Why Is Therapy So Exhausting?

This week I had my second intensive therapy session, which is a kind of high level cognitive behavioural therapy. I learned some stuff about how my OCD brain actually works and how thoughts, beliefs, feelings and behaviours are connected. My therapist clearly knows what he is on about and seems to understand that self-care is also important. 

But, I tell you what... I am finding this therapy completely exhausting! All I can do for the rest of the day is very simple, keep myself occupied type things, like watching Netflix or colouring, I don't have the energy to do anything more complex. I have relentless compulsions that are like having toothache in your brain, they don't go away no matter what I do. So I end up having to tap or repeat words or scratch my hands. When I go to bed, I do sleep, which is great. But I sometimes have quite disturbing dreams that have come out of therapy. So I wake up tired. And I'm basically low on physical and emotional energy for about 24 hours. All of this means that if I have therapy on a Monday afternoon, I am then only able to do the bare minimum of anything until Wednesday.

This is not helpful when trying to get a business off the ground! But it also gets in the way of normal every day things like cooking a decent meal for dinner, or sweeping the kitchen floor, or even having a shower. I don't have the energy, so I do what is vital and can't wait. But this makes me very frustrated, after all this therapy is meant to help me learn to live with OCD, not drain me of every bit of energy I have. 

The thing is, intensive CBT is bloody hard work! It requires me to not just talk to my therapist, but also to be willing to use real life examples of my own brain's making to learn the tools I need to help me in future. Then to take those tools and try them out between sessions, journalling my progress and feeding back how it went at the next session. It feels like a lot because it is a lot. I guess the clue is in the name... it is... intense!