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!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Two Hard ERPs

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.


  1. Congratulations, Sunny! I'm really proud of you! I know it can't be easy to deal with the basement with all the "history" behind it, so kudos for you for spending time there and for mailing the book to your friend.

    It's good for me to hear that the anxiety lessens the more you do them. I've found that out in some cases first hand, but it's nice to know that I'm not imagining it!

    Thank you also for sharing these ERPs. It helps the rest of us to "see" them in action.

    1. You are definitely not imagining it. I am always surprised by how fast the anxiety leaves now. Which is why I think the anticipatory anxiety is still so high - it's like my mind hasn't adjusted to the physical part of my body yet.

      Yep, that room sure does have a lot of history for me ha ha. There's even other stuff about that room from before this mouse thing that I haven't even discussed yet. Basically that room has always been one giant ERP for me.

      As always, thanks, Tina!

  2. Way to go! I agree - habits die hard. Especially when they're rooted in fear. But I've learned the hard way that it DOES help to do ERP. I have to just keep telling myself that every day. Every hour. Every time something hard comes up. :)

    Keep up the good work! And thanks for the encouragement you offer me as well!

    1. Thank you for your encouragement too, Shana! We need to stick together, don't ya think? : )

      You know, I think the only way we can learn from ERPs is the "hard" way. Unfortunately. And yes, I have to keep telling myself that that every day too.

  3. I really needed to read a post like yours today Sunny. I agree the anticipatory anxiety can be so much more stressful. As Tina said, it is helpful to hear the anxiety lessens - I need to be reminded of that because I have been giving in to OCD a lot lately and it's not making me feel good so I may as well be doing ERP's. If I'm going to be uncomfortable why not be uncomfortable doing something that will benefit me in the end?
    I love that your husband is such a help and so supportive.

    1. Hi Krystal Lynn. My psychologist's favorite phrase was "comfortably uncomfortable." She was always saying the same thing - you're in pain, so at least be in the kind of pain that will bring you healing. She would then say that I should do ERPs at a level where I'm uncomfortable, but tolerable - hence the "comfortably" part.

      We all have times where the OCD just seems to get worse. I sure do. Hang in there. You WILL get through this. Just like every other time.

      I really appreciate my hubby too. I honestly wonder all the time how I ended up with him because I sure don't deserve him. But I'll just say, "Thanks God!" and keep him! ha ha

  4. That was a hard ERP! I am proud of you!