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Re: OCD symptom OCDsalivator

Posted by Dinah on August 19, 2003, at 0:44:08

In reply to $1000 or more to solve this OCD symptom, posted by OCDsalivator on August 18, 2003, at 1:25:18

It probably is a good idea to have the physical possibilities checked out. Sometimes we get so used to ourselves having a problem that we automatically chalk things like this up to it, rather than thoroughly checking it out. But if there is no medical problem...

Have your therapists suggested that the problem isn't the salivation, but rather your reaction to the salivation? You might worry beforehand about salivating, and while you salivate, and afterwards you might berate yourself for salivating. If that's the case, you can probably do a lot of helpful CBT work. Like... don't stay in the worry, step aside and watch it, and accept that you are worrying. Observing worrying doesn't feel as bad as worrying itself.

Have your therapists asked you to think about what dysfunctional thoughts you might be having about the salivating? Not thoughts of fact, but conclusions you might be jumping to about how others might be thinking of you, or any other sort of judgemental thinking. CBT therapy might suggest that you don't just keep those thoughts in the back of your mind. You might write them all down and evaluate their real truth. Or record all the thoughts on a tape and play them back over and over. I like to make fun of the thoughts, by saying them in a funny voice or singing them, for example. The DBT book I'm reading makes a big deal about differentiating between thoughts and truths.

And there's exposure and response prevention, which OCD CBT therapists seem to love. The idea there might be to try to let yourself salivate as much as you possibly can. Stand there and drool in the most public place you can find. Don't try to swallow, just let the drool pour out. The idea being that once you've done that a few times, the thought of salivating probably won't be as scary to you, because what you worried about has happened and nothing terrible occurred.

But, I really have to say. These things won't help much, and may make things worse, if you aren't ready to do them. If you don't have a safe place in your mind prepared. If you're just gritting your way through it. It's a gradual process, and just forcing yourself to stand it can sometimes do more harm than good. I'm an emetophobic (in the sense of being afraid of someone else throwing up around me). It's really more of an OCD obsession than a phobia. I've read a lot on the emetophobia web sites. And it is almost universally agreed (by emetophobes, not necessarily their therapists) that facing the phobia before you're ready to do it just makes it worse. So don't jump into anything. Doing that may backfire. Make sure that you do it at a pace you're comfortable with. The level of anxiety has to be a bit difficult for you, but not inordinately difficult for you. There's apparently an ideal level of anxiety to work with. I wouldn't know because there's no way I'm going where people are throwing up! It's probably best to work with a seasoned CBT specialist, no matter what you do.

I really like the book "STOP Obsessing!" by Foa, because it has this sort of irreverent approach to OCD symptoms. My personal favorite is singing the obsession (even if it's only in your head).

These are just ideas, and ones your therapists have probably already suggested. They may or may not suit your personal style so take them for whatever they're worth. Which is probably what I'm charging. Nothing. ;)

Good luck with your struggles. OCD can be a really stubborn problem. I certainly haven't conquered my own particular version, responsibility OCD (scrupulousness). But keep up the good fight.




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