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.