Just a quick note to say that I just had a Skype call with my rabbi mentor. We discussed my OCD fears about Pesach (Passover), which focus on the dietary laws of the festival, which are much stricter than the usual Jewish dietary laws. This makes exposure therapy difficult, as exposure is based on repeatedly doing an obsession-provoking task until it loses its ability to cause anxiety and obsessive thinking, but this is difficult when the feared events are only feared for eight days a year! What was really useful was that we devised some guidelines for when a situation is serious enough that I need to ask a rabbi a question about it and when a crumb of (potentially non-Pesachdik) food is large enough that I need to worry that it might “contaminate” our Pesach food or dishes. This is extremely helpful, as it’s much easier to cope with OCD when there are clear guidelines about what is and is not OK – the OCD thrives in the grey area of “Some people are more strict, others are more lenient…”
It would be an exageration to say that I am looking forward to Pesach, but I am more hopeful about it than I have been for the last couple of years. Now I can do some fun Pesach tasks: buying some new books and DVDs to enjoy over the chag (festival) and doing some research in my new haggadah (with commentary taken from Rav Soloveitchik, Rav Kook and Rav Shlomo Carlebach) for some interesting comments to make at the sederim, going beyond the prescribed text. And, of course, helping with the normal cleaning and kashering!