As most of you probably know, I tend to beat myself up a lot, especially over school work. I also frequently beat myself up for failing so miserably at my ERP (exposure response prevention, for newer readers) homework. I like to drown in self-pity over wasting my time and my therapist’s time. I spend lots of time focusing on my failures.
But I realized something today.
I am free from a couple of compulsions that used to have serious control over me.
Before, when I finished showering, after turning off the water and pulling back the shower curtain, I had to turn the water back on to wash my hands because the shower curtain seemed so contaminated.
Then, after drowning my body (except for my feet) in lotion (because contamination OCD leads to super dry skin), I had a very ridiculous and complicated process for putting lotion on my feet. I would grab new clean socks and tuck them into my pajama pants. Oh, this is embarrassing. Then I had a towel that I would use to wipe off my feet. Immediately after wiping off one foot, I would quickly put lotion on it and then the put a sock on it before putting that foot down. Then I’d repeat with the other foot. I looked extremely silly hopping around on one foot at a time, trying not to fall over, trust me. I just couldn’t handle being barefoot because floors are dirty.
I don’t do either of those things anymore. I haven’t done those rituals in months. I don’t even think about doing them anymore. I completely forgot about them until today.
And I don’t even have to thank my meds for that. It’s all me and my hard work.
It’s easy to forget these things because that is the goal, after all. The purpose of ERP is to erase compulsions from the brain, so I didn’t notice when these two disappeared. It’s easy to forget about the things I have accomplished when there are still so many hurdles in front of me. But today I want to look back and reflect on what I have conquered.
So therapy is working, slowly, but that’s ok, and it will keep working if I keep up with it. I have proof for myself that it’s worth it. Now I just have to get back to work.