March 4, 2012

OCD life and ERP

I made it through PMS relatively un-scathed.  Don’t get me wrong, I definitely had OCD thoughts, about the guy I’ve been dating, and thoughts with HOCD content, but for some reason I’ve been able to let them go.  I wish I knew the “magic answer” to why......but I don’t.  One of my theories is that I’m reassured by the fact that I am actually EXCITED to date a guy, and even feeling attracted to him.  Not to mention, his admiration of me has been a huge confidence boost! 

That being said, I think a lot of my progress has to do with the fact that I’m just not believing my thoughts anymore.  I am coming to a better understanding of why I have some of the thoughts that I do – and why my brain is so quick to jump in and warn me about impending danger.  I know that this notion has been explained to me time and time again, and that I’ve read it multiple times in books......but for some reason....now I think it is finally sinking in.  (Knock on wood!!!)

So I’ve been doing well.  I’ve managed my thoughts really well, and when HOCD exposure opportunities have come up, I haven’t avoided them.  BUT (there’s always a “but” with OCD isn’t there?) – the very nature of my life doesn’t provide for very many natural HOCD ERP opportunities.  In my opinion, just the dating is great ERP for me.  (I remember several months ago – dating was on the top of my hierarchy list!)  And I’m doing it now!  And – I want to do even more!  The guy I’m dating is definitely not the guy for me, but I’m in no rush to make a decision or figure it all out!  That is HUGE progress for me.  I am learning to trust myself. 

Believe me when I say that I realize that any OCD “success” or “progress” is like sitting in a glass house.  What I mean is that I am fully aware of the fact that the peace of mind that I have felt in the last several weeks could vanish in a split second.  So, as we have all said in various posts – I am going to enjoy the moment, but not take for granted the fact that I have a chronic mental health problem, so that when (and when is a reality) it returns, I am not disappointed. 

Yesterday my therapist assigned more ERP for me.  My initial reaction was “ugh – will this ever be over?”.  No.  No it won’t.  And that’s the point.  I’m back watching lesbian-themed movies.  It’s funny how my anxiety ramped up immediately.  Says something I suppose.  I also noticed how my mind found every excuse in the book to pre-emptively avoid doing the exposure.  I had to remind myself “I can do this. “  I DO still find it frustrating that I am so controlled by my OCD and anxiety.  But this morning I nipped it in the bud and went on to the internet and started watching a movie about lesbians.  Yes it made me anxious, but the point is that I did it.  And I will do it again – several times – in fact – I will do it as many times as I have to.  It’s just a movie. 

In hindsight I’m glad he assigned that homework, because it is a reminder to me that I have to continue to expose myself to that which I am afraid of.  It’s also helping to remind me that just because I’m dating men now, and quite happy about it – doesn’t preclude me from someday deciding that I want to date women.  It’s all about living with uncertainty......being able to live in the moment and enjoy the moment while not knowing what might be ahead.  And I can definitely say that I’m not a pro at that one yet. 

5 comments:

  1. Hey, POC: Great post! It is wonderful that you are not believing the OCD thoughts like you used to. In the behavioral therapy I'm doing, I guess that would be called "revaluing"--recognizing that the thoughts are junk, not important. Good for you!

    You're right. The OCD always comes back. But you are anticipating that, and I think that will help tremendously in fighting them more.

    I'm glad you're enjoying dating. Dating was hard for me too. I think it's great that you are just enjoying the dating, even though you don't think the guy is the right one.

    I guess we'll all be doing some kind of exposures the rest of our lives. Kudos to you for pushing through the resistance and watching the movie.

    I am just so happy for you! This post made me smile. :-)

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  2. Oh, and I think learning to live with uncertainty is one of the biggest accomplishments those of us with OCD can make. It can change our lives.

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  3. lol, we can be certain about 1 thing, life is full of uncertainties. snicker.

    I'm glad you're having a great time just relaxing and dating with no internal pressure. And that you're internalizing the idea that thots aren't fact. That's a big progress step!!

    Way to go, Pure O!!

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  4. I've been thinking a lot lately about living with uncertainty and though it is what fuels the fire for OCD, it is also the source of so much anxiety for non-sufferers.....most of the anxiety I've ever felt has stemmed from "what if" situations.
    Your post is great! It's a reminder that we all need to deal with our issues head-on and try as best we can to live in the moment. I would love to be able to get rid of those two words, "what if!"

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  5. Hi POC, I just found you're blog, but I just wanted to write to let you know that I am loving it. I'm so impressed (and encouraged!) that you've found ways to cut down on your negative thoughts (even if the anxiety surfaces still). I'm working on that for myself, but most of the time my OCD wins. Also, wanted to share a site that does have some great techniques for nipping those nasty thoughts when they arise: http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-ocd . You are truly an inspiration! Hope to read more from you soon.

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