Flower Remedies for Harm OCD
(n.b. page under construction)
Dr Edward Bach, British physician, homeopath and spiritual writer
Attestations abound both sides of the fence, which is to say – Google Bach Flower Remedies if you like, discord will be so evident between advocates of their bold healing claims and skeptic’s dismissals, that you’ll either not know what to do, do nothing, or be forced into pursing the most logical coarse with:
Testing their merits yourself.
And indeed, from a healing-of-Harm-OCD perspective, where there is need for improving ones mental outlook and the lifting of spirits, the wise rules to follow are:
- use caution against all too readily dismissive views towards the usefulness of alternative therapies – you may miss out on something that really can help you
- cultivate an exploratory attitude based on attaining your own pertinent conclusions: i.e. regardless of anyone else’s opinion, is this helping me? (Note this is not to discount medical advice: it too is open to due scrutiny!) After all, to make sure of your own good sense, why not check a thing out?
As you would expect, due to the nature of Harm OCD being so unwanted, within us there is a willingness to experiment with healing modalities we may hardly have heard of before. Even so, it is not unusual to become dissuaded and stalled by certain others who “think” they know better. Please keep in mind, however, large part of your recovery from Harm OCD entails becoming your own best friend, with the self-determination to find what’s best for yourself.
Essentially facts are only relevant so far as they are solving your problem, and regardless of detractors, the Bach Flower Remedies continue to grow in popularity and their extensive use should at least suggest to you that, as we believe, there is “something in them”. It is not our purpose here to convince you of this, but rather advise you to those remedies considered most suited for treatment of Harm OCD.
To this end the following list is offered as guide only. Please make sure to consider if there are other aspects of your personality that may be hindering progress – i.e. are there any other Bach Flower Remedies appropriate for you? For further guidance on the remedies, case studies, FAQ’s, and much, much more, you’ll also want to check out The Bach Centre website. Also worth your while are these free downloadable books by Dr Bach: Heal Thyself, The Twelve Healers.
Also known as the Crisis Remedy, Bach Rescue Remedy is made up of a five individual flower essences that can help with the immediate distress of finding yourself with Harm OCD. They are:
- Rock Rose ~ for terror and fright
- Impatiens ~ addresses irritation and impatience
- Clematis ~ for inattentiveness and a lack of focus
- Star of Bethlehem ~ for shock
- Cherry Plum ~ fear of the mind giving away
Relevance to Harm OCD:
There’s no two ways about it, when Harm OCD first happens upon you, and you’re thinking crazy thoughts and you’re so frightened that you’re going to start acting them out, and there’s basically no markers in your experience informing you that you are merely in the throes of an extremely upsetting but nevertheless perfectly explainable, and perfectly curable, condition – you can be so distraught, so wildly confused, so absorbed in your thoughts and unable to focus on anything else, that pretty much anything offering break from the trauma of it has to be welcomed.
Particularly so if suggested treatment points immediately to the relief of Harm OCD’s most primary symptoms, such as fright and fear of the mind giving way, as does Bach’s most famous creation, Rescue Remedy.
Generally speaking, this is the remedy to take when there’s no time for self-diagnosis, when you’re in the midst of a crisis, when your need is most dire, as is often the case the early days of your sojourn with Harm OCD, when your want of knowledge about its vexing nature is almost complete.
But it’s also useful for times of relapse, when perhaps you’ve made good progress but then all of a sudden there’s this slump in your energy and your ability to cope and you once more recoil, startled and distressed by the seeming severity of your harming obsessions. (Note: I say “seeming” here because I know we can, through developing what I like to call a “nonchalance practice”, perceive them entirely different and show far less concern.)
Often the effects of shock stay with us long after withdrawal from perceived “cause”, and we remain in state of vigilance, unable to relax, and prone to rumination. Rescue Remedy can then prove first and definite aid to nip emotional reactivity in the bud so that as the “storms” pass, we are able to let them go and encourage the return to, and lengthening of, the peaceable interludes so vital to the healing of our sensitized nerves.
