The ERP (exposure response prevention) continues for my OCD. The last few days (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday) were harder. One of my doctors from group asked me to do some more difficult exposures in addition to the ones I had been doing, and there were some “unexpected” challenges each of the days that messed me up in different ways.
On Friday, I was doing fairly well with my contamination OCD exposures but then my writing/honesty/scrupulosity/copyright OCD decided to say hello in a major way. Last week, I was finishing up my copyediting/proofing the “final” draft of my book, and I guess the finality of it all gave me anxiety and stress—knowing that this was the “last chance” I had to make any changes to my book before it goes to press made me nervous. I changed some parts and wording, and my OCD mind started to convince me that maybe I wasn’t totally honest in various parts of my book. Maybe that event didn’t happen exactly as I described it. Maybe the event didn’t happen at all, or at least not precisely how I had written it? What should I do? Should I write the editor? Would I get sued somehow? Was I being dishonest and lying to my future readers? How could I live with myself?
I was starting to really freak out by Friday early evening. Was it OCD or just me being “honest”? Is it possible to be perfectly honest in a recounting of your story? Eventually my husband and I talked about how I have to draw a line in the sand and just decide “I am not making any more changes. It is done.” Then I have tell the OCD/thoughts that when they bring up new parts of the book to worry about.
Making that decision really helped. Shutting down the OCD rather than entertaining it took a bit of its “fire.”
Saturday and Sunday involved some contamination OCD “lifestyle” (read: kid) exposures that I wasn’t anticipating and therefore threw me for a loop. My daughter threw dirty underwear on the floor in our dining/living room area and I found myself freaking out and spraying the floor with disinfectant spray and doing some mopping up. Sunday morning, my son was playing in the bathroom sink and I worried about germs and contamination and dirtiness and freaked out about that as well.
Figuring out how to deal with these “unexpected” or unplanned exposures needs to be a priority, but I’m not sure how to go about it since they are well, unexpected and unknown. How do I make a plan to conquer or not freak out about something when I don’t know what that “something” is going to be?