Saturday, July 16, 2016
DOUBTING MY OWN REALITY
I gain immense pleasure out of observing the wildlife on my allotment when my emotions are in turmoil.
This week I’ve had PMT, which always makes doing ERP therapy on my OCDs an uphill struggle, but I’ve nevertheless made some progress with my obsession that anyone who accidentally bumps into or touches me will somehow fatally contaminate me: My fellow ‘London Underground busker’ friend, John, kissed me on the cheek, and instead of compulsively writing down that he hadn’t contaminated me, I let this anxiety ‘ride’, and I’ve got to the stage now, where I can cope with the unavoidable (though fleeting) physical contact I make with people as I go about my business in overpopulated central London.
Even in the heat of summer I used to avoid opening my bedroom window before leaving the house; knowing that the window was just another thing I’d have to compulsively check was closed properly. Now my mind is generally more relaxed, though, I do open it in the certainty that I’d never deliberately leave it open for the cat to escape.
The physical demands of, and my devotion to my job as a performing musician have meant I’ve lost focus a bit in so far as pushing myself to do more ERPs is concerned, but however slowly, I am moving forwards, and believe that learning how to relax is going to be key to my recovery from OCD: As well as doing daily yoga practice, I’ve begun to allow myself one full day off work a week just to regroup - and hopefully be more productive in the long run.
It was difficult for me to process my latest counselling session with T.: For the first time in a number of years I opened up about physical, sexual and emotional unresolved traumas which, I believe, fuel my most challenging obsession of all (a terror of male sexuality). That night I couldn’t sleep because I was remembering and doubting my own reality over my grandfather’s sexual abuse of me – especially in relation to my family’s continued strong denial of my feelings and needs, then my eczema flared up all over my body.
Deep-down, I have a strong sense of self, but OCD constantly makes me doubt that - in much the same way as I’ve had my experiences twisted and devalued by those who were meant to protect me. I’m hoping that in time, I shall be able to wholly believe in that strong self without the compulsion to try to hold too tightly onto any happiness that comes my way.