exposure & response prevention

anonymous asked:

my intrusive thoughts r making it rly hard to focus in lessons - ik all the stuff abt distraction but in lessons there's not much I can do so I end up not focusing / spending all my energy on not doing sth stupid (they make me want to hit my head on stuff) & I try to just dismiss them as meaningless because I know they are but they won't stop & it's making functioning hard, any tips/ideas for what I can do? (my school is aware I'm mentally ill if that helps)

Intrusive thoughts

Hi anon,

It can be really hard to deal with intrusive thoughts in lessons. I think that your school knowing whats going on will help. When I was at college, my teachers knew that I struggled with this too and I was given permission to leave class if I really needed to, due to my anxiety. I’d just get up and go to calm myself down and return after. I’m not sure if this is something that they do at your school, but having something in place that would allow you to leave the room if it got really bad and too overwhelming may be helpful. It might be good to look into asking your teachers if there are any options that might be in place to help student with mental health problems.

As for dealing with the intrusive thoughts when you’re in lessons, my CBT/ERP therapist gave me two methods to use. One of them was to dismiss the thought and the other was to agree with the thought. 

For example, you said you have thoughts about hitting your head against things; agreeing with the thought would be saying something like ‘yes, I’m absolutely going to hit my head against that thing’, inside your head. It sounds strange, but we spend so long trying to deny intrusive thoughts that agreeing with them can actually lessen the anxiety it causes. However this method can cause a bit of an increase of anxiety initially before it eases it, so it might not always be appropriate for certain situations. 

The other options was dismissing it and to any intrusive thought just thinking ‘it’s just a thought’ repeatedly, rather than interacting with the thought. It’s easier said than done, but it can be helpful.  It might not work the first time and you might have to repeat the ‘it’s just a thought’ mantra quite a few times in your mind, but it can quiet the thoughts a little so you can get on with the class.

They might not work for you, but I found them really helpful and on days when I felt stronger, I’d agree with the thought, my anxiety would increase a bit, but then the intrusive thoughts would lose their power over me. Then on days when my anxiety was worse, I’d try to dismiss the thoughts instead.

Lastly, I was wondering if you’re currently seeing a therapist? If you’re not and you’re in a situation where it’s possible, seeking a therapist might be useful to you. Cognitive behavioural therapy and exposure response prevention therapy is known to be useful in treating intrusive thoughts. For me, this kind of therapy helped me to deal with intrusive thoughts a lot to the point of recovery. I’ll post some resources of intrusive thoughts for you below.


Intrusive thoughts


All the best,



This one is called “Obsessive”

I have OCD.
I was diagnosed when I was nine years old
I was in the 3rd grade but I had just dropped out
Because my teacher and my class sucked and nobody understood why I was functioning at such a low level when I was supposedly a pretty smart kid
That was at about the time that my bones started poking out from under my skin and my face lost it’s color and I only ate in small portions three times a day.
I lost a lot of weight- fifteen pounds, which was a lot for someone my age and, yeah, I guess you would assume that I had an eating disorder
At least, that’s what people on the streets probably thought
As I limped down the sidewalk, head drooped down, longing for my next meal
But my anxiety tugging at my shoulders and telling me “No. Don’t. You’ll get too full”
It sounds stupid, right? A fear of overeating? Yeah. I felt pretty stupid.
I got over that fear eventually but it didn’t happen over night, let me tell you
Because treatment for OCD is pain in the fucking ass
Not to mention tiring, especially when you’re a 52 pound nine year old trying to make her way through 3rd grade,
The major treatment method for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is doing exposures
These are also known as ERPs, or exposure response prevention
And the idea is that you slowly introduce yourself to your fears by exposure to them
And it starts out super triggering but eventually your anxiety levels start to go down and you acclimate.
At that time I was going in for treatment multiple times a week for up to three hours at a time
I remember wondering, fretting, over what the other kids would think if they knew how I was spending my afternoons:
Sitting in a big, sinking, therapy chair with an oreo on my tongue, trying to tolerate the anxiety it caused me to taste that unhealthy food
And then taking it off and wiping my mouth off with a napkin, spitting out any crumbs that might have disintegrated into my saliva
Then rating my anxiety.
Sounds fun, right?
Yeah, I know.
But you know what else? It doesn’t sound like what the average person thinks of when they think of OCD
No, I wasn’t an “obsessive hand washer”
I didn’t have to jerk my head to the side multiple times a minute or do anything in threes
I wasn’t always clean and spotless and sanitized.
And you know what else? It wasn’t fucking charming.
The thing about OCD is that if you have it, even if you get over a particular fear, it’s going to try to find it’s way back into your life and it will usually manifest into a different fear
Often little things will come up and you’ll worry that you’ll have to start going to exposures four times a week again, but it’ll usually die down.
That’s what I thought at the beginning of this summer when I started obsessively worrying that I had a fever.
I had had the fear in the past, and eventually it went away, so I figured it would this time, too.
Boy, was I wrong.
When did I know? When I started taking my temperature multiple times a day, freaking out when it was above average, which it always is because my body temp runs high
But OCD and logical thinking do not exactly go hand in hand
My parents hid my thermometer but I started doing other things to ease my anxiety
I didn’t sit back in my chair because if I did, the seat would become warm from my body heat, and I would touch it and get too anxious
I started avoiding touching other people, in fear that their skin would be cooler than mine and prove that I had a fever
I put my clothes in the dryer cycle every morning so that when I put them on, i could feel that my body was cold compared to something else.
I held ice on my wrists to try to cool down my body.
I’m still working on that fear.
Hell, I’m in therapy 4 times a week for it
But I have faith that I’ll overcome it and move on to do good things in my life
Because I’ve done it before.
So don’t pity me.
Please. Don’t pity me.
But next time you think about calling yourself OCD because you like to keep your math binder organized, catch yourself
The next time you assume that someone with neat room is obsessive compulsive and someone with a messy room isn’t, catch yourself and remember not to judge
Because you can’t tell from the outside
(And my room is a fucking pig sty, lemme tell ‘ya)
OCD is not the cute mental illness.
It doesn’t make you quirky or organized or sanitary or polite
And if you walk around telling people to stop romanticizing depression
Stop romanticizing suicide
Stop romanticizing self harm
Than you can tell people to stop romanticizing OCD.
We all have struggles in this life and it’s impossible to compare them, so let’s not try to
Let’s just try to respect each other’s struggles, no matter what they may be or what label might be plastered to them
Do you think you could try that for me?

