April 14, 2011

ERP - Part Deux

I have started exposure therapy again.  I haven’t written for a little bit, not because I have been busy with ERP, but because on top adding ERP to my list of "things to do", I have also been very busy with life.  It took me a little while to get over the obsessing and anxiety that came as a result of my family visiting, but I did get over it.  Phew!  I actually felt pretty good for awhile.  I’m starting to realize that there are a lot of peaks and valleys when one commits to dealing with OCD – A LOT of them.  If I can find a way to accept the valleys, and know that a peak is around the corner I’m sure that will help.  I would assume that as I get better at dealing with my OCD, the peaks and valleys will smooth out somewhat and they won’t be so extreme.  Here's hoping.   
I started ERP about nine days ago.  We started with a very low level exposure.  In fact – it was hard to not berate myself for doing something that “should” be so easy.  Want to know what it was?  My assignment was to watch “The Talk” everyday.  For those of you who have never seen “The Talk” – it’s a talk show modeled after “The View”.  It’s got five hosts, all women.  Leah Remini, Julie Chen, Holly Peet Robinson, Sharon Osborne, and……..Sara Gilbert.  Who – in case you didn’t know (why would you unless you have HOCD?) – is a lesbian.  I used to avoid this show not because I didn’t actually enjoy it, but because the fact that I enjoyed is scared the crap out of me. 
OCD Dialogue:
Why do you like this show?  Is it because Sara Gilbert is on it?  Maybe you are secretly and unconsciously attracted to her.  Make sure you check and see what she’s wearing and compare it to what you would wear – your taste.  Watch your feelings – do you agree with what she says?  Do you like her?  And on and on it goes. 
The very sad thing about how OCD limits our lives is that I REALLY LIKE Leah Remini (she used to be on the show “King of Queens” and I loved that show) and Sharon Osborne.  But because of having OCD thoughts that scared the crap out of me, I lost sight of the perverbial “forest through the trees”.  Instead of being able to watch "The Talk" without checking, analyzing, and reassuring myself – and just enjoying the show FOR THE SHOW – I ended up in an anxious ball of OCD mess. 
I’ve watched "The Talk" for about seven out of the nine days since I started.  Most of them have gone well.  I had one really bad spike while watching one episode.  But last night I was able to do my homework and experience very little anxiety.  I actually really enjoy the show!  Are the thoughts gone? Not really.  Some days they are, and some days OCD wants to pipe in and tell me that there’s an emergency.  Something dangerous ahead of me that needs resolving RIGHT NOW.  I am trying to resist the call from the devil. 
As an aside - I have to send a shout out to my very committed and supportive therapist.  I can’t imagine how anyone could actually get through ERP without someone willing to provide ongoing support and coaching.  The way I look at it is – facing our fears is like standing on the edge of a cliff.  When we are caught up in the throws of anxiety and OCD, it is so important to have someone on the “outside” who can be objective, and encourage us to move forward.  Anxiety is such a powerful emotion.  There have been many times in the last few weeks when I thought to myself “I can’t continue feeling this way.”  I have had to send him emails outside of our therapy sessions when I am struggling.  He replies with excellent advice, and most importantly - he encourages me to continue moving forward.  If you have OCD and do not have the support of an excellent therapist, please know that they are out there!  The therapeutic relationship is of utmost importance when dealing with OCD.  And it is possible to find a good, compassionate, supportive person to help you treat this horrible disorder.   


  1. I agree about wanting a therapist to encourage me in my ERP exercises. Sometimes I don't think we do much. Technically, I know how to do ERP. But it is easier to actually do it knowing my therapist is supporting me and will ask about it next week.
    I'm glad you can watch the tv show now. I hate it when OCD steals things from me, but it's exciting to get them back.

  2. Hi, I found your blog through OCD Reflections. I have recently been diagnosed with OCD, although I must have had it for years, and have just started therapy. I already feel a little better knowing that I'm doing something, although it's very hard. (I've just written a post about it, in fact, at CaityWorld.) It's good for me to hear it does make a difference.

    Good luck with the ERP!

  3. Abigail - thanks for your support!
    Caity - thanks for the comment - I'll take a look at your blog! Good luck with ERP! It's nice that we have our blogging friends for support.