OCD & Anxiety Treatment: The Real Problem with Anxiety
In this episode, I discuss the real problem of living with anxiety and how anxiety is different from fear. A person who is struggling with anxiety will never see anxiety as the real problem because their focus is always drawn to the potential threat their mind has generated. As the anxiety grows, which inevitably happens, her/his life will tend to become smaller and smaller. In this episode, I discuss how important it is to first see the real problem with anxiety before getting help with it.
All right. Hello and welcome to this episode where we're going to talk about the problem with living with OCD and anxiety. So again, my name's Matt Cottey and uh, welcome to the show. And so on. This episode really is going to be a start of a new series. And what I want to talk about is just the overall problem of anxiety and OCD, right? And in this, in this episode specifically, I want to address three important things to kind of really understand when it comes to really taking your life back from OCD. So the first thing that I want to do is just talk about the difference between fear and anxiety, right? Cause I think a lot of confusion, um, gets tossed around with these topics and you know, what we, what we get caught in is this idea of trying to discern, well, is this a real threat versus is this anxiety?
Right? Because obviously we deal with, um, these things very differently. So when it comes to fear, right? What we need to understand about fear is that fight or flight response is a survival mechanism that we have and has been very effective at keeping, you know, human beings alive from the Dawn of man. And the thing with fear though is, is that fear, if you were to define it, is a clear external threat that's happening right now, right? So you know, to revert back like the idea of a lion coming at you right now, right? That would produce a fear response and the fear response, right? The fight or flight response. The thing about it is it, it promotes a very clear action to take when there's a real current threat happening, right? It's either I fight off the threat or I flee it. Now the thing with anxiety is our mind will produce potential or possible threats that may happen in the future or may have happened in the past and that actually produces the same exact fight or flight response.
But the problem is, is there's an ambiguous action to take, right? There's not a clear action to take with anxiety. So we try to become certain about something or we ruminate or we do all these other safety behaviors like checking, reassurance, avoidance, um, you know, the list goes on and on and on. And the thing is, is the problem with anxiety is that it's endless, right? Cause our mind can always come up with the next thing and the next thing to be worried about. And it can just keep going and keep going and keep going and keep going. And that leads me to, you know, really the first problem with living with OCD and anxiety and not getting help is that it can just, it's endless, right? I mean, that's really the first issue, right? Is that it, it can just keep going. And as long as you're living right now, trying to control five minutes from now or five days from now, or five weeks from now, whatever, right?
You're not living now. Right? And that's, and that's really the first problem with anxiety is that it, it, because it's endless. It can just start taking over your life. And what I mean by that is taking over your present moment, right? So we spend now trying to tomorrow and then tomorrow trying to control the next day and so on and so forth and so forth. And, and that really, when I work with someone who's really lost and anxiety, that's kind of how their life is. It's always, it's always the next thing, right? They're never really present. And what happens is, is as you live your life like that, you start to look back on time and realize that you didn't, you didn't, you weren't really engaged with things that you could have been in, right? You weren't, you weren't really there in situations that you wish you were.
Right. And the, the second part is, is as, it's endless, it also grows, right? So once we start kind of really feeding a fear or a, I'm sorry, feeding a potential fear, like it was something with anxiety, it grows and grows and grows. And a good example of this, um, is in this show, better call Saul, right? And so I'm a, that was a big, uh, breaking bad fan when, uh, it was going on in a, you know, I've really been enjoying better call Saul as well. So big shout out to the creators of that show. And, um, if you haven't seen it, I, I recommend it. Um, and what's interesting in that show is it's, so there's, it's a really good example of anxiety, right? And I think it's one of, it's probably probably the best example of anxiety that I've ever seen, um, displayed in a show or a movie and you have solved, right?
And in the, in the first season, these names, uh, Jimmy, right? And he has this brother Chuck and Chuck's, uh, you know, real, um, high, high end lawyer, right? And essentially what happens is, is that he starts to develop this phobia of light in electromagnetic fields, right? And this is a, and so this wasn't something that he had area, it's something that slowly developed, right? And so it started off as a certain thing and it kind of started growing and growing and growing and growing. And then what once was, I was afraid of lights in the office became, I can't be around cell phones or battery watches or even any electricity in his house. And so what happens is, is that as his anxiety grows, he, he starts to do all these other safety behaviors. So he ends up cutting off all the electricity in his house, and then he has, you know, he has, he just lives with like a cooler and ice and this big old mansion, right?
