Sunday, February 7, 2016


How my Anxiety / Exposure Master Hierarchy looks right now: a confusing mess!

In compiling my Anxiety / Exposure Master Hierarchy using the Subjective Units of Distress Scale, or SUDS (designed to measure the amount of anxiety a person reports experiencing, with 100 equaling the most anxiety-provoking situation you've ever experienced and 0 equaling no anxiety at all), a number of surprising things have occurred: 

I've been able to cut down my list of fears because a number of them were of a similar nature and so can be treated as a single fear.

This fear, "I avoid parties / large gatherings of people that could spiral out of control - especially where alcohol is being consumed," I've decided has nothing to do with my OCD because it's more of a personality trait; I've hated parties ever since I was a little girl and don't enjoy socializing en mass.

Some of my other fears, for example, "I avoid leaving the house for fear that I'll leave household appliances on or doors open, which could cause a fire or my cat to get out / die," have moved up the hierarchy: I accidentally started a small fire in the kitchen recently, involving an electric hob and a new microwave that'd just been delivered (I'll leave you fill in the gaps)!

Unfortunately I've developed a new obsession: Avoiding using cash machines and the Internet to pay for items, because I'm still recovering from the trauma of having had hundreds of pounds mysteriously stolen from my bank account last year.

In total, my list of fears average a score of 95 on the SUDS scale at the moment.

This hierarchy is taking me ages to get to grips with due to my compulsion to check that I haven't skipped numbers, and I'm aware that worries to do with family conflict / my partner dying / the abuse I've suffered that I can't bring myself to think of and seldom talk about, fuel the symptoms of my OCD, and I need to address this.

The important thing is, though, that I'm tackling my illness - however slowly, and in so doing, over the past few days have been able to lift my eyes from the pavement when I'm walking down the road with lightweight trainers on; to reduce my compulsive checking around for potential contaminated needles that could end up jammed in the underside of my foot.

Finally, I'd like to recommend this excellent and informative 'OCD talk' blog:
Check it out!

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