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How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

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How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby AllYourBase » Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:40 pm

Hello everyone,

I'm not sure the general sub here is the best place for this. I looked through all of the specialized forums, and none of them seemed to be a good fit for the question I have. This is my first post, so I apologize if this is the wrong place. Perhaps a mod, when reviewing, could move it if they feel it is appropriate.

I'd like to provide a little background that may help users here offer me some tips that I need.

I was born disabled, with a mobility impairment. Since aged 16, I've had to use a cane for balance and to walk at all. This is very likely to be the norm for the rest of my life as it's already been over half of my life thus far.

Due in part my finances and in part a desire to live relatively simply, I like to live a sort of minimalist lifestyle. For me, part of that means not a lot of stuff. However, I am having trouble with one aspect of this: canes that I need in order to walk/function normally.

I don't have a massive collection or anything, but I have more than I would use daily. Given that I need them to ambulate, it is prudent to have a few spares. However, a few years ago, one of the canes I was using broke unexpectedly. It was a big shock as it was aluminium and I didn't expect that to happen. Fortunately, I was at home and able to find my way to a spare without too much trouble.

However, ever since then, I've become irrationally worried about not having a spare when I need it or something happening to the one I use most frequently. As a result, there are times where I will pick up one or two extras per year. Of course, if something happens to me while I am out and about, having a spare at home is pointless anyway, yet I still cannot get it out of my head. I worry that somehow I'll no longer have access to the type I like--it's very basic so logically I know this is unlikely. Sometimes I worry things will happen to the ones I do have. It's one of the few areas in life where I can tell myself logical things but cannot seem to stop the intrusive thoughts or impulsive behaviors. Probably because I know I need these medical devices to get around, so I need to make sure I always have some. But these aren't disposable, one-time-use things. And within normal use, they should hold up for years. But the one that broke really did something to my mental state surrounding this particular issue, I think.

But I want to reach a place where I know what I have is enough, and there is no need for more. I sometimes donate old ones that I do not use anymore. But, I eventually replace those even though it isn't strictly necessary. As I write this, it sounds like such a small, silly thing. But I want to change how I think about this issue, and I am hoping to get some help here.

Thank you for reading.
Last edited by Snaga on Wed Feb 24, 2021 5:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Moved to OCD with shadow-link in original forum; no edits
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby Snaga » Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:03 pm

Well hello, and welcome!

I've... moved your post, from LWMI (which yes is the 'catch-all') to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, with a concession to the original placement, by leaving a shadow in LWMI. I want it seen in both places.

This... I'm not saying this is, or you have, OCD- but this has an OCD vibe to it, to me. Of course when you're a hammer, you know what everything looks like- and I'm OCD, so....

But still. Without a history of obsessional fears I'd be reluctant to call this OCD and members aren't supposed to diagnose, anyway. And inferring from your post details, I'm guessing you're past the age OCD usually hits someone. But this is rather OCDish of you, nevertheless.

So let's treat this as OCD. What you have to do, is 'break the loop'. Um... for me let's say the heater in the room I'm in atm. It's a space heater- gas- really oversized for the room, and I worry about accidentally leaving it on, burn the house down. Or... the gas not really being off (it's modern so it's supposed to cut off if there is no flame, but still).

If I let myself, I will check it.... and check it... and check it...

Some of us have described it as it doesn't feel 'real' unless we're reassuring ourselves by not checking something. I've... done this on and off for decades- heaters, faucets, locks, etc. It's like you want to crawl into the thing, and KNOW that it's how it's supposed to be. Because the moment you turn away, it's suddenly 'not real' anymore, and did I turn that off? I remember doing it... or did I?

At some point, I have to say '###$ it' and break the loop. And walk away and make myself not act on the compulsion. There's no magic formula to it. It's like Yoda said- do, or do not- there is no try. It's awfully hard at first, but gets better with practice.

