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.



The Decision to STOP

stopThe decision to stop never really happens in one moment. Even when I make a decision to stand in one moment and I stand, I realize that the moment was never an isolated incident. Moments of Decision Making and ‘Taking A Stand’ open up, but are only ever the result of all the other moments that took place before, the thousands of little moments that accumulated and contributed to who we are in this moment Here. This is what determines if Who I Am is someone that will stand, or someone that will fall.

For me, the development of resolve is tested every day. I have stood up and made decisions, and it is almost as if by design I am immediately tested in a way that is greater than I what I believed myself to be capable of. As if the experience of power and mightiness that I feel in that moment of making a decision is matched by a direct challenge, and as a result, I fall often.

This is because it is not about the way one ‘feels’ when a decision is made, but rather how one directs self through all the moments before, the moments that led to the opening up of a moment of opportunity, where one can really make the decision to take a stand.

For me, there were moments where I was able to stand and face myself. These were moments where I believed it to be too big or too overwhelming, yet I was able to find a place within myself where there was safe quietness, a true source of power.

What I learned was, it is never about the feeling or experience one has while making a decision. In fact, if there is any kind of feeling or emotion in the moment of making a decision, I can be sure that I will be tested and fall. This is because thoughts, feelings and emotions do not create a stable foundation base from which to stand. They are erratic, unpredictable and come and go seemingly on their own. We don’t’ necessarily have control over our feelings and emotions in a way that is constructive or beneficial, in fact, we most often seem to use them in the form of self-sabotage and self-manipulation. So, how can we depend on these undependable, sporadic and non-substantial things to face our darkest hour? In my experience, we cannot.

Real strength and resolve comes from directing oneself in the decisions one makes every day, in many many seemingly insignificant, or even significant moments. When I faced myself in my darkest hour and was finally able to stand, it was only after I had spent weeks doing a little bit every day. Most days there is no feeling or experience of advancement or result, and one has to direct self with common sense, within knowing what is best. Testing, playing with all things, and keeping what is good.

I am still faced with challenges every day, and I have to make the decision to stop, to start, to move, to look, to stay still, over and over again, in many moments throughout the day. It can be a bit of a jungle out there, but we each have more power than we may think.

For me, the tools and skills I have developed for myself have been a result of studying and applying the Desteni principles. It is the only way I have had any real effect. It takes time, but not an endless amount of time.

Check out this blog for some insight into daily accumulation: Creating Structure(s)



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.