Imprisoned in your Own Home
Warning: Do not read or use these techniques if you are a child or have ‘Harm OCD.’ Use the soft options instead.
There are so many types of OCD that it can manifest in lots of different ways for different people. While there are many avenues to treat OCD like therapy and medication I want to help you achieve the seemingly impossible, that’s to show you an OCD treatment you can use at home for free.
That’s the good news. The not so good news is that I can’t help with all forms of OCD.
But I can help you if you have Checking OCD.
So if you repeatedly check the oven’s off, your doors locked, your power outlets are off, your windows are shut, etc… then you’re in the right place.
I can help you right here at your home right now.
Traditional therapy is difficult, time-consuming and can cost the earth.
Some people are spending nearly $1,000 a week in the USA. While this is money well spent if successful you’ve got to consider that this type of therapy can last several months with no guarantees of success.
Not everyone can afford this and many have no insurance.
So hopefully I’ll be able to explain my system and you can get back to the life you deserve.
I want to show how to overcome your OCD checking and show you that you are truly ‘stronger than OCD.’
But how do we accomplish this?
Traditional therapy like Exposure Response Prevention therapy will ‘expose’ you to your OCD fear and stop you from ritualizing or rechecking (in our case.)
They teach you to only check each thing once then you have to live with that doubt.
Say for example you lock your front door.
Your therapist will encourage you to check the handle just once and then walk away and leave your house.
This leaves you in a stressful state which can put your anxiety through the roof.
At least initially.
What I’m offering you is something different.
Instead of having you live with the doubt…I’ll help you eliminate it.
I will help you to check the things around your house and have you remember that each thing has been checked properly.
We will use a specially adapted memory system that will show you how to beat this type of checking.
It’s a four-part system I have termed as ‘The Look, Lock, Label and Leave System.’
With a bit of practice, you can apply it in seconds and absolutely destroy your OCD in the process.
So let’s learn a bit more about it.
Like I said we’ll be using a couple of ancient memory systems specifically adapted to help us remember what we’ve checked is safely off, locked and closed.
There are a couple of things I’d like to clear up first.
Firstly the techniques I’m about to show you have been used for over two thousand years. They are tried and tested throughout the ages. They work and are very effective.
I have adapted and refined them to treat this type of OCD.
Secondly, most of those memory masters you see on Youtube are using variations of these systems. They can achieve incredible feats like remembering several thousand digits of pi with perfect recollection because they are using these types of mnemonics.
And these folk are no different to you or me, they don’t have some superpower.
They are just using specific mnemonic techniques to boost their memory in order to retain that information.
So if these masters can remember a couple of hundred names and phone numbers of complete strangers on the first meeting, how difficult do you think it can be to remember that the front door is locked?
With the right strategy, it’s easy.
Let’s get to that strategy right now.
The System & Why Labels are so Important
The rest of this post will focus on explaining ‘The Look, Lock, Label and Leave System.’
If you don’t understand what I’m about to explain don’t worry.
When we learn something new there’s always a learning curve.
If you would like a practical example then learn how to stop OCD checking your front door here.
Let’s take a look quick overview of each part so you get a general idea of it, then we’ll dig in a bit deeper.
Look– this may seem simple but we cannot actually apply this system unless we’re actually looking at the thing we need to check. Remember the lesson on tagging. In it, we learned that it would be worthless to tag an object to our arm unless we’re actually physically looking at it in the first place.
Also when we’re looking we only look at the thing we’re checking. When we label (or tag) to a body part we do not look at our body. Everything is done in our imagination.
In a minute we’ll find out exactly what we do look at.
Just know for now we actually physically check with our eyes each thing we check.
We keep our eyes open during the entire process and we only look at certain parts of what we’re checking (more on this soon.)
Lock– this part just doesn’t refer to checking doors.
Lock means that we ‘lock-on’ a coded image to remind us that the thing we’re checking is safely off, locked and closed.
For example, we see ice crusting over the oven. Ice means the oven is cold…if it’s cold then it must be off.
Each thing we check will have it’s own coded image we ‘lock-on’ or attach to it.
Label– this is a vital aspect of the whole system. We take the coded image that we attached to the thing we’re checking and then attach it to our body.
The reason we do this is because we want to carry that coded image with us so that when we’re down the road or in bed at night and we start to worry that we’ve left the oven on, all we do is review that coded image on our body then our minds will be put at ease.
We do not think about the oven, power outlet or front door lock.
We know that we only label/tag this coded image to our body when we are physically checking.
Each time we worry about accidentally leaving something on or unlocked all we have to do is review our labeled body part.
