Exposure Therapy/Grandma Nee

I will get into the specifics of my obsessive thoughts on another day, but this post is not just about me.

This morning, I went into my mom’s room to clear some things up from yesterday. My obsessive thoughts had come back again, about wanting to be a mom so badly.  Of course, these obsessive thoughts have only gotten worse since my sister learned she is expecting what appears to be a healthy baby boy (due in July).

Yesterday, I had sent my mother a text that I was feeling crushed that neither her or my sister would ever be my surrogate. My mother makes the observation of how unstable my moods are. It often takes me hours to get the energy to take a shower. My bed has become both my prison and my comfort. I see the validity, but OCD does not, and it continues to torment me, despite a dozen different medications and at least half a dozen doctors. I am 20. I am labeled “treatment resistant“.

My mom and I talked, with many tears exchanged about; outpatient treatment programs at both Loma Linda and UCLA, the upcoming neurologist appointment to find the results of my last 3 hour long MRI.

And about my sister.

I can’t see my sister anymore because the obsessive thoughts and my depression leave me near-feral, ready to break things, yell at anyone around me, or literally fall to my knees sobbing somewhere. I miss my sister terribly. I miss our Target dates and Chili’s dates, collecting seashells and her yelling in frustration at other drivers, our singing along to stupid songs. I miss her terribly.  But mental illness is merciless, so for now I miss her.

My mother revealed to me today that she has been hiding baby things, and discouraging my sister from coming over because she didn’t know how I would react. This made me truly see how selfish, how all-consuming mental illness is. Not just for me, I already knew that, it’s making my parents depressed and hopeless too. They hear my sickness, see it, and they know they can do nothing.

I can’t let that happen. I know (aside from worrying about my own reactions) that my mother will be ecstatic to be “Grandma Nee”. I made her look me in the eye and promise me she would stop discouraging my sister from coming over. She has two daughters, and she needs them both.  I can’t be selfish in this way too. With all of my other obsessive, intrusive thoughts, there has been no way to implement exposure therapy.

Today was different.

I went into the closed parlor, and went into the cubbyhole under the stairs. There was the stroller and the playpen which I ignored. I found the plastic container of clothes we have bought so far, a book I had bought. I propped the book up on the coffee table, the plastic container next to the sofa. I took out one shirt, and I placed my dad’s heart-shaped container of ashes above it. So they can be together, I thought.

As the finishing touch of my exposure therapy for the day, I left the parlor door open (which is usually closed as to not upset me). It might not sound like much, but that’s the real, first step of exposure therapy I have initiated, and it was really really hard.

But maybe, one day, it will get a little easier, and I can go collect seashells with my sister again.


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