An update & moving forward

I can’t believe my last post was back in March, so here’s a brief update on how I’ve been getting on.

The year started well, but then I’ve had a little blip. Strangely I’ve found myself worrying about things that I worried about when I was first diagnosed 11years ago; things that haven’t bothered me in years.

My OCD has cycles and they’re usually stress related, but this recent blip didn’t seem to be. I wondered whether it was anything to do with paying it too much attention – blogging about it, tweeting about it, comparing notes etc so I took a step back from social media to see if it had any effect. It didn’t.

The other big factor for me is sleep. I know I haven’t been getting enough sleep these past few months and as such I think I’m too tired to mentally and physically challenge these behaviours.

Last night I finally caught up with ‘Extreme OCD Camp’. I’d been a bit worried about watching it wondering whether it would trigger me, or give me new ideas of things to worry about. I’m also scared of exposure therapy, so watching other people with OCD being forced into doing it was not going to be pleasant viewing. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the show. It was very well done and for once showed the variety and severity of OCD and the emotional turmoil that an individual goes through when triggered. I identified with so much of it. I thought every single one of the participants was so brave and strong for even agreeing to do the show, let alone all the amazing exposures. The exposures were terrifying – I particularly felt for Jack doing his first exposure in the bathroom – not sure I could have done that – but the guys leading the camp weren’t ogres. I felt they had a true understanding of the condition and its effects as well as being compassionate. They made everyone do their exposures, but they allowed the individuals to have a say in our far it went and they were there for them at all times. I’ve not seen another programme where the therapists have been so supportive.

It certainly got me thinking. Whilst I’m not going to go on that particular camp, there are things I can do myself. Exposure, I realised, doesn’t have to be the worst thing first, I can set myself a small challenge and see how I go. At the start of the year I began trying to get rid of a ritual a month and had some success, so now I’m going to try a little bit of mild exposure. Perhaps I won’t wash my hands for 5minutes after touching a newspaper, perhaps I’ll leave it 5minutes before I go and check on family at night and extend this minute by minute. I’ll still be able to ritualise eventually, but hope that over time I’ll do this less.

A quote I’ll remember from Extreme OCD Camp is “Do something that scares you everyday”. I might not make it everyday, but that’s something to aim for. I’ll keep you posted!