Giving up OCD for lent! Who’s with me?

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#2 // OCD WILL NOT

OCD WILL NOT… ruin my winter wardrobe!

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As much as I love the change in clothes as the season is finally starting to change in my sunny part of the world, constricting layers clash with my love of the layered up look. I’m saying bring on the turtle neck sweaters this season! My OCD has never put a more accurate meaning to the saying “pain is beauty.” With every wear I’m faced with the opportunity to remind myself that this “not right” feeling is only temporary and that my neck line isn’t nearly as confining as “fitting” OCD into my life.

More than just saying “Happy New Year!”

A warm hello from 2015! How is the year treating you thus far?

I would like to open up my first post of the year with something that’s been entering and exiting my mind since the tail end of last year. I can’t keep waving it off with a mental whisk of my hand telling myself not to dive into the matter. I feel only now I’m starting to get a better handle on the emotions that are coupling with this issue and I’m most curious to see how others are feeling on the matter.

My observation is this: When I am in the management position over my OCD, when I really start to feel like I’m the boss, it’s evident in so many facets of life. (Hang in there, I promise to bring this around to the point.) Like a little snail emerging from its shell in confidence to face the world I’m able to start doing the things I love to do again, to BE the person I love to be again- which is fantastic (!) BUT eventually my friends and loved ones lose the “handle with care” consideration they were kind enough to extend when they recognize I’m on the verge of an anxiety attack or when they knew that something was still just a bit out of my comfort zone. When the exterior appearance is that everything is ok the people closest to me are losing sight of the fact that my battle with OCD is still a monumental effort. 

Every year holds beauty of its own and I hate to dwell on negativity but much of 2014 made the year feel like I was living underwater. Life felt very breathless, constantly holding in that breath waiting on one metaphorical shoe to drop after another, and often I found myself watching the events of the year unfold in a slow motion sort of effect. I felt water logged when the Fall crept around (maybe water boarded is a better term) but there wasn’t any lower for me sink, so as they say the only place to go was up. The pain that others could inflict on me, the pain that I was inflicting on myself built up some kind of immunity that made the decision to stop giving into my OCD and to start the emotional, physical pain of fighting back seem not so painful in comparison. It was time.

The footing that I have on my obsessions and compulsions sometimes feels like a slippery slope but when I look back at the place where I stood not that long ago I remember the insurmountable freedom I’ve gained. I am doing so well and I put so much (unnecessary) pressure on myself to be perfect and good and the ever daunting normal but the fact of the matter is most days I am just hanging on by a thread!

So PSA dearest ones, THIS IS STILL HARD!!!!! It is SO hard. This doesn’t go away for me and some days I feel like you’re sitting in neutral while I’m over here revving my engine trying to keep up with all of your demands and expectations. I don’t want to disappoint you when you’ve planned a full day to be with me. I don’t want to admit that I just want to go home after dinner because I’ve already been somewhere else today and juggling so many car rides in just one day is literally ‘driving’ me mad because seat belts are so confining! I appreciate you all pretending for my sake that I’m normal and ok but I know my ticks and compulsions don’t go unnoticed in the times that I do give into them. I beg of you all to remember that my brain is trying to write checks that the rest of me just can’t cash. I love to pretend that I don’t have something wrong with my brain, it feels good to leave OCD uncheck for a little while, but it’s such a risky thing for me to do because that’s how it silently takes back the upper hand.

So what I want to tell my loved ones, and maybe you do too, is that I promise all of you I am giving this one little life of mine my very best effort. We’re all struggling and juggling our heart aches in the air, but hey, if your circus act clears up before mine I could use a hand right now!

More than just saying “Happy New Year” and “Thank You” for your continual reading I would like to offer my love, support & blessings today and always friends. Let’s cheers in recognition of mental health this year!

I promise I didn’t fall off the face of the earth!

(In a warm, animated voice:) Hello, hello! Finally getting active in the blog again is an overwhelming feeling of revising a dear friend that you hold close even if you don’t visit everyday.

