a confession

Although cognitive-behavioral therapy threw off my OCD chains four years ago, I have to be honest: sometimes I worry that all the protective walls I’ve built around me will come crashing down.

I know that OCD is waiting just outside.  I see it in the parking lot sometimes.  Every once in a while it sneaks into my bedroom at night and sits menacingly on my dresser, whispering ugliness.

I have the tools to make it leave now.  It has to obey me when I tell it to go.

But what if one night I’m not strong enough?  What if my voice wavers, and it realizes I’m not as powerful as I try to sound?  What will I do if it pitches a tent in my apartment, moves back in with its suitcases of grief and terror?

I speak boldly of CBT and ERP as if they are stories of the past.  I say “freedom” like it’s a permanent thing.  But I can’t see even one second into the future.

Just wanted to share these thoughts with my OCD community.  I have great joy, and I delight in my remission, but I’m a real person with real fears.  As I’ve said before, I won’t tiptoe around my OCD– but I’m not going to provoke it either.

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Resurgence: When OCD Attacks a Freed Mind

It’s hard to know exactly what caused it, but the last two weeks have been pretty hard for me, OCD-wise.  And this is coming after four years that were, for the large part, obsession- and compulsion-free.

Blah.

I was feeling weak and exhausted for various reasons when the  intrusive thoughts started up again.  I don’t know if OCD noticed a chink in my armor and decided to go for it or what– but out of nowhere, those old intrusive thoughts started up again.

Then, one week ago, I posted about my darkest, lowest days, and in some ways, that blog post worked as a trigger.  On Tuesday night, for the first time in SO, SO LONG, I started to revisit those old doubts about my salvation.  It felt so ugly after such a beautiful four-year stretch of freedom and joy.

But.

I have tools now.  I walked myself through the obsession: It is POSSIBLE that I am going to hell … but it is not LIKELY.  I practiced an old exposure.  I reminded myself of the promises of scripture, and I emailed my girlfriends and asked them to pray and to NOT reassure me.  And they were total rockstars and did exactly as I requested.

And you know what?

Tuesday ended up being an isolated event.  It felt like such a slippery slope, like all I have won was going to be torn from me.  But it wasn’t.  I’d still appreciate prayers and NO reassurances, but this last week was a reminder for me that OCD-in-remission is in some ways just a sleeping giant.

Not that I will tiptoe around it.  I will not fear it again, only fight it.

sleeping giant2