Leave– once we’ve labeled we need to seal off the area by ‘wrapping around the armor.’ What we do here is imagine armor wrapping around each body part we label to.
The reason we do this is that the Standard Checks usually involve imaginary pain when we label.
So we seal off this gruesome image for a couple reasons.
- this gruesome coded image is more bearable when we hide it behind our armor. We just open it in our imagination when and if we need to check the label.
- wrapping the armor will add more bizarre imagery to the system which makes it even more effective. Unusual, bizarre imagery is a cornerstone of this system.
Look in One Direction
For each object, you look at when checking you only look at one part of it. Let’s use the water faucets in this example.
Through the entire process of using this system to check the taps, I only look at the nozzle. This is to make absolutely sure that they’re turned off properly and no water is dripping.
For other objects, these are the only things that I only look at when I’m checking:
- Oven- the controls
- All appliances- the plug at the end of the cord (Personally I unplug every appliance in the house before I leave except the fridge)
- Power Sockets- look at sockets
- Light Switches- light switch controls
- Fridge- look to see the doors are shut properly (I also give a slight push with my hand)
- Windows- look at the window lock or latches
- Doors- turn key then give the door a gentle pull (I also look at the lock of the door but since you can’t actually see it lock I also give it a slight pull)
Picture Perfect- The Locksmith
Our next step is to ‘Lock in a picture’ to the object we’re checking to symbolize- (remind us) that we’ve checked it.
For all of these objects, we create a mental picture of ice forming over its entire surface.
- Washing Machine & Dryers
- Fire Place
- Power Sockets
- Light Switches
- All Appliances- (including everything electrical like the computer, toaster, kettle, television, curling irons, etc…)
Question: Why do we freeze these objects?
Answer: Ice will remind us that the object is cold. If it’s cold then it must be off.
Important: Since I make sure all the power sockets are off and nothing is plugged in when I leave my house, I don’t use this system on any of my small appliances except the electric kettle.
This object causes me a bit more anxiety. The same should be true for you. As long as you use this system on the power sockets you shouldn’t need to use it on every other electrical appliance. However, if there are appliances that cause you a lot of distress like curling irons, heater or clothes iron, etc…then go ahead and use this system on each of those other objects as well.
I use the image of a large screw being drilled into the nozzle of all taps. This reminds us that the nozzle is blocked and no water is dripping. We see the image of a drill suspended in mid-air hovering above the bottom of the sink, facing up so the screw can be inserted into the nozzle.
Important: As the screw is being drilled in it doesn’t break the nozzle in any way.
The image we use to remind us that we’ve properly checked that the doors are locked is a bolt lock. To remind us the windows are shut properly we use the image of a padlock. For the bolt lock image that we ‘Lock onto’ the door, I make that image big as this helps us to remember.
The final image we use is that of a giant belt. We imagine it wrapping around the doors of the fridge. We do this to make sure the doors are shut properly and our food doesn’t go off.
Wearing the Label
We are now ‘Looking’ at the right part of the OCD object. We have successfully ‘Locked On’ the image to remind us that it has been properly checked. We now ‘Label’ that same image to a part of our body.
Oven, Washing Machine, Dryer, Television, Fireplace, Heaters Large Electrical Appliances, Fireplace, and Oven- from the previous page we ‘Locked On’ the image of ice to these objects.
For OCD objects like the oven, washing machine, dryer or fireplace what I do is place a foot (or hand) next to it as the ice is crusting over. Now your foot is frozen you pull it away from the object. You then let the ice sink into that foot so there’s no ice protruding.
Now your foot is so frozen it’s become badly frostbitten and it has turned a black and blue color. It’ so frozen that half your foot (or hand) breaks off.
All Electrical Power Sockets
When we freeze the power sockets the process is slightly different. We start by imaging a piece of ice suspended in mid-air a couple of inches away. It drifts closer to it eventually embedding into the power socket (on the wall) and freezing it.
Now I imagine that there is a power socket on the top of my thigh. Again I imagine a piece of ice suspended in mid-air drifting into the socket on my thigh and freezing it.
Now I imagine that frozen socket going deeper and deeper into the muscle leaving behind a large crevasse. Blood and other bodily tissues start to drip into the crevasse and down my leg.
You know the Drill
All Water Taps
Since we drilled the screw into the tap nozzles we now drill large screws into parts of our body. Still looking at the nozzle we imagine a drill suspended mid-air with a giant screw, about to be driven into your upper arm. Hear the drill spinning as it pierces the muscle, then bone then more muscle as it breaches the other side. Trickles of blood and other tissues start to drip down your arm, as that area turns a blue and purplish color.