First of all, thanks to all of you who have been checking in and continuing to visit the blog! (I’ve missed talking with you too.) Full disclosure, I’ve been away so long because I’ve been dedicating my attention to working on my own OCD. I have to admit, I was buried deep and I dug myself a mountain to climb back on top of.

It was bad. I don’t know about you but my OCD follows it’s own perpetual cycle. It seems that every two years I need an over haul. Like a in-way-to-deep-now-I-feel-stuck kind of over haul.

At the end of my rope it was as if life cut the cord and sent me into a free fall. Quite literally so much felt like it was going against me that when things would happen I would find myself shaking my head in disbelief. “Not something else… Nothing more can possibly happen.” “So much” ran the gamut from traumatic family events to everything under the sun going awry when it came to trying to find an OCD specialist to work with me. Pardon the cliche but

I was waiting on my knight in shining armor with their Doctorate degree, a humanitarian spirit and a deep innate passion for saving lives in their own psychiatric way.

Alas this was not what I encountered. (In fact what I did encounter was horrifying. Yes, HORRIFYING! But more to come on that in the future.)

So here I was wallowing in myself, sinking deeper into depression and frankly becoming the definition of hopeless until one day life delivered an adequate slap in the face I so needed- ironically, masquerading itself in the form of a specialist. (As I mentioned, more to come on this.) Like a bucket of ice water to the head, all my senses snapped back to my disposal. It dawned on me that I was the knight in shining armor with their Doctorate degree, the humanitarian spirit and that deep/innate drive for saving lives that I needed. Well… I’m working on the Doctorate part, but the rest is true!

I got the picture. Loud and clear. No one was going to do this for me. No one was going to save me, or love me through this enough to save me. It wasn’t going to happen over night. This was my job, my monster to devour. And so it began. I was sifting through the debris left over from the family dramatics that riddled and had over taken my heart. One doctor that I saw asked me why I was coming to see him, I knew how to do everything I needed to do better than he did. He was right. I chiseled away at my mind in a new light. I went into things knowing I was the one coming out of this battle victorious before my work had even begun and that turned up the natural fire in my belly that had seemed to have been extinguished.

Across the span of a few months I am back to recognizing ‘me’ again when I look in the mirror. My actions don’t feel like a marionette behind the scenes controlling my movements, my tongue isn’t formulating insults to lash out at my loved ones, I’m not radiating hate like a lethal detonated bomb.

And boy, does it ever feel good…

I would even go as far to say I feel like I’m re-introducing myself to you all. A new, maybe even improved model of myself.

But enough about me! How has everyone been? I’ll be opening up my lines of communication again with the blog email address.

Looking forward to your updates. Keep checking in for details of my journey over the past few months that will be added to the blog soon.

Until then… the best is yet to come.

“Genie, you’re free!” Tribute to Robin Williams & Mental Health Awareness

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So often the people that smile & laugh the loudest, the ones that try to pass along their own laughs & smiles, are the ones who are suffering the most.

“Laughter isn’t only the best medicine, it’s also the best disguise.”

Sad to see such a beloved mans life lost. This is tribute to Robin Williams and those across the globe suffering from depression!

All of these acronyms!

As it turns out the other day I didn’t do REBT therapy but rather EMDR therapy. (Big difference) OCD, CBT, REBT, EMDR…. Too many letter to keep track of. My apologies for the mix up! Though I can’t first hand report on REBT therapy I can attest for my experience with EMDR.

For those of you (like me) that haven’t a clue what EMDR is and haven’t heard about it until now, let me give a brief description. EMDR stands for eye movement desensitization response. It’s unlike anything else I’ve ever tried before but for the sake of shaking my OCD I’m willing (to a degree) to experiment.

Going into the session I was free of any kind of expectations because I had no idea what I was signing up for (clearly, since I didn’t even correctly report on it in my previous post!) but tried it based on a recommendation and here I am passing on that recommendation to all of you!

If one day you find yourself considering scheduling a session know that you MUST go in with an open mind! EMDR is a bit atypical and unconventional. In the end it was fascinating to me how much clarity it gave my thinking.

