December 15, 2011

OCD Fights back with a "one-two punch"

I think I’ve been doing fairly well lately with really taking an active role in fighting to beat my OCD.  I really am just fed up with it all.  But wow – OCD is stealthy.  It has a way of really hitting you with surprise attacks.   

I hate how I can be doing really well, on a great roll with exposures, and really feeling like I am gaining some control over my life and the situation.  I can always tell when that is happening because I have time and energy for exercise.  I went to the gym for my first time in weeks the other day.  It felt really good.  I start thinking about how maybe, just maybe there is a light at the end of the dark, dark tunnel.  Maybe there actually is hope for a life where I have control over OCD, not vice versa. 

First of all I want to tell you what I’ve been doing for ERP.  Everyday I’ve had to write a detailed script about the fact that I really am a lesbian and I am in denial and one day, after failing over and over again in heterosexual relationships, I am going to meet another lesbian and the sky is going to open up and we are going to fall deeply in love and everything is going to make sense and all the OCD thoughts and doubts are going to wash away.  It hasn’t been easy, but after the first few days I started to find it not so bad.  However, yesterday I had a session with my therapist, and I did say to him that I'm finding it really hard to go to a really graphic place.  To really let myself ramp up the details and hence, the anxiety and discomfort.  He replied that it will happen.  To just be patient. 

Something else happened with my therapist yesterday too though.  He said something that triggered me.  Has this ever happened to anyone?  If so – I’m curious to know how you handled it. 

Here's what happened:  I was explaining to my therapist that I’m getting really good at facing the thoughts, and writing it down on paper is a great exercise because it helps to create distance, while still looking at the thoughts that I’m having.  I suppose that’s really the epitome of mindfulness.  My therapist agreed, that the first step is accepting that I’m having the thoughts.  He then said: “After you accept that you’re having the thoughts, you can then decide if they require psychoanalysis.”


This sent my OCD on a tangent.  What?????  What does he mean by that?  After all our sessions that I’ve expressed my doubts that perhaps I’m in the wrong kind of therapy.  Maybe I REALLY AM A LESBIAN IN DENIAL AND THEREFORE I SHOULD BE IN PSYCHOANALYSIS.  He says that.  My OCD went crazy.  See – he does think there’s a possibility that you’re a lesbian.  He thinks you should be going to psychoanalysis.  He sees that you clearly have issues that he can’t help you with.”  My anxiety sky-rocketed.  So I asked him if he meant to trigger me.  He had no idea what I was talking about, so I explained it to him.  He replied to me with some response (to be honest – I was so anxious that I don’t even remember what he said.).  After our session, I emailed him and told him that I was still obsessing about what he said to me and gave him my rationale.  He replied with (and I’m paraphrasing) “you will need to learn to live with the uncertainty about what I’m thinking.”

Ugh.  It’s true.  I know that.  But it’s soooooo hard. 

I did manage to go on with my day though, and attend a concert with some friends and basically put it out of my mind.  At least for the time being. 

Then, last night OCD hit me out of nowhere, when I least expected it, when I was my most my sleep.  I think that is the WORST thing OCD can do to me – is hit me in my sleep.  I think I’ve written before about having lesbian-themed dreams while sleeping.  It really is the worst.  A lot of times I can’t remember what actually occurred during the dream, all I know is that I wake up in a panic.  I usually can remember small snippets like a woman seduced me, or I was at a gay bar (for what reason???) or a woman was kissing me.  Last night I think what was happening is that I decided to actually experiment with a woman because at one point I said to her that I didn't want to continue anymore!  Ugh - it's HORRIBLE.  I literally wake up sweating, my heart racing and breathing like I just ran a marathon.  And right away the thoughts start:  OMG – did you enjoy that?  Why are you having dreams like that?  What does it mean?”.  HELL.  And I try sooooo hard to remember exactly what happened in the dream.  I’m sure you all know how futile that is. 

I realize this is all part of recovery....learning to live with not knowing what this stuff means.  Learning to be able to tolerate uncertainty.....for me in the area of my sexuality. 


But it’s what I must do.  I emailed my therapist this morning and he is very supportive.  “Keep up the good work” he says.  I’m telling you, this morning all I wanted to do was crawl into a hole and stay there all day. 


  1. Therapy definitely creates opportunities for spikes. I have had it happen several times. My therapist simply asked me what my parents would do if they thought I was gay. She was saying this to get an idea from my standpoint how I have been feeling about my fears for the last 6 years and if my parents were a part of the stress. Anyways, IMMEDIATELY I started thinking oh well what if she really just thinks that I am a lesbian and wanted to know if I am just afraid to come out of the closet because my parents wouldn't support it and bla bla bla. Unfortunately, I don't really have any good suggestions. I just labeled it as OCD and was able to move forward. I would say just to use it as a form of ERP. Exposure to the uncertainty. Don't ya love it? ;)

  2. I can spike at even the smallest things in therapy. I think having OCD makes us hyper aware at everything that is happening. For instance, it can be a slight facial expression from my therapist while I'm talking about an obsession, and I spike. Now I use spikes as exposures, getting the anxiety as high as it can go, really feeling it, and focusing outward, diverting my thoughts. Same with exposures.

    Hope you're doing well, so glad to hear from you more and more often now. :)

  3. You're doing so great with this. Of course OCD is fighting back, because it knows how strong you are!

  4. Sometimes my doctor can throw me for a loop too. And like Lolly said, sometimes it's just a facial expression.
    I was really surprised when my psychiatrist suggested cognitive therpay--I thought I was getting therapy already!
    I think our fears and anxieties can work themselves into our dreams.
    It sounds like you are doing well with being able to identify when it's OCD and moving on.

  5. Finding Normalcy - that would spike me too! Thanks everyone - glad to hear your thoughts and the way you deal with spikes from therapy.
    Ann - thanks for the encouragement!!!