Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Unhelpful Strategies: #1 Setting a Timer

I'm going to start a catalog of strategies that were not helpful for me in dealing with OCD. Last night's post about getting stuck at the computer reminded me of the advice a previous therapist gave me, "Set a timer." Essentially this results in adding the extra motion of resetting the timer repeatedly every time it goes off, but does nothing in helping me actually move away from the computer. It also results in a cascade of "What is wrong with me? Why can't I get up when the timer goes off?" The answer of course is that I have OCD.

On occasion I have used a timer as an exposure, and that is a whole different approach. That involves intentionally choosing to do something imperfectly, "wrong" or "badly" by limiting the amount of time spent on it. This can be effective, but I have to be in Exposure Mode so I don't slip back into "What's that beeping sound? Maybe it will go away so I can keep ritualizing."

1 comment:

  1. ha ha ha!!!!! I TOTALLY RELATE!!!! when my psychologist told me to try using a timer, I laughed out loud, and told her that I would just shut it off and keep web browsing. your are so right---unhelpful! Thank you for your wonderful website. I definately feel a kinship with you :)