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The Worry Hill - Page 7

It was time to begin the RIDE up and down the Worry Hill. Maria chose to start with an exposure exercise that she'd rated a 2: reading an article describing hepatitis. She began the RIDE with tremendous courage, determination, and trust. "It's not me, it's my OCD," she said, to prepare herself for this challenge. "I'm in charge. I'm going to do what I want to do, not what OCD wants me to do!" As she cautiously began reading, I used the Fearmometer to help her actively and tangibly experience the initial rise and peak in anxiety, followed by the onset of habituation.

"What's your feeling temperature now?" "It's a 5," she replied. It's making me sort of nervous." "Good, it's going up!" I said. "That means you're riding up the Worry Hill, just as we expected."

After she read a few more sentences, I asked, "How does it feel now? What can you say to yourself now?" Maria looked less apprehensive. "I'm going to defy OCD. I'm going to stick it out until the bad feeling goes away," she replied.

A few sentences later, she exclaimed with surprise, "Oh, wow! My fear temperature went down. I went up to an 8 and now it's a 2, and it only took a few minutes."

We repeated this exercise three more times to promote practice and habituation. Afterward I asked Maria to compare her expectations with the real experience. She beamed with pride. She'd done it, and it was easier than she'd expected.

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