Is what I fear possible?

uncertaintyAhhh, that’s the big question for those of us who suffer from OCD!

If you ask your friends, they will probably try to reassure you and say no.  This feels good. For ten minutes. Then you want to ask someone again.

If you really want to heal from your OCD, you have to start answering that question with a yes.  Through ERP, my refrain became, “It’s possible but not likely.”

I know you think uncertainty is your enemy. It’s not.

It’s actually your liberator.

For (lots!) more about the ERP therapy that teaches you to accept uncertainty, check out

Image credit: Russ Allison Loar

12 thoughts on “Is what I fear possible?

  1. Hi Jackie, I love your blog and it gives me such hope for freedom; however, I the thought of ERP scares me to death. Just the question of, “Is what I fear possible?” and stating that I have to start answering that question with a “yes” shoots anxiety throughout my body. After reading many of your posts about being ok with uncertainty, I felt pretty good, but it doesn’t take much to trigger my HOCD. For example, someone posted a video of 2 old women who were able to finally marry. I only watched the video without sound because I didn’t want to hear their story. I stopped watching it and then promptly deleted the video from my timeline. But the thoughts were now returning with a vengeance. Then of course, last night I had a dream(dealing with my HOCD fears) and of course today I am struggling to not get upset about it and let it take me into a tailspin. With HOCD, if you know it is not true, how can there be uncertainty? Fear has a grip on me and every once in a while I get a taste of what it would be like to be normal, but that stupid little voice can be so persistent and strong. I come to your blog often for reassurance….lol…I know….typical OCD, but it does feel good to not be alone in this struggle. I wish I were brave enough to share my story because maybe that would bring healing. However, when I think about doing that the fear of judgment or people not understanding is too strong. I hope you don’t mind me asking questions and posting on your blog. It is helpful for me to just voice my fears. Thank you for your blog.


    • Oh Amy, I love that you post your questions!! I love interacting with blog readers who are pursuing freedom. You’re right: ERP is very, very difficult. Dr. Seth Gillihan recently posted in my comments section that ERP is like paying off a debt, whereas living with OCD means you will be paying every day in small (or not-so-small) payments … forever. It’s hard to take the plunge, but totally worth it.

      Have you read any books about ERP therapy? In my self-directed ERP post, there are some links to some good ones. That would be a great first step for you!

  2. This is another great and to the point message. I have combined it with your post from Sept. on the paradox of ERP and accepting uncertainty. i’ve got it printed out ready to hand to clients. You are helping so many people you may never meet on this earth. Thanks!

  3. What would you say is the difference between accepting uncertainty and simply resigning oneself to the misery that OCD causes? I feel like if I have to be in doubt about the truth of my obsessions, and therefore remain in doubt about the kind of person I am, then I’ll never be happy or at peace with myself again. I’m starting a more formal ERP regimen now, and trying to follow my therapist’s advice to accept the presence
    of the thoughts and the doubts they bring, but it just makes me miserable and sad to have to constantly respond to my fears with a “maybe it’s true” attitude. Is this a normal part of ERP? (Feeling like you’ll always be unhappy and never feel confident about your identity again)?

    • Yup, the beginning is miserable … but it won’t stay that way!

      What is happening is that you are learning how to stay in the cold pool with all the other kids and get used to the temperature … instead of continually getting out of the pool (compulsions). When you get used to the water, it will all be worth it and it won’t even feel cold anymore!

      EVERYTHING– every. single. thing.– in my life is better because I did ERP. It was miserable for about ten weeks and then something clicked in me. Hang in there!

  4. thanks, read the top article here, it’s my combo of your great thoughts. I really wanted to share with as many people as possible so I reposted on my facebook counseling page. You have such a way of relating to people so clearly, and others can just identify. You utilize your writing gift to put into words what is swimming around in other folks’ minds and touch them deeply. 🙂

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