what it was like

B.C.B.T. (Before Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy):

I was in bondage to obsessive-compulsive disorder for over fifteen years; I was depressed, overwhelmed, scared, sad, and I felt guilty all the time. I was terrified of thoughts and wallowed in grief and terror for over a decade.

Doubt and this lingering wrong feeling were the normal for me; it was only for small periods of time (sometimes even seconds) that I felt peace.  I worried about ridiculous things– like that I might cause someone to kill him/herself or that I would sexually abuse a child.  I wondered if Jesus was really Satan and if people were really demons, if everyone was pretending to be my friend just so that it would hurt worse when I found out the “truth.”  I woke up in the morning and felt sick to my stomach within a few seconds.

I worried about hell, about my soul, about whether or not my prayers could reach God.  I wondered if writing fiction was the same as lying and if writing about the hard things in life was displeasing to God.

This niggling feeling of unease was constant– sometimes it was at the back of my mind, lingering there in the background, and sometimes it was at the forefront, screaming at me like a siren that SOMETHING IS WRONG.  Peace was fleeting and momentary, and I had to keep asking after it: do you think this is okay?  Do you think this was wrong?  Do you think I’m going to heaven?  Do you think I should worry about this?

I cried a lot.  Sometimes I fell asleep with quiet tears, and sometimes I would WEEP and KEEN while my roommates could do nothing to comfort me.

It was a cycle of horror: I would obsess and stress about A Particular Issue for two to three weeks, until I had completely exhausted myself in every way, and then it would fade into the background.  But only for awhile.  It or another obsession would attack again in a week or so.

I felt alone and scared and not even the gentle hand of a friend on my back could bring relief.  I felt deep confidence that I was condemned and doubted everything else.  At times, I lost my grip on reality and thought I was really, sincerely losing my mind and would end up in a straightjacket or room with padded walls.

I felt hopeless.

A.C.B.T. (After Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy):

I hated almost every minute of CBT and (at the time) thought my therapist was a BEAST, an unfeeling monster.

But twelve weeks later, I was in charge of my OCD and not the other way around.  I knew that I had been a victim and not a monster.

I am living in freedom, I do not suffer from intense intrusive thoughts nor do I feel the need to perform my compulsions to relieve any anxiety, and the quality of my life has improved SO SO SO much.   I don’t have to confess everything all the time or seek reassurance from my friends.  I don’t doubt the tiny decisions I make each day.  I am okay with uncertainty.

And I know it’s not a cover-up!  I know that CBT didn’t work like a band-aid, covering up my problems and making me blind to them.  It worked like an electrician: it RE-WIRED my brain.  Now I can think like a “normal” person.

I still have bad days, just like everyone else.  Sometimes I am sad, bored, cranky.  I fight with friends and hurt because of it. But it’s all in the normal course of life; I experience these the way that others do.  I begin each day at zero instead of at -1000, handicapped so that I have a million miles to make up before I can even deal with things the way others do.

GLORY TO GOD for leading me to CBT, which has UNLOCKED MY PRISON. I am MYSELF now: joyful, creative, secure in my relationship with Christ, and not living behind a mask. My smile is REAL, and I love my life and my God and myself! I give credit to Jesus Christ for such an incredible rescue. Thank You, Lord, for two years of freedom; I am looking forward to an eternity of it.

Would you like to learn more about CBT?  I am happy to answer any and all of your questions with complete honesty.