I had taken a break from seeing my psychologist for awhile. In fact, November was the last time I had a proper appointment… until last week.
There were a few reasons for the break, including:
- I thought that I was doing well and had my OCD under control. This lasted for a bit. I was off medication and thinking that I had the upper hand over the obsessive compulsive disorder. I believed that I had the tools to manage any setbacks.
- Our insurance changed. My doctor doesn’t cover the new insurance. It seemed easier to rely on my knowledge of cognitive behavioral therapy and work through my issues by myself than try to hassle insurance woes, out of network coverage, and expensive up front costs.
- Pride. When my OCD started to get the best of me, I didn’t want to admit that I needed professional help again. I thought “I did that once and now I would be able to handle my problems on my own.”
However, the OCD started taking advantage of my weakness and lack of medication. It started infiltrating my life more and more. The anxiety started to get worse and worse. My husband asked if I would contact the doctor for an appointment. The first time(s?) he made this request, I got angry or didn’t concede, or only made the effort to contact the woman who bills the appointments to see if we could work out something with the insurance. This time, I contacted her but asked for an appointment.
And, as luck would have it, there was a cancellation and opening at the end of the week. I think when this happens, it is a divine manifestation that I really do need to get professional help (since it also happened when I first conceded to get professional assistance).
My husband decided to tag along to my appointment because he had never met my psychologist before AND probably to make sure I didn’t gloss over my issues. He likes to remind me of my many OCD misgivings and weaknesses.
And was it worth it?
Yes, it was worth it. There is something about going to see a psychologist that cannot be replicated individually, even with my “at home” therapy sessions. Going back to see the psychologist who helped me overcome my OCD last year was especially nice because he knows me. He knows my issues. I didn’t have to reexplain my problems. He already has the notes. He’s been there. He was right there with me.
It was so nice to be able to explain my relapses and have him work through them with me, even if it was mostly him (kindly) saying, “We’ve already been over this. You know what you need to do. Why is this an issue again?” Just that reminder and confirmation that I can do this is something so necessary and helpful: I can do this. I have done this before. He knows.
He gave me aggressive assignments.
Not necessarily new assignments, but there is still something about being given an assignment by a psychologist and knowing you are going to be back, sitting in his office in a month, reporting on how you did that makes those assignments mean something more. They are real. Concrete. Non negotiable to some extent.
Also, he made me do an exposure in his office.
He had a bag of fake poop. This sounds ridiculous, and I thought it would be lame and weird. But he took out that fake dog poop and made me hold it. There were various pieces of poop, and people, it really looked like dog crap. It even had pieces of I don’t know what in it and the texture (besides not being goopy, obviously) was like dog crap. It was seriously gross. But! I held it and then ate lunch afterwards. So that happened. And he wants me to order some online. He and my husband think it would be such a great idea for my kids to hide it around our house. So that’s kind of what OCD contamination exposures are like, if you were wondering.
But really, going back to therapy is great. I’m so glad I did it. If you are on the fence about it, I say, go for it. I had to swallow my pride and “admit defeat” but you know what? Life is worth it. If a mental illness is compromising your life, get help. Go to therapy! Why let your life be compromised and taken over by mental illness when you have other options?
(and wish me luck on my exposures and response prevention!)