Pierce and Push
Doors and Windows
After we have ‘Locked-in’ the image of a bolt lock to the doors we then ‘Label’ it to the body by using a piercing gun.
As you leave your house lock it with a key and give a gentle pull. Then imagine a giant bolt lock attached to the outside of the door to remind you it’s properly locked.
To label it to your body imagine a small bolt lock being pierced into the middle part of the bottom of your nose. Then imagine it bending in half and being pushed up in the nose tearing the middle tissue. As blood starts dripping down your nose and into your mouth.
I know that you may have multiple doors leading to the outside.
If this is the case then you can pierce small bolt locks to your ears, eyebrows and even nipples. Whatever suits, then bend them in half and drive them into your body.
After you’ve checked that the windows are shut imagine a large padlock is ‘Locked onto’ the window. To ‘Label’ it to your body you could imagine regular size padlocks being pierced through the bottom parts of your forearms.
We can also freeze light switches the same way we froze the power sockets.
Start by merging a piece of ice into the light switch on the wall. Then imagine a light switch on top of part of your body. See an image of a piece of ice merge into this switch and embedding deeper into the muscle.
As an added touch I like to imagine four little screws at the bottom of the frozen light switch. (Obviously, the screws are only visible in my mind’s eye.) They make a drilling sound taking the frozen switch deeper and deeper into my body.
Kettle and other small appliances
As I’ve said before the electric kettle is the only appliance that causes me anxiety when I check to leave my house. I imagine it sitting on top of my head. Then I freeze the kettle from top to bottom all the way down my head to just above my eyes. Then I imagine the top of my head caving in with the kettle now inside.
Important: As I’ve said before since I use this system on all of the power sockets most of the other electrical appliances don’t bother me. However, if you still feel anxiety over appliances like curling irons or toaster, etc… then you can use the same technique above.
If there are a number of appliances then you could also freeze them onto your shoulders and let them cave into your chest cavity. If the appliance is big like a laptop or coffee machine then shrink its size first before freezing it to a body part and letting it cave in.
Also if it’s really big like a washing machine then put a hand or foot next to it as it’s frosting over. Pull hand away, let ice sink in so it’s frostbitten. Then let it turn the hand (or foot) black and blue as half of it snap off.
The fridge is the final thing to check. I give the doors a gentle push to make sure they’re closed properly. I then imagine a giant belt tightly wrapping around it and buckling up to remind us that it’s shut.
To label it to our body I imagine a thin belt being pulled tighter and tighter around my waist. So tight that it cuts through the skin and deep into the muscle. As blood starts dripping down my body.
Putting on the Armour: Leave-The Final Piece to the Puzzle
This is the last image you label on your body. Say you’ve locked in the image of ice to the oven then labeled it to your foot. Your foot is now frozen with ice. Imagine walking down the street with a frostbitten foot that’s so frozen some toes have broken off. (Broken off toes is a bizarre image that helps the mind to remember.)
You should be able to remember you’ve checked the oven when you leave the kitchen or entire house. However, we now have a new problem. Your frozen toeless foot should be so vivid that that image has now got the potential to become a new OCD trigger!
It’s not just your foot either. Imagine having giant screws piercing your arm or a bolt lock piercing your nose as you’re walking down the street. This could trouble your mind and as I’ve already stated. So the last technique you use is something I’ve called ‘Putting on the Armour.
Think like a Transformer
Now I want you to take your frozen toeless foot and imagine a moon boot wrapping it. The type of ‘moon boot’ someone would wear if they had badly torn ligaments in the ankle area. But don’t visualize slipping into it and buckling it up.
That would take a lot of unnecessary time.
So to save time and make it more memorable imagine the moon boot wrapping around your foot like a transformer. You do this for all the visualizations you label to the body. Take my right upper arm for instance. This is where I imagine two large screws have been drilled into that area.
This reminds me that my bathroom taps have been checked. The next step immediately after would be put on the armor. This involves imagining a thick metal magically appearing and wrapping around my entire upper arm. Just like you would see in a Transformer movie.
As I said before you do this for all images you label to your body. Even if you imagine swallowing something in order to remember it. (You use the image of swallowing when using this system to remember you have your wallet on you.)
Now some of you at this stage may be confused about applying this system. So let’s review some of the important aspects of it.
Some Important Tips
Use All Your Senses
When we Lock in a picture, Label that image to our body and even when we ‘Put on the Armour’ it’s very important to use all the senses.
