Thursday, July 26, 2007

Conquering My Toilet Snakes: Exposure Response Therapy

In my previous post If You Are Afraid of Toilet Snakes, Don't Read This, I discussed my fear of toilet snakes and my onset of obsession with them. I guess maybe a few besides me are afraid of toilet snakes, because I didn't get any comments on the post. Ha! Ha!

Laying in bed at night, thinking about toilet snakes started to cause me to lose sleep. My toilet snake ritual of turning on the bathroom light and inspecting the toilet every time I used the bathroom at night was also an annoyance for my husband (even though I closed the bathroom door when I did it).

A few months before this obsession started to take control, I learned about Exposure Response Therapy as outlined in the article Treatments for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I was very skeptical of this therapy ever working for me, because I have a tendency to put a life-or-death spin on my obsessions.

I thought that I might be able to apply it here, though, because I was able to see a silly side to this obsession and compulsion. Because of my husband's annoyance, I have begun to use the bathroom with just the glow of the moon (moon in the sky and not the one on my behind), again. I just glance into the bowl before I sit down. With repeated exposure, I hope to dispel the thought of toilet snakes from my bathroom trips completely.

I also needed a way to put my worrying to sleep. (I have enough things going on in my life to keep me from sleeping already.) I decided to think about the idea of toilet snakes in the most humorous way possible. I imagined myself being a stand-up comic talking about what I would do with my toilet snake when it arrived in the toilet.

It goes a little like this...

"I received a toilet snake in the restroom yesterday. Lucky that! My son's been wanting a pet and now I've got one for free."

Wait for laughter.

"We didn't have any snake food handy, so we decided to feed him macaroni and cheese. On second thought, spaghetti might have been better...he's a little too lumpy now."

Wait for laughter.

"I don't know much about snakes and I'm a bit foggy on the proper sleeping arrangements for them. I decided to let the snake choose between my husband's underwear drawer, a tube sock and a Pringle's can. He chose pringles. He may be regretting his choice today, though. My son's been in a snacky mood lately."

Pretty bad, eh??? Well, it beats laying in bed at night calculating the odds of a snake making into my toilet. I will take barely humorous comedy over ritualized math any day!


Dr. Deb said...

Well done.

cardiogirl said...

Can you identify when the fear of toilet snakes began? Was there an event, or is it just a somewhat random thought of what would I do if...

I can't say I actively fear them, but I would say I will be checking the bowl pretty closely next time I sit down.

Delirious said...

I can't say I've ever been afraid of toilet snakes, but I once found a spider crawling in the toilet bowl. Toilet spiders are scary and, what's more, very devious!

Guilty Secret said...

He he your silly jokes made me crack a smile!

Well done, sounds like you're doing well with this.

Thanks for commenting on my blog. I'm going to link you ;)

OCD On A Stick said...

Dr. Deb:

Thanks! Your kudos mean a lot to me.


That is a good question. I have attempted to answer it in the following blog post.


I imagine that toilet spiders are more common than toilet snakes and, therefore, much more of a risk.

Guilty Secret:

Thanks for stoppy by. Your posts are always an exciting read.

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Laying in bed at night, thinking about toilet snakes started to cause me to lose sleep. My toilet snake ritual of turning on the bathroom light and ...