“My Therapist’s Crazy Science Experiments”

The following post is from a Guest Blogger who is new to living with OCD. He’s confronting three whopping obsessions, all at the same time and is using ERP to do it. Here’s his triumphant story:

At 27 there were many things I expected to be happening at this point in my life… engagement, getting a dog, planning the next vacation, enjoying life in a brand-new city… the list goes on.

The reality of it has been much different, thanks to my OCD diagnosis. Instead of what I had envisioned, I found myself doing things I never would’ve imagined to confront my fears and obsessive thinking.

Growing up with two older sisters I was used to being dressed up. However, that was over 20 years ago. I didn’t think I’d be playing dress up at 27, trying on my mom’s dresses and jewelry while “I am woman” plays on YouTube. I wish I was kidding but my therapist focuses on Exposure and Response Prevention therapy (E&RP) and this was one of the first exercises she assigned to me.

At first, it was terrifying but it ended up being very entertaining and my parents got a good laugh and some pictures to blackmail me with for the rest of my life. At least I know if I end up trans I can rock the s%&t out of a nice dress.

living with OCD
Another exposure exercise my therapist has me do is a bit more intense… Imagine having to hold a knife to your wrist and gut while having thoughts of killing/stabbing yourself play in your head.

When completing an exposure you’re not allowed to self-talk or re-assure that nothing is going to happen. To make the exposure even more intense my therapist has me say bloody and dark statements as I hold the knife… this definitely gets the anxiety pumping.

I’ve also had to hold the knife to strangers throats in group therapy and also to my parents. If you ever are looking for a way to spice up your weekday nights give it a try… but in all seriousness confronting these fears has been incredibly difficult.

Finally, in a group therapy setting, I came out as “gay” to a bunch of strangers who don’t know anything about me… hitting all three of my fears.

To others reading this post it may not seem like a big deal but to me all of these experiences were terrifying. I always get self-conscious when completing exposures because on top of the anxiety I feel ridiculous and embarrassed I’m having these obsessive thoughts.

But in the end, I can’t worry about it… I must continue to face my fears and continue to be a guinea pig to my therapist’s crazy science experiments because, in the end, it does appear to be working.

My anxiety and compulsions are improving… I still have thoughts but they don’t have the same amount of power over me as they used to and they aren’t as frequent. A lot of trust goes into my relationship with my therapist… I wouldn’t dress up as a woman for just anyone.

In the end, maybe one of these fears/obsessive thoughts will become reality but I can’t continue to live in fear and not attain my hopes and dreams. I will continue to embrace any exposure exercise that comes my way and hope that one day I can look back at it and have a good laugh. In a weird way, this is helping me become more comfortable in my own skin… an unforeseen perk of OCD.

Living With OCD

This young man’s account of the lengths he must take to break free from OCD is astounding. He is brave and strong, with a huge funny bone and an ever-growing mindset. He is determined not to be held hostage by fear. There is nothing he won’t do to #bossitback.

He is a blogger and openly shares his journey at Millennials for Mental Health. He’s candid about the many twists and turns he has encountered along the way. It’s not been easy for him and there are times he still gets tricked by OCD. Visit his blog and he’ll tell you how he stays strong and focused.

You can leave a comment here to help celebrate his victories!

4 thoughts on ““My Therapist’s Crazy Science Experiments””

  1. Kudos, kudos, kudos- to this young man. Our visions and dreams of what we hope for are often very different than the reality. But that is where real life happens. He is taking lemons and making lemonade. Fighting the fight, bossing it back, living his life, ENJOYING his life and getting stronger every day. An inspiring lesson for us all!

  2. Your journey reminds me so much of my own. I’m proud to sit at the same group with you and watch you tackle your fears. It’s been empowering to watch you. It’s reminded me how important it is to challenge myself and never forget how sneaky OCD is. It’s also made me even more grateful for the group of people I get to share part of my life with that truly understand the journey we experience. And of course for Tammy whose knowledge and skills have given so many of us our lives back.

  3. This entire post is wonderful. The sentence that struck a chord with me was “…In the end, maybe one of these fears/obsessive thoughts will become reality but I can’t continue to live in fear and not attain my hopes and dreams.” Fear has its uses – it’s a fine servant, but a poor master. I think it’s much better to go with the attitude of “Whatever happens, happens…” than live life held back.

    I also like that you titled the post, in part, “Crazy science experiments.” Many science experiments may require a catalyst – something that helps a reaction move along. Tammy, as well as others in group who have OCD, can be wonderful catalysts for change.

    P.S. – Two additional songs you may wish to consider are “How Will I know” by Whitney Houston and “I’m Coming Out” by Diana Ross. 😀

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