Sometimes I become disappointed with my progress in recovery from OCD, GAD, and CSP (see helpful acronyms above). It is very easy to forget the improvements I've made thus far. This is especially true on days like today, when I've performed extra compulsions in response to some obsessions. What is worse is that these obsessions are ones that had not bothered me as much recently. Just when you think you may have defeated the power of a certain obsession, bam! The next thing you know, it's whispering in your ear and demanding attention again.
A few months back I whined to my psychologist about my seeming inability to have greater success with my anxiety. She suggested that I write a list of all the things that I had conquered since I began CBT. Once I wrote the list I was honestly amazed at what I had done so far. I still feel like there are a million more compulsions to overcome. I also get really impatient with myself when I've gone backwards. It is during these times of seeming backwards motion that my doctor will draw two different graphs on a piece of paper for me.
This first graph shows the trajectory that patients want to be on: a solid (and quick) straight line with no slip-ups toward full recovery.
This second graph shows the trajectory of recovery that is based on reality. Sometimes it is one or two steps forward and one or two or even three steps back, but overall, the entire line goes up towards recovery.
Recovery takes time. Most of us probably did not get ill all at once (at least I didn't), so unfortunately, we won't recover all at once. It's not a clear path to the summit either. Because there is no perfection in life, there will be no perfection in recovery. Now that's a bummer! We need to keep reminding each other of that. We also need to celebrate our daily triumphs because each little victory adds to our uphill direction. So hang in there, we're on our way to the top!