I had a bad day last week. The reasons aren’t important; what matters is that it invited introspection, which led, eventually, to re-reading my very first OCD journal and re-visiting my time with Dr. No (last seen in my soon-to-be-former family doctor’s waiting room imploring me to book a visit with him to discuss a relationship that had ended six months earlier). In fairness to me, I was desperate when I started seeing him…but looking back, and with the benefit of hindsight, it’s incredible I stuck with him as long as I did.
Here are some of the notes I took during our very first meeting. Again, this man is a registered psychologist in the province of Alberta.
not blocking things; not avoiding things
“Thought regulation” doesn’t sound promising, but for the most part it’s so far, so good.
Except it’s about to get bad:
if you accept that you’re the architect of the worry thought, by implication you can put another thought in your brain
Two big problems with this statement, which I jotted down verbatim. One, we aren’t the “architects” of our thoughts. Thoughts happen; we have no more control over their origin than people who aren’t Superman have over the earth’s rotation. Two, the phrase “you can put another thought in your brain” sounds an awful lot like thought replacement–which is a compulsion, and which therefore, by its very nature, seems like a bad way of managing OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER. Surely Dr. No wasn’t advocating thought replacement as an actual technique for managing OCD?
let the thought come
fill the cup w/negative thought, pour it away–>replace w/positive thoughts
Oh…he was. He was advocating thought replacement. He wanted to treat OCD with a “C.” Where could we take it from here, I wonder?
bring in colour/constructive thought
Ah, yes: attaching colour to mental processes! That was another one of his favourites. Again, I was desperate when I started seeing Dr. No. I was also referred to him by a family doctor who, to his credit, has taken pretty good care of me almost since I moved to Calgary five-and-a-half years ago (and who I’ll still be leaving in the near future, partly so I don’t run the risk of seeing Dr. No in his waiting room again). Anyway: a quick postscript from that initial session. My notes end with the following:
I allowed [the obsession] to grow,
I’ll allow it to go
Those last two words actually make sense to me. Eventually, I’ll explain them to you; seriously, there’s enough material in this notebook to fill an entire blog, and since blogs are theoretically limitless that should tell you how ridiculous those two months with Dr. No actually were. I’m not saying he’s a bad man. I’m simply saying, as gently as possible, he kind of sucks at his job.