In your shoes, I'd know then thing I'd have to do, is make myself not buy that cane. I have enough canes. It would... be hard. It's not easy but you have to bull through any fears that come up- and the brain is really good at finding new angles on fear.

I'd thought about Hoarding but this happened after a particular thing- your cane broke. Usually in diagnosable OCD, someone will have a thought that scares them, and that's when the obsession (and the resulting compulsions) set up in their brain. Well, this wasn't a 'thought', but it was something that was scary, yeah? Your support broke- and I assume out from under you! It.. seems reasonable that you want the reassurance of an extra cane. And it doesn't feel 'real', unless a new cane is on the way, perhaps? You know you have an extra cane- you just ordered it! It'll be here soon- I'm safe!

That's how a pwOCD would be thinking, I think. And this seems pretty similar.
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby Snaga » Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:08 pm

Also I'm shocked no one has used that user name before- I salute you! :mrgreen:
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby AllYourBase » Wed Feb 24, 2021 6:39 pm

Snaga wrote:Well hello, and welcome!

I've... moved your post, from LWMI (which yes is the 'catch-all') to Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, with a concession to the original placement, by leaving a shadow in LWMI. I want it seen in both places.

This... I'm not saying this is, or you have, OCD- but this has an OCD vibe to it, to me. Of course when you're a hammer, you know what everything looks like- and I'm OCD, so....

But still. Without a history of obsessional fears I'd be reluctant to call this OCD and members aren't supposed to diagnose, anyway. And inferring from your post details, I'm guessing you're past the age OCD usually hits someone. But this is rather OCDish of you, nevertheless.

So let's treat this as OCD. What you have to do, is 'break the loop'. Um... for me let's say the heater in the room I'm in atm. It's a space heater- gas- really oversized for the room, and I worry about accidentally leaving it on, burn the house down. Or... the gas not really being off (it's modern so it's supposed to cut off if there is no flame, but still).

If I let myself, I will check it.... and check it... and check it...

Some of us have described it as it doesn't feel 'real' unless we're reassuring ourselves by not checking something. I've... done this on and off for decades- heaters, faucets, locks, etc. It's like you want to crawl into the thing, and KNOW that it's how it's supposed to be. Because the moment you turn away, it's suddenly 'not real' anymore, and did I turn that off? I remember doing it... or did I?

At some point, I have to say '###$ it' and break the loop. And walk away and make myself not act on the compulsion. There's no magic formula to it. It's like Yoda said- do, or do not- there is no try. It's awfully hard at first, but gets better with practice.

In your shoes, I'd know then thing I'd have to do, is make myself not buy that cane. I have enough canes. It would... be hard. It's not easy but you have to bull through any fears that come up- and the brain is really good at finding new angles on fear.

I'd thought about Hoarding but this happened after a particular thing- your cane broke. Usually in diagnosable OCD, someone will have a thought that scares them, and that's when the obsession (and the resulting compulsions) set up in their brain. Well, this wasn't a 'thought', but it was something that was scary, yeah? Your support broke- and I assume out from under you! It.. seems reasonable that you want the reassurance of an extra cane. And it doesn't feel 'real', unless a new cane is on the way, perhaps? You know you have an extra cane- you just ordered it! It'll be here soon- I'm safe!

That's how a pwOCD would be thinking, I think. And this seems pretty similar.


This whole post spoke to me a lot, but I wanted to address this bolded part here at the end--this is exactly it. I order the new cane, I breathe a sigh of relief. Even for several weeks afterward, things are good. But it doesn't last, and the cycle repeats.

I also thought about hoarding but you're right, I think it's because the other cane broke. I think maybe if it didn't happen, I'd have one or two extras and never think twice about it. For the first decade or so after I had to start using one of these, I really didn't think about it, just had the one. Then this event happened.

You're definitely right, I just need to resist that urge to make the purchase. (It's too bad that occasionally I'll window shop for nice/unique ones that I like and while that is somewhat different, it's feeding into the same problem.)

