Friday, July 1, 2016

BREATHABLE STEPS FORWARD

'The beauty of being a misfit' by Lidia Yuknavitch: I aspire to this.

“Compulsions are a lousy solution to the problem of having obsessions.” – Fred Penzel

Daily yoga practice in the early mornings is continuing to centre and relax me in preparation for the day ahead – plus I’m developing abdominal muscles for the first time!

Some beach resort hotel in Australia sent me emails to confirm that I’d booked a $1000 four-night stay with them this month. Even though I know it’s just spam, my OCD makes me question whether or not I did actually book this trip and have forgotten about it; another layer of stress I don’t need when I’m doing my best to overcome my mental health issues.

The past seven days have been about overcoming my old obsession that really took hold while I was in Paris last month; that anyone who accidentally bumps into or touches me will fatally contaminate me. As usual to start off with, I found doing ERP on this exhausting: After being jostled on the London Underground, I managed (even though I felt terrifyingly skinless), not to compulsively write down that nobody had contaminated me, but later on I couldn’t resist asking my partner, Jan for reassurance that I hadn’t been contaminated.

Having worked consistently on this exposure since, however, I’m happy to report that by enlarge I've nailed this OCD. It’s only when I’m tired that I can’t separate out an intrusive thought / image from the reality that most people I pass by in the street or sit next to on an Underground train are only interested in one thing; getting to their destination.

Sometimes I really resent the time and energy that fighting OCD is taking out of my life, and wonder if my inability to overcome it has been down to me being a ‘weak’ person… but then I remind myself that I’ve never let the symptoms rule me, that this is an incredibly debilitating illness, and that up until now, maybe I haven’t been ready to heal.

My friend, Sarah, gave me some great advice regarding doing ERP: “Remember to take it in strides; not to overwhelm yourself. Each time an individual gets through an ERP they actually gain strength.”

So far as my severe ‘checking’ obsessions go, I managed (for the first time) to check that I’d shut my allotment greenhouse only once and didn’t ask Jan for reassurance that I’d shut both it and the ‘allotments entrance’ gate properly, but I still had to write down that I hadn’t left anything open: Baby steps…

My first counselling session with T. from Nia; East London Rape Crisis went very well: Hopefully we’re going to explore core issues to do with my obsessive fear of male sexuality and of feeling intruded upon by others, plus we’ll work on building my sense of self-worth. My OCD kicked in big time when asked if I’d ever been violent towards anyone (one of my biggest fears is that I’m a danger to others). Even though the answer to that question is no, I sought reassurance from T. that she didn’t think I was a threat to anyone; in other words, OCD did its best to destroy this positive experience. Thankfully, after a walk in around the local park, I calmed down, became very tired, but was able to move on.

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for the update on your hard work. Again, I think you're doing amazing all on your own. You are moving in the right direction, which is the most important thing. Yay!

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    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement. It means everything! Yes, I feel that the tide is turning, but still have a long way to go....

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