anonymous asked:

What is ACT and ERP?

ACT is Acceptance Commitment Therapy. An example would be having HOCD and accepting the possibility of being gay. Encouraging the intrusives rather than running from them will cause intense anxiety but once you’ve reached a stage of true acceptance, it will become apparent that it’s simply an intrusive thought and not real. It’s an incredibly scary tactic to try and leads to a lot of spiking but the pay off can be huge.

ERP is Exposure Response Prevention. This is when you put yourself in a situation you’d normally avoid due to your OCD in order to tackle your fear head on and help naturally rationalise it. Again this can lead to spiking at first, but again the pay off long term is huge.

This weekend I had three pieces in a local art show and my still-life won 3rd place! 

This is my newest and the first in my series based on Exposure and Response Prevention, which I’m using in my therapy for OCD. I’ve been setting up still-life pieces using objects that cause distress and trigger intrusive, obsessive thoughts in hopes of exposing myself to them in a creative atmosphere. The goal of ERP is to expose and control your response, which is typically mental or physical rituals. Giving myself a goal, like creating a piece of art, has helped ease myself into this. I am constantly exposing myself to really distressing objects and responding in a positive way. 

It feels really good to capitalize on my mental illness and produce something productive. I’m really looking forward to finishing up the rest of these and propelling forward off of this accomplishment. 

No one in the class is neurotypical!

They all have PTSD- Marinette and Adrien from fighting akuma and the rest of the class from being them.

Marinette has generalized anxiety disorder. She sees a psychiatrist regularly and is medicated, though she’s still trying to find the right balance of drugs, which is part of the cause of her oversleeping.

Adrien has undiagnosed depression and mild social anxiety. The social anxiety doesn’t get in the way of him doing anything, but his depression would if it wasn’t for the fact that his schedule is so strict.

Nino is autistic and has OCD. He doesn’t take any medications, but he does go to a therapist for Exposure and Response Prevention treatment for his OCD once a week.

Chloé has undiagnosed histrionic personality disorder and depression. Adrien recommended she see a psychiatrist and get diagnosed, and she challenged him to do the same. They’re both too afraid of their fathers’ reactions to do it.

Sabrina had dependent personality disorder. She refuses to undergo behavioral therapy, but she does take a small dose of an anxiolytic to deal with some of the symptoms.

Alya has ADHD. She saw a psychiatrist for it once, but they deemed she had a mild enough form of it that she didn’t need treatment, especially with how much running around chasing superheroes she does.

Mylène had panic disorder and schizophrenia. The schizophrenia has been diagnosed and is being treated through medication, but the panic disorder is only being treated as a symptom of schizophrenia and not its own problem.

Alix has cyclothymia, but she thinks everyone has it and buries her feelings. As a result, it goes untreated.

Ivan has paranoid personality disorder, but his parents won’t seek treatment for him. They believe it’s just a regular teen problem.

Kim has a gambling addiction and dissociative identity disorder. The gambling addiction goes unchecked, but he has medication and goes to therapy twice a week for his DID.

Max is bipolar and heavily medicated. His brain and body grow accustomed to the medication every year or so, which results in him having to change treatments.

Nathaniel has avoidant personality disorder and is schizotypal. Both are being treated through therapy and medication, but he’s still not getting the best treatment he could be.

Rose is autistic. She goes untreated, as no one believes she is autistic. She idolizes Elle Woods because she sees a number of things similar about them, not realizing they’re both textbook examples of women who have fallen through the cracks on being diagnosed.

Juleka has moderate, persistent nightmare disorder and borderline personality disorder. She receives treatment for both, but it has so far been unsuccessful.


Ghost Hound | Episode 3 : Phobia Exposure
↳Two Gifs per Episode

Exposure therapy is a technique in behavior therapy intended to treat anxiety disorders. It involves the exposure of the patient to the feared object or context without any danger, in order to overcome their anxiety. Procedurally it is similar to the fear extinction paradigm in rodent work. Numerous studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in the treatment of anxiety disorders such as PTSD and specific phobias. It is also very closely related to exposure and response prevention, a method widely used for the treatment of obsessive–compulsive disorder.