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malina

Big challenge tomorrow

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I have a big exposure coming up tomorrow and I'm feeling quite nervous about it. It's kind of embarrassing for me to admit this, but I have a huge fear of being home alone overnight. It all stems from my intrusive thoughts about self harm. I started having this problem when I was younger, got better but have been dealing with a relapse this year. Prior to this relapse, I actually loved having time to myself but never really had much time alone overnight. Since this started, I've really had difficulty being at home by myself. At first, it was for any amount of time, even during the day. I've been working on this and it has gotten better. My partner has traveled a few times, but I always found excuses to avoid being alone, like visiting my family. But I've made a decision that it's time to face this and I'm going to do it tomorrow. I just feel so ashamed, I'm in my 30s and afraid of being in my flat alone! When I was younger and my OCD was at its peak, I actually threw away all my sharp knives on multiple occasions when I had to be by myself for a few days. I just don't want to be this person anymore, I want to stop running away from this. I've been feeling pretty awful about this for a few days now, but I know I'll feel worse about myself if I don't do it. I just wanted to share how I feel, since nobody else really understands why this is so difficult for me. 

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Hi @malina, I can absolutely understand where you are coming from.  About 10 or so years back I went through a similar experience with fear of self harm.  I lived on a second floor apartment (flat) and I took all my sharp kitchen knives, locked them in a toolbox and locked that in the storage room for my unit on the first floor of the building.  This was after one evening where I felt so scared of being alone, I drove to the local emergency room and called my parents (who lived about 30-45 minute drive away) to come pick me up as I didn't want to be alone for fear I would "lose control" and do myself harm.  There were a couple other times I drove myself up to their house for the evening or weekend for the same reason.  It was terrifying to fear being alone with yourself!  I faced my fear with a combination of medication and CBT, and it was hard at first, I felt very anxious at times, but of course the only way forward is through so I made myself stay home even when I felt anxious.  I even made myself hold knives and even use knives.  Probably not as often as I could have for serious ERP, but enough to push me forward.  Over time the anxiety faded and I got back to "normal".  Unfortunately there are no particular "tricks" or anything, just pushing through, taking it one day (or even one hour) at a time and doing your best.  It might help to have some comfort items with you tonight, favorite foods, treats, a fun tv show, a big stuffed animal or pillow to hold on to.  Hang in there and do your best, remember that fear feels real, but that doesn't mean the threat is real!

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Hi malina :hug:

First, let me tell you that I think that you are a very brave person. It is inspiring that you want to challenge your OCD in that way :57439eb60db27_thumbup::thumbup:

Second, remember that OCD is a big fat liar, so no matters what is telling you tomorrow, you have to remember that is just OCD, It is just this big fat liar trying to get your attention.

Stay strong! You can do this :57439eb60db27_thumbup: 

I send you tons of hugs :hug::hug::hug:

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Best of luck Malina. I was afraid to be alone at night for many years (for different reasons) - I hammered it with exposure (as you're doing) and now it doesn't bother me at all. So stick with it. 

You have absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. As Andrea says you are being brave standing up to ocd and its vicious ways. 

Sending you lots of good vibes. You've got this :hug:

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Nothing at all to be embarrassed about malina. I think we all understand how OCD can dictate our lives. You've been doing wonderful work in facing your fears and building up to this with gradual exposures.Good for you for all your progress. Let it lead you to continued freedom from the ocd prison! Wishing you well!

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Thank you guys so much for the support! It really means a lot! The plan is to beat the anxiety with some good music and Netflix :D

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8 hours ago, dksea said:

Hi @malina, I can absolutely understand where you are coming from.  About 10 or so years back I went through a similar experience with fear of self harm.  I lived on a second floor apartment (flat) and I took all my sharp kitchen knives, locked them in a toolbox and locked that in the storage room for my unit on the first floor of the building.  This was after one evening where I felt so scared of being alone, I drove to the local emergency room and called my parents (who lived about 30-45 minute drive away) to come pick me up as I didn't want to be alone for fear I would "lose control" and do myself harm.  There were a couple other times I drove myself up to their house for the evening or weekend for the same reason.  It was terrifying to fear being alone with yourself!  I faced my fear with a combination of medication and CBT, and it was hard at first, I felt very anxious at times, but of course the only way forward is through so I made myself stay home even when I felt anxious.  I even made myself hold knives and even use knives.  Probably not as often as I could have for serious ERP, but enough to push me forward.  Over time the anxiety faded and I got back to "normal".  Unfortunately there are no particular "tricks" or anything, just pushing through, taking it one day (or even one hour) at a time and doing your best.  It might help to have some comfort items with you tonight, favorite foods, treats, a fun tv show, a big stuffed animal or pillow to hold on to.  Hang in there and do your best, remember that fear feels real, but that doesn't mean the threat is real!

wow this sounds so much like me! I've had OCD pretty much my entire life and have had lots of different themes, but this particular one is the most difficult for me. This particular fear is the whole reason I got diagnosed in the first place, because when it first started, it was too much to handle on my own. I've had CBT and medication for this before and it did help a great deal, but I realise that it mainly got me back to functioning in everyday life but that I didn't challenge myself enough at the time . Looking back now, I recognise how I didn't truly tackle many aspects of the OCD, like avoidance for example. I was in a comfortable place and getting by, which was good enough at the time, but it's not a huge surprise I relapsed. So now, I'm trying to challenge myself more and get to the root of the problem. I've been doing some crazy ERP with knives, I was convinced that my therapist was the crazy one :biggrin: but it did help!

Edited by malina

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Good luck with your exposure Malina :)

You're doing the right thing challenging this and it will be a great step forward towards recovery. Music and netflix sounds like fun, you won't even notice it's an exposure :)

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2 minutes ago, Gemma7 said:

Good luck with your exposure Malina :)

You're doing the right thing challenging this and it will be a great step forward towards recovery. Music and netflix sounds like fun, you won't even notice it's an exposure :)

Thank you Gemma!! xx

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I did it!!! I have to say, it really wasn't as frightening as I thought it would be. There were definitely moments of anxiety and I couldn't really sleep. Otherwise I watched a film, had some tea, it was a pleasant evening!

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1 minute ago, leif said:

That's so great malina!! Way to go!:thumbup:

Thanks Leif! I hope you're doing well!! :hug:

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Thanks so much everyone!! :hug:

I honestly kept thinking, I've told all my forums friends I'm doing this, can't back out now! haha

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On 11/08/2019 at 22:15, malina said:

I honestly kept thinking, I've told all my forums friends I'm doing this, can't back out now! haha

I've used that kind of motivation before to help me push through OCD anxieties :)

Whatever works, right?

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