Mar 162014
 
You're Not Alone And You're Not Weird

Well, not weirder than we all naturally are.

One of the cool things about this blog seems to be that it helps us realize that the things we struggle with secretly are things that LOTS of people struggle with secretly. Many of us struggle with similar things, but we think we are the only ones. To help break down that barrier and let you all know that the things you may be OCDing about are natural and not weird, I’m going to list below some of the things that I have or am struggline with OCD-wise. Maybe you will see something on this list that you have or are struggling with. If you do, please realize that it is a common struggle, it’s just that a lot of times we are too embarrassed to say that we struggle with it.  So here, in no particular order, is a list of past/present OCD struggles I’ve had:

Worrying that I was pregnant because I thought something wrong
Worrying that I was pregnant because I touched or was near a boy
Worrying about contamination from germs/chemicals
Worrying that I would cause harm to a loved one if I thought the wrong thing at the wrong time
Worrying that normal touch was somehow inappropriate and therefore removing myself from normal physical interactions like handshakes, hugs, interacting with kids, etc.
Worrying that thoughts or physical contact could change my sexual orientation
Worrying that I would offend God if I thought something blasphemous, offensive, etc.
Worrying that I had to confess every single sin or I couldn’t have healthy relationships with others and/or God
Worrying that I could affect the future of my loved ones with my thoughts and rituals
Worrying that thoughts of contamination would cause real contamination on my hands, clothes, objects I used everyday, etc.
Worrying that masturbation was dirty or bad or contaminating
Worrying that wearing a certain color was bad/sinful
Worrying that some numbers/letters were powerful or bad or good or had an affect on what would happen to me or my loved ones

These things are just a partial list. But the good news is that all of these things are not true, they are just what OCD wants us to believe. A lot of these things are very personal. Loved ones, sexuality, and beliefs seem to attract OCD obsessions like a magnet. OCD wants to take the things we hold dear and twist them into something that causes fear, torment, and pain. OCD is a monster. But we are one step closer to defeating it when we drag it out into the light and see not only the monster, but also the great number of other people who are fighting alongside us.

 March 16, 2014  Uncategorized 7 Responses »
Feb 182014
 
Clothes Call

(This is an article I wrote a few years ago when I struggled with a laundry-related OCD manifestation. Thankfully, this particular obsession/compulsion seems to have cycled out.)

There comes a time in every person’s life when she/he must ask herself/himself a very important question: “Why am I sitting in front of the computer with no clothes on?”

A very important question, to be sure. (And no, the answer does not involve Internet porn.) When I asked myself this important question just minutes ago, the answer was simple: OCD. For some months now, my OCD has been telling me that certain just-washed things are contaminated. Yesterday while looking in the dryer for a t-shirt to wear to bed, I was overwhelmed with that certain “OCD” feeling – you know what it’s like: anxiousness, stress, impulse – that made me feel like the shirt that I just pulled out of the dryer was contaminated. Not by chemicals, germs, or anything like that – just by my thought that it might be contaminated. Just the thought of it being contaminated made it seem to my mind as if it was. Many of our OCD impulses go away or lessen considerably if we just delay the doing of the compulsion that our obsessions cause. But I became stressed quickly, and gave in. I threw the clean, dry t-shirt in the dirty laundry pile and grabbed another shirt.

Today, the bedclothes I actually wore last night were thrown in the dirty clothes pile not long after I got up. They were not “dirty” in the classical sense. But into the pile they went anyway. But now what would I wear tonight? No problem – I had a similar pair of pajama bottoms and another shirt to wear. Both clean. But wait – crap. Now I “felt” like those pajama bottoms were contaminated. In fact, I felt like all the clothes in the clean clothes basket with the clean pajama bottoms must be washed again. No one touched them but me. But the feeling was overwhelming, even after I called my Dad and asked him (as I always do – perhaps to the detriment of my recovery, but dangit, he’s so nice about it) for reassurance. So, I packed up all my clothes from the clean basket, the dirty pile, and the ones in the dryer, and stuffed them into the washing machine. Then I took off the clothes I was wearing. (After all, they felt contaminated now.) So into the washer went my Capri pants, my tank top, and my undergarments. I had, for the moment, given in to my OCD.

Failure is never fun. Yes, I feel better that my clothes will soon be clean, but who’s to say they’re not going to also feel contaminated this time I remove them from the dryer? That is the horrid cycle of OCD. I’m not afraid to say it. I have had some spectacular (or so they felt) wins. Glorious moments when I have soared on the wings of conquest around the golden sun of victory. And then tonight, like Icarus, I have considered soaring, perhaps even gotten into the air a bit, then lost altitude, crashing into a cow pasture onto a steaming mound of OCD and drawn-out analogy.

On the upside, since I’ve started writing this entry, my clothes have finished in the washer and are now in the dryer. I’m going to wear the first pajama bottoms and t-shirt that I pull out of that dryer. That’s my plan of action. Tomorrow is a new day, filled with the possibility of more victory, less laundry, and better analogies than tonight.

 February 18, 2014  Living with OCD 4 Responses »
Feb 172014
 
?????????????

To the casual observer, I look pretty normal. Friendly, talkative, humorous–that’s who I am and that’s the persona I project. My family and friends know, however, that behind these public traits I have a dark struggle that torments me every day.

I have OCD.

OCD stands for Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. These three letters have woven themselves deep into the fabric of my life since grade school. It wasn’t until high school that I even realized that my “quirkiness” had a name. Since then, I’ve learned much about the disorder and myself. But while medication and therapy have helped immensely, my OCD is never really gone.

If you are not familiar with OCD, Wikipedia has a good article about it. This excerpt from that article sums up some of the basics:

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry; by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety; or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms of the disorder include excessive washing or cleaning; repeated checking; extreme hoarding; preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts;relationship-related obsessions; aversion to particular numbers; and nervous rituals, such as opening and closing a door a certain number of times before entering or leaving a room. These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and financial distress. The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and potentially psychotic. However, OCD sufferers generally recognize their obsessions and compulsions as irrational and may become further distressed by this realization.

Many of the symptoms I have are frustrating and embarrassing. I will be sharing some of them with you. Maybe you or someone you know has OCD. Maybe you thought you were the only one who had such embarrassing OCD symptoms. But maybe by reading about some of my secrets, you’ll realize that what you considered “strange” isn’t so very strange after all.

 February 17, 2014  Living with OCD No Responses »
Feb 102014
 
ocdmonster

OCD is a lousy companion. It doesn’t care what you want. It doesn’t care about embarrassing you, making you cry, or ruining a perfectly good day.

In spite of this, sometimes we go easy on OCD. We give it space in our head. We listen to it and think, well, I don’t want to do this, but I’d better, just in case…

BUT NO.

OCD needs to be vanquished. And one of the first steps to vanquishing it is to realize that OCD is an asshole. OCD doesn’t have your best interests in mind. OCD doesn’t want you to be comfortable or happy or carefree. OCD loves it when you are anxious, sad, and doubtful. OCD wants to pee in your cornflakes and burn down your house. So let’s call OCD what it is: a monster.

Sometimes we need to be reminded that OCD is a monster so we don’t go easy on it. We don’t appease monsters, we fight them. Some fights we win. Some fights we lose. But the important thing is that we FIGHT.

Keep fighting the monster.

 February 10, 2014  Living with OCD 4 Responses »
Feb 102014
 

Hi there!  Welcome to the newly revamped OCD Blog. I’m glad you stopped by! I’ll be sharing my experiences with OCD, resources to help kick OCD’s butt, and more!

If there is anything you’d like to see on this blog, please let me know!

 February 10, 2014  Welcome No Responses »