ERP is incredibly hard no matter what theme you are dealing with. The key to ERP is not to do any compulsions before or just after the exposure. That will make the exposure ineffective. You will definitely know if the exposure is effective. The more you do ERP, the easier it gets. Also realize that you may have to do the exposure more than once. I typically have to do an exposure 3 or 4 times before my anxiety gets low enough. During the exposure, you anxiety will go crazy. It feels like an eternity, but it only lasts a few minutes. Then your anxiety will peak and start to decline. You will get the best results if you commit 100% to the process. ERP has made a huge difference for me. Hope this helps
It does! Thanks
I have contamination OCD and am currently doing ERP. I think that exposures are hard for everyone regardless of whether it's about contamination or something else. It's not supposed to be easy or fun. BUT - I would 100% suggest breaking your exposures down into baby steps. Here's an example of an exposure I just completed, and how I broke it down. Obsession: Thinking that my prescription medication packaging possibly has Covid/other germs on it. Compulsion: This ridiculously long process to take my meds: 1. Remove eyeglasses (I think this started because I didn't want germs flying onto them when I got my meds out of the cabinet. If I forgot this step, I'd have to wash my glasses for 40 seconds after doing the whole medication routine.) 2. Pour water into glass. Get little bowl to put my pill into. 3. Wash hands 30+ seconds (OCD says the water pitcher handle is germy.) 4. Get medicine out of cabinet, pop pill into my little bowl. 5. Wash hands 60 seconds with 2 pumps of soap. 6. Take medication and put glass/bowl in sink. 7. Wash hands 60 seconds with 2 pumps of soap. 8. Wash hands again if something didn't feel right about it. (Paper towel maybe touched something, soap wasn't sudsy enough, etc.). 9. That's it (unless I started doubting that I did this routine correctly). ERP: These were my baby steps. I did each for 1 week. 1. Cut the 60-second handwashing down to 40-second handwashing. 2. Cut down to 1 pump of soap instead of 2. 3. Cut the 40-second handwashing down to 30-second handwashing. 4. Cut the routine down to just this: Pour water and get bowl from cabinet, pop pill into bowl, take pill, put glass/bowl in sink, and wash hands ONE time with ONE pump of soap for 30 seconds. Not gonna lie, it felt dangerous and irresponsible to do each and every one of these steps, but as I did them and realized I could handle the anxiety, each step oddly got easier. The confidence gained from even a little bit of ERP goes a long way. You are 100% NOT weaker than anyone else who does ERP. OCD just wants to tell you you are weak - but OCD is a liar. Don't listen to it. You can do this. I promise!
Thank you! 😊
Do you have problems with laundry? I check all the time to make sure there's soap and putting into the dryer is ridiculous. If it touches anything I have to rewash the load.
Yes! Specifically taking clothes out of the dryer. I have been known to rewash stuff if it accidentally touches the outside of the dryer. I also don't like certain items being washed together. Just had a meltdown about that last weekend. Still working on my laundry issues.