Tuesday, March 15, 2016

TERROR AND PROGRESS

Out of the dirt emerge the daffodils!

Firstly, a gift; please click on the links below to explore two invaluable resources about dealing with OCD (thanks, Patricia Ann Zabran and Leanne Marie for bringing these to my attention):

'"Dear Loved One, I have OCD" - Tips for Individuals and Family Members about Disclosing your OCD' by Jon Hershfield, MFT


So that I might continue to trust that recovery from OCD is possible, it's become imperative I keep reading up on OCD.

I’ve been feeling rundown due to the enormous amount of nervous energy trying to recover from OCD is taking up, and tearful / terrified thinking that in confronting my OCD / PTSD, I’ve unleashed so many painful memories and emotions, that I won’t be able to cope. On the flip side, however, I have been able to muster the strength to get angry at my OCD; to shout at it to “Fuck off!” when something triggers its bullying ways.

In my permanently spaced out state, I haven’t been able to convince myself that I would never poison my cat and so have been highly anxious about being left alone in the house with him – but I have been managing these terrifying feelings by doing breathing exercises while my partner goes about her business as usual, mostly.

I made some progress in that I was able to reduce my SUDS level regarding my first exposure task – ‘Read a book without checking I’ve missed out pages’, from 40 to six, and during ERP, succeeded in not checking I’d missed out pages  – even when I was turning them in quick succession: My anxiety rose as I turned the pages and I felt spaced out, fearing that my lack of ability to concentrate would mean I’d miss important information – which I did a couple of times (but hey, no one died)!
Traumatic flashbacks and flash-forwards teemed my mind; I fixated slightly on page numbers and experienced memory lapses pertaining to text I’d just read, but managed to keep going despite distractions such as a kid on the tube kicking his legs in front of me while I was reading.

It became apparent that I shouldn’t attempt ERP when I’m tired, and I wondered if OCD has caused real damage to my short-term memory. As well as trying to tackle my OCD, though, I’ve been, in a professional sense, exploring other career options – so it’s no wonder my brain is overloaded!

Some mornings, I haven’t felt the need to reassure myself (by writing things down), that I hadn’t deleted any emails, but performed this compulsion anyway, because it’s what I’m used to doing, plus I’ve been ‘procrastinating’ – in other words, putting off (for a little while, at least), compulsively ritualizing in order to temporarily lessen my anxiety.

A small victory: I haven’t been checking page numbers  in general, or re-reading text as much.

Survivors’ Network, Brighton, (who support survivors of sexual abuse and violence) got in touch and apologized for not having been able to locate (even though I’d had confirmation to say they’d received it) my e-mail asking for help and advice with my emotional problems (to do with the sexual abuse and violence I suffered as a child). I was informed that even though I no longer live in Brighton, I’d be eligible for access to their counselling services, then a week later was told that in actual fact I’m not eligible due to my location. They didn’t acknowledge or apologize for my anger and dismay at having been messed around by them – again, and so in the end I told them to just forget it. This left me seething, but I knew that somehow I must suck it up and refocus on my goal of getting my mental health difficulties under control.

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