The session started out with the therapist asking what my goal for the session one. My answer was OCD but I was asked to narrow that down to a specific aspect of my OCD to cover in that first session. (I really appreciated the fact that we jumped right into work on the very first visit!) My edited version was to work on how OCD can manipulate me to be a bully especially to the ones that I hold closest to me. My mind went on a winding journey revisiting bits and pieces of my life time in a matter of 45 minutes. Eventually I came to a conclusion that was very personal to me and looked completely unrelated to the original question I was asked but in reality it was dots along the way of my life time that connected to produce my conclusion.

I can’t begin to describe to you all what sense of clarity and focus EMDR allowed me to have in the moment. I’m fortunate to naturally be an insightful person so the things that I touched on weren’t astounding revelations for me but rather it was a new depth in which I could see the truth. If any of you get the opportunity to give it a shot, SEIZE IT!

My new therapist reiterated this to me: “Our higher self has the answers. Whether we’re conscious of them or not- we have them. It’s tapping into that part of us and cleaning out our brain filters to allow trapped thoughts to finally pass through.”

She also encouraged more time spent in meditation and honing in on “in the moment” living- something OCD makes a perpetual challenge. I left with a mantra she passed down to me to take to heart and take into practice. And so I leave you with a copy of your own to start practicing with in conclusion.

May I be happy. May I be content. May I be healthy. May I love myself confidently and with loving kindness just as I am right now.

REBT Therapy?

Has anyone ever experienced REBT Therapy before? (Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy) It’s a new discovery for me. Apparently it’s under the umbrella of CBT work? Giving it a whirl tomorrow hoping for success and more to report on later.

{fingers crossed}

Why family members continue to assist the OCD sufferer // Thesis study by Linda Rak

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I’ve recently been in touch with Linda Rak, an Australian based gal doing a thesis on OCD and how family members assist the sufferer. I’m throughly excited about her research and would like to extend the invitation to all of you followers and readers to take a moment to complete the survey.

Linda shared with me that this research will investigate the role that ‘family accommodation’ (e.g. helping the sufferer complete rituals, providing reassurance etc.) plays in an OCD individual’s recovery. The aim of the study will be to examine potential underlying variables that contribute to a family member’s need to assist the sufferer despite knowing such assistance is counterproductive. Outcomes may assist in providing adjustments to current treatments to better equip OCD sufferers and their families regarding the nature of the condition.

//The online questionnaire will take 20 minutes to complete. Questions relating to how you may be accommodating and why, will be asked as will questions concerned with quality of life and how you are coping with the OCD sufferer. You will not be asked to provide you name or contact details, and the research is completely anonymous.\\

Click on the link below to get started!

https://www.research.net/s/familyaccommodation

Oh, hi there! Did I mention… I have OCD?

OCD used to be my deepest darkest secret. I mean hidden away deep inside the dungeons of my heart, never to be discovered by the unknowing eye. Although it still isn’t quite common knowledge I’ve become a lot more open and honest with sharing that I have OCD and am finally freed from trying to suppress such a huge part of my life and myself in secrecy by instead sharing and being open about my struggles.

For someone that doesn’t have OCD or know all about it, I feel the key is trying to make it rational for them, to create a bridge of understanding (and proving you’re not as crazy as they’re starting to think you are!) To put it in a language that someone could start to understand I asked someone tonight if she was afraid of heights. She quickly said yes, that she was deathly afraid of heights. I told her combating OCD in a CBT style would be like saying to her “Ok, we’re going skydiving tomorrow.” She immediately said oh no I couldn’t do it! I objected and said “No, you have to combat your fear. We’re going sky diving tomorrow. There’s no way off the plane unless you jump. We won’t stop to land and we’ll go skydiving the day after and the day after that until the day that skydiving no longer scares you.”

She looked at me wide eyes. It had registered. And that’s about the summary of CBT therapy. Taking all your Obsessive Compulsive thoughts, actions and ideas and facing them head on until they no longer phase you.

When you finally decide to start telling people about your OCD there are a few things to keep in mind.

