Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Worry Saturation

I had a session with my therapist on Monday, and we tried out a technique outlined in The Worry Cure book (the basis of my series on worry). In this technique, you repeat a statement over and over again...200 hundred times or more (I believe the book suggests 1000 times). The idea is that the statement will become so boring that it eases the anxiety when the thought pops up again.

So, I sat there and repeated "I might not be able to get pregnant and have babies" 200 times. The first ten were really painful. I had to stop between each statement just to catch my breath a bit. It was hard to hear myself say it, because it was like admitting that it could happen.

After about 30 times, I stopped myself because it felt like I was making light of the situation. I thought that making it boring meant that it was no longer important to me or that I didn't care about it. Not sure if that makes sense?

Anyway, I continued on, and really started to get bored of it. It also almost became an out of body experience - like I was listening to someone else repeat the statement over and over. I also started stumbling on my words. It was like when you write the same word over and over again, and it starts looking wrong! I started to get my words mixed up.

By the end, I was really happy to be done. My anxiety about the statement went from about 7/10 to 1/10. After the first 10-20 times, I didn't find it too hard. However, I could see it being way more difficult if, for example, I just found out that I wasn't pregnant.

It's an interesting technique - I kind of felt like an idiot while doing it, but it did help reduce my anxiety. I suggest trying it out the next time you're sick with worry about something.

More worry tips to come!