May 19, 2011

OCD is Insidious

If you read ExpWoman’s blog, you will know that she is doing a series of blog posts called OCD: A to Z.  I have identified so well with all of the posts in her series, and today, as I was finishing my exposure therapy, I came up with a great word that would have worked well for her series under the “I”.  The word is INSIDIOUS. 

As I progress through ERP therapy, I have definitely had some ups and downs.  All of the exposures that I have done thus far have started out causing me immense anxiety and horrible, distressing thoughts.  But I seem to have actually mastered some of them to the point that not only does it not bother me to do some of these things, I actually enjoy them.  Each time I start a new exposure though, I seem to forget the distress the last exposure initially caused me, and my OCD says “This is the worst one yet.  This situation REALLY is dangerous.  You better run or do something (compulsion) to protect yourself.” Starting a new assignment on the exposure hierarchy is just plain yucky, and my most recent assignment has been quite difficult.  Whereas some of my previous exposures have actually become enjoyable for me (watching “The Talk for example), looking at is something that I just do not enjoy. 

My OCD is fighting hard to stay alive.  It’s amazing how tricky it is, and the thoughts it comes up with in order to try to shock me into paying attention, and reacting (ie: compulsing).  My therapist warned me that OCD would do this.  He warned me that OCD can be incredibly creative, and that once I mastered one angle – it would come back fighting even stronger with a different variation on the same theme.  This is what is happening lately, as I complete my most recent exposure assignment. 

Jon Hershfield, a psychotherapist from The OCD Center of Los Angeles wrote a great post on the clinic’s blog about the various manifestations that sexual orientation OCD can take.  I encourage you to click here and take a moment to read his post.  I can identify with many of these sub-themes, and different exposures can trigger thoughts related to one or more of the variations.  When I first read Jon’s post, I was struck by how well he understands the OCD mind, and amazed that he was able to identify so clearly these various HOCD themes. Reading Jon’s post has helped prepare myself for the inevitable time when OCD throws a curve ball at me and tries to shock me into submission.  Aha!  I can say to myself now.  More of the same.  OCD – you can’t trick me.”  At least I am able to do this more and more often.  :o) 

The good news is that I am starting to habituate to looking at  Most days, it really doesn’t bother me that much.  I am starting to see the OCD so clearly; to stare it straight in the face and tell it to give me its best shot.  I realize that I am going to have to do a lot more exposure though, in order to habituate to all of the permutations and combinations of thoughts that OCD is going to throw at me. 

I wonder what my therapist has up his sleeve for me next.  Actually, no – I am not ready to think about that yet.  :o)


  1. Hi! I’m Karin, also a Cannuck, living in northern Ontario. I also have Ocd. I knew I had Ocd tendencies from an Oprah show I saw long ago, but I seemed to have it under control- sort of. After my last (2nd) child, I got the hand washing type of Ocd really badly as well as the thots, and other types of Ocd. This time the internet was around so I figured out that not only did I have Ocd, but I also HAD HAD it badly after my first child. I didn't know that all those weird, bad thots i had about molesting my kid accidently while diapering him were ocd!! I put diaper cream on the diaper and not on him and hoped it transferred, that’s how bad it was. But I thot the thots were just overactive guilt from my over-active imagination. Now i had a name for ‘that thing that happened after tom was born'. It was ocd.
    Anyway I began thinking, not to long ago about blogging this journey out of ocd instead of just journaling it on the computer. I had looked up ocd on google but got forums etc. just today I thought of actually searching google for blogs about ocd. From one, I found more. So much for my ‘original’ idea :P

    Good luck with the exposure therapy. i'm just working on natural exposures that happen, and i am on clomipromine. Have reduced that from 4 to 2 pills a night. You have a lot of courage to specifically give yourself ocd; i get plenty just by my daily life. thank goodness i'm not in the health profession as that would freak me out completely!!

  2. Anonymous - thsnks for sharing! I hope you will keep reading and posting and sharing your experiences. If you start blogging send me the link!! The OCD blogging community is a great place for support. :o)

  3. Hi Canuck! I took the blog plunge today: here is the link:

    Would love to have you come and visit :)

  4. Great job Karin! I tried to comment, but my blogger is all screwy so I became a follower. Can't wait to read more!

  5. Thanks, i still cant figure how to comment without being anonymous, so i understand about computers doing funny things :).