I, too, certainly can't say if this has any kind of diagnosis and I hesitated putting it anywhere other than the general forum precisely because I didn't want to make it sound like this is something that it isn't. Thanks for moving it. I really appreciate how you understood why I'm having these doubts and behaviors and how the event might have been a triggering factor. I don't really feel comfortable talking openly about this to people I know because I'm just not sure they'd be able to connect the stockpiling to the fears I have.

Thanks for writing back so quickly.
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby Snaga » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:39 pm

My pleasure, and that is a shame, because I could see how a person would make the best of their situation, and start collecting canes that are unique, as a hobby. However, if that's an excuse to sate a compulsion to hold back anxiety... then yeah I reckon it'd just make the compulsion, that much more expensive.

We get a lot of this kind of thing in the Remorse forum- and not always (possibly not even mostly) from people who have a history of OCD-style behavior. They will have done something, usually in childhood, that they regret, and will obsess over it and it becomes a monster, and they come here and... I suppose seek reassurance. They are convinced they're awful, and will lay out all the 'reasons' why- seeking a refutation, but they don't really want it, at the same time- or if they are relieved, it doesn't always last.

Reassurance is a trap, in OCD, by the way. Just a quick look at this forum will show that folks often will seek reassurance as part of their compulsions. Like buying a new cane, it doesn't last. It doesn't matter that we know that, either- it's very hard to stop the behavior. You know you have plenty of canes- but the anxiety won't let it alone. And this sounds very much like an anxiety thing- I placed it in OCD because the Fear->Obsession->Compulsion is classic for us with OCD- it's what we do. Constantly. I think if you were to seek professional help with this, it wouldn't matter if you were diagnosed OCD or not, I imagine they'd try to tackle it in a similar or identical way. I've never had professional help for mine, so I can't really give the nuts-and-bolts of what that is. I just know for me, I have to cop an attitude of not caring what might happen. I know a lot of times therapy will include having you do exercises to face off that fear. Something like this- well they can't exactly make you not use a cane, but they might want you to put all the extras away, or even let someone else keep them a while- so that you're forced to rely on just the one or two, while counseling you to not act on the compulsion to buy another one. I'm just thinking out of my butt at the moment, but I know ERP- Exposure and Response Prevention, is designed to get you exposed to your fear and then not act on the resulting compulsions- as an example, we have a lot of pedophile fears in this forum- POCD is the common shorthand for that particular OCD theme, but OCD is OCD is OCD, really, and it's not an official term, just that common themes have gained unofficial shorthand terms. But someone who avoids children, for the irrational fear of being a pedophile, is I imagine told to look at (legal of course) photos, or be in places where there are children, or be around children they're related to, with the admonition not to tuck tail and hide from it.

That's a frequent OCD theme. As is.. fear of being homosexual (or occasionally, straight- it's uncommon but LGBT aren't immune), or transgender, or of having schizophrenia (doesn't help that sometimes the line between those is blurred and OCD is sometimes a precursor symptom, if I recall correctly), or causing intentional or unintentional harm...

Harm OCD is a big one, with me! Intrusive violent thoughts- without therapy, it took me a long time to finally crack the code, so to speak, so that I don't have to act on compulsions to 'prevent' me from doing something terrible. It boiled down to I hadn't done anything terrible, what makes me think I will- and more importantly, taking the attitude that I'll worry about it, when it happens, and not before. Taking the attitude that I don't care if it happens- obviously I'd prefer not to get my name in the papers- my intrusive harm thoughts are what I think is called 'ego-dystonic'- they're not a part of my core being- but it's the attitude that's important. OCD is all 'what if'. So you have to find a way to say screw 'what ifs', and mean it. And keep at it, all the while your brain is screaming at you that you have to care and if you don't care and act on a compulsion, that terrible thing you fear will happen.

You've HAD a cane break under you. Obviously it can happen- so... what's the likelihood of it happening again? You have to decide for yourself that it's low- make that your story and stick to it- and you have plenty of spares. And make yourself take the attitude that you don't care if it happens- if it does, you'll deal with it then- not before. You have a spare. You don't need another cane, until one breaks. You have a spare, and you've decided to not worry about it.

