OCD Grabbing Onto Fun: Worksheet

Jul 01, 2023

Are you aware of all the rules your OCD has when it comes to fun? You might be surprised to how many you relate to! 

People with OCD often find it challenging to experience genuine enjoyment. This struggle can be disheartening, leaving individuals feeling disconnected from the concept of fun and trapped within their OCD. The nature of OCD makes it prone to hijacking enjoyable moments through intrusive thoughts and compulsive behaviors. Distressing thoughts may involve fears of harm, contamination, or other unsettling themes, making it difficult for individuals to fully engage and immerse themselves in the present moment.

In addition to this, people with OCD may find themselves compelled to perform certain actions or follow specific "rules" in order to feel a sense of safety or prevent negative outcomes. These are compulsions and they can include: following a strict schedule, adhering to specific routines, seeking reassurance from others, avoiding certain activities or environments, and constantly monitoring for potential risks or threats.

As a result, the focus shifts from embracing the experience to fulfilling the compulsive behaviors, robbing individuals of the freedom to let go and fully engage in the moment.

I felt exceptionally disconnected from the feeling of fun for a LONG time. The concept felt relatively foreign. All the “fun” I had came with such specific criteria and purpose that by the time I had jumped through all the hoops and rules for it, it no longer felt fun.

In the Navigating Values and Identity group I run at NOCD, we discussed this phenomenon and came up with a list of rules our OCD might impose on having fun. This list is divided into 2 columns: the things our OCD says we MUST do, and the things our OCD says we MUST NOT do.

Attached below, I’d encourage you to print out this list and check off any rules you may relate to. Awareness is always the first step to change.

What would it be like to have fun without these rules? What is the next step you need to take to get there?

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