The more we give into our compulsions, the smaller our world becomes.
We start with the initial fear, for example, fear of contracting a disease. At first we just avoid areas that are most prone to catching the disease; hospitals, nursing homes, etc. But over time the fear (or obsession) grows and we start to avoid all public places and people. Really anything our brain flags as fearsome. Soon we only feel comfortable in our own homes, tucked away in our closets feels safest. Before you know it, your world no longer exists. You’ve cornered yourself into a life of solitude.
A few weeks ago I was sharing with my therapist how I was finally allowing myself to watch my TV shows again. I know what you are thinking, allowing yourself to watch TV shows? Well, my mind, filled with irrational fears, made it difficult to watch television. Each show provided my OCD with the opportunity to attach ridiculous significance, which would remind me of my struggles. In all honesty, it just felt easier and safer to avoid my shows. Obviously I know now that this tactic is the complete opposite of what we should be doing! Once we start facing our fears and allowing ourselves to experience the anxious feeling, we will realize the anxiety eventually goes down. Our brains will learn that these areas of our lives are not fearsome.
My therapist began to cry, “Nicole, your world was becoming so small. If you had not sought therapy, who knows where you would be today.” She was sad for the isolation I had endured, yet elated at the progress I had made. I thanked her because she has been such a large part of my healing process. I am so glad my world did not completely close in.
Some of you might be in this exact place – wondering why you are even existing. Seek help! It is worth it, I promise. “If you wake up tomorrow, God’s not finished with you yet. You’re still standing!“ (Christine Caine)
Don’t let your world close in!