A Long Month of Exposure Therapy

So it’s been awhile, now as I sit here at work I look over the past month or so. I have made massive progress both mentally and emotionally, and somewhat physically. I have begun an intensive outpatient program through the OCD and anxiety Treatment Center, to treat anxiety, social anxiety, and PTSD. I have yet to begin the PTSD Treatment but have jumped right in to the others. Being that it is exposure therapy, it is nothing like any other therapy I have ever done or heard of before. I begin the treatment on PTSD on January 3rd so wish me luck! As for the social anxiety treatment goes, here is a bit of what’s going on….

So Monday through Friday from 10am to 1pm I am working on myself. The first two hours are exposures, things or acts that are designed to bring you distress, and damn do they succeed. They put me in situations I would never put myself in, especially without a few drinks. Everyday I randomly pick 2 of 9 exposures and spend one hour on each. First exposure… is to give a 5 to 10 minute presentation about a random topic given to me by somebody in which I can make up false facts and try to be confident in my lies. Second exposure… to talk about controversial topics with someone and sometimes defend the side that is the opposite of what I actually think with topics randomly given. Third exposure… Dress up in silly costumes, tell jokes, read children’s books excitedly. Exposure 5…walk around with a water tray, spill on or around someone and ask them to clean it up. Exposure 6… make phone calls to businesses and ask about random items, or make phone calls to old friends, or calls that will put me on hold.( I absolutely HATE talking on the phone). Exposure Seven… go to Walmart and ask employees for various items or help a random stranger. Exposure 8… walk in funny ways around others(I’m totally self conscious of the way I walk) and finally…. Exposure Nine… dance to various videos such as zumba, just dance, or any other even if someone is watching.

So, as you can see, these are generally based around social anxiety and are honestly harder than they might sound, but they are making a huge difference in the way I feel and how I approach things. As hard as it is, I am curious and afraid of what the PTSD treatment and exposures will be like…..Wish Me Luck….

The biggest plus so far has been that I am discovering that I don’t have to be drunk to do any social thing. I can go to the store completely sober. I can do anything without a drink, and that is a lesson that I so dearly needed to learn. It is changing my outlook on life. It is changing how I react, what I do on a daily basis, I feel so much more capable and confident. It is a great feeling, and I can’t wait to see what the next phase brings! To anyone that struggles with anxiety, social anxiety, or any form of OCD, I fully recommend exposure therapy. But be warned, it is a lifelong commitment, but it will bring boundless reward with it, and some great friendships.

So that’s what I’ve been working on these past couple months. I hope it wasn’t too boring to read about and if you would like to know more or have any questions, let me know! Thanks!

Published by The Lost Girl

Hi, my name is Elsie. My struggles with mental health, sexuality, transitioning, and alcohol are very real. I just wanted to share just in case what I have to say can help someone. Love you all

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