I’ve been shitting my pants over CBT for the 8 or 9 weeks since the people told me over the phone they were referring me to their high intensity team. Speculation is risky business, regardless of the subject matter. I put the feelers out with the few I trust and it turns out 2 people I know have had CBT. Both said it was hard work. One recommended a book, (Brain Lock: Free yourself from obsessive behaviour by Jeffrey m. Schwartz) which I started reading. I’m glad I did that because it explains a bit of the science behind an OCD brain and made me feel a little less fucking mental. Still, I’d basically managed to convince myself that I’d be faced with insurmountable tasks such as the one mentioned in the title.
Anyway. I met the lady, Lucy (That’s not her real name). I will see her every Friday for the next 11 weeks. Before and after each session, I will fill out a form about how I feel. She’s informed me that in each session, we will look in to the reasons behind some of my…weaknesses. There will be things that I decide to do, with her guidance. Like touching the door handle with my hand instead of my sleeve and waiting 2 minutes until I wash my hands. Then next time, or the next day, maybe I’ll try to wait 3 minutes. She says I decide how far to push it. And that’s cool with me. The thing I wasn’t expecting was the exhaustion afterwards. One of my friends told me that she went home and slept the rest of the day after her sessions because she was so drained. While I was talking with Lucy , answering her questions, I was fine. I barely teared up at all. It was only when I got home that I craved silence and solitude to come to terms with the things I have been thinking for years and never dared say out loud. Everything seems heavier now someone else knows.
Now it’s actually real. There was comfort in that with each new thing that I stumbled over telling her, there was this knowing look on her face. By the end, she was even preempting the next thing, encouraging the detail that I’d neglected such as the imagery associated with the obsessions. I held back on some things because I was scared to admit them. With others, I just didn’t realise they were relevant. I wonder if Lucy will be the one I can tell the darkest bits to. I wonder if 12 weeks is enough for me to trust her enough. I suspect I should just pay a shrink and go twice a month for the rest of my life.
Still, we did well for a first session. I managed to tell Lucy something that I’ve written in a notebook before. Something I’m not as ashamed of as some of the other thoughts. I told her that I feel like I could be brilliant. I feel like I could be a genius, an innovator, a writer, a comedian, a nurse, a spokesperson, an artist, a fucking astronaut!!! I feel like my possibilities are endless. I feel like not all of the possibilities are good, and I’m so overwhelmed by the choices that I tend to just…sit. It’s about fear. I know that I don’t want take my last breath thinking I didn’t try and knowing I didn’t achieve my potential because I can’t make a decision. So I need the help to stop that. But at the same time, I’m worried that the help will kill the creativity. According to the Internet, Van Gough said “I put my heart and soul into my work and have lost my mind in the process”.
Would losing my mind be a worthy gamble? Or shall I settle for reliable mundanity, regular visits to therapists and reliance on Prozac?