Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Last month we looked at general anxiety disorder, and this time we will be focusing on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

 OCD is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviours aimed at reducing anxiety, or by a combination of such thoughts (obsessions) and behaviours (compulsions). Symptoms may include repetitive hand-washing; preoccupation with particular religious beliefs; aversion to odd numbers; and nervous habits, such as opening a door and closing it a certain number of times before one enters or leaves a room. It has a lifetime prevalence of 2-3% in the general population, and usually arises in late childhood or early adolescence (Kessler et al., 2005).

The diagnostic criteria according to the DSM-IV (the manual used by the UK and America to clinically diagnose) are as follows:

• The presence of obsessions or compulsions (as described above)

• A recognition (at least some of the time) that the obsessions or compulsions are excessive or unreasonable (this criterion does not apply to children).

• The individual’s obsessions or compulsions cause significant distress (i.e. it bothers the person that he or she has the problem) or significant interference in the person’s day-to-day life. For example, the obsessions or compulsions may make it difficult for the person to perform important tasks at work, interfere with relationships, or get in the way of other day-to-day tasks.

• If another psychological problem is present, the obsessions and compulsions are not restricted to it. For example, people with bulimia often ruminate about food and engage in repetitive behaviours, such as binge eating and purging. This would not be considered OCD.

• The obsessions and compulsions are not simply due to a substance or medical condition.

Recently I was doing some personal research on Silverweed flower essence and spent a week taking the essence, tuning in, and writing down what happened to me. I experienced the negatives of Silverweed profoundly. In particular I notice I became overly absorbed in details. This manifested as getting consumed in the minutiae of what I was writing, so perfectionistic was I about my choice of words that I would check dictionaries, study the etymology, then the myriad thesauruses available on-line for possible alternatives, sometimes musing over a word for days. Now, I know I ‘m a bit of a stickler for perfection, but this was getting ridiculous. Everyone around me noticed I was obsessing – FFE staff encouraging me to ‘move on’ and stop taking Silverweed, as I was clearly doing a ‘proving’ of the essence.

Silverweed flower essence helps to let go and detach from fixations of the lower self. By breaking through to deeper understanding and awareness and the realisation that virtue is based on the golden mean between the extremes. Being ethically minded, we choose to live lightly in our bodies and on the Earth and with calm composure master our behaviour, so that we do not become overly consumed by our passions and thereby dissipate our energies. We go back to basics through deep contact with our true inner driving forces, the forces of nature and life and trust all our needs will be met when we walk the middle way that creates a strong foundation for right living.

Other flower essences to consider for obsessive/compulsive tendencies are: -

Birch flower essence can be used as an aid to looking at situations through different perspectives, to being open and receptive to new ideas and new ways of understanding. By releasing worry, and expectations of how things should be, or how we want them to be, we can expand our awareness and the perceived capacity to find creative routes to desired goals. Creativity is a process involving the discovery of new ideas or concepts, stimulated by the imagination and insight. Knowledge helps us to see and understand things as they are, but imagination allows us to see things as they could be. With this essence we learn to transcend our self-created limitations, continue to grow and learn, and to “think outside the box” as we harness positive emotions that broaden our awareness and encourage novel, varied and exploratory thoughts and actions.

Broom flower essence is an aid to mental clarity whereby the enhanced power of intuitive perception and abstract thinking becomes more flexible and adaptable.

Cherry is indicated when we get stuck in negative habits or patterns from the past and are stubborn and unwilling to change our viewpoint or attitude.

Lady’s Mantle brings awareness of our unconscious responses, In this case repetitive thoughts and dissociation from the reasoning faculties.

Laurel is helpful in getting organised, to be able to focus on a goal without scattering or dissipating one’s energies.

Spotted Orchid is for over-idealism and perfectionism when we may become overly critical in our attention to detail. Also indicated when preoccupied in repetitive thought patterns.

If you have knowledge or experience of using Findhorn essences for OCD type issues, we would dearly love to hear from you. Yes, we would really appreciate it if you would share your experiences. Do tell. Please write to us soon. Don’t forget! (Quick – pass me the Silverweed!)

By Michael Stoker and Marion Leigh, November 2010

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