After a few sessions with my psychiatrist in my ongoing treatment for hypochondria and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), I finally started to relax and feel more comfortable.
Earlier in my treatment, she wrote the words “situation” and “automatic response" on a white board to specify what situation in my life was capable of triggering the anxiety that would lead to the automatic response of obsessive and compulsive behavior. The situations were usually anxiety producing ones that I could not control. Situations included an argument with a loved one, tension about a work scenario, etc.
Some anxiety promoting issues included overriding losses that seemed to hang in the air. One of those losses,was my daughter's move to another city, and the resulting feelings. Another loss was a breakup. Those losses, coupled with losing a job left me with a lot of grief and a feeling of utter vulnerability.
My psychiatrist explained that the OCD behavior was something that I could completely control. What a terrible thing to have under your control. Why couldn’t it have been something else?
The OCD came about as a result of the hypochondria so the roots were there for it to surface. My job was to stop those automatic responses to anxiety. I had to cool down that portion of my brain that would scream out “Fire!” when there was no fire. The automatic responses had to be delayed, so they would not be automatic. It took a while to understand this.
My psychiatrist asked if I would consider going back on the Zoloft, but in a smaller dose, and declined. I wanted to continue with the cognitive behavioral therapy and see how well I did. I figured that if I ever reached the point where I felt that I needed additional help, then I would take the Zoloft. Dr. Romero did not push the issue. I had heard that the treatment for OCD consists of therapy and medication and so I kind of knew that it was a matter of time before I too would be taking medication.