A Portrait of Uncertainty, Before & After

SONY DSCUncertainty, Before ERP: intolerable agony. Even a sliver of uncertainty would collapse my entire self. It was torture, hell on earth. I didn’t think I could stand it for one more minute. And, in fact, because of that intense pressing need to erase the uncertainty, I’d usually do something to alleviate the ugly anxiety … but compulsions prevent you from realizing that you can live one more minute. And then another. And as the minutes stack up, you start to get used to the cold water. In fact, it stops feeling icy.

Uncertainty After ERP: uncomfortable still, but necessary. These days uncertainty feels like a built-in, expected part of life. It’s no one’s favorite thing to experience, but I experience it much the same way as the general population. It’s not an emergency; it’s just an inconvenience. And because I learned that I could survive– and even thrive– by embracing uncertainty, I actually love it more than most people.

Uncertainty isn’t the enemy. ERP can set you free.
Go to www.jackieleasommers.com/OCD-help for more details.

 

Image credit: Mark Turnauckas

The [Beautiful] Paradox of ERP

paradox of ERP2Exposure and response prevention therapy. ERP.

The hardest thing I have ever chosen to do in my life.

And one of the best.

But that’s not actually the paradox I’m talking about. The paradox of ERP that fascinates me most centers around uncertainty.

The whole point of ERP therapy is to teach someone to learn to live with, accept, even embrace uncertainty. ERP actually re-wires the brain to help the OCD sufferer with this. Before I went through ERP, I wanted to know everything with 100% certainty. Anything less would cause intense havoc in my mind, heart, and body. Because of this intense desire to know everything with certainty, I so often felt gobsmacked by uncertainty. I lived as if, without total certainty, I could barely know anything. Doubt pummeled me like a linebacker. My life was ravaged by uncertainty.

But once I went through ERP therapy and learned to accept uncertainty, the bizarre thing is that my confidence returned. I suddenly felt surety and certainty again– after I realized I didn’t need it.

When I demanded 100% certainty, what I ended up with was often something in the 25-40% range. Or lower.

When I abandoned the need for 100% certainty, I ended up in the 90-99% range. Sometimes less, but usually way, way up there.

That’s weird math. Backward logic. A paradox.

One I love.

99% sure,
Post-ERP Jackie

P.S. If the need to know for sure is ruining your life, you need ERP. Read more about it at jackieleasommers.com/OCD.

P.P.S. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ, and I can’t help but be struck by the similarity of this to “Lose your life to gain it.”

Image credit: Nicu Buculei, modified by me