not made the genuine decision to do so, and I am still enslaved or a prisoner to my accepted and allowed way of living, which is a way that is less than who I am or what I have the potential to be, and a way that actually includes self-destructive elements.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear change.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to fear to not have OCD as an outlet/escape/distraction/reaction/energy generator.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to create and manifest a positive energetic charge in relation to the upside of the repeating cycle I experience within/as OCD, and I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to then fear to lose this positive experience, thus self-creating the conditions for myself to fear to change.

I forgive myself for accepting and allowing myself to slacken up and let myself slide within the disorder when I am on the upside of the cycle because I ‘feel’ strong, and I ‘feel’ like I can let myself slip ‘just a little bit’, within the belief that I will bounce back easily, when inevitably and predictably, the slippery slope becomes an unmanageable force and I fall back to square one.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to push through and persevere most when it counts most, which is when I feel I need it the least, when my guards are down, and when I am is a ‘positive’ energy that I fear to lose.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to pick myself up out of guit, regret and a lack of alternatives, rather than a self-directed standing up.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to stand from an unstable starting point, despite the fact tha tI already know where it is going to lead: to another fall.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to  spite myself by continuing to pick myself up without forst clearing my starting point

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to fear to clear my sterting point because I know that it will leave no more room for excuses and I wont be able to justify my slips down the slippery slope towards an all-out fall.

I forgive myself for not accepting and allowing myself to time-loop over and over again, allowing for discouragement, self-questioning and a diminished sense of self-trust.