Sitting in the Glue: Bravely Facing My OCD

This photo, “Glue” is copyright (c) 2009 wonderfully complex  and made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license.
This photo, “Glue” is copyright (c) 2009 wonderfully complex and made available under an Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0) license.

So I am supposed to be off doing homework but I HAD to blog (yay for taking time for myself!) about my wonderful counseling session today and a little something called “sitting in the glue”.

My counselor, a wonderful person who has helped me make amazing progress with my OCD this semester (let’s call her Kiki because I think that name is cute and bubbly, much like my counselor) talked to me today about “sitting in the glue”. I revealed to her that I had started this blog in an attempt to make time for myself and to find the silver lining in my experiences with OCD, but that posting the ugly truth about the content of my OCD (fears about toasters catching fire and hitting people with my car, etc) was a trigger for me. My last post took me a full week to finally post; the words “hit”, “car”, “fire”, “hurt” , “pedestrian”, “accident”, “kill” would all jump out at me and I’d worry that someone might think I was crazy. Scratch that: my OCD falsely sent me the message that the whole world would be alarmed by my blog and would come after me.  I edited that blog to minimize and eliminate my trigger words; maybe next time I will be braver.

I feel anxious even now, just typing such words. Anyways…

Kiki then told me a story from her days working in ABA. There was a kiddo who had a maladaptive tendency to perseverate on glue. He ate enormous amounts of glue while at school. One day, his therapist decided to let him sit on a tarp in a tub of glue. Glue galore! He was allowed to eat and play with the glue without any interference. The next day, he was no longer eating glue.  His glue obsession was “satiated”, as she said.

Now unlike strange glue child, I am not enamored with my OCD, but maybe it would help me “satiate” the fear, as she put it. Kiki wants me to try sitting in my glue.  To expose myself to the thing which needlessly terrifies me until it terrifies me no more. Hence, I came home and posted that seemingly sinister blog-post about my OCD around cars and driving and pedestrians.

There really isn’t a reason for those words themselves, the ones I so carefully edit out of my blog because of all the anxiety now associated with them, to  have that kind of influence over me. They are just words, which over time, thanks to Jiminy/OCD, now have the power to set my heart racing and make me retreat to safety just when I hear them on the news or see them on my blog. Those words have the power to make me hide the truth about my OCD when I know sharing helps me and could help someone else who is tormented by the same kinds of obsessions and compulsions.

Kiki actually wants me to take it a step up and soak myself in glue, typing over and over again the very words and phrases which trigger my anxiety. It’s a challenge I have accepted, but I’ll start with baby steps. I think the 7 words I typed in this post is a good start.

I guess this homework I was given is kind of like a little exposure therapy. Fletcher Wortmann, a blogger for Psychology Today who also suffers from OCD and is excellent at sharing his experiences, wrote a very interesting article about Exposure Response Therapy called Full Exposure: The Sickening Treatment For OCD

I’ll let you know how it goes! Wish me luck 🙂

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