Here I am. I can’t believe how long it took me to get here. I’ve been talking about facing fear for so long. I got it tattooed on my arm. I’ve read books. I’ve had conversations. I’ve seen therapist after therapist. And now I’m starting ERP – FINALLY starting ERP. I can’t believe the amount of research – of advocating for myself over and over and over agin that it took to get to this point. And now, I’m afraid of fear. I’m afraid of plunging into fear because I’m afraid I’ll never come back out again. Somehow, I’m convinced that fear will swallow me whole, for once and for all.

I have to do an exposure 5 days a week. “Treat it like a full tme job,” my new therapist said. Indeed. OCD is already a full time job, but it’s more than that. It’s overtime. No pay, no benefits. Just work. But that work – the work my OCD wants me to do, isn’t work at all. It’s more like treading water. Are you staying afloat? Sure. But if you stop – even for a moment – you’ll sink and die, right? Maybe not, says ERP. Maybe you won’t. Maybe you’ll sink for a while – maybe you’ll be terrified. Maybe you’ll think you’re going to die. But then, maybe, just maybe, you’ll bob up to the surface again. Maybe it will take some time. But maybe when you come up for air again – this time, you’ll float. You’ll realize you don’t have to work quite so hard.

Things dissipate on their own. Feelings are not made of concrete – they’re made of air. You can’t build a house with your thoughts, it will tumble down, or change, into an igloo or a boat or a handful of rice. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from my study of Buddhism and mindfulness over the past months, it’s that nothing is permanent. The nature of life is temporary – fleeting – changing all the time. This is terrifying for the OCD sufferer. Impermanence is uncertainty, and uncertainty is life. But, maybe that can be beautiful too. Certainty doesn’t exist – it’s an illusion. So why not revel in reality?

I want to be brave. I want to live to the point of tears, and I have. And I will, because, after all, life chose me. I guess life chose me, after all.*

*(Thanks, Dar Williams)

2 Comments
  1. buffster 7 years ago

    2nd star to the right & straight on 'til morning i.e. good luck with the ERP..\\

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  2. uk123 7 years ago

    Nice Article.

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    0 kudos

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