I did that thing again–that thing where I push too hard at my exposure work and end up on the couch with a tea and a throbbing heart. Know what that is? That’s garbage, man.
But the point of this entry isn’t self-flagellation; rather, it’s a reminder to readers who might be doing ERP therapy for OCD that sometimes it’s okay not to push yourself. I know we want to get our OCD under control as quickly as possible–but it’s important to remember that OCD’s a chronic condition that’s afflicted us long before most of us even knew of its existence and that it takes time to push back. ERP’s meant to be systematic; I tend to get myself in trouble when, after a few good days in a row, I abandon that approach. That’s what happened today. Two days ago I deliberately skipped my ERP in anticipation of yesterday’s activity. When that went relatively smoothly I decided to step things up this afternoon, but the result has been two solid hours (and counting) of elevated anxiety. In a way I guess that’s okay: eleven months ago, when this latest round of OCD began, a day like today would’ve put me in bed with Ativan coursing through my veins. Not today; not anymore. (Speaking of Ativan: I haven’t taken it since November. Not bad, huh?) Doc Awesome’s having me work on an accomplishment list. Ironically, my reaction to today’s ERP warrants inclusion.
But that’s for later. For now, it’s important for me (and maybe for you as well) to remember that ERP’s most effective when it’s done deliberately. Don’t push yourself too hard. It’s okay to take things slow.