Easier said than done. Much easier. It feels very useless at first, your brain will be yelling at you that you need that new cane! And if you don't get it, well you might run out! Yes? For me, OCD comes down to a contest to see what is more stubborn- me, or my obsessive fear. I have to make myself not check something for the tenth time. I have to make myself not drive five miles back to make sure I didn't run over that person- and most of the time, there was never a person to have to drive back for, anyway- but my brain tells me just 'cause I didn't see them, didn't mean that little bump in the road wasn't a person. Even though I know a person is not a pothole or little bump. When I get the intrusive harm thought, I have to make myself not care I have the thought, and make myself not worry that I might suddenly magically become a murdering psychopath. It's like it's almost a war of narratives- OCD has its narrative, and I have mine. It takes practice, but it's possible to learn to not act on a fear.

Note, if this really is OCD in style- don't expect the fear to entirely go away. I will never stop having my OCD fears. You learn to deal with the fear when it pops up- and oft times, I think the frequency and the intensity of the obsession grows much less, as someone learns to resist acting on them. But they never 'go away'. Every so often, it'll pop back up, as if it's testing you. "Now? Will you be afraid NOW?" And I have to shake my head to myself and say 'Not now. Go away'
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby Snaga » Wed Feb 24, 2021 10:47 pm

While I'm thinking about it- when I first mentioned 'breaking the loop'- I think brain scans have pretty much mapped out how this kind of thing is basically where we've somehow got miswired.

https://labblog.uofmhealth.org/lab-repo ... ots-of-ocd

And... trying to stop the compulsion, breaking that loop- I've read at least partially rewires us. We have to rewire ourselves.

In really bad OCD cases, drugs can help take the edge off it, but there's no magic pill- I don't think anything is more helpful, than learning how to rewire yourself.
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby AllYourBase » Thu Feb 25, 2021 3:24 am

Snaga wrote:My pleasure, and that is a shame, because I could see how a person would make the best of their situation, and start collecting canes that are unique, as a hobby. However, if that's an excuse to sate a compulsion to hold back anxiety... then yeah I reckon it'd just make the compulsion, that much more expensive.

We get a lot of this kind of thing in the Remorse forum- and not always (possibly not even mostly) from people who have a history of OCD-style behavior. They will have done something, usually in childhood, that they regret, and will obsess over it and it becomes a monster, and they come here and... I suppose seek reassurance. They are convinced they're awful, and will lay out all the 'reasons' why- seeking a refutation, but they don't really want it, at the same time- or if they are relieved, it doesn't always last.

Reassurance is a trap, in OCD, by the way. Just a quick look at this forum will show that folks often will seek reassurance as part of their compulsions. Like buying a new cane, it doesn't last. It doesn't matter that we know that, either- it's very hard to stop the behavior. You know you have plenty of canes- but the anxiety won't let it alone. And this sounds very much like an anxiety thing- I placed it in OCD because the Fear->Obsession->Compulsion is classic for us with OCD- it's what we do. Constantly. I think if you were to seek professional help with this, it wouldn't matter if you were diagnosed OCD or not, I imagine they'd try to tackle it in a similar or identical way. I've never had professional help for mine, so I can't really give the nuts-and-bolts of what that is. I just know for me, I have to cop an attitude of not caring what might happen. I know a lot of times therapy will include having you do exercises to face off that fear. Something like this- well they can't exactly make you not use a cane, but they might want you to put all the extras away, or even let someone else keep them a while- so that you're forced to rely on just the one or two, while counseling you to not act on the compulsion to buy another one. I'm just thinking out of my butt at the moment, but I know ERP- Exposure and Response Prevention, is designed to get you exposed to your fear and then not act on the resulting compulsions- as an example, we have a lot of pedophile fears in this forum- POCD is the common shorthand for that particular OCD theme, but OCD is OCD is OCD, really, and it's not an official term, just that common themes have gained unofficial shorthand terms. But someone who avoids children, for the irrational fear of being a pedophile, is I imagine told to look at (legal of course) photos, or be in places where there are children, or be around children they're related to, with the admonition not to tuck tail and hide from it.

