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Often, when writing about painful or traumatic events, I find myself weeping. But, after a while, I feel better.  Is there a science behind this?  Yes, actually, there is.

I found a post by the American Psychological Association that claims writing about trauma may reduce your stress, boost your mood, and your immunity.  So, if you are writing about some painful topics, take heart, and know that even if it doesn’t feel good at the moment, this may be better than therapy.

Here’s a link to the APA article:

http://www.apa.org/research/action/writing.aspx

Out of the 309 million folks in the US, 3.3 million of us have OCD.  I don’t know why that statistic floors me, but it does. Why should it bother me that 3.3 other fellow Americans suffer the same mind-boggling disease as I do?  I think A&E’s show Obsessed answers that question.

Robin was sexually abused when she was 5 years old.  Again, the trauma that brings out OCD.  Robin felt she was never clean enough after that.  Wow!  Direct connection between traumatic event and consequent behavior.  What a shitty catalyst she had, and at a young age.  Never feeling clean led to sometimes 20 hours of cleaning.  Never feeling clean enough is definitely an OCD mantra.  I could clean my house every day and it would never be clean enough.  Ahh, the rules of contamination, right?

Naturally, I had to look away when Robin was doing her exposure therapy, as the things she was touching are triggers for me.  I wonder, sometimes the percentage of folks who are OCD and watch this show?  I’ve not made it through an entire show without feeling uncomfortable or tearful.  Is the show itself a form of therapy for the rest of us?

Paul was a checker, also traumatized by an earlier event.  His anxiety was obvious, particularly when he was driving.  His fear of running down a pedestrian kept him from driving at all, a huge hindrance.  It was easy to see his frustration, a mix of anxiety and anger towards the therapist, and also a desperate need to stop the OCD cycle he was in. I love also that he argued with the therapist on several points, pointing out that isn’t it better to check some things just to be sure??  Just to be safe?

Surety and safety.  Control.  These are big concerns for someone trying to overcome their anxiety.  And Paul’s fears were centered around causing harm to others, a crippling thought process.  He said something about fault, too, and that he felt like he had done something wrong.  So there is guilt involved as well, though Paul hadn’t done anything wrong.  Oh, that is a familiar feeling.

A disease based on fear and guilt.  I thought that’s what organized religion was for?

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