Tuesday, April 19, 2016
TIGGER OR TRIGGER?
Tigger in my office helping me to gain some perspective!
Instinctively, I started ERP on my obsession that wherever I am in the house, I'm going to poison my beloved cat, Tigger. I've had it for about four months and the intrusive thoughts that accompany it are terrifying: As the fear and anxiety I could’ve poisoned Tigger backlogged (especially after I deliberately put myself in the vicinity of his food and water), the ability I had to concentrate on my work diminished and I became disorientated.
During this first exposure (for which my initial SUDS level before commencing ERP was 99), I managed not to ask my partner, Jan for / write down reassurance to myself that I hadn't poisoned him, for nearly nine hours. During this time, Tigger was playing with me (because he loves me, bless him). Once I’d begun to feel tired, however, I was unable to keep going, and my brain felt like mush!
At one point during the week I got stressed at work and had a migraine. Consequently I failed one of my ‘I haven’t poisoned Tigger’ exposures, and OCDs I’d fought hard to contain reared their ugly heads again briefly. Even though in the end I’d given in to my need to seek reassurance I’d done no harm to Tigger, I reminded myself I’d been able to put off performing this compulsion for a considerable amount of time – and that was progress.
Over a period of six days, I reduced my SUDS level regarding this exposure to 48, and even refrained from seeking reassurance from Jan while she was out all day and I was left alone with Tigger, that I hadn’t poisoned his food or water: Distracting myself from the anxiety with reading and TV worked, and being premenstrual resulted in me feeling not so hypervigilant. It was only a week ago that this OCD was so bad I could barely move.
I obsess that I’ll poison Jan, too, and still sip from cups of tea I make her to confirm to myself I haven’t potentially killed her…
Engaging in ERP, for me, is about getting my brain to ‘speed up’ and not to dwell on every little detail so that I’m more able to go with the flow of life.
In addition to the above, I really struggled to stop from myself from sabotaging the successes I’ve experienced thus far in this bid to rein in my obsessive-compulsive behaviour – but I managed to (just)! I also deleted some of the notes of reassurance I make to myself on my iPhone, which shows I’m beginning to trust in my physical safety more.
Some peoples’ silence in response to my opening up about the abuse I’ve suffered (which I believe triggered my OCD), is something I take very personally, and makes me feel further isolated with my emotional difficulties, so I’ve emailed CARA; the Centre for Action on Rape and Abuse in Essex that Survivors’ Network, Brighton recommended to me, for more support. Watch this space!
Thank you to everyone who's supported and encouraged me this week – I really appreciate it.