“We prefer clear and easy answers, but questions hold the greatest potential for opening us up to transformation.”
“We do not think ourselves into new ways of being; we live ourselves into new ways of thinking.”
– Quotes by Richard Rohr-
Well, after one week with a therapist, she has me doing new homework to help “rewire” my brain and treat the OCD head on. The treatment, apparently the only treatment that seriously works for OCD is called ERP – Exposure and Response Prevention. It is a form of CBT (Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy)
It works by exposing yourself to your fears. It could be an audio recording of yourself saying a script about something that triggers your anxiety. Or it could be something you read out loud. I have read that it can be news articles or anything else that will trigger your anxiety causing you to want to do a compulsion.
For me, since my OCD is purely thought based, I have to refrain from doing my compulsions which are thoughts and reassurances and rationalizing to make myself feel better. For example, when triggered with an OCD thought that perhaps I could become an evil person, the first thing I want to do is to of course reassure myself, “I am not a bad person, I am a loving person!” But with this therapy – when triggered, you would have to instead allow it to just be a possibility. “I might be or might not be, I will have to live with the possibility.”
I can’t tell you HOW TERRIBLE this feels. Because I want to be CERTAIN. I want to know and know now. But unlike pre-OCD where I could easily laugh off the thought. Today, it presents itself as this unending question, that unravels like when you pull the string of a rug. The questions become endless. Its so hard to explain and sounds crazy – even to me!
So back to the ERP, when doing the homework – you have to let your anxiety spike and then sit and wait for the awful, gut-wrenching anxiety to naturally go down. Your brain is screaming for you to please do something to take this pain away, assure me that you are certain that this thing, this fear that you are exposing me to will not happen!
But of course the point of ALL of this is to let your brain know that certainty isn’t possible. There is no way to be certain about anything, there is risk in nearly everything.
I am JUST now starting this process. I am fearful that it won’t work, I’m fearful that I will be stuck – but I am moving forward and throwing my all into this. I want to feel better and know that this is the path I need to take.