That's a frequent OCD theme. As is.. fear of being homosexual (or occasionally, straight- it's uncommon but LGBT aren't immune), or transgender, or of having schizophrenia (doesn't help that sometimes the line between those is blurred and OCD is sometimes a precursor symptom, if I recall correctly), or causing intentional or unintentional harm...

Harm OCD is a big one, with me! Intrusive violent thoughts- without therapy, it took me a long time to finally crack the code, so to speak, so that I don't have to act on compulsions to 'prevent' me from doing something terrible. It boiled down to I hadn't done anything terrible, what makes me think I will- and more importantly, taking the attitude that I'll worry about it, when it happens, and not before. Taking the attitude that I don't care if it happens- obviously I'd prefer not to get my name in the papers- my intrusive harm thoughts are what I think is called 'ego-dystonic'- they're not a part of my core being- but it's the attitude that's important. OCD is all 'what if'. So you have to find a way to say screw 'what ifs', and mean it. And keep at it, all the while your brain is screaming at you that you have to care and if you don't care and act on a compulsion, that terrible thing you fear will happen.

You've HAD a cane break under you. Obviously it can happen- so... what's the likelihood of it happening again? You have to decide for yourself that it's low- make that your story and stick to it- and you have plenty of spares. And make yourself take the attitude that you don't care if it happens- if it does, you'll deal with it then- not before. You have a spare. You don't need another cane, until one breaks. You have a spare, and you've decided to not worry about it.

Easier said than done. Much easier. It feels very useless at first, your brain will be yelling at you that you need that new cane! And if you don't get it, well you might run out! Yes? For me, OCD comes down to a contest to see what is more stubborn- me, or my obsessive fear. I have to make myself not check something for the tenth time. I have to make myself not drive five miles back to make sure I didn't run over that person- and most of the time, there was never a person to have to drive back for, anyway- but my brain tells me just 'cause I didn't see them, didn't mean that little bump in the road wasn't a person. Even though I know a person is not a pothole or little bump. When I get the intrusive harm thought, I have to make myself not care I have the thought, and make myself not worry that I might suddenly magically become a murdering psychopath. It's like it's almost a war of narratives- OCD has its narrative, and I have mine. It takes practice, but it's possible to learn to not act on a fear.

Note, if this really is OCD in style- don't expect the fear to entirely go away. I will never stop having my OCD fears. You learn to deal with the fear when it pops up- and oft times, I think the frequency and the intensity of the obsession grows much less, as someone learns to resist acting on them. But they never 'go away'. Every so often, it'll pop back up, as if it's testing you. "Now? Will you be afraid NOW?" And I have to shake my head to myself and say 'Not now. Go away'


Thanks for this lengthy post. I will probably reread it a few more times tonight and tomorrow to fully digest it, but I wanted to address the bolded portion because I think this is it exactly, once again. The likelihood is low. The one that did break was probably at that point a decade old and had had pressure put on it every day for those ten years because I needed to lean on it. So, it's a once every several years' thing, and perhaps not even then (my great-grandad had one that he used at least since I was a little kid up until I was in my twenties, showed no signs of problems.)

That's the funny thing about these thoughts, or, I would imagine, many thoughts like them: I do research into the topic because knowledge is power, and yet all of that cold logic doesn't always stop the anxiety part from saying "no, what if? are you sure??"

And absolutely, I'll be worried if/when it happens again, so it does feel like wasted energy to be in a constant, low-grade state of anxiety about it when life is fine.

