Thursday, January 23, 2014

Meat and Me

If you have read some of my earlier posts, then you know that I have a weird relationship with meat. Yes, meat. Like the kind you cook for dinner. The kind that you buy raw (my issue) and cook until it reaches the required doneness (my other issue) so it doesn't make you sick (the issue that I obsess over). I think that makes my point.

Previously, I talked about my issues with chicken (here and here) and how I hated, and still do to some extent, touching and working with raw chicken. That one can really set my OCD off! The past few years, I have been a lot better with this one. Every once and a while I get an obsessive thought about coming down with salmonella or getting some crazy incurable chicken virus, but I quickly squash my OCD thoughts and move on.   

Sometimes I also have trouble eating steak. Yes, steak! I used to not be such a big meat eater. I ate mostly vegetarian or fish and ate meat a few days each week. I feel like Bjorn and I still do that now. I even don't eat a lot of red meat to this day, but every once in awhile, I just want a steak! I don't know if my body is just craving iron or something, but sometimes, it just sounds good!

My problem with steak goes back a long way with me. My parents always cooked steak until it was well-done; nothing against the way my parents cooked steak, but I always found it chewy and unappetizing. It wasn't until I was older (and I met Bjorn) that I tried steak cooked medium. Then my eyes were opened to how great steak could taste. Even though I love a great medium-cooked steak, my OCD tends to not let me enjoy my steak and spins out of control wondering what kind of deadly disease I can get from eating a steak cooked less than well-done.

After the first cut into my steak, I can't stop staring at it. And then my obsessive thoughts start. Is it cooked enough? What if it's not? What if I eat it, and it's not cooked enough? It could have mad cow's disease! It could have some crazy flesh eating bacteria that no scientist anywhere has ever discovered yet, and of course, I'm the first victim. I could die a slow, flesh-eating sickness death because no one has a cure for this undiscovered sickness. It just too risky. 

Me unsure about eating my steak. Lord, help me.

Of course, my rational mind knows this can't be true and that I'm going to the crazy reaches of my OCD brain, but I can't stop my OCD. OCD is just soooo convincing. After putting a piece of delcious (seriously), medium-well done steak in my mouth, my OCD screams, You're going to get sick! Spit it out! Don't eat it! You could die!

As you can tell, I am not thrilled here. My mind is racing.

But of course, I don't because in my head, I know I shouldn't. I should push passed my anxiety and eat the damn thing, but OCD sucks! It makes my anxiety shoot out the roof. I really convince myself that I'm going to end up in the hospital with mad cow disease or that whoknowswhatsit-unknownaphobia with no cure. 

Seriously, the meat eating and getting sick from it or dying from ingesting it is a HUGE OCD trigger for me. Illness and sickness have always been.

Fast forward to today: I have gotten much better at stopping the OCD thoughts once they come into my head. Since I don't have to calm myself down from some high anxiety level, I don't have to visualize anything or do physical activity. What usually works for me now is rational mind over OCD mind and sheer will-power. Since I've been working on it for so long, this works more now. 

Once the thought crosses my mind, You're going to die! First, I usually chuckle at my OCD, more for help in the attacking and winning the battle factor (it gives me confidence). Then, what I do next is probably the most important. I suck it up, have my rational brain yell, Shut up!!!! in my mind and then physically shove a piece of steak in my mouth, chew it, enjoy the taste of it, and swallow it. It's like a "so there" OCD! Shove it! 

After that, I continue to eat the steak that I ordered because I wanted to eat it, and I engage in conversation with my dinner company. It could be about my day, their day, boogers on the carpet, I don't care! I just have to keep something in my mind, so it's not filled with OCD thoughts! I have just realized that a full mind and willpower win over OCD a lot of the time for me.

I even ate some of this deliciousness that Bjorn ordered last weekend at Dilly Deli. Mmmmmm! It was fantastic! 

I asked for another bite....okay, maybe two other bites! But I kept talking and eating, and not one OCD thought popped in my head! That's the first time that ever happened! I couldn't believe it!

And that, in some sort of rather large nutshell is my history with meat. Thank you mind for staying strong in the face of OCD!

Love and happiness <3 Holly

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