Sunday, September 22, 2013

My Journey #1: Still Working On It

My OCD has different types of compulsions and obsessions. Each person with OCD has different kinds of obsessions and compulsions. Mine may be different from another person I meet. For example, I do not feel the need to have things lined up specific ways, ordering or arranging things based on how I see fit. Sometimes messiness and dirt bother me, but only in my own house, never anywhere else. 

One of the biggest issues that affects me is obsessions in my mind--ideas and thoughts (mostly catastrophic that I know will not or cannot happen) that play on a loop. They come back over and over again. And no matter how hard I try, they don't stop. Now that I have been working on my OCD, I can control them. But they still start as obsessions and blink on quickly into my brain like someone using a flashlight to spell out Morse code. I just have learned to ignore them and block them out before they set my anxiety into a tailspin.

Two specific items that I have always obsessed over are 1) raw meat and 2) my crockpot. 

1) I HATE raw meat; chicken bothers me the worst. No reason--there never is a reason. But I hate the look of it, the smell of it, and I HATE touching it!! One thing I have been doing is making myself be the person who touches and handles raw chicken because I used to avoid it. I used to let Bjorn do it. That way I didn't have to face it; I didn't have to touch it. 

The reason it bothered me so much, and still gets me just a little is the loop about raw chicken that plays in my head. My OCD tells me, "If you touch the chicken, it might contaminate you. The chicken probably has salmonella. If you let it touch your hands too long, the juices are going to penetrate your skin and seep into your body, and you are going to get salmonella. Then you are going to start throwing up. Then you aren't going to get better. You're going to end up in the hospital. People die from salmonella."

Now reading that, I think it sounds like a great premise for a new strand of salmonella that someone cooks up on some late-night tv show that just seeps through people's skin and kills them all. But, seriously, that is what my brain tells me. Even though I know it's crazy, my OCD brain gets me to doubt my rational brain enough that it causes me anxiety. And I don't want to touch the chicken.

So after some exposure therapy exercises, I am getting better at the chicken touching :-/ I blank out my mind (the crazy thoughts still come). And I completely ignore them. I did that today...

The chicken. That is all.

Not sure about touching the chicken, but I'm doing it!!!

I did it! And I look a hot mess btw! That's what touching chicken does to ya! Ha!

I only washed my hands once too after I touched the chicken! I used to be unsure if I needed to wash my hands more (if I was still contaminated--OCD brain). But now I tell myself, "You're fine; wash your hands once." And I do! Yay!

2) I have a love hate relationship with my crockpot. I love it because it makes lovely, quick meals for me and the hubs, but my anxiety and OCD do not like it!! Again with the obsessive thoughts and the crockpot. Lately I only use the crockpot if we're going out for a little while or stay at home most of the day on Sunday. I haven't used the crockpot and turned it on while I was at school the whole day since I was in college and student teaching! As I have gotten older and things have happened in my life, my anxiety has gotten worse and just keeps me from doing this one "simple" thing. 

My crockpot. Oh, crockpot. I promise to use you more. Seeing it plugged in really gets me!

My OCD usually tells me with regards to my crockpot, "If you leave the crockpot plugged in, there is more than likely some sort of problem in the plug or the wiring in the house that will cause an electric fire while you're gone. Then the house will go up in flames. The dogs are home and they won't be able to get out." --And then I lose my mind. 

I have failed miserably with the crockpot, but I haven't wanted to try. I think I'm ready now, so I'm going for it! I am going to use my crockpot for its intended purpose and not be afraid of it!Today I used it to make dinner. I didn't even continuously go back and check on it. I just turned it on and let it go! 

My goal for this month is to use it at least once while I'm away all day to get dinner ready. And with this goal, I will NOT obsess about it being plugged in while I'm at school all day either. This one might be a little tough, but I want to do it :)

Thor and Rufus said, "We're so proud of you, Mom!" and "Oh, can we have a treat, since we helped!"
Well, I think I had a good day. I did good, but I'm still working on it!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

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