I know this reply doesn't do justice to such an in-depth post, but I'm grateful for all of the sharing. You clearly have a lot of insights bred from experience.
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby Snaga » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:47 am

I've had anxiety issues since I was probably four or five, and intrusive harm thoughts for over four decades. I'm unschooled in the science, and don't have a diagnosis and hadn't been to therapy, but I've figured a little out over time :mrgreen:

Not saying you have PTSD; but clearly having your cane break when you depend upon it so, rattled you, to say the least. I found this while poking around:

https://www.verywellmind.com/trauma-pts ... cd-2797516

Again not saying you have OCD- just that this presents very similarly, if nothing else. Again, reminds me of some of the Remorse posters who seem very OCD on the surface- they obsess and feel compulsions to punish themselves, or confess, often over childhood acts that are... sometimes rather trivial, to anyone but the person suffering from the remorse.... but thankfully for some of them, I think it's just limited to the one issue- lucky them. I'm guessing you're in your middle thirties at a minimum- supposedly the chances of onset of OCD peaks in one's 20s then sharply drops off.... maybe even though this particular behavior seems OCDish, my fingers are crossed that this is the closest to OCD you'll ever have to deal with. OCD can be a heck of a rabbit-hole, it's nothing you want to have. 'Cause no amount of logic seems to help- you said it yourself. Most of the time, people with full-on OCD know they're being illogical but.. but.. it can get really close to outright delusion. I've dipped my toe in that pool more than once. The thinking used to be that pwOCD always know they're being illogical, but in recent years they've rethought that, and now... ehhh... on occasion... maybe not so much....
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby AllYourBase » Thu Feb 25, 2021 4:09 pm

Snaga wrote:I've had anxiety issues since I was probably four or five, and intrusive harm thoughts for over four decades. I'm unschooled in the science, and don't have a diagnosis and hadn't been to therapy, but I've figured a little out over time :mrgreen:

Not saying you have PTSD; but clearly having your cane break when you depend upon it so, rattled you, to say the least. I found this while poking around:

https://www.verywellmind.com/trauma-pts ... cd-2797516

Again not saying you have OCD- just that this presents very similarly, if nothing else. Again, reminds me of some of the Remorse posters who seem very OCD on the surface- they obsess and feel compulsions to punish themselves, or confess, often over childhood acts that are... sometimes rather trivial, to anyone but the person suffering from the remorse.... but thankfully for some of them, I think it's just limited to the one issue- lucky them. I'm guessing you're in your middle thirties at a minimum- supposedly the chances of onset of OCD peaks in one's 20s then sharply drops off.... maybe even though this particular behavior seems OCDish, my fingers are crossed that this is the closest to OCD you'll ever have to deal with. OCD can be a heck of a rabbit-hole, it's nothing you want to have. 'Cause no amount of logic seems to help- you said it yourself. Most of the time, people with full-on OCD know they're being illogical but.. but.. it can get really close to outright delusion. I've dipped my toe in that pool more than once. The thinking used to be that pwOCD always know they're being illogical, but in recent years they've rethought that, and now... ehhh... on occasion... maybe not so much....


Yep, mid-thirties is exactly right.

There was a brief period of some months, perhaps a year, where I had some issues with doorknobs/closing doors as a kid. Since this didn't last, I didn't think much of it. At university, I had some issues with door locks, specifically checking several times that my dorm room was locked any time I went out of it. But I always assumed--and it still seems likely--that this was just a basic safety anxiety issue in a different environment rather than some other issue. I think it makes sense to check your door at least once--though to be fair I checked it a few times before I was satisfied.

The only other "big" issue I've had most of my life--a complete change of gears, is related to the weather. It's an issue that makes it hard to enjoy summer even though summer--aside from the heat--is easier for me than winter. If I could change these two things, I think I could improve a lot. But I think this one would be harder to change because some of my thoughts surrounding it are a little harder to understand and seem a little more irrational from the outside. I'm not even sure how to begin addressing it all.
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Re: How to stop impulsively purchasing equipment I need

Postby Snaga » Thu Feb 25, 2021 5:34 pm

Summer? Does summer make you anxious?
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