My OCD Is Just A Thing

So…how is my OCD holding up with all this stress in my life??     

It’s flipping the monkey’s out!  But, it’s just my quirky brain being…quirky.

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By Ginny (Nature Photography) 

Anxiety triggers my OCD, so I tend to experience more OCD episodes when I am stressed and anxious; especially, if I am not practicing stress management.  Stress management helps me prevent annoying OCD episodes from occurring; however, when an OCD episode does occur, it is the practice of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques that allows me to easily breeze right through them without emotionally falling apart.


Emotionally Numb To My OCD 

My OCD bully brain no longer bothers me.  Personally, my OCD (Pure “O” OCD) is just a thing that happens…

My OCD is comparable to hiccups.  They come and go, and there is nothing I can do about it.

I can’t really explain it.
Although I am not emotionally attached to my intrusive thoughts, intrusive thoughts still flood my brain and get stuck on repeat due to the faulty wiring of my brain (OCD).   I still have moments of “what if?”   I still feel the strong emotions.  I still have irrational OCD fears.  BUT, the difference, is that I am 100% self-aware that my thoughts and feelings are OCD.

I often, nonchalantly, tell my friends and family when I am currently experiencing an OCD episode.  I am rarely ever embarrassed anymore.  I also do not ask for reassurance from anyone,  because I can now recognize and acknowledge that my own thoughts are irrational and/or silly.  I know who I am as a person.  I also know I am a person with a quirky OCD brain.

More importantly, I no longer dwell on the question, “Why am I having these kinds of thoughts.

I think it’s the “why” that causes so much emotional suffering, because “why” questions our own character, making us feel like a bad person (when we aren’t), and it fuels self-doubt.

Control Anxiety, Control OCD

In my opinion, stress & anxiety are the root cause of OCD episodes.  I practice a mix of Stress Management and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Techniques to keep my OCD under control.

First, I had to learn to accept I have an OCD brain.  Because the truth is, there is nothing we can do about how our brains are wired (well, not yet).

Also, it is important to understand that our intrusive thoughts do not define us.  When we realize our OCD has nothing to do with us, we can begin to release the emotional ties we have with those lingering intrusive thoughts.

Thoughts are meaningless without action. 

Sometimes, intrusive thoughts can be so overbearing, we may have difficulty recognizing that those intrusive thoughts are OCD related.  So, it’s important to identify and understand the triggers to our OCD episodes (everyone is different).  The reason for this, is not avoidance, but acceptance.  Acceptance is a big part of stress-management and we must accept that nobody, not even normal brains, can control their own thoughts. 

Recognizing triggers is a start to self-awareness, that gives us the power to make a choice.  The power to be in control of our OCD.   Either we avoid something that we know is going to trigger our OCD (which kind of limits our happiness) OR we accept our OCD is going to be triggered and we work through our OCD episode (if it occurs) fully aware of our thoughts and feelings.  Being  self-aware with “Hey, it’s just my quirky brain being OCD,” reduces our emotional attachments to intrusive thoughts and allows us to move on with our lives.

It is important to note, that everyone experiences OCD differently.  Some are fully aware when they experience OCD episodes, they know all their triggers, they know everything there is to know about their own OCD, yet they are still emotionally suffering from their intrusive thoughts and feelings.

In my opinion, I believe emotional suffering continues, because we end up asking ourselves the wrong questions.  It’s analyzing our thoughts and emotions to death that fuel our OCD.

Before I understood the relationship between my OCD and anxiety, I was asking myself all the wrong questions.  Those questions led to more questions and eventually, I found myself dwelling deeper and deeper on my OCD thoughts and feelings, until I was completely consumed by self-doubt and thinking I was going insane.

I eventually learned, if the questions I am asking myself over and over are leading me in an endless circle of doubt, perhaps, I am just asking myself the wrong questions….

Questions That Are Perhaps Fueling OCD

  1. Why am I having these kinds of thoughts?
  2. Does this make me a terrible person?
  3. What if?
  4. Where are these fears coming from?
  5. Are these thoughts real?

Perhaps Questions To Ask Instead

  1. What am I anxious about?  (Think about everything going on in your Life)
  2. What are the facts?
  3. Are these thoughts rational?
  4. What triggered my anxiety?  (A change, even a slight change in something new)
  5. Is this something I can control?

Everyone’s OCD is different, so, this may be helpful or may not be helpful.  My point is, when you’re not getting the results you want, it’s probably time to change up tactics.

If you find yourself walking in circles, STOP, and point your feet in a different direction; then start walking again-perhaps you’ll go somewhere new for a change.

You Got This!!

There was a time in my life, I thought I would never be happy.  I struggled to imagine how anyone could ever get over such horrendous thoughts and feelings.  There was a time in my life, I thought I was going insane.

Today, I am glad I took a stand against my OCD bully brain!  It’s wasn’t easy.  I am not cured of OCD, but I did manage to overcome the emotional suffering of my OCD.   Hope does exist.  It is possible, to live happily with OCD.  It just takes a lot of work, understanding, and some OCD bully brain ass-kicking!

To everyone who has OCD, you got this!!

 

 

 

When The Universe Has Plans

Hi Brains!  

It has been a super rocky new year!  So rocky, I tripped, fell, rolled down hill, into quick sand, but I haven’t sunk yet.

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The Dim Brighter Side

I am always the first to recognize a brighter side, a new perspective that provides hope to something better.  At the moment, the brighter side is pretty dim.

My husband is being bombarded by some crazy Life challenges that strangely have nothing to do with him directly, yet are impacting our family in big ways.  The worst part, all we can do is just ride it out and hope for the best.

Life happens, but strangely not all at once; so the Universe is totally up to something.  Major change is coming and we just don’t know what to expect…it’s scary!  However, just because the brighter side is a bit dim, doesn’t mean it’s completely blacked out.

I Cried, Laughed, Cried, and Laughed Again

It’s been an emotional roller-coaster!  I am on this endless cycle of crying and laughing.  My emotions are all over the place.  Just when we are feeling better about everything, something else unexpected happens.   It’s crazy!!  

I got so deeply depressed about everything going on, I forgot about all the things that make me happy.  I forgot about blogging, my Netflix binge watching, and even the small things that make me smile, regardless of the tough times.

It’s okay to be sad. It’s okay to worry.  It’s okay to get overwhelmed by the “what-if’s, the worst case scenario’s, and self-doubt.”  It’s when we don’t do anything about the way we feel that becomes a problem and it’s just another problem to add to the rest of our problems.

Depression is no joke!  It can be extremely difficult to escape from depression.  I feel as if the entire world is crumbling around me.  Fortunately, after awhile, I have realized the world is not ending (not yet).

The brighter side, although dim, has provided me with enough strength to be the solid rock my family needs me to be during these strange stressful times.  Life happens and change is inevitable, but no matter what, at the end of the day, we always learn to adapt!

Breathe.  Accept what you cannot control.  Be grateful for all that you have.  Be kind to others and love yourself.  

How do you overcome overwhelming emotions in situations you can’t control? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

No New Year’s Resolutions For Me!

Happy New Year Everyone!!  I hope everyone had a good 2019.

I am walking into the new year without a single New Year’s Resolution!  Seriously!  I’ve decided to try something new…

Of course I want to lose weight, stop a few bad habits (like fast food and Energy Drinks), and become a better me, blah, blah, blah… but this year, I am not writing those down as a New Year’s Resolution.

No New-Year’s Resolution Jar for me this year!  Usually, at the end of every-year, I write down all my wants, dreams, goals, and stuff on individual pieces of paper and store them in a jar, and then, at the end of the next year, I open the jar to see all that I have accomplished or not accomplished.  Surprisingly, it’s not always disappointing, as I do end up accomplishing something.

But this year is different, I mean, major goals like that are a bit too much to carry with you into a new year.  Who wants all that weight…I want to float into the new year feeling good, not weighed down by a list of “must-do’s.”

So, I am keeping it light and simple.

Striving to become a better person than I was yesterday” is something I try to practice daily – a year long thing that will be the only goal-like thing I continue to carry with me into the new year.

The best part, is that 3 months from now, I don’t have to wake up to disappointment that I failed to complete (or even start) a New Year’s Resolution.  Instead, I am changing bad habits one day at a time, at my own pace, and little by little.  It’s the art of breaking up large goals into smaller, much more realistic, achievable goals.

This year…make goals, but don’t pressure yourself into making them into a “must-do” New Year’s Resolution that must be completed this year (because that’s the heavy expectation of a New Year’s Resolution, making a change right now, this year).  That’s not realistic, so just be you and work on your goals at your own pace- you’ll get there, even if, you don’t get there today, tomorrow, or next year, you will eventually get there!

If you want to eat healthier, don’t just give up unhealthy foods cold-turkey.  Pace yourself.  Slowly transition into healthier eating.  I know, because I’ve been trying to give up fast food for years, but today, I am little better than yesterday and that is what counts!

If you want to lose weight, learn to walk before you run.  Believe me, jumping into running after years of barely walking is painful (I’ve done that too).  Make a step-goal and then, when your body is up to it, do a little more each day.

That’s the problem with New Year Resolutions, we often feel like we have to start a whole new habit immediately and then, when it doesn’t take hold, because it’s a lot of work, we feel like failures and give up.

Not this year!  Walk into the new year with a positive attitude, no heavy New Year Resolutions weighing you down, just reasonable goals that you hope to accomplish by the end of the year – not tomorrow.  Pace yourself and do a little more than you did yesterday and you will get there.  If you fall back 5 paces, it’s okay, it just means you over did it, and start over.  Listen to you, not what others say you have to do.  This is your year!

So, here’s to brand new amazing year!  Follow your dreams, work on some goals, and just be yourself!  ❤

 

Making Mistakes Are Okay

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It’s okay to make mistakes.  

I think, people, everyday, everywhere, are often too hard on themselves for making mistakes.  We often find ourselves striving for perfection, with very little room for acceptable error.  In my opinion, perfection is an unachievable standard designed to create emotional suffering.

My Take On Perfection 

Perfection is an illusion, because nothing in the natural world is flawless.  You might see symmetry and order all around you, (half the time, it’s your brain filling in gaps to help you make sense of things), but look a little closer, and you will notice slight variations that make everything unique and different- not 100% perfect.

Perfection can be difficult to obtain, not only because it is an illusion, but also because perfection is nothing more than a matter of opinion.  My idea of perfection is probably different from your idea of perfection.  Unfortunately, differences in opinions, can lead to criticism, and I think that is why striving for perfection can be so destructive.

My OCD Brain – The Perfectionist 

My OCD brain is a perfectionist, but I am not.

I don’t have a need to strive for perfection; mostly, because I accept chaos, I don’t believe in perfection, and I enjoy being an odd-ball.  But, my Fight or Flight Response System seems to gauge danger based on the assumption of perfection.  One slight difference from the so-called norm and my Fight or Flight Response System’s alarm is sounding off, triggering anxiety, and forcing my OCD brain to respond the only way it knows how- with OCD.

Of course, my OCD is a bully and it tries to use perfection against me to create self-doubt.  I make one tiny mistake and my OCD brain is all over it!  It just won’t let it go; especially, if other people address and criticize my mistakes- my OCD is all over that!  I end up dwelling on my mistakes.  Of course, I naturally feel bad whenever I make a mistake, but my OCD brain will try to make me feel as if I am the worst person on the planet.   From there, I begin to doubt myself.  “I am not good enough.  I always make mistakes.  I can’t do anything right, etc. etc.”  And, sure enough, that can lead to catastrophic thinking: “If I try, I will fail, and something bad might happen if I fail.”  A destructive thinking cycle.

Mistakes Are Okay, Everyone Makes Them

Everyone makes mistakes!  The wisest of all wise minds have made mistakes.  The greatest of all great minds have made mistakes.  Making mistakes are crucial to learning!   Also, it’s kind of a human thing to do.

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Although some mistakes come with consequences, one of the many reasons many of us don’t like making mistakes, they are also important in teaching us life lessons to help us grow and become better versions of ourselves.  Don’t be mistaken though, for that mistakes can lead to wonderful discoveries!  Have you ever heard of silly putty! 

10 Ways to overcome our emotions after making a mistake

  1. Own your mistakes.  Acknowledge, apologize, and accept, that you made a mistake and if the mistake can be fixed, do your best to fix it.
  2. Forgive yourself!
  3. Learn from your mistakes.  Every mistake is a lesson to be learned.
  4. Understand that everyone makes mistakes- you’re not alone!
  5. Accept that nobody is perfect, even those who may criticize you for your mistakes- they’ve made mistakes too. 
  6. Mistakes are bad decisions due to poor judgement or lack of knowledge, usually not because of purposeful evil intentions.
  7. Mistakes do not define failure.   Allow your mistakes to encourage you to strive for success.   “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try, try, again!”
  8. Laugh about it!  We all make silly embarrassing mistakes time from time.  The best thing to do, is just to laugh them off and move on.
  9. Accept that not all mistakes can be forgiven or fixed – that’s just Life.
  10. Good people make mistakes too!

Mistakes Are Forgivable

In my opinion, mistakes are forgivable, just not everyone has the ability to forgive.

Forgiveness can be difficult, especially, when the heart strings are pulled too tight.  Emotions make forgiveness tough for everyone.  But, the most important part, is forgiving yourself for your own mistakes.

Forgiving yourself first, may open the door for others to follow and express forgiveness too.  However, in order to forgive yourself, you must accept that others may not forgive you.  It’s tough to forgive yourself, especially, if those who are not willing to forgive, are making you feel bad for the mistakes you have made.

If you made a mistake that caused emotional pain to another, acknowledge and apologize for your mistake(s), understand their point of view, offer to correct your mistake(s), accept the consequences, and forgive yourself.

Forgiving yourself allows you to move on, when others can’t.  If the other person cannot forgive you for making a mistake, even after you have apologized and fixed (or tried to fix) your mistake, the problem is out of your hands.  Sometimes we end up dwelling on our own mistakes, because other people don’t (or can’t) let go.

Forgive But You Do Not Have To Forget

The inability to forgive, creates grudges and I am not a fan of grudges.  Personally, I just don’t have the time and energy to hold onto a grudge.  I am a type of person who forgives and forgets.

I forgive myself for making mistakes and I forgive others who make mistakes.   Mistakes just happen and thus, to me, I don’t think mistakes are a big deal.  I mean, of course some mistakes can be major problems, but I strongly believe with a little teamwork, all honest mistakes can be fixed.  Like, instead of criticizing someone for making an honest mistake, why not just try to help them (work together) to fix their mistake?  Makes it much easier for everyone to move on without holding onto a grudge.

But, again, there are some people who are just forever- grudge holders.  There is nothing you can do or say to make up for your mistakes.  And, you know what, that is totally fine!  

Grudge-holders are hanging onto emotions attached to past actions.  This is something they need to work out on their own.  I once advised a friend of mine (who openly acknowledges being a “Major Grudge Holder”), that it is completely okay to never forget, but for the sake of their own emotions, they should at least forgive.

What is Forgiveness- Greater Good Magazine 

The act of forgiveness is for you, not the person asking for forgiveness.  In my opinion, forgiveness doesn’t mean the actions of others are okay.  Forgiveness is, more or less, accepting that such unfortunate actions had occurred, allowing you to move past your own emotions (anger, hurt, embarrassment, or whatever).  However, you certainly do not have to forget.

Smile, Breathe, and Dust Yourself Off

The next time you make an honest mistake- smile, breathe, and dust yourself off.  Everything is going to be okay!  Everyone makes mistakes!  It’s all part of being human!

Check out this interesting link below about conquering fears by making mistakes on purpose!

Why You Should Make Mistakes On Purpose – Psychology Today

 

Do you think forgiveness is easy or difficult?  Why?

 

 

 

I’ve Had Better Monday’s

Okay, so it’s not Monday, but nonetheless, I’ve had better days when life feels chaotic….

My youngest is sick again.  We, as an entire family, have been stuck on a vicious cycle of being sick since September.  This week, it’s my husband and our youngest who are coughing like crazy.  My husband thinks he has allergies, yet sounds like he is coughing up a lung (or two).  Our youngest, has bronchiolitis (for adults, they call it bronchitis).  Unfortunately, her asthma is making it difficult for her to breathe.  She’s already been hospitalized twice this year due to her asthma messing with her colds (or her colds messing with her asthma).  Either way, as a mom, it scares me whenever she gets sick.  The slightest wheeze, I am on her like a hawk monitoring her breathing.  The other day, she was prescribed some heavy artillery asthma meds; in which, we hope will keep her from having to go to the hospital.

I’m A Lazy Cook.  We’ve been indulging in many nights (mornings and afternoons too) in deliciously expensive addicting fast food.  Ever since the dishwasher caught on fire, no fault of my own this time (the calcium build-up was burning), I haven’t been in the mood to cook again.   I’ve lost all motivation.   I am just tired of wasting food from the grocery store. Today, is my shopping day and I am just frustrated trying to come up with a satisfying meal-plan.  It seems as if I’m constantly buying food – but, where does it all go?   

A “Soon” Deadline  Maybe, it’s just me, but I don’t like unknown deadlines; mostly, because I am a procrastinator (I openly and honestly admit).  I do my best work during the last “crunching” hour.  However, the project I am tasked with right now, is going to take me a couple of days to complete.   I’ve gotten most of it together, but some of the things left, require a lot of typing (yay, me) and a few other things are time-sensitive that require to be processed closer to the deadline (not a procrastination thing); yet, the so-called deadline is in limbo.  People just keep telling me, “soon.”   What does “soon” mean?!

I Just Cleaned My House  At some point, in between 7pm last night and 6am this morning, our house looks as if it exploded!  I remember cleaning it yesterday, but this morning, I cannot figure out what happened; however, my bets are on the 2 year old.   I mean, that would explain the donkey on the kitchen counter (a bouncy seat toy).  Generally, no big deal, but family is supposed to be visiting tonight!

Lost Glasses In The Room of Doom  Our oldest wears glasses and this morning, she lost them.  She lost them in her room.  Her room looks like the Temple of Doom, booby-trapped with a minefield of toys, stuffed animals, books, and pesky legos!  The rule is that she cleans her room every night, so that I do not break my neck trying to get to her bed to wake her up every morning for school- and of course, cleanliness is a good habit too.   Most nights we are on it, but last night, we had family movie night; in which, we all fell asleep afterwards.  But, had I known her room was going to swallow her glasses whole this morning, we would have cleaned it.  So- finding lost glasses is on my list today.   

Halloween Is Still Here  On my to-do list is to take down the Halloween decorations (outside).  BUT it is soooooo cold today!!!   Maybe…we’ll try again tomorrow.  I read somewhere, that putting up Christmas decorations early can make a person happier (well, probably not so much the neighbors).   I thought about it, but again, my OCD doesn’t like decorations in the house.  I can clutter the outside of our house until my hearts content; but inside, it must be subtle with a warm, inviting, decor flow.

Ugh….Christmas, I haven’t even thought about my Christmas to-do list!!  

A Laundry List Of To-Do’s, But It’s FRIDAY  Although I have a long to-do list, those are just a few things that are stuck on my mind.  In fact, it’s not really that bad.  I feel better just talking about it, plus, it’s Friday!  How can a Friday act like a Monday anyway – it can’t, it’s against the rules of whatever rules govern the days of the week (no such thing, btw).  I mean, you know, every day of the week is something:  Mondays are terrible, Tuesday is for tacos, Wednesday is hump-day,  Thursday is catch up day, Friday is happy, Saturday is fun, and Sunday is relaxing.  So, Friday’s are just not allowed to be like Monday’s.  But, every day, can certainly be Taco Tuesday! 🙂

Thanks for enduring my rambling nonsense today.  I wish everyone a Happy Friday and hope everyone has a great weekend!!

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To Delete Or Not To Delete Irrational OCD Fears

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The most difficult thing with OCD, is resisting the urge to follow through with a compulsive behavior.  It is so emotionally painful, that the need to obtain immediate relief from the emotional torture is too much, and you are forced to just give in.

But, the remarkable sensation that courses through my body when I finally do take a leap of faith and fully resist my OCD bully brain – is undeniably amazing.

At first, it stings, a lot, like getting a massive emotional shot to the heart, but then it gradually feels better, to the point, it doesn’t hurt anymore.  It’s as if the fear was worse than the actual experience.  Once released from the agonizing grip of OCD, clarity sets in, and the mind is at ease again.  I believe that remembering such an experience, helps develop self-confidence, and the more confidence you build, the easier, over time, it is to overcome your OCD bully brain!

The Dreaded OCD Crutch

Earlier this year, we bought a vehicle dash camera for the family car.  Surprisingly, not for the purpose of my OCD, but more so, for my husband to use on his long drives into the city.  Anyway, I knew when I bought it, I feared I would back-track on all my progress overcoming my irrational OCD fears about driving.

In my opinion, a dash camera is an OCD crutch used as reassurance for the OCD brain, allowing one to calm their anxiety while driving and later check to make sure all, in fact, was well.  Overall, it’s a bad habit that doesn’t benefit anyone suffering from OCD.  It makes OCD worse, because you lose all confidence in yourself.  Confidence in which your OCD bully brain doesn’t want you to have- because self-confidence is power against the OCD bully brain.

My OCD Itch 

For a long time, I managed to keep the dash camera nicely tucked away in its cozy case in the glove box, going on with my business without an OCD care in the world.  But, I guess you can say, I eventually got the OCD itch….

I really didn’t start using the dash camera for my OCD, until I began driving my kiddo back and forth to school.  There is just so much anxiety having to drive through a school parking lot surrounded by kids, teachers, parents and pets (oh yes, pets- who brings their pets to school?).

Kids on bikes scare me the most, because they are the most unpredictable.  They tend to pop out of no-where, as if they just came through an unexpected worm-hole!  Teachers stomp through the parking lot as if they are invincible to cars.  And, then there are some parents recklessly driving through the parking lot with places to go, people to see, and jobs to get to on time.  So, it’s quite understandable that my quirky Fight or Flight Response System is on high alert, sounding off a constant emergency alarm!

So, like any rational person with an irrational OCD brain, I began using the dash camera.

A Destructive Decision

At some point, my sneaky OCD bully brain convinced me that I should probably use the dash camera as a “precautionary” measure against “crazy in-a-hurry drivers” who don’t know how to drive.  IT WAS A LIE!   My OCD bully brain wanted to strip away self-confidence and replace it with self-doubt!  That’s it’s evil plan!

Using the dash camera on a daily basis was a destructive decision against the war effort on OCD.  After a few days, I started to become dependent on the dash camera.  No matter where I went, whether it was driving a few miles to the school or just around the corner to check the mail, I needed it!  

Without the dash camera, I find myself circling parking lots to reassure myself everyone is safe.  I will waste gas to double back to reassure myself that I didn’t cause a wreck or something.  But, the worst, in which I finally realized I had a problem, is when I began lying to my family, about the need to go somewhere when there really wasn’t a need to go anywhere- I just wanted reassurance.  Or, lying to my husband, after getting back from the grocery store, that it took me longer to get home, because “the car sounded funny and I just wanted to drive around to make sure it wasn’t anything serious;” when in fact, I was just doubling back to ease my OCD brain.

I shouldn’t have to lie.  My husband knows I have OCD.  But, after overcoming so many OCD fears, I am a bit embarrassed when I regress like this; even though, it is okay to take a few steps back sometimes.   I am not perfect.

When All Confidence Is Lost

What is certain, is that I must knick this in the butt as soon as I can, because once all my self-confidence is lost, my OCD bully brain wins.  Self-confidence is extremely important in overcoming my OCD fears.

When all self-confidence is lost, extreme self-doubt will attempt to distort reality-it’s scary and emotionally exhausting.  It doesn’t matter what anybody says, the OCD bully brain takes hold and does a remarkable job of convincing you that you are terrible person.  Self-doubt can be so powerful, nothing is reassuring, not even real footage on a dash camera.  You eventually begin to question your sanity, as you dwell over and over on what it was that might or might not have happened.   Not knowing for sure, increases all the emotions inside, building anxiety, and causing overwhelming emotional suffering.

My first two years with OCD was like this and I NEVER EVER want to have such an experience like that EVER again!

Difficulties Letting Go 

The memory card for the dash camera is completely full and yet, this weekend, I was unable to delete it, in fear, something of great importance was on it.  “What-if” thinking set in.  What if something bad happens, if I delete it?  

Of course, I can just let it be, for that new videos will eventually override the old videos, but that often corrupts the memory card and memory cards are expensive- at least this one was; I later learned that I totally overpaid for it.  The memory card (SD card) for the dash camera, cost me about $30, and is the size of my thumb nail (and I have tiny thumbs)!   That’s crazy!

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Massive Dose Of Exposure Therapy Today

This weekend, I made an executive decision against my OCD bully brain, that I was going to limit the use of the dash camera.  The initial plan was to stop using the dash camera every time I drive somewhere; unless, it is somewhere, where I should probably use it, like trips to the school, because, that’s rationally reasonable, considering all the crazy traffic.  Also, I planned to completely resist the urge to do any checking, when I do use the dash camera.  Well, that plan backfired on me this morning- because I had no dash camera to use!

This weekend, like every other weekend, I had brought the dash camera inside the house to re-format the SD card (delete files) to start fresh for a new week.  I failed miserably of course, due to my OCD fears.  However, this morning, rushing out the door to get my kiddo to school, I forgot about it and I didn’t have time to go back inside and search for it- because it wasn’t where it was suppose to be (figures, right?).  So, I had to drive my kiddo to school without the comforting reassurance of a dash camera.

I was super anxious at first, but I reminded myself to breathe (deep breaths) and reassure myself everything is going to be okay.  Then, one by one, practice the 5 most important things I have learned so far about overcoming my OCD.

  1. Self-Confidence: I reminded myself that I am a good driver and a good person.
  2. Acceptance:  I must accept the situation of not having a dash camera and also, make the best of it with a positive attitude.
  3. Faith:  I must believe in myself.  Also, there is always a reason as to why things happen.  The Universe doesn’t want me to use the dash camera; obviously, otherwise, I would have had time to find it.  The Universe is helping me overcome my OCD fears.
  4. Stress-Management:  Breathe.  Deep Breaths.  There is nothing to be anxious about, for that I am familiar with the road and the usual traffic.
  5. Mindfulness:  When the brain goes on auto-pilot while driving, we sometimes forget what happens between Point A and Point B of our trip.  Sometimes, not remembering our drive (even though there was nothing significant to remember) can trigger an OCD episode.  Today, I knew I had to be 100% in the moment with my driving, so that I didn’t later question my driving.  Every time the mind began to drift, I redirected my full attention to my driving.

 

When I got back home….I was okay!  I had no need or urge to double back to make sure the world was still okay.   I also found the dash camera and finally deleted the files to start a new week.

In the future, I still intend to use the dash camera, but only if I am driving to places with a lot of traffic.  I also plan to resist the urge for reassurance with the dash camera (no compulsive checking).  It will take time and practice, but I am confident in myself, that I got this!!  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hairy Blob Monster From The Drain

Today, I decided to deep clean the kitchen, well, okay…the entire house.

If I clean the kitchen, I gotta clean the living room, and if I clean two rooms, I gotta clean all the rooms.  AND, the worst room in the house, the room I always dread cleaning the most, is my husband’s bathroom!  He’s just gross!

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Tackling my husband’s bathroom requires a hazmat suit and all the harsh chemicals my OCD doesn’t allow me to use.  My OCD is so bad, I can’t even keep any harsh chemicals (toilet cleaner, multipurpose cleaner, or even floor cleaner) inside the house, with the fear, someone will get hurt.

I hate OCD. 

However, I have no problem keeping other types of cleaning products in the house, such as disinfectant wipes, glass cleaner, and environmentally-safe (to the sewer monsters) dishwasher soap.  But, it’s taken me years to allow those inside the house.  I do not like them, but they do not bother me as much as the harsher products.  Silly, I know, but it is a work in progress; one day, I hope to not be bothered by any cleaning products in the house- like a normal person.

MY OCD EPISODE 

Today, I managed to deep clean my house, with harsh chemicals, without having an OCD episode.  Unfortunately, the chemicals, it seems were the least of my problems.  IT WAS THE HAIRY BLOB MONSTER IN THE SHOWER that triggered an OCD episode!

My husband is hairy, well, except for his head.  He is slightly (to be nice) balding, however, I do not think the hair on his head is technically falling out.  From my perspective, it just seems as if its relocating to other parts of his body…to fall out.  This, is a problem for the shower drain.

I love my husband. 

Anyway, I decided today, since I am already in deep cleaning mode, I would unclog the showers.  Generally, some vinegar and baking soda does the trick, because for the most part, it’s just shampoo and body-wash clogging the drains.  Plus, who doesn’t like watching vinegar and baking soda react!

Unfortunately, my husband’s shower drain was being stubborn.  I went to the store and got this handy little stick thing (because I do not like chemicals) to try to unclog the drain.  Now, if you have never bought one of these, you are totally missing out on all the fun!

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Simply, it’s a stick, with ridges, that you shove (takes a bit of work) into your drain, and with all your might (with two hands), pull out the most gross, nastiest, hair ball in the world!!!

The coolest thing, is that it works!  The downside, is if you have OCD…  The gunky gross hairball touched me! 

Gloves couldn’t save me, for that it touched the exposed portion of my arm!  My OCD bully brain had convinced me that no matter how much soap I used, no matter what type of soap I used, or how hard I scrubbed my arms, we were all going to get super sick and it was going to be my fault!

It also touched my sweater, that I threw into the dirty hamper, that my kids later knocked over on to the floor….oh mymy world was upside down!  Now, I had to disinfect the floor!

Irrational intrusive thoughts flooded my brain like crazy!

Stopping Intrusive Thoughts

Fortunately, my intrusive thoughts were interrupted by a phone call.   Earlier today, we dropped the car off for an oil change and it was ready for pick up.

Distraction can be an effective way to stop intrusive thoughts.  The drive to the car shop, cleared my mind, and acted like a reset button.  Just like dealing with a bully, sometimes, you just have to walk away.

When we came back home, I was fine.  I even managed to unclog the other shower without my OCD bully brain getting in the way (exposure therapy).

If this would have happened a few years ago, I can tell you…our shower drains would not be hair-free.  I would have broken down in tears.  I would have thrown away my sweater.  I would have scrubbed my hands and arms until they bled.  I would have disinfected the monkeys out of the floor where the dirty laundry touched.  I would have stopped using the shower all together.  And, I would have dwelled and dwelled and dwelled on my thoughts until I felt as if my heart were about to burst.

As silly as this story is, for some, the emotional fears stirred up by OCD can be super real.  It takes a lot of work to overcome the OCD bully brain, but with practice, I promise, it does get better!