1) Never anticipate someone’s reaction because the truth of he matter is you can’t really predict how someone’s going to react. It will be a range of things from some people that know about OCD and will embrace it about you to others that just won’t understand and will look at you like you just became a foreign object in front of their eyes.

I’ve gotten responses from “Oh wow, that cool! When did you officially get diagnosed?” To “So you can’t like just stop?”

2) Don’t anticipate certain reactions because you can’t anticipate how you’ll react towards others reactions.

And 3) maybe most important of all… If you are going to tell people be secure in knowing you have OCD but that OCD isn’t YOU! Don’t let others make you feel bad or inferior or ostracized for having it.

Meet Jennifer!

Jennifer and I recently connected and she offered up her story that she’s invited me to share below. From the first sentence her story hit home with me. Her writing is so beautifully crafted and her pieces are incredibly relatable. Like me, she blogs but she covers topics that are on her heart ranging from a-z! To read more from Jennifer check out her blog “whenwemumble” here on WordPress.

OCD has stolen countless hours from my life. Hours I could’ve used doing things I love, with the people I love, with thoughts I could stand.

It’s hard to define OCD to those who don’t suffer from the crippling disorder. You could say it’s like standing at a bar window, looking in on the ‘normal’ people, envious of their control over their thoughts, their actions, their simple day-to-day tasks.

An obsessive-compulsive disorder is hard to hide from others. The mockery is constant but almost understood, as we know how silly we can seem. That’s almost the most frustrating part. To watch ourselves do it, to watch ourselves suffer, and yet we can’t stop.

I’ve never felt the need to scrub my hands until they burn and bleed. I’ve never spent hours upon hours dusting every surface within sight. I’ve never fiddled with my doorknob, promising myself it’s locked. I don’t recite chants and I don’t function within numbers.

That being said, some would ask, then how do you have OCD?

I have OCD in a different sense, possibly a less common sense. I fixate on the placement of my items, down to the millimeter, down to the angle.

I don’t like to sit on my couch, as I’ll mess up the cushions. I don’t like to cook, as I’ll dirty the dishes. I don’t like to read; as my book belongs in the drawer and I take out my trash on a far too regular basis.

I consider time away from my condo lost time; my mind would rather be at home, rearranging something that doesn’t need to be rearranged.

I don’t like to have people over as they bring things that remain misplaced throughout their stay. I hate to watch them move things, touch things, dirty things. It’s unbearable.

I can list every item I own and the exact placement it’s in whether it’s in a drawer or stashed beneath my bed.

OCD has definitely affected my life for the worst. It restricts me from enjoying the things I like and putting my mind to rest. I have spent the better part of my life with this ‘disadvantage’, although I’m slowly learning to train my thoughts and learn to relax. I’ve accepted that my OCD is omething I’ll have to live with my entire life and I’m starting to believe I’m okay with that.

I’ve captured this conversation. This is what the voice of my OCD sounds like. It’s debilitating. It’s such a bully.

“Everything is all bad. It’s imperfect. You’re trapped. Don’t run away, feel that chill down your spine? The stab at your brain I just took?

Clench your jaw until it hurts. Do exactly as I say and this can go away. You’re imperfect. Everything about you and this situation is so flawed and it’s your fault. I want to hurt you. Break you down.

Be mean to the person whose trying to save you. Did you see that? They messed things up more. Tell them to do as I say too.

Hit something. Hard. Maybe that will put you in control. Feel the throb in your hand? I lied. You’re not in control.”

Meet Scott!

I’ve recently had the pleasure of meeting Scott. Virtually, through OCDisntme’s Facebook page & Scott’s OCD & Anxiety Awareness “Recovery Coach” page we’ve connected over the commonality of living life with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

My new friend Scott has been fighting the fight for years now. He’s survived harming obsessions and OCD trials and tribulations for much of his life. He so eloquently wrote about his life, his story, and so graciously shared it with me to share with all of you. Reading about his life was so moving for me I was thrilled that he was willing for me to share his words.

