Monday, January 11, 2016

First ERP Challenge: My Anxiety Baseline is Pretty High

Last week, I was given my first assignment in exposure and response prevention. It's not one of the big ones and we haven't mapped out a plan yet, but it was something small to get me started. During this assignment, I was to play a video game in a way that I had been avoiding because of my intrusive thoughts. I was supposed to record my anxiety levels and watch as they naturally subsided. The problem is that my anxiety doesn't naturally subside very often these days. Also, my baseline was so high that it was hard to tell if the task was successful.

I started at about a 40 on SUDS, peaked at about 55 and around 45 minutes later was around 40 again. In terms of my normal anxiety, this is about what would have happened had I not been recording or trying to watch my anxiety subside. I'm not discouraged by this, but I'm wondering what kind of numbers I'm supposed to be seeing. I've read somewhere that it should ideally go down by 40 points. In my life right now, that just doesn't happen without chemicals, compulsion or total distraction.

I'll be really interested to see how we address this challenge and come out on the other side. I'll also be seeing my medication prescriber this week to see if we can work on getting that baseline at a better number. Not only would I love to wake up without anxiety, but I would really love to be able to get a foothold in ERP because it has the potential to really change my life.

Are you seeing similar challenges in your treatment? Tell me about it in the comments below!