Note: We’re told the crisis formula works quite quickly, because people use it for emergency situations rather than deep-rooted problems. So please be aware, although other remedies can also work quickly, if you are dealing with something that has been around a long time, such as may be the case with your Harm OCD, then it may take some time before you feel their uplifting effects.
Cherry Plum ~ for those who feel as though they are about to lose their minds or “explode” ~ for those who fear they will commit acts of extreme violence ~ the fear of losing reason and mental control in face of unwanted impulses, dreaded urges, or strong mental pressures ~ the flooding of the mind with unwanted thoughts that are strongly resisted
Relevance to Harm OCD: The Cherry Plum state presents itself as intense inner conflict in which our steady and peaceable psychological structures seem sure to crumble away under the sheer strain of holding back what we fear lies latent within us, our loathed “heinous parts”, that now, stretched emotionally and drained physically to the point of nervous exhaustion, seem like to appear in their most exaggerated and volatile forms, to our ill-fated end.
Thus composure is the quality lost. Perspective. And indeed, as Harm OCD is so particularly disorientating when it first happens upon us, and we fear we are losing our rational mind, panic and desperation may well befall us.
Nevertheless, Cherry Plum is in every practical sense the remedy most descriptive of Harm OCD and best suited to checking the heightened mental and emotional strain right at the onset, when due to our ignorance of the condition our pain is acute. Cherry Plum is the remedy for the over-strained mind.
The Positive Effects of Cherry Plum: Cherry Plum transmits the vibration of composure, and thus enables us to act and think rationally and return to the qualities of balance, calmness and positive control of the mind.
Note: When researching the Cherry Plum remedy be vigilant of descriptions that deviate largely from what appears on the Bach Centre site – i.e.: “The Cherry Plum fear is very specific: it is the fear that one is going to lose control of oneself and do something dreadful, such as injuring others or harming oneself. Fears of going mad and of acting irrationally are Cherry Plum states. Cherry Plum is also the remedy for a loss of control that has already taken place, because of the frantic fear and dread associated with such situations. Think of the fear a small child feels in the grip of a screaming, irrational tantrum: this too is a Cherry Plum state.”
Our opinion is some have taken the example of the small child “in the grip of a screaming, irrational tantrum” to mean much more than has been intended, with the literal meaning of tantrum being pushed to the fore (i.e.: a violent demonstration of rage or frustration; a sudden burst of ill temper). To the best of our knowledge Bach neither personalizes those most in need of the Cherry Plum remedy to be particularly ignorant of the differences between right and wrong, nor does he describe them as dangerous or unhinged individuals given to violence.
Rather it is the fear of becoming so, implied in the writings of Bach. Therefore, for us, the moral conscience of those in the Cherry Plum state is beyond question, and suggestions otherwise should be ignored.
White Chestnut ~ for inner turmoil and brain chatter ~ re-running conversations or arguments over and over ~ a mind that never shuts up ~ a mind like a hamster on a wheel, constantly moving faster and faster, resolving nothing ~ may suffer from headaches due to enormous mental tension ~ may unconsciously grind their teeth
Relevance to Harm OCD: A Harm OCD mind is an agitated mind and thus has no brakes, is speeded up, and apt to providing you with some pretty worrisome and dark preoccupations which through futile mental effort you will try to be rid of. For you may well have noticed, just how they boomerang back and leave you exhausted the more that you try fighting them. White Chestnut is the remedy for minds dazed and bewildered by this unending fight.
