Choosing Treatment: a Parable

bandaidOnce there was a man named Mr. Jones.  Mr. Jones found out he had a brain tumor.

Experts told him, “Mr. Jones, you need to have surgery, followed by chemotherapy.”

But Mr. Jones said, “No thank you.  Surgery is hard.  Chemo is hard.  I’d prefer to just meet with someone to discuss my cancer once a week.  Also, I’ll apply a fresh bandaid to my forehead every few days, for good measure.”

“That won’t help, Mr. Jones,” the experts told him.  “You really do need a very specific treatment for your condition.”

But Mr. Jones was insistent: he preferred the easier “treatment.”

So he met with a therapist to discuss his cancer, and he applied and reapplied bandaids whenever he was feeling worried.

It didn’t work.

And the moral of the story is this: ERP is the best way to treat OCD.

 

For (lots!) more about OCD and ERP, go to jackieleasommers.com/OCD.

Image credit: F2 Images

Theme Hopping

Recently someone emailed me and asked if my OCD was more about worrying about hell than it was about worrying if God was real, and I had to say honestly that after twenty-five years of OCD, there aren’t a lot of themes I haven’t experienced.  Is God real, is Jesus real, is heaven real, is Christianity legitimate, was Jesus really God’s son or was he the devil in disguise, have I committed the unpardonable sin?  OCD can cycle through a lot of themes in a quarter of a century.

That’s the thing with OCD: it often doesn’t remain in one place.  When I was still in high school– and even into my college years– I kept thinking, “If I could just sort out X, then I would be happy.”  So I’d wrestle with X, read books about it, seek reassurance, talk things over with my youth pastor and parents, research things online … and if I was ever able to “solve” it, then … my OCD moved onto Y.

Hitman: Contracts by TheKingArthur at deviantArt

Hitman: Contracts by TheKingArthur at deviantArt

I was in perpetual motion for so many years– but I never got anywhere.  It was all spinning my wheels.

Exposure and response prevention ignores the emergencies that OCD is sparking in every corner and goes after the OCD itself.  Instead of relying on compulsions, which temporarily help to “solve” individual issues, ERP is like a hitman with a mission to assassinate the OCD.

You can see why one is far more preferable than the other.