For example, when we freeze the oven we not only visualize it frosting over in our minds but hear a crackling icy sound as well.
When it reaches our foot that’s resting and touching the oven we feel the coldness of it being frosted over. We also hear a tearing sound as we pull our foot away from the frozen oven.
We hear more frosting sounds again as the ice seeps right into the foot.
In our imagination we see the frostbitten foot turn black and blue and even feel half of it snap off. The more senses we use the better we remember and the better this system works.
Important: When frosting power sockets a crackling sound might not be a good idea as this could be confused with an electrical fire. But do whatever works for you.
The reason we use pain when we ‘Label the Image’ to our body is that this also helps us to remember.
To be effective we must work with our memory. The images need to be unusual, bizarre and exaggerated in some way.
If I simply said to imagine that a power socket is stuck to your thigh then that image would not be unusual enough. If however we imagine and feel a frozen power socket being driven deep into the muscle creating a large crevasse, then that image is a whole lot easier to remember.
Keep the Routine
If you already have a routine then keep that the same. When you go room by room checking each OCD object then you simply apply this system at each location.
I start in the kitchen, then lounge, then the bathroom, etc…locking on images then labeling them to my body. I start the labeling on my left foot, work my way up to my head then back down the other side ending on my right lower leg.
Do the same if you wish or create your own system. Do whatever works for you.
After a bit of practice, your checking and labeling routine will become second nature. You’ll know which body part represents the particular OCD object you checked.
Opening the Armour
If you start to feel any anxiety that you may have left the stove on or not locked the door properly then the solution is simple.
Open the armor on your foot and look at that frostbitten toe less mess then seal it up again.
For checking the door, open the armor on your nose again so you can see and feel all that blood and tissue dripping into your mouth. Finish by putting the armor back on again.
Important: It’s important that when the image is labeled to the body that we engage with it emotionally. We should be repulsed by the image of that gross frostbitten toeless foot. This helps to make the image even more memorable.
Big and Deep
It’s a good idea to make the screw images you label to your body very large. When you exaggerate the size of the screws then it’s easier to remember.
When embedding the frozen power sockets into your thigh (or whatever body part you choose), make the image big and make sure it goes deep into the muscle. The deeper the better.
For my thigh example, I imagine the frozen socket going at least halfway through that part of my leg.
Focus, Focus, Focus
In order for this system to work, you must focus your full attention on the job at hand. Each check (after a bit of practice) should only take a few seconds. But you must focus on Looking, Locking, Labeling then Leaving and nothing else.
That few seconds of concentration is vital. I can’t stress this point enough. So focus all of your attention when applying this system and nothing else. After you’ ve put on the armor for each object you can break attention till you move on to the next one. But when applying the system focus solely on this.
To begin with we learned that while traditional therapy works for OCD, with our compulsive checking rituals we can overcome them by approaching them from another direction.
Exposure Response Prevention Therapy will expose you to your anxiety and not let you ritualize.
This creates incredible distress as we are no longer allowed to recheck the things in our house.
Instead of living with doubt what I help people do is remove that doubt through memory systems.
Memory experts can accomplish incredible feats that almost seem superhuman but the truth is that they are just using specific strategies.
Then I introduced you to my memory system for overcoming OCD checking which I have termed as ‘The Look, Lock, Label and Leave System.’
This four-part system removes our doubt and the ‘what if’ monster.
- Look- we look at the thing we’re checking
- Lock- we lock on a coded image to the thing we’re checking
- Label- we label this same coded image to a body part
- Leave- we wrap around the armor to seal off that label
We learned that we don’t just passively use these coded images. Instead, we engage as many senses as possible.
Also when we label these coded images we use imaginary pain as this helps them stick better to our body parts.
Whenever we start to worry that we may have left the oven on or a door unlocked all we have to do is reopen the armor and check that label.
One thing that doesn’t have to change is our system of checking our houses. All we have to do is know where to label each thing we check.
Once we have this system in place we always label the same body part.
Exaggerating the size of the images we lock on and then label makes them more memorable which is our purpose.
Finally, we found out that focus is the key.
We need a laser-like focus on each thing we check…but the good news is that with a bit of practice each thing can be checked within a few seconds.
Hey, I hope you enjoyed this article. I know there are literally millions of people worldwide suffering from this type of OCD checking.
If you find the content on this website helpful then do you think you could do me a favor and share it with your social network.
Maybe we can turn the tables on OCD and in the process turn the tide on this illness as well.
Thanks if you do and thank you all for supporting ‘Stronger than OCD.’