And, um, he eventually can't leave his house. Right? And, and that's really the, um, and as anxiety grows, right? So that's the second issue. The third problem is, is that your life becomes smaller and smaller and smaller, right? And in the show, they do a really good job of that because what happens is, is he goes from being this like hot shot lawyer to essentially being agoraphobic where he can't leave his house. Now, the thing with, uh, you know, someone with a Gore phobia is usually, there's, uh, another fear that goes with that, right? There's a fear that actually is preventing them from leaving the house, right? And in this case it was this fear of the electromagnetic fields, right? And so what happens though is that as he fed that fear and started doing these safety behaviors, his life became, and smaller and smaller until eventually he was just trapped in his house.
Now with anxiety, the thing is, is the individual who struggling with anxiety will never see the real problem, right? Because their focus is always on whatever their mind is telling them. The problem is. So, and what I mean by that is in the show better call Saul Chuck, you know, he thinks the problem is the electromagnetic fields and that he has this allergy to them, right? But the real problem is, is that his life started, started, become, became consumed by it, right? Essentially to the point where he was stuck in his house and he wasn't working and he wasn't, you know, pursuing any kind of relationships and, and really just living right. He wasn't living, he was just consumed by fear, right? Consumed by anxiety. And that really is the problem of anxiety. If I had to just summarize it with, with anyone that I've ever worked with, whether it's panic attacks, OCD, general anxiety, social anxiety, phobias, um, you know, even PTSD, right?
I mean, you know, if you take the kind of six broad categories of anxiety, um, that, that really is the problem, right? Is that your mind is telling you there's this threat, right? That's an ambiguous threat, right? It's something you can't control and become, whether it's intrusive thoughts or whether it's a fear about, you know, flying weather, I mean, whatever it is, right? It's this potential threat. It's not a real threat that's happening. And because you attempt to control that and there's an, an ambiguous action to take right in there. It's something that you can't control. Generally. It just starts to consume and consume and consume. And as the anxiety grows, your life becomes smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. And that's why, um, you know, when it comes to getting help with anxiety, first and foremost, we have to see the real problem of anxiety, right?
And it's never what the content of our anxiety is actually saying. It's how that is making our life smaller. That, and you know, in my opinion is the real issue with anxiety. And again, I can speak into this personally with how without small my life became when I was really lost in that lens of OCD and anxiety. Um, you know, it, it just like you, you stopped communicating with people, you know, you stopped doing things you normally would do. You don't want to go out, you know, and, and as it grows and grows and grows, um, it just gets worse and worse and worse. Right? And so if it's something that you're struggling with, you know, the, it's so important to start taking action and getting help because there are tools and help is available. It's not a way that you have to continue to live.
And that's the, the thing that I really want to stress on this episode, um, you know, is that just because you've lived like this for, you know, however long it might've been, it doesn't have to keep going. Right? Like, you can get better and you can take your life back. And that's really what recovery is about. It's about taking your life back. It's about not letting anxiety have any say over what you do with your life, right? It's about you having control. And so to quickly recap the three things, I mean obviously I talked about the difference between anxiety and fear, but just the idea that, um, anxiety is, is endless, right? I mean, it can keep going, right? And your mind can always come up with something else to worry about. Um, anxiety grows and as anxiety grows, your life becomes smaller, right? And those are the three main points that I really want to talk about in this episode today.
Um, now if this is something you're struggling with, um, you know, I restored mines, we have resources and assessments that are free on our site to totally help you out and get you started on the right path. We also have, um, in our private community and online trainings to support you on your journey as well as, uh, you know, uh, other resources. So if this is something you struggle with, um, you know, I really encourage you to check out, um, restored mines.com. Also, we have links down below for free resources in the notes of the show. So, um, again, you know, we're here to support you on your journey to recovery. And, uh, I just want to say thank you so much for tuning in this week and, uh, we look forward to continuing this series as we're going to talk about, you know, OCD and anxiety treatment and, um, you know, what it's really gonna take to get your life back. So again, um, until next time, my name's Matt and I hope you guys have a wonderful day and I will see you next week. Take care.