Sunday, June 27, 2010

Episode 3 - Thoughts from the "Princess."

Where do I even start.... I'm going to just quote a few lines from the episode and go from there.

These are Dr. Tolin's words:

"I'm a little worried about Kristen. She withdraws into herself. I can't tell if she's depressed. I can't tell if she's anxious. I can't tell if she's mad. I'm just not sure. I want Kristen to be so sick and tired of OCD that she is willing to be a little uncomfortable now in order to beat this OCD. If she can't drop the princess act, I don't know if she's going to be able to get better."

That's a pretty big statement. One that I think many doctors and renowned psychologists would strongly disagree with. I think the issue was more with the type of exposures and how they were being presented to me than with this so called "princess act" Dr. Tolin was referring to. I absolutely won't deny that I had an attitude at times, but it definitely was NOT because I wasn't motivated or wanting to get better. In fact, I specifically recall, on several occasions asking Dr. Tolin and the producers for any sort of literature and/or research on this type of therapy, so that I could better understand why I had to do things that seemed not only scary to me, but also a little ridiculous. Dr. Tolin's response to me was always something to the effect of, "Kristen, stop arguing and get with the program." It was frustrating to me then and it's frustrating to me now, because my intention was not to buck the system, rather it was to understand my disorder and the therapy that could help me get a handle on it. I wanted to understand so that I could be on board with my own treatment and work as a team with the people trying to help me. But, I didn't have access to internet, newspapers, tv, un-recorded phones or any form of media or literature where I could do my own research. So, yes, I was depressed. I was VERY anxious. And yes, I was mad. Those were good observations for someone who eluded to not being able to read me.

As for being sick and tired of OCD..... paaaalease. I hate OCD with every fiber in me! For goodness sakes......I don't even know what else to say about how much I hate much I wish I didn't have to deal with horrible anxiety.....or the complete embarrassment and shame I've felt for so many years because of my compulsions. I understood that exposures were going to be uncomfortable, and I was more than willing to be uncomfortable for three weeks....four months.....eight months....oh, even a few years. But there is a HUGE difference between uncomfortable and panicking. The treatment team at Roger's Memorial Hospital's OCD program said to me over and over and over again, "We want your exposures to be challenging yet manageable." Incredible, absolutely incredible! If exposures are challenging, yet manageable, then I am able to habituate not only while I'm doing the exposure, but also in between exposures as well. (For more of an explanation on this, click here.) The exposures I was being asked to do on The OCD Project were way, way, way too high up on my exposure hierarchy than what I should have been doing that early on in my treatment. They weren't effective because I was panicking, and they were never repeated enough times to allow for between trial habituation.

I felt tremendous shame when I was asked to shake hands with homeless people. It had nothing to do with the socioeconomics of the situation. In fact, my heart broke and I felt shame because I felt like we were totally patronizing the people who live on the streets of LA. We barge into their community with cameras and proceed to hand out $5 gift certificates to a fast food restaurant as we are asked to do things that from all outward appearances could easily be misinterpreted as very condescending to those living in that area. It just felt as though we were handing out $5 gift cards as a way of appeasing our conscious as we accomplished our own motives without regard for the feelings of anyone but ourselves. It just didn't feel right to me. It was hard on so many levels.... As far as my treatment was concerned, I could have reached the same end goal by shaking the hands of people in the house.

Ok, enough for now. More later.....


  1. I dont know you..I'm not even sure how I found your blog but I was doing some google searches on OCD after watching the last episode and I found it.

    what you just wrote is EXACTLY how it appeared to me while I was watching the show. (especially the sneak preview of the face touching one) I kept thinking, "I'll bet she doesnt know why she's doing this, let alone how it can help." and, "wait...something's not quite right here...what arent they telling her??"

    and it also struck me that the exposures should be something that you agree to ahead of time not something sprung on you ~

    thank you for being willing to go on the show AND for doing this blog. I've learned so much as I poured over your's inspired me to finally get treatment. Your strength is such an inspiration!!

    take care!

  2. Linda, thank you for your kind words! It has been my prayer and hope that somehow my journey would encourage and inspire others to also fight for their own free spirit.

  3. I found your previous blog before the VH1 show premiered, and admired your determination to find your free spirit, and just now discovered you are Kristen. . .anyway, I was very moved by your story on the show, and wrote a post that resonated with a lot of people--