Sunday, November 4, 2012

OCD fight 1 has played out; now preparing for the second

The librarian was talking too loud. And emphatically. And urgently. And repeatedly, saying the same thing over and over, like she had to out-talk the person she was trying to help. Good thing she wasn't talking to me, but it was still hard (or impossible?) to ignore.

Back to OCD. I did exposures through the week on my fear of the pastor deceiving me, my going to hell, other people going to hell because I didn't figure it out and say something, etc. Sunday, I did it through the sermon, and was VERY anxious. Monday, I did it while waiting in my car between activities, talking audibly approximately along the lines of a script, over and over. It was simultaneously increasingly boring but still anxiety-triggering. Tuesday and Wednesday, I was distracted by high anxiety mistake at work. Thursday, I did the written script (or was that Friday?), over and over. I got my anxiety up to a 7 (on a 1 - 10 scale) and also down to a 3. I varied the script somewhat, though, trying to get a short enough one and the most helpful one.

Saturday, I took a video of myself signing in American Sign Language the same script-ish information, and then watched it several times. At this point, I could get myself to feel things related to the script; sadness, sorrow, but for the most part, not anxiety. So I decided that was a good thing, and it was okay if my obsessive thoughts made me sad since, if the thoughts came true, it would be sad. But I did not have that panicky, anxious feeling, at least not much, so there was improvement.

Today, I was anxious before hand. And depressed. Probably the time change and staying up late last night had an impact there. At church, for the first hour and a half or so, I was very upset. I could feel the yucky, depressed feeling that haunted me for days and months in the past couple years. But during the sermon, I did not get much OCD anxiety. My brain seems to have accepted the risk that the pastor might lie to me and I might go to hell. Granted, I still reminded myself not to start in with my compulsions. I suppose I even "checked" if the obsession was still there. But in general, I did all right.

So that is battle 1 in my OCD church struggles saga. Battle 2 is scheduled to begin Wednesday, if not earlier, when I meet with the music pastor and another member of the music team and practice, probably for helping with music this coming Sunday. Obsession? If I play guitar in a church, the church might die, and I might have a miserable time, and it might spike of my anxieties about the pastor deceiving us again. I guess I should start some scripts so that hopefully I can take part of the sting out of it before Wednesday. But Wednesday is the real life exposure, so I'll just expect it might be hard, but try not to have a self-fulfilling prophecy about how terrible it will be.

Back to the depression, last night, I updated my mood record, averaging out the last several weeks so that I could have them plotted in a chart continuously with my records from some time around May this year. I could see the pronounced decline in anxiety and depression when I stopped working afternoons, but then they both climbed up again, the anxiety especially making a huge leap up. It is discouraging to see that you are in a pattern that has rising depression and anxiety and could continue rising. But then I figured out that the anxiety leap had to do with the OCD I uncovered regarding church stuff. So now it isn't just a random increase, perhaps caused by weather and seasons that I can't control. It has to do with specific anxiety that I am fighting and that I expect to diminish. As for the depression, rising anxiety tends to increase the depression as well (though depression doesn't tend to increase anxiety as much). Thus, when I successfully tackle the OCD in this area and get it to shrink back to mostly out of my way, the depression should shrink as well, leaving me feeling better again.

As for today, after bothering me for a few hours, the strong depression struggle has receded. So hopefully the rest of my day will go better and my new week will start well, too.


  1. Abigail, I am so impressed with all the work you've done on the church OCD. And it sounds like it's paying off for you, too. Good luck with Wednesday. You're really building up a great "toolbox" to use in fighting anxiety and OCD. Good for you!!

  2. Wow, you're really working the exposures! Good for you.

  3. You are working so hard!

    Oh and I have to say... as you know, I work in an academic library and a few of my co-workers are very loud when they talk to students! It's so annoying!

  4. Thank you, Tina, Ann, and Elizabeth!