Let me preface this post by saying that I hope all of you in areas where tornadoes hit today are safe and well.
According to what I can glean from weather reports, I think all we’ll get in Central Virginia are thunderstorms.
Elizabeth, on her blog “Into My Own,” wrote an excellent post today about weather anxiety. If you haven’t read it, go here.
I had another cognitive behavioral therapy session today, and I left depressed and cried a good part of my drive home.
I have been experiencing a great deal of anxiety, the kind that causes my limbs to feel numb, makes me feel hyper and gives me a feeling of doom and fear.
I’ve tried to monitor myself enough to ask myself, when I felt this way, questions like, what am I thinking? What has happened? What am I doing?
The point was to find the triggers that promote the highest levels of obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms and other anxiety. That was one of my assignments from last week’s therapy session.
Some of my worst anxiety occurs when I think about the clutter that I have around me. It’s mostly papers: paycheck stubs, paid bills, receipts and other records. I deem some of them too important to dispose of, but I don’t have enough space to store them, and the process of sorting through them is daunting.
Another time that provokes intense anxiety is when I’m writing for work. I have been working on limiting the time that I give myself to edit once I’ve written a piece, but I haven’t made a great deal of progress.
I have also had a lot of anxiety about workplace issues. I even woke up at 4 one morning this week thinking about work with anger and resentment. But I didn’t relate it to OCD.
The last couple of days, I’ve also been feeling depressed.
When my therapist asked me today how things had been going, I told him I have been feeling very anxious and depressed, and mentioned the work situation.
He jumped on that and asked questions about that specifically. Soon he was talking about the underlying anger that can make things like OCD and generalized anxiety disorder worse.
People with anxiety disorders tend to suffer from what he called “over niceness.” We don’t like conflict, so we tend to stuff our feelings, sweep our anger under the rug. But it bubbles up, he said, and, hence, aggravates OCD and GAD.
We spent the rest of the session talking about using empathy, assertiveness and respect to get our desired effect, not necessarily the desired outcome. We role-played. I cried, which I haven’t done in our other sessions.
At the end, I asked him if we could talk about OCD again. He said, of course, but he didn’t want me to avoid facing things like the conflicts we talked about today.
|Sometimes, fire extinguishers are necessary.|
He said he could give me tools that would work like a fire extinguisher on my OCD, but if gas (the stuffed anger and resentment) was poured on the fire, the fire extinguisher wouldn’t do any good.
So it was a session that didn’t help me with OCD. And I felt like, oh, here’s one more thing I’m doing wrong.
I’m sorry if this post sounds whiney. I went along with my therapist today and talked about the work conflicts. I’m sure I do need to work on facing conflict.
But I don’t want to deal with that right now. I want to deal with the OCD that plagues me and has plagued me for most of my life.
Yes, I cried during today’s session, which I admit could mean we were touching on a subject that is bothering me a lot. But I’ve also been depressed and hopeless. The tears could have been related to that too.
I don’t have another CBT session for two weeks, though I can call the office next week to see if the therapist has any cancellations. In the meantime, I am going to work on my OCD.
Any thoughts on this?