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!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

1 Step Forward, 2 (or 3) Steps Back

Sometimes I become disappointed with my progress in recovery from OCD, GAD, and CSP (see helpful acronyms above). It is very easy to forget the improvements I've made thus far. This is especially true on days like today, when I've performed extra compulsions in response to some obsessions. What is worse is that these obsessions are ones that had not bothered me as much recently. Just when you think you may have defeated the power of a certain obsession, bam! The next thing you know, it's whispering in your ear and demanding attention again.

A few months back I whined to my psychologist about my seeming inability to have greater success with my anxiety. She suggested that I write a list of all the things that I had conquered since I began CBT. Once I wrote the list I was honestly amazed at what I had done so far. I still feel like there are a million more compulsions to overcome. I also get really impatient with myself when I've gone backwards. It is during these times of seeming backwards motion that my doctor will draw two different graphs on a piece of paper for me.

This first graph shows the trajectory that patients want to be on: a solid (and quick) straight line with no slip-ups toward full recovery.
This second graph shows the trajectory of recovery that is based on reality. Sometimes it is one or two steps forward and one or two or even three steps back, but overall, the entire line goes up towards recovery.
Recovery takes time. Most of us probably did not get ill all at once (at least I didn't), so unfortunately, we won't recover all at once. It's not a clear path to the summit either. Because there is no perfection in life, there will be no perfection in recovery. Now that's a bummer! We need to keep reminding each other of that. We also need to celebrate our daily triumphs because each little victory adds to our uphill direction. So hang in there, we're on our way to the top!


  1. Amen! I get frustrated and down about my progress, or lack thereof, too. I like those graphs. Somehow, the crooked one seems more comfortable, if that makes sense. It seems more normal for me than the one going straight up. Patience is not a virtue of mine--maybe it's not of anyone with OCD and anxiety--but your post is a great reminder to use the small victories to keep on going. Thank you!

  2. Ha ha. Yeah, patience is not something I'm too familiar with either. When my doc draws those graphs for me it's always comforting so I figured I'd spread the comfort around!

  3. Love the graphs. I think the visual is so effective. We can't always imagine the growth in our minds, but the visual puts it into perspective. Everyone (well almost everyone) in my experience, has difficulty with patience, whether you have OCD or not.

  4. Yes, that is definitely true - I think patience is a tough one for most people. I love when my doc draws something out like that for me. It just reminds me that I'm only human.