One of the things I need to do if I want to continue to improve my mental health is to perform planned ERPs. Unfortunately, I haven't been very proactive about this, and I've mostly been doing ERPs that just sort of "happen" throughout my day. That's good, but it's not enough.
|The "Evil" Basement Room|
One of the big things I should have been doing recently is spending lots of time in my finished basement. Even though the room has been cleaned, I'm still very uncomfortable going down there. Thankfully, my husband has taken on a bit of the "coaching" job with regard to my ERPs. He has been intentional about trying to get me to hang out in that room with him. So last night we were down there for at least an hour watching T.V. and eating dinner. I was a bit stressed about it though, so after dinner I ate my way through two-thirds of a family sized box of Crunch 'n Munch. Ugh.
I'm also afraid to touch things in the room. I know my husband literally wiped down every single item with a disinfectant wipe, but fear looms large in my mind. A friend of mine loaned me a book quite a while ago and that book has been stored in the basement. Recently, that friend asked that I return the book. I was afraid that the book was contaminated with mouse droppings and that I would jeopardize my health, my husband's health, and my friend's health with this book. I had been putting off mailing this book for months. Last evening, my husband talked me through picking up the book and packing it for shipment. I took the package to the post office today and then afterwards, I ate lunch without washing my hands first! I did cry some last evening, but honestly, these ERPs didn't seem all that bad after all. It was the anticipatory anxiety that was much more painful.
At this point, after all the exposures I have done, I should realize that now I can usually get through my exposures without too much trauma. The more exposures I do, the easier they get. I still have a hard time believing that though. I guess old (anxiety) habits die hard.