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Topic: Avoiding exposure therapy

6 posts, 0 answered
  1. Catie 08
    Catie 08 avatar
    249 posts
    8 June 2020
    Hi, I was wondering if there are others here that have been through exposure therapy who would be willing to share their experiences?
    I have been avoiding doing exposure in therapy (to help with PTSD) but I know that I will need to just face it at some point. I have tried to do some exposure therapy at home on my own to see if I can do it but I just shut it down which is very frustrating. I guess I thought if I could try and prepare myself before I got there it might help? When I first went to therapy I sat with the therapist and made a list of all the things that made me anxious or that I avoid and I have been able to face a lot of the things and even work on them on my own but not this.
    Any advice or guidance would be appreciated.
    Catie08
  2. Tay100
    Community Champion
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    Tay100 avatar
    366 posts
    8 June 2020 in reply to Catie 08

    Hi Catie 08

    Thanks for posting- we know it can be hard to do when facing a challenge.

    Firstly, it's great to hear that you are taking steps to address and prioritise your mental health- that's what we are all about here. The need to feel 'prepared' and even 'in control' is a perfectly normal and valid feeling. In this case, I would advise you trust the therapist and work at the pace you need too- even if you are usually self-sufficient at working through things yourself, as you say. You need not go at this alone and it's ok if you need someone to guide you through this. If you aren't keen on exposure therapy, maybe discuss other therapy options with your mental health professional. Posting in this thread and reading about other's experiences may help provide some clarity for you too.

    Let us know how you go,

    Tay100

  3. Catie 08
    Catie 08 avatar
    249 posts
    8 June 2020 in reply to Tay100
    Thanks Tay100
    I guess after holding onto the trauma for most of my life and dealing with in on my own all this time, it's hard to let someone else take the reigns. I'm defiantly the type of person to want to be in control and prepare for everything. I also have found that now that I'm ready to ask for help that I tend to bulldoze my way through therapy, it's like I just want it to be fixed but your right, I need to slow down and take the time that it needs.
    It would be great to hear from others who have been through exposure therapy to get their perspective as well. (There I go trying to prepare again lol)
    Catie08
  4. romantic_thi3f
    Community Champion
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    romantic_thi3f avatar
    2640 posts
    11 June 2020 in reply to Catie 08

    Hi Catie 08,

    Thanks so much for your post.

    I totally get the idea of letting the therapist take the reins and kind of 'surrendering' to that process, but I also think it's totally okay if you're not quite there yet. PTSD is really about safety - and often it can feel unsafe when we are so vulnerable, and the idea of trusting someone else can make us feel even more unsafe because there's this sense of not having quite as much control over things. Does this make sense to you?

    With exposure therapy at home, maybe you can think about an even smaller step that feels more doable. If the first step is say a 5/10 in bringing up emotions (which makes you shut down), maybe bring it down to a 3/10 or a 2/10.

    I hope this helps a little. For what it's worth, I'm a big preparer and thinker too :)

    rt

  5. Tay100
    Community Champion
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    Tay100 avatar
    366 posts
    11 June 2020 in reply to Catie 08

    Hi Catie O8,

    Trying to prepare is a natural response, it's ok if that's what you find yourself doing. Like romantic_thi3f and yourself, I'm an overthinker too. You aren't alone there. I hope you get some perspective about exposure therapy that will provide clarity for you. From what I leant about it, it takes some work but can be effective when done right. To help reduce the 'bulldozing' as you put it, feel free to check in with us throughout your journey so that you can reflect on the progress you make, rather than focusing on (understandably) wanting to be fixed.

    Sending kindness,

    Tay100

  6. Ggrand
    Community Champion
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    Ggrand avatar
    6690 posts
    11 June 2020 in reply to Catie 08

    Hello Catie, and everyone here...🤗..

    My Dr. asked me to try exposure therapy on a few occasions..I delayed it so many times, now she has made a tiny list of things she want me to expose myself to very gradually...The first is going out on my own...because I I couldn’t go out on my own and go for a walk...that’s one major exposure therapy I’ve been trying to do....sometimes I’m successful... sometimes not..I’ve been trying this first one now for over a year now..maybe even 2 years..My Dr. has told me their is no time limit..and each time I do go out..is a step forward for me...

    I have a mh worker who takes me out for walks when she is available, and this has helped me...now I can do some shopping on my own...but still not go out for a walk on my own....it’s hard and I have a few times had a melt down in the shop...it does get easier over time..

    The ones inside my home is harder to do, and with my PTSD I do go down so suddenly and quickly..I know it’s something that I have to have a want for...and I do, so I’m continuing to do a bit every week...I think it’s important for my mental health to give it a go...

    Catie..If you decide to ....just baby steps at a time..and only when you feel like giving it a try...I found out that if I force myself to much to do some...it doesn’t work...because my anxiety is out over the roof..and I can’t get myself calmed down enough to be mindful of what I am doing...which I think is a key point to exposure therapy...

    I hope eventually that you do give it a try...only when you’re ready...I feel it’s a long process and needs to be taken slowly and with your safety in mind...PTSD as you know can strike at anytime and it takes me down before I even realise what’s happing...

    Good luck..Catie...If it’s okay I’ll join your other beautiful friends here and try my best to support you through your journey to wellness...

    Sending you my care, kind wishes and hugs..🤗..

    Grandy..

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