November 8, 2010

Around & around we go - moving up the hierarchy

Well.  Today is one of those days where I can honestly see my progress.  I can logically list all of the things that I’ve done on my hierarchy that I would never have faced a year ago.  But I can’t feel it.  I feel incredibly anxious.  More anxious than ever, in some ways.  How is that progress???  So ironic, that a few days ago I felt like I had “the world by the tail”, and today I feel like I’m right back there again.  I’m trying not to spend too much time trying to figure out why I’m back there.  I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m getting to the top of my hierarchy, and some of my exposures are getting really hard.  When I wrote my last post, I had almost habituated to the item on my hierarchy that I was working on, and I was feeling so confident.  It was time to move on to the next item on my hierarchy.  So I did.  And WHAM!  The obsessing and ritualizing started all over again.  It seems like this is a pattern for me.  As soon as I expose myself to something harder on my hierarchy, my anxiety goes sky-high and therefore it’s harder to not ritualize, and it’s pretty much impossible to exaggerate my thoughts (see previous post). 
Has anyone else had this experience? 
It is so very frustrating and demoralizing.  All the old thoughts come rushing back.  And now there’s even more thoughts to go with the old thoughts.  My mind sure can come up with new ways of presenting the same old doubt.....and that definitely gets my attention! That “elusive uncertainty” that I referred to in my two previous posts seems that much harder to grasp and accept.  I feel like I’m back at “NO WAY – there’s no way I can accept the possibility that these things might happen”.  The “thought stopping”, “analyzing” and “avoiding” starts again.   And I can’t imagine doing any of the things that are further up on my hierarchy.  It just seems far too overwhelming for me.  It’s during times like these that I can really relate to Fellow OCD Sufferer's comments about needing that therapeutic support as she is facing her fears.  The last two days have been very difficult for me, and I still have another day and a half until my next therapy appointment.  Thank God for therapists who know what they are doing.
On the positive side, I am bound and determined to continue doing my exposure – no matter how hard it gets.  No matter how many disturbing, exaggerated, out-of-left-field thoughts come to my mind.  But it sure is hard to not try and find the answer.  And I definitely am taking it one day at a time.  I can’t wait until my session with my therapist on Wednesday.  Wish me luck. 

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