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Monday, May 19, 2014

Update on starting treatment

I wanted to provide a quick update on the possibility of starting treatment.  I have located an anxiety treatment center in Kansas City, which is about 3 hours away from my house.  I'm still unsure how realistic this all is with all of the commuting, but I firmly believe that if I want to get treated I need to go to a true anxiety treatment center, not just "talk therapy" through a psychologist here in my hometown.  I talked with a very nice woman there who is one of the staff psychologists and has been assigned my case.  She explained the procedure and policies to me.  I have discussed it a little with my husband and he seems on board with the cost, as we realize that insurance is not likely to cover any of this and it will likely cost thousands of dollars.  Again my husband does not realize the extent of my OCD, so it makes me very nervous to proceed with all of this.  I'm unsure if I would want him involved in every aspect (at least not at first).  There is a lot of obsessions and rituals that he knows nothing about at this point.  Regardless, the possibility is out there and I have never gone to this extent to find a treatment center.  This summer would be a really good time for me to start treatment since school is out.  It would also likely require me to take a medical leave from work due to traveling and the frequency of appointments.  There is a lot to consider when weighing the options of treatment.  The following are just a few I can think of off hand:

To be able to function more "normally" (even a reduction in symptoms is appealing)
Less family stress
Less chance of my child falling into OCD habits from watching me
Not wasting money on buying new clothes and throwing things away
To have some extent of FREEDOM from OCD
To be able to go out and enjoy doing things once again
To be able to be physically closer to my husband/family (through hugs)
To be able to go to social gatherings and not feel isolated
To know that I CAN beat this!!!

The thought of treatment is frightening
I don't want to expose myself to the things that I am constantly trying to avoid
Sometimes it seems easier to just live with OCD, than go through what I need to do to get rid of it
Family life will suffer further
My daughter could fall into OCD habits
OCD is likely to continue to get worse without treatment
Very expensive continuing to throw things away
Travel time
I could get to the point where I become homebound

Sometimes I feel like I should just give it a try.  The thing is I'm scared of the treatment!  I don't want to have the OCD, but I don't want to do the treatment.  Even the basic exposures I know they would start out with are terrifying to me....not to mention how that will progress the further into treatment I go.  The thought of even doing something such as touching a doorknob in my house and then putting my hand on my clothes and sitting with that anxiety all day.....I can't even go there.  For those of you that have gone through treatment, what do you think your biggest motivator was?  If you are not being treated, what is holding you back?

The thing is I've been able to successfully self treat myself for my other subtypes of OCD.  I can't say that I'm without symptoms in those areas, but I have learned to manage them to where I would consider them a "minor nuisance" in my day and not consuming large portions of my day.  I am really working on my magical thinking/work perfectionism and have made a lot of progress in those areas.  Most of my "checking" behaviors are manageable anymore, except for those that cross over with contamination.  I still have a problem "checking" things where contamination is an issue. As for doorknobs, garage doors, stove knobs, refrigerator, etc....I don't really have a problem with those much anymore.  The contamination though is the BIGGEST issue, and the one that just continues to morph and spiral more out of control every day.  I am really spending a lot of my time anymore keeping my "safe zones" clean and safe, and I will write more about that in my next post....stay tuned!



  1. Hi!
    So I am so thrilled to hear you are considering this!! My biggest motivator in the beginning was bribery from my parents (!!)-- I didn't have a choice. I would have to say that the biggest thing for me to continue past that initial point was that I tried to imagine my life as a "real grown-up" (like 30) and realizing that if I didn't do this, I would STILL be struggling with this stuff as hardcore-or the way I was going WAY worse-than I was even then. For me, that meant I could not have a relationship, a relationship with my family by seeing them normally, having a boyfriend, having kids, getting on an airplane, eating out, having my dream career happen, basically anything besides true necessities. I would have to sit by and watch everyone else get to experience those things. Ultimately, that is not what I wanted my future to look like. Hope this helps...

  2. Woo hoo that is AWESOME!!!!!! I'm SO PROUD of you!

    Of COURSE you are scared! Totally normal and expected. But you are taking a gigantic step forward, and honestly, it is the best gift you could ever, ever give your family. If you get a chance, list EVERY single reason why you want to get better. Even stupid little reasons. Then hang on to that list for dear life as you go through treatment. Use it to remind yourself why you are doing this. You may want to have a conversation with your husband. The truth is, things will seem to get worse before they get better. Initially the OCD will try to fight back. Aureen Pinto Wagner calls this the "extinction burst." Explain to your husband that this won't be forever, but that you will need his support for the time being like never before. If you have other friends and family, and/or a church family, enlist support from as many of them as you can. You are going to war, and you need your reinforcements. But let me tell you, this is a war that you can and WILL win. I can tell from what you have written - you are ready to rip your life back from OCD, now you go out there and take back what is yours!!!!!

  3. I can't add much to what C and Sunny have said, but I just want to cheer you on and let you know that I have NEVER heard from anyone who regretted going through ERP therapy. The only regrets are that they didn't do it sooner. Good luck.......I wish you all the best!