June 1, 2012

An Epiphany.....or two.

For those of you who have read my last couple of posts, you’ll know that I’ve been going through a major “growth spurt” due to some recent experiences.  Like I said previously, I’m so grateful for those experiences because it helped me to realize my profound aversion towards experiencing difficult feelings.  Now - I understand that most people probably don’t particularly enjoy experiencing feelings like sadness, regret, embarrassment, shame or – for those of us with OCD – anxiety and uncertainty.  But it took this recent experience for me to realize how steadfastly committed I was to doing EVERYTHING I POSSIBLY COULD TO AVOID THOSE FEELINGS.   It wasn’t only related to my OCD themes.  It was related to my physical health, my relationships, and my general well-being. 

It suddenly dawned on me one day that if I am to “recover” from OCD, and if I am ever truly going to achieve my goals in life, I have to radically accept IN THE MOMENT the fact that difficult feelings will occur.  My aversion towards these feelings has made me more sensitive to them.  And I’ve created a small glass house in which I’ve lived, that is so easily penetrable.....by the smallest thing. 

In short – I need to get stronger.  I need to grow a thicker skin.  I need to allow myself to experience difficult feelings so that I can prove to myself that I CAN get through it.  I will survive.  I will learn.  And hopefully, by the grace of the universe, and my common sense – I will do something different next time. 

This realization has been freeing for me, but it has also been scary.  It is my tendency, that when I make a forward step towards “growth”, that I want to “hang on to it tightly” for fear that I will somehow forget the lesson, or one day I will wake up and suddenly be back where I was before.  At the moment, I am almost in protective mode – if that makes sense – trying to protect all that I have gained.  This isn’t a productive place to be in either, because inevitably I will have a setback, which is human, and I will then start to beat myself up.  It’s all about letting go.  Something I struggle with immensely. 

I am fully committed though.  It takes an incredible amount of discipline.  Every single moment I have a choice to make – and it’s amazing how many opportunities throughout the day that I do have this choice.....to make a choice of turning towards the feelings, facing them, and letting them dissipate, or doing something to avoid my reality.  From the moment I wake up – from the choices I make for breakfast, to choices I make throughout the day (whether to exercise despite my mind trying to talk me out of it), they all are difficult for me at the moment.  I am learning that the easy way out, just doesn't work.  It will get easier, and I will start to gain confidence in myself.  I see it happening already, but I still feel like I’m on shaky ground. 


  1. I resonate with this post a lot - the avoidance of pain at all costs (which just causes MORE pain), and the fear of "slipping back." Very articulate post, thanks for sharing this. I am pure O as well, and SO much of your blog I identify with! I know ERP is for me, but haven't started - your blog is a good motivator. :)

  2. You're right - there are so many choices throughout the day where we can fight our problems with avoidance. The good thing about that is that if we mess up, there are usually tons of chances to try to get it right! I try really hard to be in the moment and just take each thing as it comes. It is hard though. It takes lots of practice and I'm still learning. Someday we'll both get there. : )

  3. I was just reading yet another book about ERP (not David Tolin but yet another) that discusses this very thing. It's SO important.

  4. Its a very hard path, but yo are doing good!