Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What Exactly Are Obsessions and Compulsions?

Obsessions are unwanted thoughts that keep recurring in your mind. A common obsession is "My hands are contaminated." The thought just keeps repeating itself and I can't get rid of it until I perform some kind of compulsion. A compulsion is any act or thought that is used to bring down the anxiety caused by the obsession. For me, a common compulsion to reduce the anxiety caused by the thought of "My hands are contaminated" is to wash my hands. When my OCD was really bad I would wash my hands over and over again until they were rubbed raw and red. Let's just say I've spent a lot of time over the years searching for the best hand cream. My most common compulsion is avoidance. It took me about 5 months of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) before I truly understood that avoidance IS a compulsion - an act (or non-act) that reduces my anxiety caused by obsessions. My obsession might be that a particular bathroom is contaminated - this causes anxiety, so to reduce my anxiety I just avoid using that bathroom. Voila - I have now performed a compulsion! And trust me this is a painful compulsion if you are out with your family for say an 8 or 10 hour outing and you deem that all bathrooms are contaminated. More about how to fight compulsions later.

I am saying a prayer for you and me right now - that we would both be able to fight a compulsion today. It doesn't have to be a big one - just a tiny one. Every little step forward is a step towards health. That is how I've been able to regain parts of my life back.

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