Sunday, October 28, 2012

The ERP endeavor has begun

Well, it wasn't a particularly thoroughly planned out Exposure Response Prevention exercise, but then again, I did put some thought into the over all problem.

So I sat through the sermon telling myself that the pastor might deceive me and lead me to hell. Added in that he might deceive us all and lead us all to hell. Added in that it might bring some families ten years of grief, and somebody might end up with a mental disorder like somebody I love from the past church ended up with (causation completely unproven) (that friend wasn't me, either).

Well, it was a loooong sermon. And I was very distressed. I guess if I step back and look at the thoughts rationally, it makes sense that they would disturb me. Nonetheless, I continue to be surprised and dismayed whenever OCD disturbs me. I wanted the distress to go down noticeably by the end. And it didn't go down as much as I wanted. I'm not sure if this is because I almost automatically kept making the exposure harder by mentioning more and more of my fears or if I just have a good lot of anxiety tied up in this. But either way, when church was done, I was done, too. Then, of course, a friend starts to talk to me, and I have to set aside my personal traumatic experience of the recent half hour (or however long it was) and engage in small talk. I guess I could have explained, but I think it would be a pretty long, confusing explaination.

Not long after, I escaped to my car and did breathing exercizes. That right there should say something about how upset I was, because I usually avoid breathing exercises like a least-favorite chore. And then I rejoined the people at church. Our small group/Bible study meets after church. And, unfortunately for my OCD struggle, the pastor was the one leading it today. But I decided I'd had enough exposure for one day, so I intentionally avoided my disturbing thoughts and ERP stuff. Actually, this group doesn't set me off as badly as sermons do, so I treated it like a seperate exposure experience that I didn't need to do today.

When I was really anxious, I just wanted to be done. Wanted to be comforted. Which is probably one of the reasons that having a counselor helps me, because I can go back, not for specific reassurance, but for support in my choice to fight the OCD. For support for me as a person. For advice on how to choose and handle exposures.

Anyway, I think I'll watch a movie this afternoon and generally try to be good to myself. I'm afraid this OCD issue is going to be one of the tougher ones to tackle, maybe more of a long-haul battle than some of my easier issues. So I'll try to comfort myself in a way that hopefully isn't compulsive when I'm not engaging in ERP, but I'm also digging in my heels for however many battles it takes. Okay, for the next two battles. I can't think of too many at once, or I get overwhelmed and discouraged.


  1. Good for you for sticking out the sermon while thinking the disturbing thoughts! And then to know that you needed the comfort of self-care. I think what you said about having a counselor to give you comfort and support is wise, too.

  2. Oh, I'm SO proud of you, Abigail! Really, really awesome. I know that was incredibly difficult, but you did it. And you know what? You can do it again too. I think you are wise to see that this might be a long-term type of exposure. I have several of them. But, you know, just because they are long-term doesn't mean they are excruciatingly painful all the time. They do get easier, they just take longer than some other ERPs. I hope you were able to have a relaxing afternoon - you definitely earned it!

  3. Abigail, thank you for your prayers.

    I hope you managed to relax and enjoy a movie this afternoon after your stressful time at church. Take care.