I’ve been thinking about what kind of year 2012 has been. I guess it’s not unusual to do that as the year winds down to a close and the new year begins in just a few days.
As I thought about the themes of this blog—living with obsessive-compulsive disorder while also dealing with depression and anxiety—I kept coming back to what has played a big role in my life this year: therapy.
I thought about the many times this year that I’ve climbed the front steps and walked into the red brick building where my therapist and my psychiatrist have their practices.
I have spent hours in their offices, feeling the gamut of emotions: fear, anger, joy, sadness.
I’ve talked, I’ve listened, I’ve role played, I’ve wept.
I’ve heard things and learned things that have reached my very core.
I had been away from any type of therapy other than “medication checks” with my psychiatrist for many years, but I had the goal of starting exposure and response prevention therapy, or ERP therapy as I started the year.
I had my first appointment with my psychologist in January. At that time I discovered that we would do cognitive behavior therapy instead of strictly ERP therapy, which was fine with me.
My therapist and I worked on my OCD for a while, and I made headway in learning to accept and deal with anxiety instead of doing compulsions to try to lessen it. I did ERP exercises and reported back to my therapist.
The therapy took a turn in April when my therapist noted that my depression—which he diagnosed as chronic—was affecting my ability to deal with the OCD and other anxiety.
We started CBASP therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy. It’s made up of intense sessions using situational analysis. These sessions have chipped away at the anger and subsequent helplessness that feeds the depression.
In October, I decided I needed to simultaneously work more on the OCD, so I started doing more ERP on my own, using as a guide Dr. Jonathan Grayson’s Freedom from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: A Personalized Recover Program for Living with Uncertainty.
Compared to this time last year, I feel like I’ve moved down the path towards real recovery. I deal better with my interpersonal relationships, my OCD is better under control and I feel hope that I’m going to get better.
All this has reminded me of the importance of treatment for OCD and for depression and anxiety. There are many kinds of treatment, and each person is different. Different things may work for different people. The point is to reach out and get the treatment that is right for you.
I plan to continue climbing up those front steps in 2013.
What are some of the things 2012 has taught you?