I think I am still in shock. Yes, all of the experts will tell you that ERP is the gold standard for OCD treatment, but when you are staring into the hopeless abyss that is the reality that becomes of a life turned living ritual hell, it is really difficult to believe that anything can set you free.
I am not free yet. In fact, I have a lot of work ahead of me. But doing ERP the way I am supposed to has restored something that OCD stole from me: hope. I have been able, through doing ERP, to do things I have not done in two years. I am stunned that this works, mostly because it feels so counter-intuitive at first. I mean, come on, forcing myself to do things that my brain is screaming at me to avoid? Things that the mere thought of result in my heart racing, my palms sweating and feelings of near panic? How can making myself suffer heal me? But it does.
Today, I was able to confront one of my biggest fears. Two of them, actually. Not only was I able to proceed with what I needed to do without getting into major rituals, I tackled both of these things with minimal anxiety symptoms. Typically, even after my rituals, these two things leave my pulse pounding and my breathing shallow and quick. Not today. And, at least two or three times, something happened that absolutely, unequivocally would have sent me back to do things over again. A couple of months ago, nothing would have gotten done tonight. This time, I completed the task.
Despite the fact that I am still in the thick of this and anticipate my share of difficult days and mistakes, I feel...hope.