Elaine's Story
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Elaine's Story

What was the problem before therapy started?

Obsessive checking and anxiety when leaving the house, thinking that things might be left on.  Thinking that there will be some kind of accident which will be my fault.  Feeling panicky so checking and counting things over and over.  Starting at switches.  Spending a lot of time doing this and becoming agitated and not wanting to go out.

How did it develop?

My parents are worriers, this made me thing that I should be worrying and believing that uncertainty is intolerable.

Bullying made me lose confidence and doubt myself, eventually this turned into persistent doubting about things that I do and not being careful enough.

Being in control of things as home, by checking and making certain of safety makes me feel better, like I'm stopping things from going wrong or at least trying to.  This gives me relief.

What kept it going?

Relief from checking is only short term; have had to do this more and more and more, then I further doubt whether I've done checks properly.

Avoidance of going out or being the last one to leave the house or work means I don't disconfirm the thought that something bad will happen.

What's changed since therapy began?

A survey was an important part of therapy.  This made me aware of other people's routines.  I found out that most people don't bother checking ovens, heating systems, plugs and doors at all.  This made a massive difference because this gave me the confidence to try out not checking and if I get a doubting obsession I remind myself that others don't check.  I also found out that other people have obsessive thoughts, I leant that these are normal and don't have to make people lose control.

Mindfulness - being aware of what I'm thinking and being able to let thoughts drift by.  I notice these thoughts still but now don't think they're important and don't fuel them by reasoning with them.  I just let them go.

I am now leaving the house each day with no checks.  After the first time I saw that nothing bad happened.  This means I have extra time to stay in bed and do more meaningful things.

How can I build on this and take it forward?

Continue to talk to people about normal checking of things.

Continue with regular assertiveness. 

Continue not checking!!

This page was last updated on 2010-11-18 09:12:01