Scott’s story is truly an inspiration for all of us! Read what he has to say below:

 ” I began developing harming obsessions when I was 10 and worsened at 11. It was like a hazy red, crimson fever that overtook my imagination. They began with scenarios in which I would be overcome with the anxiety that I would get up in the middle of the night, take my dad’s .22 rifle and pursue a murderous, uncontrolled rampage through the quiet innocence of my farmhouse. The incident would unfold like something out of a movie about a mass killer. I was like the fox in the henhouse, mercilessly pursuing every squawking, chirping, panicking fowl (my siblings). This would be, of course, after violently but quickly dispatching my shocked, surprised parents in their sleep. The gun would go off with the white, hot violent light of death erupting from the rifle barrel. The cries of their terror and the screaming panic of my younger brothers and sisters would sound like a bell into the silent, moonless, cricket-filled, summer night and their cries would go unanswered, then finally silenced. I would fight with them sometimes, even my parents, but I would always win. The tortured scenario would go to the same conclusion every time it cycled through my pre-adolescent head. I would go through the same scenes over and over again, going through every sequence, every moment. I would ask myself, “Why would I do this? Why would I ever be capable of doing anything of this sort?” And my mind would come back and tell me that I certainly was. I would question every single reason for this sicko “fantasy” to play through my mind and the shivers of horror that accompanied it. It would be like a football coach reviewing every frame of the pivotal play, looking for a diagnoses, research, refine, fix, coach, and reteach. No matter what told myself or how I reasoned or rationalized in my head, I always ended up in the same inevitable conclusion: I was a killer and I was capable of killing and I may very well kill my own family in cold blood. 

  I fixated on them when I went to bed at night and wondered endlessly about them when I woke up in the morning, wondering why I had simply not “succumbed to the pressure” and carried out my violent fears sometime during the night. The thoughts grew and soon began filling the daytime as well. By the time I was eleven, I couldn’t approach a family get-together or an outing without my mind’s eye rolling the footage of me taking an AK-47 or a large butcher knife and singlehandedly offing my extended family without a second thought. As they were, they were moderately disturbing at this time. I could hold them at bay. I could act like a “normal”, “defined” “functional” awkward but chubby and happy pre-teen and this is how they would stay for a while, slowly taking on a life of their own. 

  The year was 1985, when this was all unfolding on a small dairy farm in Wisconsin. I was the 2nd oldest of what at that time was 3 siblings. This was EXTREMELY isolating. I was so agonized that I finally decided that as 5th grader that I would sit my parents down and “come clean”. I told them, tearfully, that I was afraid that I was a “murder” and I was going to “murder” them. My parents, especially my dad, who were usually open to hearing our problems, were very reassuring. “You’re never going to do that kind of thing,” my dad told me gently. “You’re not that kind of person. You cry and get upset when you see kittens die.” So that reassured me. I kinda looked at it like I really wasn’t having anything serious going on with me and that I was just “going through a phase” I would soon “grow out of this”. I just kept it to myself after that not to burden them with all of the stressors on the farm and a big family. I spent a lot of time wandering around the farm, thinking and philosophizing what it meant for my life and when it would finally go away. Of course, that day never came.

  Due to my introversion, intellectual strengths, my shyness, anxiety, smaller build and lack of coordination, I was an outcast in my high school. My pursuits of things like astronomy, weather, current events, history, and dream to become a world-renowned author made me a difficult fit with my own farm upbringing. Instead of driving tractor and milking cows, I was far more interested in reading books, studying science, literature, and figuring out how to make my mark in the world. I also thought about what I wanted to do with my life. And for obvious reasons, basically I wanted to get as FAR away from Stanley WI as I possibly could and never look back. Finally after 4 years of some bullying, struggling with my own thoughts, rejection from teenage girls, and being laughed at during gym class I worked my collective butt off to get a 3.2 GPA that gave me acceptance letters to 3 colleges.

Summer of 92′- Made plans to go to Viterbo College in La Crosse to study English. Had my testing done, had gone to the orientation and registration with my dad, had my roommate assigned to me and everything looked like it was going off without a hitch except the thoughts that had dogged me like a mental plaque since I was 10 never went way. They began to increase in intensity. I fell into a near-debilitating depression. I remember about the exact day that happened. It was my first and biggest breakdown.

