How can you tell when your obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is improving? There are several ways-- of course, the most obvious being that you find yourself having less obsessive thoughts and less compulsive behavior. But I have also noted signs of improvement in subtler ways that do not really fit in the category of less obsessive thoughts and less compulsive behavior.
When I first went into therapy I remember feeling very distraught as I would first enter the waiting room, and then the little office where the administrative assistants sat with my paperwork which I had to pick up before seeing the therapist. My shoulders were always down, and I walked with heavy steps, sort of dragging myself along. I would briefly greet the assistants, and then sit down in a chair while I waited for one of them to gather the necessary forms. I would not chit chat but would just glumly stare into space. After I was given the papers I would then to go the waiting room and wait for the therapist to come through the door. Sometimes there were other people in the room, but I would barely look at them. One woman, who I saw there on a regular basis, was always bright and cheery, and I remember thinking what in the world does she have to be so cheery about if she is in this room waiting to see her therapist. She would insist on talking to me, but I would only give short dull replies.
That was then. For the last weeks I seemed to have changed in the way I enter those rooms and the way I talk to the assistants. Now I walk faster, and my interaction with the assistants is more than just a greeting. I have chatted with them sometimes, and even smiled. In turn I have noticed that they are friendlier, whereas in the past they always acted with professional politeness. It seems that I have gone from being just a distraught patient to a somewhat pleasant person.
This is a subtle change, granted, but it is a change. The way you interact with the world can be considered a kind of index of how well or not well, you are doing. Progress can be measured in so many different ways. I am grateful for any sign of progress, no matter how small it is.