I started out by brushing my feet among them, stepping on some of them, and knocking some over. This made me anxious, but I was OK. I went inside for 10 minutes and then went back out there to step among them some more. This time I decided to pull one out of the ground and felt a little creeped-out by the slight resistance it gave. But I held it in both hands and turned it over, feeling the whole thing — which was mushy and gross – but I was OK. While washing my hands afterwards I started sobbing, but I think this was only partly from fear and mostly from relief. I went out there one more time so my husband could take pictures of this accomplishment… and I’m still OK.
I’m going to need to keep reinforcing this new learning experience to keep my life-long fear and avoidance of mushrooms from returning, but making this first contact today is a really big deal. (I realize this may not look like big deal to you, but take my word for it. It is.)
This is the informative article by Joseph LeDoux on exposure therapy that inspired me to do this today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/i-got-mind-tell-you/201508/psychotherapy-learning-expereince