Working On The “E” In ERP

Song: “Billy’s Third” by The Undertones

Mood: 6

Nightmares: 0

I slept better last night. I only woke up a few times, and was able to get back to sleep pretty quickly each time. No nightmares again, too. I couldn’t get back to sleep after J left for work but it didn’t cause any problems.

I didn’t have any milk for cereal this morning (there’s a jug in the fridge but it needed to sit until this evening so the lactase could finish breaking down the lactose) and I ran out of strawberry jam the other day so I wasn’t sure what to have. I ended up grabbing a yogurt and did something bad – I made some toast and poured pancake syrup on them. Man, was it tasty. Toast soaks up a lot of syrup. I have no regrets.

My exercises went well this morning. Since we got that big snowfall a couple of days ago, the house has been making more noises than usual. I’m still a little jumpy and the various creaks and cracks distracted me a few times but it wasn’t too bad.

I did some tidying around the house, then spent some time doing some research into the quadcopter transmitter. After that, I spent some time on Wikipedia, following it wherever the links would take me.

Dr P arrived at about 3:30. We sat down and talked for a while about exposing myself to stressful situations, then went back outside. I opened the garage door and we looked at it for a bit, then I closed it about half way and we walked down the driveway and a little bit down the street. He asked me how I was doing and we talked about what was going on. After a couple of minutes, we walked further down the street so I couldn’t see the house very well and couldn’t see the garage at all. My anxiety was really starting to ramp up.

After we stood out there talking for a while, we headed back to the house and I closed the garage door. As expected, nothing bad had happened – nobody had stolen anything or tripped on something and got hurt or anything else. We went inside and then decided to work on the stove, so I turned an element on low (there was nothing on the stove) and we sat down in the living room to talk and see how I’d react to the stove being on.

This was quite difficult. Even though I knew I’d closed it, I was worried about the garage door and felt very strongly that I needed to check it. At the same time, I could hear the element clicking on and off and it was driving me up the wall. At one point, with flop sweat soaking the back of my shirt and my forehead, I finally broke down and asked if I could go check the garage door. Dr P suggested that I try holding on for a little longer and then started asking me questions about stuff around the house (fish tank, phone, boogie board, etc) to partially distract me from the door and the stove. We also did a bit of mindfulness work, which helped a bit.

When it was getting to time for Dr P to leave, we went back into the kitchen and turned off the stove. I jiggled the knob and checked the light and made sure it was off, then stole a look outside to check the garage door.

While we’d been inside talking, the snow plows came by and cleared the streets. They follow the plows with bucket loaders following aside to clear the windrows left behind on peoples’ driveways. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of space move the windrow debris. They do a pretty good job but they usually leave a small pile of ice boulders. When Dr P was leaving, I went outside and helped shovel him out so he could leave.

I’ve got to say that the time I spent working with Dr P this afternoon was unpleasant but it was very instructive and interesting. I really appreciate him going out of his way to see me at home and help me work on new ideas and techniques, and I will be working on them from this point on. I’m lucky to have a good therapist like him.

J had her final exam this evening so I was home alone until about 8:30PM. While I was waiting, I had some supper and gave my parents a call. They are always curious about how my appointments go. I don’t get into the nitty-gritty with them but I’m happy to paint a general picture of how things went. My parents found it amusing when I told them that Dr P and I opened the garage door and then walked away. The knew I’d never do something like that on my own so figured I was probably grinding my teeth a bit. They were very happy that things went well, though.

I got a letter from my aunt today. A good old-fashioned paper one, too. This is the fourth one she’s sent and I feel guilty that I haven’t sent her one back yet. When I talked to my mom I told her about that and she said that was fine – she’d told my aunt that I really appreciated the letters but might not get back to her for a while. Maybe I should sit down this weekend and write a letter. I’m not sure.

After J got home from her exam, we talked for a while and both went out ways for a bit. I did more reading on Wikipedia. Once 10:00 showed up, we went downstairs to watch another Columbo. We’re on the last disc – only two episodes left. The first few from the 1980s and 1990s weren’t so great (and there was that one terrible episode), but the quality of the newer ones has really surprised me. Guest actors like William Shatner’s moustache, George Wendt, and Barry Corbin are nice surprises at this point in the show’s evolution. I’m still not sure what we’re going to watch when we’re done. We’ll figure something out.

J has tomorrow and all of next week off. It will be great to have her around, even though she’s taking the time off mainly to paint the bedroom. Hopefully it won’t take too long and we’ll have time to hang out.

Stay safe.

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