10 days into the semester: I checked into the campus counseling center where I began to disclose my issues.  After I revealed that, to my perplexed relief, she actually told me it was all right and referred me to the Gunderson-Lutheran Hospital for testing and treatment. I had massive assessment that afternoon and when I walked back to the Hospital the next day to find out what they’d seen on testing. “Do you have intrusive, thoughts, urges, and impulses that run through your mind repeatedly.”  I kept checking that box “Yes” and I also kept checking boxes regarding thoughts of harming others that I could not get out of my head. I told him, “I have these thoughts. I don’t understand them. I don’t know what’s happening to me. It’s like I’m two people at once, like there’s this monster inside of me, like I’m the Incredible Hulk.”  He said, “I think I can help you.”   And I was immediately relieved.

  He told me what I had was obsessive compulsive disorder and that there was medication for it and there was treatment available for it. I told them that I was happy that I knew I had something and it had a name and it wasn’t something that made me crazy or was untreatable at all. 

 I told my dad about the diagnosis and he had a difficult time with that afterwards. My did mom too but she was more understanding. 

  My treating psychologist was actually very shaming of me, trying to teach me rational emotive therapy, an early form of cognitive behavioral therapy and not teaching me much about the disorder. He expected me to figure out that I was simply having a disorder and just move on with my life.

After the end of my first semester: When the Prozac kicked in just before Christmas, I ditched that too, had a”spiritual awakening” whereby I decided I actually wanted to study for the Catholic Priesthood.

Summer 1993: I trucked myself home for the summer of 1993 with plans to attend a special school in Steubenville, Ohio to study for the seminary and begin my journey to the priesthood. But by the end of the summer, I found out that I didn’t have financial aid to pay for the University because out-of-state tuition was not offered to people from Wisconsin and in August of 1993, I completely relapsed into OCD thinking again. 

  I was introduced a husband-wife team Drs Mark and Sue Stolar, his psychiatric nurse, who did a wonderful job teaching me about the biophysiology of my disorder, it’s actions in my body, and how I could better rationally react to it. Sue did a great job “pseudoparenting” me, taking the place of what my own parents couldn’t provide me in the sense of mental health counseling. My days with my father were stormy as he tried to shape me into his “farmer son” that he never could make me into. He was trying to help me and at every turn he just kept asking me endless questions that made my disorder flare up and was being massively concerned and overprotective. He would no longer treat me like his teenage son with kid gloves. He tried to institute tough love and it backfired because it was not what I needed. What I needed, instead, was someone who was supportive of me and confident that I wasn’t going to crack apart and never succeed in life and he just didn’t know how act toward me.

 I was stuck in a foreign land, I plodded every single day to overcome the shame I felt from letting myself down, letting my parents down, letting my family down, and the shame of becoming this train-wreck of a head case that would never live down having a “mental” illness and being the big shot with big dreams who cursed his home town and everyone he grew up with and never lived up to his own ego-inflated potential.

  I left my home for good in April 1998. Working at the factory 3 days per week so I ended up moving to the largest city I could find close to Stanley, which was Eau Claire, Wisconsin. 

 I eventually got tired of the people I worked with at the computer circuit board factory. I found myself feeling out-of-place and too intelligent for a lot of them. They swore a lot, chain smoked on breaks, complained about everything, and hung in bars after work. 

Summer of 2000: I quit that job after some slick willy talked me into selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door. Then I got hired at Subway in Chippewa Falls. I did well there, so well I was recruited for their new store opening on the north side of town. The owner would come in after a week of being in Las Vegas for Subway conferences and tell me about all of the NASCAR races and NFL games he was attending. It was then, it began to dawn on me that I would never make it anywhere I wanted to go in life unless I did the thing I’d been putting off doing since I flamed out of college: Go to school and learn a skill.

  While all of these struggles had been going on for the 8 years I’d been out of high school, I’d continued with my counseling. 

