Tuesday, March 22, 2016

I CAN READ A BOOK WITHOUT CHECKING THE PAGE NUMBERS!

My completed 'Read a book without checking I've missed out pages' Daily Exposure Practice Monitoring Form

Survivors’ Network apologized for having given me conflicting advice about my eligibility (in terms of my location) to access counselling with them, and admitted that this wasn’t acceptable – especially given that I was in crisis when I contacted them. It turns out that I am eligible for counselling, but even though I accepted their apology I’ve lost faith in their services, and so will look for help with the PTSD side of my emotional problems elsewhere.

I tried to trust in the process of habituation while walking down the street; that if I resisted looking behind me to check I hadn’t trodden on any contaminated needles, my fear and anxiety about doing so would lessen. I also glimpsed how unreasonable this fear is: If I was to tread on a needle, I'd definitely remember I’d done so because it’d be lodged in my shoe, and the chances of it actually hitting the sole of my shoe at such an angle as to penetrate the rubber plus my foot, would be extremely low.

It’s unwanted intrusive thoughts (often a symptom of OCD) such as “I might have trodden on a needle that's contaminated with a deadly disease and therefore I’m going to die” that make being alive persistently terrifying. This hard-hitting website: Intrusive Thoughts explains the nature of intrusive thoughts and where to seek help.

Whenever I left my office to do something around the house, I felt compelled to write down that I hadn’t poisoned my cat. A few times I was able to wait for the urge to do this to pass / to distract myself with positive thoughts, then was able to realize that this was OCD, not me! Breathing through these feelings, helped, too, as had having worked physically hard on my allotment beforehand. The more tired I got, however, the more spaced out I felt and eventually I was unable to stop myself from seeking reassurance from my partner / writing down that I hadn’t poisoned Tigger (my cat).

This ‘spaced out’ feeling is for me, one of the most crippling aspects of my OCD because it prevents me from concentrating on everyday tasks / increases my tendency to doubt myself, which in turn leads me to compulsively seek reassurance in order to quell the fear that I could've put either myself or others in mortal danger.

anxietycentre.com use the term ‘brain fog’ to describe this spaced out feeling: Brain Fog, Foggy Head Anxiety Symptoms

I met the inspirational, encouraging and very approachable Ashley Curry on Twitter (@AshleyCurryOCD) who refers to himself as “a recovered OCD sufferer, free for 11 years.” He is the founder and host of askashocd.wordpress.com 

Personal stories of hope for a life not ruled by OCD from members of the EverythingOCD community helped imbue me with the determination to successfully complete my first ERP: ‘Read a book without checking I’ve missed out pages’. In 13 days I managed to get my SUDS level down from 92 to 0. I was over the moon and bought myself some new books as a reward. I still have problems focusing on text, but I NO LONGER CHECK PAGE NUMBERS WHEN READING A BOOK!

Those with OCD who have problems with reading, is more common than I thought, as Janet Singer talks about in her ocdtalk blog, OCD and Reading

I must now decide which OCD on my Anxiety / Exposure Hierarchy to tackle next, and look forward to doing so.

2 comments:

  1. I am so impressed with your initiative and strength. Looking forward to reading about more of your OCD conquests!

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    1. Thank you so much, Janet. Your blog really inspires me. I begin my 'not checking the pavement for needles while walking down the street' ERP today... Best wishes, Gemma

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