Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Something Important To Know

Seeking CBT for the treatment of my OCD was one of the very best decisions of my life. I highly encourage anyone with any type of anxiety disorder to consider CBT, using ERP (see tab titled "Helpful Acronyms" above). It is very frightening to undergo this type of therapy, therefore it takes tremendous courage to pursue this treatment. I happened to read One Anxious Gal's blog today and she mentions starting CBT. I'm really excited for her. However, this also got me thinking. There is something about CBT that really needs to be stressed. It takes time to feel better. I have to repeat this. It takes time to feel better.

When I first began CBT and started fighting the compulsions successfully, I was incredibly frustrated by the fact that I didn't actually feel better. I mean here I was, touching things that I considered dirty and not washing my hands afterwards, and yet I still didn't feel any better. I started to wonder if there was any point to CBT if I still felt awful even though I did the homework. This has probably been the most difficult part of treatment for me. I did eventually start to feel better, but it took time. I can't tell you how many times I had to touch the door to the bathroom at my church before it stopped bothering me. It was weeks, maybe months. Now, I can touch the door and I may get a slight obsessive thought sometimes, but it is of no real consequence. My psychologist explained to me that my own experience confirms scientific research that found that it can take quite a while of doing exposures before the feelings improve and the obsessions diminish. She says that there is often a lag time before experiencing improved feelings following the performance of ERPs.

If you are doing CBT and ERP, please, please don't give up if you don't feel better right away. It will come. I have also found that the more experience I have with this therapy in general, the faster my anxiety goes away with other new ERPs. It seems I have begun to retrain my brain. Hang in there. Every time you successfully complete an exposure, you are slowly retraining your brain too.

12 comments:

  1. This is a wonderful post. I think encouraging others to pursue ERP Therapy is the best advice you can give anyone who has OCD, and your insights are so helpful.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I appreciate your feedback and what you also bring to the blogging world of OCD!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you for writing this post. I am seriously considering cognitive therapy focusing on the OCD, and I needed to hear this, that it can take a while to actually feel better. Better to know that than to have unrealistice expectations. That will help me if I decide to take the step. I have to go back to my doc mid-January, so I'm trying to decide by then.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Tina. Thankfully I've got an awesome doc who always seems to know what to say when I feel discouraged. She's reminded me of this lag time more than once when I've been struggling. Good luck with your decision.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Amen! Love this post. It is so true, it takes time, a lot of time... and the chains will be lifted.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey Lolly! I like that - "the chains will be lifted." I agree, that's EXACTLY what it feels like.

    ReplyDelete
  7. My CBT program was 12 weeks long ... it took about ten weeks of hell before something clicked. But now -- THE CHAINS HAVE BEEN LIFTED!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. Yahoo! Congratulations Jackie!! That is totally awesome. Were you in some kind of intensive program? I guess I'm a chicken - I've taken the slow road. Still have a long way to go, but I have come a long way too.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thank you for posting this! I will keep it in mind! :D

    ReplyDelete
  10. Hey Anxious Gal! I'm very excited for you and the CBT. I actually tried to post a congratulations comment on your blog but it wouldn't go through for some reason. Best wishes with your treatment.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I mean, it was INTENSE, but I didn't think it was anything out of the normal. My psychiatrist is a nationally-known OCD specialist, and he said 12 weeks is all it takes. Is your program longer?

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi Jackie. Thanks for responding. I'm actually not in a program. I see a psychologist roughly once a week and she coaches me to do ERPs at home. She does do ERPs with me in her office from time to time as well. I have one really major item on my hierarchy scale that needs to be worked on. I believe if I can make it through this it will probably be time for me to step back from consistent therapy as I probably have most of the tools I need to do my own ERPs in the future as they come up. Thanks for your comments.

    ReplyDelete