2000- Prozac upped to 100mg/day

By this time I’d began thinking about my obsessions less, the anxiety had begun to wane, I’d become more confident at work and found myself with OCD-free moments. The medication kept me stable on a high maintenance dose and I don’t know where I’d be without it today. 

2011-2012: I felt like jumping off a bridge on many occasions. Nobody could help me. I know nobody who had an answer. I had a lot of compassion from people but also a handful who were completely unsympathetic. It is those whom I remember the most to this day. I KNEW I HAD TO FIND THE ANSWER AT ANY COST. IT WAS MY OWN LIFE AT STAKE. I WASN’T GOING TO COME ALL OF THIS OVERCOMING OCD ONLY TO HAVE IT END LIKE THIS IN AN EXHAUSTED, PAIN-FILLED, WHIMPERING, QUIVERING HEAP.  I WOULD FIND OUT WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME AND SHOW ALL OF THOSE DOUBTERS!  I WOULD NEVER STOP, THOUGH SOME DAYS IT WAS HARD TO GO ON. . . 

Present day: I became admin on the Facebook page OCD & Anxiety Awareness “Recovery Coach” after leaving comments on the Timeline, trying to help others out on the Page here and was noticed by the founder and her co-admin. I’m going to walk on the stage on Friday May 10, 2013 (two short weeks!!) with my associates degree in computer programming, hopefully on my way to a life changing job and constant remission of my OCD, OSA, and PLMDs. WISH ME LUCK!!! “

 

If you have a story of your own to share send me an email at ocdisntme@gmail.com or visit the OCD Isn’t Me page on Facebook and inbox it!

 

Hands of OCD

This isn’t a typical
Starbucks cup snap shot. This is a way that OCD tells me to hold my cups.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder certainly has a hand and a hold on my every day, my every moment. If those of us living with OCD could calculate a percentage of our lives that is spent enslaved to our O's & C's I think we would be devastated and feel completely robbed of so much that is what we call our life.

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I am a face of OCD, as are you, but I think our hands are a big part of our external OCD. Is it not our hands that we wash raw, the flaking, cracked at the crevices of our skin? Is it not the bruises that are evident on the surface the next morning after a long night that we spend hitting walls and door knobs succumbing to the anger OCD implants in us?

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OCD is in the make up of our skin just as much as it is in the make up of our minds. It’s our skin we live this disorder in, it’s our hands that do OCD’s dirty work.

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It’s always my left hand. It’s the side that I have to act out my compulsions on. After a bad spell of it when my knuckles start to ooze little bits of blood from pounding on things so hard until their “right” I look down at my left hand and the only thing I can ever think of is how embarrassed I might be someday if I was to ever get married, that a beautiful ring would have a hard time sliding over my swollen knuckle.

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That when people would look at the wedding photos, at the one where the bride & grooms left hands over lap showing off their matching rings that people will look at my hand, my left hand, and see how ugly it is.

This is real. This is a hand that helps depict the story of my OCD.

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OCD is so Ironic

   I know I can’t be the first person to think about how ironic Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is! The whole make up of the O’s and C’s in our mind’s keep us running in circles like a dog chasing it’s tail. It’s endless. 

   Take a peek at this. Dictionary.com defines “irony” as: “conveying a meaning that is opposite of its literal meaning; coincidental, unexpected.” 

   We expect giving in to OCD will make it easier. I stay clear of certain places because they’ve been deemed a little too “dirty.” I avoid going into rooms of my house so I won’t have to perform compulsions. I will opt out of certain occasions if I know I have to wear certain clothes that my OCD won’t “let” me wear. All the while my goal is to prevent OCD from interfering with my life and ironic enough my avoidance only stimulates my anxiety. When I do have to eventually face an obsession or compulsion they are increasingly worse. 

   It’s a prime example of irony. The occurrence of outcomes that are opposite to what are intended. In order to make OCD powerless it takes reverse psychology (& a good dose of stubborn will) to fight back and to fess up to the fact that you’re being bullied and it’s time to put an end to it. 

