Sunday, March 29, 2015

Moving Isn't All That Fun

I'm in the middle of moving. Well, actually I'm at the start of moving, but my place is in total disarray, so it sure feels like I'm in the middle. I'm pretty excited about my new home, but not as excited about the process.

Today I sold a piece of furniture on Craiglist, then immediately convinced myself that something bad would happen to the person using it. I was in the middle of reassuring myself that the chances were small, it would never happen, etc, etc. All of which I know I shouldn't do. So I guess it was a good thing that today I was also reminded of the fact that reassurance doesn't actually do any good:

Yesterday I was briefly worried that I'd kill the new seedlings I was growing. And then today I did, by leaving them out in the hot sun for too long. Now, it's not at all odd that I killed the plants, and I wasn't all that anxious about it happening. But their death still made it clear to me that my underlying idea that worrying about something is a talisman against that thing happening is simply not true. Once you remember that, there's not much reason to bother with reassurance.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Book Review: Daring to Challenge OCD by Joan Davidson

Last summer, New Harbinger Publications sent me a copy of Daring to Challenge OCD. It was a busy summer, one overtaken by preparing my house to sell. So while I skimmed the book, I didn't really have a chance to read it until this winter. The book is actually much broader than its title might indicate, covering the basics of OCD and Exposure and Response Prevention, including good information about building a hierarchy to guide your exposures. As the title does suggest, it has an extensive chapter about why treatment is worth it with tips and information to help overcome several common forms of resistance (what if exposure makes it worse? what if something bad does happen?)

I really like a number of things about this book:
-it has three "real" examples of people who went through ERP. The book follows all three throughout. I really appreciate when authors do this, as it seems more relatable/doable to me that way.
-those three people have different types of OCD, including the types where compulsions are more mental than physical.
-it has two useful sections that aren't seen in many books: "Overcoming Obstacles" and "Realistic Expectations for Recovery." These sections cover issues like the idea that you have to keep doing this stuff forever (answer: yes, you kind of do!) and confusion about what's OCD and what's not. These chapters also include anecdotes from the three OCD-ers, again really helping to make it feel real and relatable.

Overall, I was quite impressed with the book. As with any book on OCD, just reading it isn't going to change your life. You have to work it. But I do think for someone (I'm probably one of these) who has struggled with putting ERP into action, it provides some additional information about moving forward, as well as the inspiration of Gina, Mary and Ted, who all changed their lives through exposure and response prevention.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Does It Get Easier?

I can't say I know the answer to that question. I do know I'm making hard choices and avoiding avoiding. Due to an illness in the family, I've been faced with more germs in my life while at the same time trying to avoid bringing germs into this person's life (and yes, I'm fully aware that my struggle is not the important one here! But it is real nonetheless).

In any case, despite my fears about making a sick person even sicker, I'm still making the "right" choices most of the time, and not letting fear rule the day. I can feel some momentum building up this week, and I want to ride that out.

The plan to move is in full force, with a new lease starting in April. Lots of chances for exposure, and I have done some avoiding, but with the momentum I noted above, I think I'll be able to do less of it between now and when I move.

Lately I've thought occasionally about seeing a therapist again, but I can't quite justify the expense. If I felt like it was a necessity to my wellbeing, I'd do in a minute, but I don't think it is. In fact, I feel myself wanting a sounding board more than I want someone to push me to do exposures. I think I just need more friends. :)

I hope spring is starting for everyone out there (well, those that like spring anyway!) It's been beautiful here. Even today's rain was lovely.