The Positive Effects of White Chestnut: Allows the mind to discriminate between thoughts that should be accepted and those that should be rejected ~ releases the need to keep replaying thought impulses which are not in your best interest ~ after treatment, a mind clear and balanced ~ the ability to let go of unwanted thoughts ~ regain mental repose and inner peace
Relevance to Harm OCD: Harm OCD is a hard thing to sit with: we don’t want it, we want rid of it now, and we are very impatient and intolerant of it. But in this restless desire to be rid of it, we’re prolonging a tension that’s quite simply at odds with what we truly desire. That is: tension acts upon our adrenaline releasing nerves, which are so sensitized they respond to the slightest stimulus, creating an almost constant trickle of adrenaline, and often a flood, which correlated with thoughts we don’t want makes us feel horrible.
Vitally Impatiens can help us to see that our harming anxiety isn’t relieved by tensing against it, but by relaxing.
The Positive Effects of Impatiens: capacity for empathy and patience ~ acceptance of others ~ ease with time and restfulness ~ the release of mental tensions and desperation
Aspen ~ for feelings of dread and anxiety, apprehension, as if something terrible is about to happen ~ fear that can develop into full-blown anxiety attacks, complete with trembling, bouts of sweating etc. ~ for troubled sleep, fear of the unknown and other fears that have no concrete source
Relevance to Harm OCD: Aspen is usually prescribed for “those who experience apprehension for which there appears to be no logical reason”, but it is appropriate for Harm OCD where there is almost constant and heightened nervous vigilance against recurrence of disturbing and aberrant thoughts. It is just for this very watchfulness a bearer of Harm OCD develops a variety of personal rituals, or compulsions, to insure against the enormous distress they fear they will feel when they once more cross paths with their harming obsessions; and it is just for this watchfulness, or foreboding, that Aspen’s prescribed.
The Positive Effects of Aspen: Aspen brings a certain composure to those inordinately sensitive to their Harm OCD, allowing them to pass through their day with far less apprehension and guardedness against the “terror”. It fortifies the “trembling heart”, so that it no longer recoils in face of foreboding, and thus allows a body geared up by so much fear to begin releasing the tension that is so much the cause of Harm OCD. This of crucial importance: relaxing. As we drop apprehension and we learn to relax, we undermine the underlying anxiety that fuels our OCD and thus begin questioning, and eventually moving beyond, the “protective” compulsive tendencies we have so long employed.
Crab Apple ~ for self-hatred ~ self -disgust ~ sense of uncleanliness ~ over concentration on one part of the whole which we don’t like ~ the need to be free from one particular thing which is greatest in ones mind and which seems so essential to be cured from ~ a general feeling that something isn’t quite right, but which they can’t get a fix on
Relevance to Harm OCD: Review of Crab Apple will lend opinion it is better suited to treating obsessive-compulsive tendencies around the cleaning of clothes, hands, house etc. However, as it belongs to the Despondency and Despair group – along with Oak, Sweet Chestnut, Willow, Star of Bethlehem, Elm and Pine – it’s included here for its prime regenerative benefit of relieving unhealthy fixations of poor self-image, such as you might feel with your Harm OCD.
The Positive Effects of Crab Apple: Crab Apple aids self-acceptance, broadmindedness and our ability to control negative thoughts, and allows us to move past old hurts and doubts that before might have subdued us. For such healing qualities it has often been referred to as the “cleanser of wounds”.
Gentain ~ for downheartedness and doubt caused by perceived knock backs ~ for when we’re feeling discouraged ~ for disproportionate upset in the face of small setbacks ~ for pessimism and loss of heart
Relevance to Harm OCD: recovery from Harm OCD is dialectical, meaning: it is not a straight line, there’s a zigzagging, toing and froing, juxtaposition of conflicting forces we are needing to best. That is, we sometimes catch hope – we sometimes despair – the trick is to not lose sight of the fact that with each recurring episode of our harming obsessions, there’s chance to step forward and face this “thing” right. Chance to learn what needs to be learned to let this thing go. Chance to make peace with the down times, and not add to their weight. For such Gentian lends a much needed hand.