   From my own experience fighting back through CBT therapy I’ve witnessed how crucial it is to be aware that you’re partaking in certain obsessions and compulsions and combat them head on. It’s so stressful because CBT requires you to face your most traumatizing fears. My initial response in defense was always “You wouldn’t ask someone paralyzed by the fear of heights to jump out of an airplane to get over it.” For a long time I was bitter about the fact that my fear of corners and door knobs weren’t socially acceptable fears but I’m a better person for facing what scares me. 

  Whether it’s getting over those more “socially acceptable” fears I have like my fear of birds or my abnormal avoidance of rounded corner, finished wood furniture, it’s all about facing the fear. Running away from a problem only makes it bigger and eventually you get tired from running. It’s one step at a time, not a giant leap. OCD is always wrong. 

 

 

Have a little cream & sugar with it…

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…With life I mean! Let’s call the dark days a dark roast of coffee instead and let’s say that the peek-a-boo of the sun, holding hands with the one you love, taking b&w pictures with an old Minolta film camera and nibbling on decadent peanut butter cookies are the cream and sugar of our lives. The little added sweetnesses are what makes the flavor, the blend we can enjoy.

Add a little cream and sugar to your dark roast today, deep breath, and enjoy…

{The pictures included are a sample of what I made out of my dark roast day! Drink up!}

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I am absolutely tickled to be talking with so many of you now via email!

A quick hello to everyone! My apologies for my lack of recent posts. I’m sure everyone can relate when I just leave my excuse to one word… “LIFE.” 

Just wanted to say I am absolutely tickled to be talking with so many of you now via email! Thank you for taking the time to share your struggles with ME! I am 100% flattered and feeling more than ever that OCD isn’t something I’m fighting alone. If you haven’t yet said hello please feel free to do so. {ocdisntme@gmail.com} I would really like to start featuring some of your personal stories on the blog. If you have anything to share please email me. I would love to set up some kind of virtual interview! 

Wishing you all the little happinesses that life can offer today! 

Love, blessings & support. XX. 

 

Through OCDisntme I have been fortunate enough to be in touch with and befriend people that have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder from all across the globe. Through comments on the blog, twitter comments or messages, etc. I’ve had conversations with some of you and I couldn’t even tell from where in the world we were talking to one another!

In an effort to have the chance to talk in more depth and (all fingers crossed) speak with even more of you I’ve made an email address that is set up directly with the blog. I’ll include it in a separate menu on the site for future and easy access.

Don’t forget to click “+follow” on the top of your page if you’re following via a blogging website and if not NO STRESS! Scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email address in the “follow” section below to stay up to date with OCDisntme and my latest posts.

Looking forward to talking. I just can’t wait to hear about YOU! ocdisntme@gmail.com

Love, support & blessings to all. xx

Broadway gave me a good line to say back to OCD ~ It’s time that you won!

Broadway gave me a good line to say back to OCD ~ It's time that you won!

I manage to find inspiration to fight OCD in the most bizarre places with out ever really hunting to find them. It’s a gift, I must say!

Anyone ever heard of the 8 time Tony Award winner ‘ONCE’? Neither had I up until a few months ago. ( & let me just say that seeing it “once” is not enough!) Based around the hit song by Kris Allen from season 8 of American Idol, ‘Falling Slowly’ is the headliner hit for the musical.

Watching this love story, sitting next to my own little love story, I was enthralled by the folksy tone and haunting tunes this story provided through out the entirety of the show but it was one line from the Broadway rendition of ‘Falling Slowly’ that hit home.

“You have suffered enough with war with yourself… it’s time that you won.”

Even now my eyes start to pool with tears. This is my message to all of you. If I could speak directly with each and everyone of you, I would look you in the eyes and say this line to you today.

You have suffered enough. It is time that YOU won!

Listen here: { http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4LGavEmg6Xs }

Let’s get in touch! I really wish we could do this over a cup of coffee, or perhaps you prefer tea, either way I whole heartedly wish we were sitting face to face. Tell me about your OCD. How does it bully you? What kind of things does it whisper into your mind? Consider me your cheerleader, your #1 fan, in the sidelines but still on your team. I can’t wait to hear from you! Love, support & blessings. xx. ocdisntme@gmail.com