I only went through a month of cbt because I didn’t see a counselor until my final semester of college and each student was only allowed 8 visits per semester. Going to the therapist for the first time was horrifying. It was helpful to talk about my OCD though. She taught me that OCD is not my fault. I blamed myself for my OCD, believing I must have done something to deserve it. I told her I felt scared of getting help because I have had OCD for so long, who would I be without it? We discussed acceptance and possible solutions in dealing with OCD.
We started cognitive behavioral therapy (a type of psychotherapy in which the patient confronts his/her fears to learn how to deal with the anxiety) near the end, mostly because I kept putting it off. I was terrified. I also doubted its efficacy. She started by having me resist compulsions for very small things at my home. I didn’t really do the assignments she gave me. I did at the beginning, but as they got more intense, I stopped. She wanted to do an exposure (when a patient confronts his/her fear without compulsing) with me so we decided a relatively small but significant one would be to unlock my car door, sit inside, get out and lock it once, then walk away.
I walked next to my therapist and breathed while she told me to breathe. I was upset. My teeth chattered, I talked a lot about nothing, got dizzy, hazed and felt nervous. She kept telling me to breathe and asked me to rate my anxiety at each increment of a few minutes. We got inside and she told me that I hid my anxiety well. I said thanks.
Exposures are not easy, but they are not supposed to be. I am glad I did it though; it made a lasting impact.
I recommend cbt when you are ready. It’s scary, but it can work and give you important coping skills.