The Positive Effects of Gentian: A return to faith, not only faith in one’s own spiritual aspect, but faith in the meaning of life, and faith in one’s own future ~ the ability to see a positive end despite adversary ~ the restoration of firmness of purpose ~ the ability to see the “light at the end of the tunnel” ~ encouragement from within
Gorse ~ for the sense there is no way forward ~ utter hopelessness ~ a deeper downheartedness than the Gentian state ~ may have given up ~ resignation ~ loss of faith
Relevance to Harm OCD: there’s lulls, times when after a bout of Harm OCD we’ve exhausted our supply of stress hormones and we hit this brick wall, exhausted ourselves and flattened by this seemingly insurmountable and unending fight. Times when our energy’s bottomed and there’s no light on our path. Our attempts to cure ourselves have gone awry, time after time after time, and now we cannot get up. Quite simply we do not have the energy even to try.
Little do we know that these lulls are quite normal for Harm OCD as adrenaline goes, it leaves us effete with extreme physical tiredness, tiredness of the mind and of the emotions, and of the spirit. It’s for times like these that Gorse is of use.
The Positive Effects of Gorse: no matter how deep our depression, Gorse encourages us to hope for recovery. Gorse helps us bounce back and put negative expectations aside as we revive our efforts to recuperate as well as gain sense that all this will lift.
Mimulus ~ the remedy for known fears, or fears you can “name” ~ i.e. for every day fears: fear of public speaking, of the dark, of aggressive dogs, of illness and pain ~ phobias can also be Mimulus fears if the cause of the fear – whether spiders, birds or open spaces – can be named.
Relevance to Harm OCD: because Mimulus is the remedy for known fears, it is useful for social situations and times of expected proximity to items perceived to bring our unwanted thoughts on. As so often it is everyday scenes and scenarios that make us feel vulnerable to our Harm OCD, Mimulus can give us the strength to “sit with our discomfort”, to lessen the need to run from things that provoke in us ideas of harming others and thus perceive the truth behind our anxiousness. We may say with Harm OCD we have become “over-careful” to avoid certain “triggers”, failing to see that our recovery lies not in the continued avoidance of things that alert our discomfort, but by becoming once more peaceable “wherever we are”.
The Positive Effects of Mimulus: Brings out the quiet courage and strength that lies hidden in all of us ~ and with courage memory of our unwanted things gradually fades.
Mustard ~ for gloom, or even despair that may lift as suddenly as it occurred ~ withdrawal and feelings of disconnection from the rest of the world ~
Relevance to Harm OCD: Mustard is usually administered for a gloom that seems to appear out of nowhere, however it is appropriate here for the many times our energy lapses and we feel overwhelmed by the weight of Harm OCD. In this regard we would say OCD and depression go hand in hand, and use the Mustard flower essence to assist in triggering a healing response conducive to you returning to a more positive state.
The Positive Effects of Mustard: Mustard helps to dispel the blackness, bringing back light and joy and the ability to be happy and cheerful ~ aids equilibrium and equanimity by helping the Self to balance extreme polarities of light and dark
Oak ~ for those who have suffered much mentally or physically and are so exhausted and weary that they feel they have no more strength to make any effort, but even they do not give up! Fighting on, they try one thing after another, all the while failing to see their “obstinacy” obstacle to the health that they seek.
Relevance to Harm OCD: trying so hard to banish our harming obsessions, driving our powers of resistance to the extreme, we forget recovery’s best path lies is learning to rebuild our strength without straining, through attaining a balance that allows time for rest, rejuvenation, and pleasure.
Yes, pleasure, a thing forgotten through the struggle with Harm OCD, but elixir no less to the world weary soul who’s way, so often, has been one of denial.
The Positive Effects of Oak: Oak flower essence allows us to follow the more natural impulses of our inner self, thus calming any counterproductive “straining efforts” regards “fighting” this thing. That is to say, new, less prostrating approaches become available to us, as we are increasingly able to see just where our “tunnel vision” has blinded us to the vital need for rest and keeping things simple.
