Monday, June 6, 2016

After Phone Rituals

I hate talking on the phone. I hate it when other people talk on the phone. I avoid it like the plague unless it's Dvs or Pg because then if I need to call them back a bunch of times I can. I mean, it annoys them, but it's doable. And the reason that I hate the phone so much is my after phone ritual. It used to be shorter, but as OCD has a tendency to do, it has grown until it's the overwhelming ritual. Obviously I have to wash my hands until I've done that right, but after I or somebody else gets off the phone. I rush to the computer where this is always typed into an address bar:

LIVE I'm waking up alive wake up alive I'm just waking up alive you're waking up alive you're just waking up alive

And then as I stare at these words, I either say out loud or mouth to myself, sometimes with my fingers in my ears so as to block out anything on the tv or Rr or Jr talking:

I will live, I'm gonna live, I shall live. The second time I fall asleep I will live, I'm gonna live, I shall live. The third time I fall asleep I will live, I'm gonna live, I shall live. I will live, live, live, live, I live. 

When I fall asleep I will live. When I fall asleep I'm gonna live. When I fall asleep I shall live. When I fall asleep I'm going to live. When I fall asleep I live.
     These exact phrases are then repeated by adding second, third, etc. Such as "when I fall asleep the second time I will live". Replace second with third            and repeat, then again with fourth, fifth, all the way up to eighth.

If I fall asleep I will live. If I fall asleep I'm gonna live. If I fall asleep I shall live. If I fall asleep I'm going to live. If I fall asleep I live.

I will wake up alive, I'm gonna wake up alive, I shall wake up alive, I'm going to wake up alive, I wake up alive. 
     These phrases are also repeated by adding second, third, etc. Up to eighth.

I'm waking up alive, I'm just waking up alive.

Sometimes I have to add people in saying their names first and then each phrase. Other times I add "no matter what" in front of them. Other times I change the "I" to "you" and say them all again. I'll take the when or if out and say each phrase again that way. There are a lot of combinations of ways I say the same phrases, so as to cover all the OCD bases.

I also add times when I'm feeling especially anxious or caught in an OCD loop such as:

I will live at 1 o'clock, I'm gonna live at 1 o'clock, I shall live at 1 o'clock, I'm going to live at 1 o'clock, I live at 1 o'clock.

Depending on the day, I might do a few times. On bad OCD days, I'll do every hour. I also change the "I" to "you" and say all the phrases that way. 

Can you imagine doing all this after each and every phone call? It can be exhausting. The worst part is when I hear/see/think a "bad" word in the middle of any of them. That's when I have the strong urge to wash my hands and call the person back. Obviously, this causes intense anxiety when there is no way to speak with that person again such as customer service or if the person has gone to work or bed or whatever other reasons there might be. 

It makes things even worse when it's somebody else talking on the phone such as Rr or Jr. Then I want them to call whoever they were talking to back until I can get the ritual right. 

Involving people in my rituals is bad, it has caused many arguments. Avoidance is bad. Performing the rituals is bad. Hopefully with further counseling and therapy, I'll be able to confront this and stop asking other people to call people back. I'll be able to stop calling people back myself and speak on the phone like a "normal" person.

Also, these are the same rituals I perform after talking to people in person and especially touching anybody. And honestly, I do it after seeing people drive by too, even strangers. 

My mind is always tired. 


What Pam Says

I've named my OCD Pam. When trying to think of something appropriate, this fit the best. No offense to anybody named Pam. 

Fucking Pam! See? Fits.

Anyway, Friday marked session three with my new counselor. It's a little strange doing things over video, but hey at this point I'd take anything. I'm so happy to have found somebody in my area that understands OCD and ERP. And I'm stoked that she takes my insurance. It would suck so bad if she was right there, but I had no money to pay her. She - I'll refer to her as Lhk from this point - seems to know her stuff. She says a lot of things that make sense. I find myself nodding in agreement a lot. The tough part is applying what she's saying. Scary shit. 

A few things she has said:

On being lazy - I'm super lazy. She recommended when I have a thought of doing something such as taking a walk or doing a chore, etc. to get up and do it right then. When I wait, the laziness sets in and I make excuses. She wants me to start taking walks. I took one today right after we got done with our session. Dvs came over early and she went with me. We went I'd say a block and a little down towards CVS and I stopped when I was feeling anxious. Then I went a littler further and stopped again. I wanted to turn around, but Dvs asked if I wanted to take a few more steps so we did. Then we turned around and came back.

On taking car rides - I told her I had taken a few short rides with Richard this past week and that I start feeling anxious the further away I get. That's usually when I ask the person driving to turn around. She recommends at that point to actually stop and park the car. I guess the idea is to feel the anxiety and allow it to come down on its own.

On feeling the anxiety - I'm supposed to experience it instead of wishing or willing it away. Generally speaking when I feel panic set in it comes with a sense of derealization, difficulty breathing, clamming hands, and an overwhelming feeling of doom and the need to run, get out of where I am, or return home. As that happens, I immediately start to distract myself. I start talking to whoever I'm with about anything and everything. Or I try to chat with somebody online, or flip through the channels. I do whatever it takes to change my attention to something else. Lhk wants me to stop doing that. I'm supposed to feel the anxiety. Allow myself to sit with it and retrain my brain. I imagine this will be very difficult. My brain has been hardwired for twenty years to avoid anxiety. She said I can try giving my anxiety a rating and narrating what the sensations are. Oh boy, that sounds fun. 

On putting effort into exposures - I'm supposed to start putting active energy into these. She mentioned using a rewards system, however the only incentives that currently work are food. Unfortunately that only makes my physical health worse. She then said I could say well if I want to watch tv or read a book, etc. I have to do my exposures and then I can. I compared it to grounding myself. I think it will work, if I can force myself to stay accountable. She also thought keeping a log might be a good idea. Such as "OCD wants me to do this because of this, but I say no or I want to do this". 

I have a lot of work to do. I actually want to do some videos too, to document my experiences in therapy.