Monday, December 19, 2016

I CAN'T AFFORD TO BE LAZY WITH ERP

A flu bug struck me down a couple of weeks ago, from which I'm still recovering. Due of this I couldn't leave the house for a number of days and when eventually I did so, it was hard to cope with the 'OCD / PTSD' triggers I'd worked so hard to keep at bay. The flu symptoms did give me a welcome break from those 'butterflies' feelings of anxiety which accompany these disorders, though.

My obsessive fear of contamination by needles infected with a fatal disease is really beginning to take hold again, plus my checking compulsions are still severe (to the extent that I've stopped leaving the house alone for fear that I'll accidentally burn it down - along with everything inside that I love): It's as if I'm having a delayed reaction to past traumas; am now feeling all the terror and loss I'd been too busy surviving, to experience at the time.

With the checking, I'm at times able to apply the strategy that's helped me reduce the strength of some of my other obsessions: Cut off the initial intrusive thought that fuels the obsession before I start doubting that I have, in fact, turned off a household appliance or closed a door properly. On my better days this works, but I know I'm going to have to really apply myself if I want to get my checking more under control with ERP, breathing properly and yoga.

On Saturday I fundraised at a local supermarket for Marie Curie Cancer Care and took the same route to get there that I did when I attended this event last year. As I walked, I thought about how all the OCD / PTSD triggers I encountered on this journey this time last year are still there, and I had to seek reassurance from my partner, Jan that I was safe. I didn't, however, compulsively make copious notes to myself that nobody / nothing had raped, attacked or contaminated as was the case a year ago - so I guess that's progress.

All the time (as I observe is the case with this disease), new OCDs are rearing their ugly heads ("Have I contaminated my pet tortoise's water with bleach?" etc. etc.), and maybe because this tough year is drawing to a close, I'm becoming lazy about fighting it: I regress when Jan's around. When we're out it's just easier to ask her for reassurance that I'm safe instead of applying all I've learnt about self care to alleviate my symptoms.

I know I must stop doing this and honour what progress I have made in tackling my mental health problems in my own way, because very slowly but surely, I'm beginning to recognize the person I was before I became prey to the bully that is OCD; when every move I made wasn't fraught with tension and danger.

2 comments: