When Jeff Bell, spokesperson for the International OCD Foundation, spoke for our OCD Twin Cities event, one of the things he said that really stood out to me was that there are no shortcuts in treating OCD.
That’s true, or at least it was in my case. I wanted easy answers: for deep theological conversations to solve my problems, or for comfort and reassurance from friends to be enough, for an hour-long conversation with a therapist each week to take away the anxiety, for an easy prescription to fix everything.
I definitely did not want the hard answer: exposure and response prevention therapy.
My psychiatrist didn’t mince words in his description: “It will be hell.”
It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do in my life, but one of the most necessary and most rewarding. For me, there was no shortcut to healing, and since I was already living in OCD hell, the best way out was to keep going.
So, believe me, friends: I get it. ERP therapy is hard, so hard. You might think you won’t survive it. You might think your loved ones won’t survive your going through it. You might think it’s sinful or disgusting, and your exposures are probably going to be loathsome and repellent to you.
If you need to, go ahead and look for shortcuts. I know I had to.
But in the end, there were none for me, and I’d only wasted time looking for them.
While experiencing it, ERP was hell. But on the other side? It was my rescue.