Olive ~ for low energy ~ for those physically, emotionally, and psychologically exhausted ~ feeling the smallest tasks are difficult for you ~ daily life is hard work ~ feeling “done in”
Relevance to Harm OCD: Nervously fatigued, burnt out, exhausted… however you want to view your Harm OCD, it is clearly a low energy state necessitating revival and rest. Olive aids in this, restoring strength and inspiring in us the ample faith needed to continue our efforts, regardless of the trial we now find ourselves in.
The Positive Effects of Olive: Olive is regenerative, helping to restore a sense of balance and peace, as well as increasing faith in our ability to handle stressful times.
Pine ~ for self-reproach, guilt ~ for those overly discontented and critical of themselves ~ for self-conscientiously apologetic and over-humble souls
Relevance to Harm OCD: Crushing guilt is a typical feature of Harm OCD and contributes enormously to the stress aggravating and thus prolonging the condition.
Beyond question, in order for your nerves to properly heal, any emotional conflict or emotional reactivity must be cooled. This means the self-reproach and self-condemnation so evident of the fear-based false premise that “not feeling bad” means you “will do it”, must be contended. Pine can help you do this. Simply put, you must see that your way back to health is to lighten your load, not to carry lead weights of guilt and dubious conscience. Guilt is a hindrance, an intense emotional obstacle contingent on the belief we have done something we should not have done, the sense we are not living up to others expectations, the idea that what we feel must be true i.e. if we feel guilty, we must be guilty!
Thus our “transgressions of thought” are deemed to violate universal principles of right and wrong, as well as our own personal moral code, creating a situation in us in which we feel helpless and quite lacking the power to assert ourselves.
Indeed, as we sense feelings developing in us that our society finds unacceptable, we fear rejection, the withdrawal of love, punishment, and so in order to stave off society’s judgment we chasten ourselves accordingly, as if to say “look, I know, please do not condemn me, I will do it myself!”
Our “irrational feelings” and feared “drivers” run counter to our need to be accepted and respected. Guilt would seem useful to bear down upon our fancied wild tendencies toward irrational behavior. But it isn’t. The toll of guilt is a heavy one resulting in self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness that deprive you of the clarity needed to pick yourself up.
The Positive Effects of Pine: the return of positive self-image with hope for a future free of the heavy weight of self-blame and shame.
Rock Rose ~ for extreme fear and terror ~ the tendency to panic ~ for nightmares ~ aids in calming you down
Relevance to Harm OCD: the early stages of finding ourselves with Harm OCD are often marked with a severity of fear that renders us quite powerless to recover ourselves, far less take any positive healing action in the face of it.
Indeed, such is the urge to “flee from ourselves”, only in the dazed aftermath removed from the scene of our Harm OCD are we able to reorient ourselves, but ever so slightly. In the main, we’re so taken aback by it, we remain for a while tremulous and wary of its return, filled with an awful concern for our soundness of mind.
Yet, this peculiar state of being afraid – or more accurately, terrorstricken – that we may be capable of harming others, is largely intensified by ignorance of Harm OCD and what can be done to bring it to end. Indeed, while our discomfort may remain at least as long as we are learning to better this tricksy condition, the terror, the intense and scary concern for what is occurring, is usually allayed through gaining appropriate information on Harm OCD and thus, appreciating that this perfectly explainable condition is well known by others, and that a full and lasting recovery is attainable.
In the interim, however, Rock Rose may be considered a necessary medicament or antidote for the early distress of Harm OCD.
The Positive Effects of Rock Rose: the renewal of courage and the alleviation of terror, allowing a state of calm and reason to return.
Star of Bethlehem ~ for shock ~ for great emotional distress and trauma ~
Relevance to Harm OCD:
The Positive Effects of Star of Bethlehem:
Relevance to Harm OCD:
The Positive Effects of Sweet Chestnut: