When Life Gives You Funky Lemons

Being a stay-at-home-mom, with no consistent Monday thru Friday work schedule, my days tend to blend together; but today, I am so HAPPY it’s Friday!  I seriously had a tough week! 

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When Life gives you lemons, make lemonade….When Life gives you funky lemons, get creative and make funky lemonade!

Life’s Funky Lemons

When weeks, days, or even hours are tough, good mental health plays a vital role in keeping a person moving forward; especially, when Life dumps a truck load of “funky” lemons in your way.

Ever heard of the expression, “When Life gives you lemons, make lemonade?”  An encouraging phrase often used to encourage others to make the best of an unfortunate or unpleasant situation.  Well, for me, I am often “gifted” with Life’s “funky” lemons; bruised, irregular, slightly discolored, even sometimes, smelly lemons.  Funky lemons are not just difficult, unpleasant situations, but more like challenging, unique, odd-ball situations that completely differ from the average normal lemon (difficult or unpleasant situation).  Simply, funky lemons require a little extra work.

It’s okay to encounter funky Life lemons, the funkier the better…  Funky Life lemons can make life interesting, entertaining, meaningful, and more often than not, teach extremely valuable lessons that usually become beneficial for later in life.  However, funky Life lemons can be frustrating and emotionally exhausting too.  You can’t exactly make sweet lemonade with funky lemons, but with a lot of hard work, you can make something out of it.  You just have to think outside the box, have an open mind, and get creative when facing a challenging odd-ball situation.  Even the funkiest of lemons can be turned around into something better.

Tossing Funky Lemons Back

The best thing about Life’s funky lemons is that you can sometimes toss them back.  For me, I have a tendency of stumbling across funky lemons (all the time); but I have eventually learned that I can’t save the world from all of Life’s funky lemons.  If Life gives you the opportunity to walk away from a difficult situation, especially, a situation that has nothing to do with you, do it!  I think a lot of us feel obligated to save the World and sometimes the World just doesn’t want to be saved (at least not yet).  Although Life does give us lemons, we sometimes have the choice to toss the funky ones back and keep the ones we know we can use to make lemonade.

Sense of Humor

Funky lemons require a good sense of humor.  I think a good sense of humor while coping with a challenging situation not only encourages us to make the best of a bad situation, but also opens the mind up to other possibilities (ideas) to overcome challenging situations.  Not all funky lemons are bad, some have purpose, and I strongly believe a negative mind keeps us focused on the bad side of a funky lemon; instead of discovering the good side (perhaps a different side) in which allows us to better overcome and understand a challenging situation.

Happy Friday!

All this talk of lemons and lemonade is making me thirsty.  If I didn’t make any sense, just know, the next time Life gives you lemons (even funky ones), remain positive and make the best darn-good lemonade ever!  Breathe, laugh, and take one funky lemon at a time.

Happy Friday and wishing everyone a great weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parenting With A Partner With Asperger’s: A Book Review

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IMG-1023All this time, I have been blabbing about my OCD. How totally selfish….so, lets talk about Asperger’s!

As I have mentioned before, my husband has Asperger’s.  His Asperger’s, to me, is just something that makes him unique.  I love that his brain processes information differently than my own; however, it seems to be a bit glitchy when it comes to parenting.  So much so, that parenting is the only thing we ever bicker about; or more accurately, that I ever bicker about…

I “get” my husband’s brain.  I studied biology and psychology; plus, I am extremely opened minded to the fact that everyone is different and I strongly believe that everyone, regardless how quirky they might be, still deserve love and respect.  So, for the most part, my husband’s so-called “odd” social behaviors doesn’t bother me; but I am beginning to see how his Asperger’s is affecting our children.

Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!

My husband simply does not exist.  He is here, but not; and David Copperfield has nothing to do with it!  I think the biggest problem is that, my husband doesn’t acknowledge when spoken to; something I had to get used to.  When prompt to provide a response, you can certainly tell that his brain is searching for a “script,” a go-to, catch-all phrase that works for any kind of situation.  His usual response, for everything, is either “neat-o” or “oh-goodness.”  If the subject is not about him or something he is an “expert” at (areas in which he can confidently express himself), the tone is off and sometimes emotionless, making him sound rude, disrespectful, or a bit harsh.  Not knowing how to appropriately and quickly respond, the brain becomes anxious, and the tongue does its best to interpret and translate.  So, my husband never means to sound rude, disrespectful, or harsh; it’s just rolls off the tongue that way.

I am sure there is more to it, but I am guessing, this is one of the biggest reasons as to why our kids prefer to come to me, instead of their dad, even when he is standing two feet away from me.  They either feel their dad ignores them or their feelings get hurt, by his not-so compassionate responses.  Communication may not seem to be my husband’s forte, but he sure does know how to make the kids laugh!

Parenting Requires Social-Skills

Although, we are both biological parents, I am “the” parent.  I often struggle with this concept, because I personally believe parenting should be a joint responsibility; however, my husband’s Asperger’s makes it difficult to parent together.  As I have mentioned in prior posts, our joint efforts resulted in a “good” cop / “bad” cop parenting style.  It was confusing for everyone and we decided it was best that I just take lead for now on.  It isn’t that my husband doesn’t care or is lazy about parenting, he just doesn’t have that communication-bonding ability with the kids.  Parenting requires social-skills; something I am beginning to learn more about in this new book I started to read this month, called, “Out of Mind-Out of Sight,” by Kathy J. Marshack, Ph. D.

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About The Author and Why I Enjoy This Book

Out of Mind-Out of Sight,” by Kathy J. Marshack, Ph. D., has thus far, been an insightful read.  Kathy J. Marshack is a licensed psychologist who specializes in Asperger’s Syndrome and high-functioning Autism; understanding Asperger’s on both a professional and personal level.

I am really enjoying this book, for that it has all that I like about a book: scientific-based facts, personal experiences, and great humor.  There is nothing dull about the way this book is written, making it much more relatable and easier to retain important concepts that will help me better understand and work with my husband during our parenting adventures.

Cognitive and Emotional Empathy

What have I learned so far?  Well, lots of things, really.  But one thing that truly sticks in my brain is the difference between Cognitive Empathy and Emotional Empathy.   Although better explained by Kathy J. Marshack, I think I got the gist of it.

Empathy is complex; however, Marshack explains there are two types of empathy.  Cognitive Empathy, to my understanding, is when the  brain assesses a situation factually, instead of emotionally.  Emotional Empathy is looking at a situation with emotions.  Those who do not have Asperger’s Syndrome, respond to situations with both Cognitive and Emotional Empathy; whereas, those with Asperger’s Syndrome, generally, only express one type of empathy at a time (not both at the same time).

Say, my kid comes to me with scrapes on their knees from falling down at the park.  They are crying and their knees are bleeding and require medical assistance.  I respond by expressing my concern for their emotions and provide comfort by expressing my understanding that scraped knees totally suck; and then attend to the scrape.  My entire response consisted of both cognitive and emotional empathy.

However, my husband would respond completely differently, whereas he would not be as comforting and skip straight to the fact that it “just” needs a band-aid.   He is responding with Cognitive Empathy, where he recognizes the facts of the situation (scrape on knee), but not the emotional situation (kid being upset).  Or, he may respond with Emotional Empathy instead, where he may respond extremely emotionally and irrationally by dramatically swooping the child up into his arms, rushing them to the band-aid box, and making a dramatic scene, in which only scares the child.

But, like I said, Marshack explains it way better by sharing a personal, yet relatable,  story from one of her clients; in which I strongly encourage you to read about in her book.

After I have finished the entire book (still have a couple chapters left to go), I will be posting an update on this review at the end of the month.  Maybe great changes will come or at the very least, I have gained, yet another perspective to share with you about mental health.

Have You Read A Good Book Lately?

I love to read when I am not busy being a mom.  If you have any book recommendations regarding Asperger’s Syndrome, Parenting, or Mental-Health in general, let me know!  I’d love to check them out! 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being A Biology Student With Contamination-OCD

As a student passionate about learning Biology, developing Contamination-OCD felt as devastating as a surgeon losing his ability to work with his hands.

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What Is Contamination-OCD

Contamination-OCD is the fear of germs and diseases.

Those experiencing Contamination-OCD often avoid objects, people, and places that they feel might get them sick.  Contamination-OCD can include some of the following compulsive-behaviors:

  • Avoiding touching certain objects handled by other people (like door-knobs, elevator buttons, pens, phones, etc).
  • Avoiding sick people.
  • Avoiding crowded places, bathrooms, or places like hospitals and clinics.
  • Avoiding bodily fluids such as mucus, blood, saliva, urine, etc
  • Avoiding food & beverages prepared by others.
  • Excessive hand-washing.
  • Throwing away things that is thought to be contaminated.
  • Wearing protective gloves and facial masks to avoid germs.
  • Excessive health tests in fear of having contracted a disease.

Well, that is just to name a few; for that individual experiences vary.

My Contamination-OCD Fears About Cleaning Products

Although diagnosed with Pure-O OCD, I occasionally experience a bit of Contamination-OCD with cleaning products, as it falls under my OCD’s common theme: The irrational fear of having harmed others through some form of negligence.

An example of my Contamination-OCD would be the time I kept throwing away sugar.  We used to keep a sugar bowl on the counter to sweeten our tea.  One day, my husband left an open-box of powdered dish detergent on the same counter as the sugar bowl.    Intrusive thoughts flooded my mind that somehow the dish-detergent had gotten into the sugar bowl and I was convinced the sugar bowl was then contaminated with dish-detergent (because both were white and similar in texture).  I always assumed it was best to be safe than sorry and so, I always threw away the sugar whenever my husband forgot to put away the dish-detergent.  Let’s just say, I ended up wasting a lot of sugar, before realizing it was just my OCD brain being OCD.

My Contamination-OCD Fears About Germs & Disease 

However, I did go through a short phase where I was afraid of every known disease in the “Universe.”  It was so bad, that it even made me uncomfortable standing near a moon rock, displayed in a glass case at NASA.  Seriously, You don’t know what unknown terrible alien-brain eating, glass deteriorating, diseases are on the moon!   It was a terrible experience, because I absoultely love science!

Sadly, the worst part, was being a Biology student who was about to begin a semester of lab courses; where not only was I going to be exposed to sheep brains and twitching dead frogs, but also human bodily fluids like urine and blood.  I was also signed up for mandatory volunteer work at a hospital as a transporter (transporting sick people from one department to the other).  I wasn’t sure I could handle it!  But, hey, the things we do for science, right?   

Talk About Effective Exposure Therapy – Lab Class

In the beginning, my science lab classes barely involved any “lab” work at all.  Chemistry 101 was more math than test-tube experiments.  Geology lab was full of rocks.  Physics dealt mostly with physical objects.  Biology; well, Biology in the beginning was a snore.

The first couple of Biology lab classes consisted of long boring lectures with plastic model body parts.  The only thing in my earlier lab classes that totally set off my Contamination-OCD, were the students bringing in their drinks and food into the lab.  All different kinds of lab classes took place in this lab, so who knows what gross dead thing or toxic residue was left on the tables before we came in for a boring lecture.  

However, I remember a very particular and extremely uncomfortable lab session in which we had to work with blood and urine.   At the time, I was completely afraid of bodily fluids. Unfortunately,  I couldn’t ditch one lab assignment, for that lab assignments were a big chunk of our final grade.  Instead, I had to force myself through it…

The first lab assignment was more-so gross than terrible, as it involved testing protein concentrations in urine.  One person from the group had to urinate in a cup and each of us had to test his/her urine.  Although gloves and masks were required, touching someone else’s “pee” is really gross, even without OCD.

The second lab assignment was called ABO blood typing to determine blood type.  It bothered me more than the urine.  It involved us pricking each others fingers to draw blood into a tray where we then had to mix our blood with antibodies to determine our specific blood type.  Really neat stuff, when the OCD brain isn’t being so OCD.  Intrusive thoughts of all the different kinds of blood-transmittable diseases flooded my OCD brain and of course, I was extremely worried about leaving lab class with a disease or tracking diseases home on the bottom of my shoe!

Knowledge Is Power Against the OCD Bully Brain 

My OCD brain took full-advantage of my ignorance about how germs and diseases can affect the body.  I was uncomfortable sharing my drink with someone, holding hands, or even pressing the elevator button (try getting your foot up that high).   However, for me, Contamination-OCD didn’t last very long after I began my studies in Human Anatomy and Physiology.  Learning more about how bacteria and viruses actually work and how our body protects itself against their attacks, largely put my OCD brain at ease; furthermore, the lab classes and volunteer work at the hospital was great exposure therapy.

It is important to understand that germs and diseases do not transmit as easily as they do in the 2002 zombie-horror movie, “28 Days.” (I hate that movie!)   In fact, our bodies have an amazingly strong defense system in which requires extremely specific circumstances and conditions for diseases to “successfully” transmit to a person.

BUT, that doesn’t mean jump straight into surgery without gloves, go days without washing your hands, pet a rabid dog, stand in the mucus spray of someone’s sneeze, or go protection-free on your next date; that just isn’t very smart nor hygienic.  Just because the body is designed with a good defense system, doesn’t mean it is 100% effective.

Keep in mind, that on a microscopic level, our bodies are constantly fighting a war against bacteria and viruses; we just aren’t aware of it.  So, regardless how much we try to protect ourselves, we are always at risk of getting sick; but we can largely reduce the risk of getting sick by following the recommended simple precautions to stay healthy.

My point is, staying healthy doesn’t require extensive protective measures, like lathering up on the antibacterial hand sanitizers, scrubbing your skin raw, or avoiding people who are living with preventable diseases.  In fact, some excessive precautions can be bad for your health, (like scrubbing your skin raw that could lead to bacterial infection), something you were trying to prevent in the first place.   Remember, you are the first line of defense, not the cavalry.

Bacteria and viruses have a negative reputation for being the bad guys when it comes to our health, but not all bacteria and viruses are bad.   Each can play beneficial roles in our health.  Click Here To Read More: sciencemag.org.  Microbiology is such a fascinating field of study!

 

Downside To A Smart OCD Brain…It Thinks Too Much

Unfortuantely, the downside to feeding your OCD brain with factual knowledge, is that the OCD brain thinks too much.   The OCD brain likes to debate and if you are not confident with what you know, your OCD brain is likely to win.  You don’t have to be an expert to convince your OCD brain that you are right; instead feel confident that you know more than your OCD brain.  Your OCD brain knows you are smart, but it doesn’t like the way that makes you feel- feeling good about yourself.  The OCD brain is a bully that wants you to feel bad and doubt yourself.  Don’t let it! 

You Can Beat This!! 

Don’t let OCD take away the things you love.   Contamination-OCD was an obstacle I had to overcome to enjoy what I love~ science!  I hope my experience encourages you to beat your own OCD challenges, especially, if it is getting in the way of something you love or enjoying doing in life.  ❤

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brain Games: Netflix

I am a huge Netflix fan!  Seriously, I am a person who will spend an entire weekend binge watching a tv series until the very last episode of the very last season. Image result for netflix It is such an unhealthy addiction for me, especially, since it makes me feel like a zombie; shuffling in and out of the darkness every once in awhile for food and responding to family members with short zombie-like grunts.

Fortunately, it is only a seasonal addiction, as I only seem to binge watch tv when the weather outside is super cold.  With Spring just around the corner, I find myself being a little more active enjoying the warm weather, defrosting from a long Winter.

However, every month, my parents call me with a list of  “good” tv series they recommend watching on Netflix.  One of those series is,“Brain Games,” with Jason Silva.  To be honest, the way my parents explained it, I thought it was a game show.  Totally pass!  My entire childhood was spent watching Nickelodeon game shows like “Double Dare,” “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” and “Figure It Out.”  So, yeah, I didn’t even bother; but my parents kept asking me if I had watched “Brain Games” yet.  So, this week, I decided to check it out…

Not A Game Show

Okay, “Brain Games” is pretty interesting!  It is not a game show. Image result for Brain Games Netflix There are no contestants, prizes, nor is the host standing behind a podium with a handful of clueless cards.  Nope, “Brain Games” is seriously all about the brain!

This show talks about the fascinating and mysterious inner-workings of the mind.  It is an entertaining and educational series that is both fascinating and interesting with experiments, experts, and fun.  The best part of this show are the interesting games you can play that demonstrate how the mind works!

Ideomotor Effect Episode (No Spoil Alerts)

My favorite episode, so far, is about the Ideomotor Effect, a psychological phenomenon where our body moves unconsciously.  They demonstrated this phenomenon with the Ouija Board.  Basically, a group of volunteers call upon the dead, in which answer through the Ouija Board.  It was clear as day, until the volunteers were asked to call upon the dead again, but this time all the volunteers were blind folded.  The result, a fuzzy connection between the living and the dead.  Communication was not as clear as it was without the blind folds.

Of course, when they were not blind folded, this could easily mean that someone in the group lied and was actually controlling the wood-piece, called a planchette, across the Ouija board to connect with the dead.  However, when everyone in the group is convinced that they did not push the planchette; how do you explain that?

Interestingly, I’ve actually heard of the the Ideomotor Effect from one of my biology classes.  I am pretty sure it was one of my late night classes and I was half asleep, but I do recall such a term.  But, that is just it.  It is simply a term that rings a bell, but with no distinct sound to remind me what in the heck it means.  Well, the way “Brain Games” explains it, is extremely fascinating.  No spoil alerts here, but simply, the Ouija board is just the mind tricking the brain!  In case, you find their explanation a little too hard to believe, they show you how you can see the Ideomotor Effect with your own hands.  CRAZY! 

Like I said, I am not going to spoil it for you!

Personally, I thought the episode was really fascinating; however, I am still not going anywhere near a Ouija Board!

Don’t Have Netflix!

If you don’t have Netflix, no worries!  This tv-series is quite popular; you can find a bunch of their episodes online with YouTube.

Have you seen Brain Games?  What do you think of the series?  What is your favorite episode?

 

Tossing Out The Overwhelming To-Do-Lists

Last week, I was invited to paradise, but when I arrived, paradise was nowhere to be found; it was buried in chaos!

My mother asked if I could come down and help her with some projects around the house.  Turns out those projects were bigger than the both of us and we ran out of motivation before we could even think where to begin; plus, the weather didn’t help.  When the weather is cold and wet, my mother moves like molasses as her poor joints lock up like a rusty old tin man.  So, instead of working on projects, my mother (being my mother) convinced me to go to her “fun” dentist for a routine check up.  Let’s just say, I came home this weekend with a broken sandal strap and 6 cavities.  It was a rough week.

All my life, I feared getting my first cavity.  So, it wasn’t fun getting the news that I have 6 cavities!  That’s a bit to take in, especially, since I have been cavity free for over 30 years!  Overall, my teeth are in good health and the cavities are “shallow.”  According to my mother’s “fun” dentist, it’s a “no-brainer” to fix.  I’m relieved, because I thought it was going to be rocket-science!  Ugh!

Too Many To-Do’s To Count

IMG-0843Cavities aside, my mother really needs my help!  She is buried in too many overwhelming projects.  My mother is notorious for starting projects and never finishing them; and she knows it.  Unfortunately, it has finally caught up with her; not only is it affecting her happiness, but also her overall health.

My mother is a natural clutter bug whereas I am more of a minimalist (with a few hidden junk drawers).  Our ideas clash sometimes, as she doesn’t understand how I can function without appliances cluttering the countertops, knick-knack “treasures” cluttering the shelves, or even a yard without on single piece of lawn decoration (like the Elvis Flamingo she gave me a few years ago) and simply, I do not understand how she can function in “chaos.”  

Tossing The To-Do List’s

Despite our different ideas, my mother has called upon my minimalistic superpowers to help her get things back in order.

Personally, I don’t like To-Do lists, but for some people, to-do lists are amazing.  I thought for my mom, a to-do list would help her organize her thoughts, but like her bathroom scale, to-do lists are also evil, wicked, mean, and nasty!  So, nix the to-do list idea!

The Light Bulb For A New Game Plan

I was so overwhelmed by my mother’s house that I felt exhausted by the time I got home to my own house.  My husband did a great job keeping up the house while I was gone  (he even made the bed) and the glistening clean countertops were a welcoming sight when I came home.  While cooking dinner that night, the fat moving hamster in my brain turned on a light bulb as bright as the sun!  I realized how I could help my mom with her overwhelming basket of to-do-lists.

Sadly, my mother’s poor health finally sunk in, making me realize she really needs my help.  Before, my mother would asked for my help just for the company.  Now, she really needs my organizational brain to kick into full gear and help prioritize chaos.

I quickly came up with a new game plan to tackle all her projects.  Instead of a basket full of overwhelming to-do lists, we start with a fresh slate and move slowly forward without my mother putting her hand in the project cookie jar.  See, my mother is also notorious for creating large new projects over night.

Her house is chaotic, because unfinished projects are EVERYWHERE, in which is causing her to feel overwhelmed; so, the first order of business is to put away all the projects creating a clean slate.  Then, deep clean her house to make it easier for her to manage on her own.  Then, finally, tackling the projects one at a time, by doing those that serve a functional purpose rather than those that serve a cosmetic purpose.  Basically, fix the leaky sink before painting it a “pretty” new color.

Accomplishing Large Goals With Smaller Goals

It is easier to accomplish a large goal by breaking it down into smaller goals.  The smaller goals encourage motivation to continue working towards the overall large goal.  But, when you have too many large goals, the best way to conquer them is to clear your plate all together and start over with one simple task at a time, focusing mainly on one goal.  It will make things go quicker and much easier.

Wish Us Luck! 

I am heading back, with a new pair of sandals in hand and the motivation to take back paradise from chaos!

How do you tackle your basket of to-do’s? 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sorry, Gone Fishing, Be Back Soon

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If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is to never pass up an opportunity for a mental break!  So….this week, I will be 200 miles away from my computer with my toes in the sand, a warm sun on my face, and maybe toss a few hooks into the water!

This is an unexpected adventure and a great opportunity to relax, breathe, and reset my busy brain!  To be honest, I am not sure if I will be able to do much blogging this week.  I will certainly try, but internet in paradise doesn’t always work.  Perhaps, that is what makes it paradise, a world away from distracting devices.  Believe me, an entire week without Talking Tom notifications would be awesome!  (A kid app on my phone for my kids)

But, before I head off with sandals in hand, I just wanted to take a moment to thank all my readers! IMG-0740This blog recently received a 100 likes!  It may not seem like a big deal, but it is a big deal to me!  It greatly motivates me to continue blogging.  I greatly appreciate the likes, comments, and emails.  I do intend to blog more after my little vacation.  I enjoy connecting with everyone, sharing personal experiences, random thoughts, and interests in mental health and science.  Thank you again for reading my blog!   🙂

Stay strong, breathe, and remember to smile!  I will be back next week….I have some awesome books I am excited to share with you!

 

Coming Soon: Book Reviews 

The Secret To My Clean House Is Not “OCD”

As I write this, I am sitting in chaos.

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Due for fresh flowers

Towering piles of dirty dishes in the sink are conquering new territory over the counter tops.  Trash, lying just mere inches away from the empty trash can, look as if they were too exhausted to complete their journey.  My bathroom floor looks like a game of “Lava” with a trail of clothes leading to an empty hamper.  My living room is an endless mine field of toys, snack wrappers, and half-eaten snacks protecting the entrance to the kids room.  Lastly, my desk is completely covered in a blanket of white crumbled up tissues from a night of horrible allergies.  There is nothing about this scene that says, “OMG, you are so OCD!”  But, oddly, my husband is convinced otherwise!

I clean my house everyday.  Okay, allow me to rephrase that…I “pick up” my house everyday.  95% of the time, our house is pretty much clean, in which is saying something considering we have two little sticky and extremely messy kids.

Personally, I enjoying waking up to a clean house and I enjoy going to bed to a clean house; however, during the day is free game.  There are messes, spills, unexpected discoveries of old food in the couches, and toys in places I would never have thought to look.  My point is, our house looks very much “lived” in during the day,  but this is a side my husband rarely see’s, for that he often comes home to a house that looks as clean and organized as a museum.

Perfection is an Illusion

My husband thinks I am an “OCD clean freak,” because in his eyes, the house is generally always “perfectly” clean.  My OCD has nothing to do with my cleaning habits and surprisingly, my OCD has nothing to do with perfection.  I was raised in a world where everything had to be perfect; perhaps, that is why I despise perfection so much.  I just grew tired of it.  In my opinion, perfection is nothing more than an illusion.  What I may consider as perfect may be different than what another person may consider perfect, thus can create unachievable expectations.  Honestly, that doesn’t seem healthy, so I do not strive for perfection.  Sure, I have my moments when I want something to be “perfect,” but I do not allow the idea of perfection to consume me.  I usually just end up with, “eh, that’s good enough for me,” and move on.

Although I live a somewhat minimalistic lifestyle (except for my kids, they own everything), I do not feel the need to strive for order and cleanliness; instead, I “value” order and cleanliness.  For the most part,  I try to keep my house neat, clean, and organized, but only because it makes life so much easier.

Keeping A Clean House Is Part of Stress Management

If it doesn’t have a purpose or serve a function, out it goes!” is my motto for living a somewhat minimalistic lifestyle.  It has nothing to do with being frugal, environmentally friendly, or OCD; its just makes life easier and reduces stress for everyone.  My husband and I both have anxiety disorders, so I do my best to create a somewhat stress-free environment.

Here are some of my core beliefs about keeping a stress-free environment:

  • Waking up to a clean house is refreshing whereas waking up to a messy, dirty house can immediately impact a persons mood and create anxiety with an overwhelming thought of must-do’s.
  • Everything has a designated place to make it easier to find things and avoid the anxiety of having to look for something, especially in an emergency.
  • Clutter can clutter the mind as well as make excellent hiding places for things we’ve lost.  Plus, clutter is home to annoying little dust-bunnies!
  • Clothes are washed and put away in a timely manner to avoid the anxiety of not having anything to wear for work.
  • Clean dishes encourages a home-cook meal, instead of going out for fast food.
  • Going to bed to a clean house puts the mind at rest for better sleep.

Just A Little Everyday Work

There is no extreme labeling, perfect organization, or even a strict chaotic routine I follow everyday to ensure the house is maintained to create a somewhat stress-free environment.  Living a minimalistic, clutter free house cuts down majority of the work for me and after that I have only four everyday tasks:

  • Laundry (if any)
  • Pick up and vacuum the house before husband comes home
  • Clean kitchen after dinner, take out trash, and do dishes (cheat with a dishwasher)
  • Pick up the house just before bed

But of course, I do deep clean the house once or twice a month, but the rest is just kept up with daily maintenance.  This allows me to feel guilt free when I encounter days where I just don’t feel like doing anything at all and leave the house a mess for a day (because even the messiest of days are not that bad).

OCD plays no role in keeping my house clean.  Well, maybe, if you factor in that I keep my house clean to reduce anxiety, in which greatly helps my OCD, but OCD itself is not the reason my house is clean.  My only actual goal is to pick up the house at the end of everyday before my husband comes home.  Where then, it is my husband’s personal idea of perfection that makes it seem our house is maintained by an “OCD clean freak.”

Can your cleaning habits be mistaken for OCD?