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!

Friday, January 27, 2012

I Don't Have THAT Many Compulsions, Do I?

The other day Tina wrote something in her blog and it got me thinking. She shared that it was pretty difficult to become aware of all the OCD rituals that one does on a daily basis. OCD is a sneaky illness. It can be very subtle. It can morph over time. Rituals can span the range from being performed in your mind only (rumination or replaying events), it can be a distinct physical action, or it can manifest itself though avoidance.

I thought it might be a useful exercise to list a couple of obsessions (the thoughts that worry me) and their accompanying compulsions (the actions or non-actions I perform to relieve the anxiety brought on by the obsessions).


*Re-play event over and over in my mind to see if I did actually hit anyone or anything (this is a mental compulsion)
*Drive back to the scene to check for dead bodies on the road, or ask someone else to check for me
*Check rearview mirror repeatedly to make sure everyone behind me is ok
*Look at other cars around me to see if they are reacting to any type of car accident
*Check my car for damage when I get home
*Discuss issue with my husband when I get home to get reassurance from him that all is ok
*Check online news when I get home to see if there are any reported hit and run accidents
*Avoid driving (I've done this several times - just ask my parents who have had to drag me around in their car!)

I think a bathroom is dirty and I will get dirty if I use it and: I might get sick, or I might make someone else sick, or I will be a gross person

*Replay event over and over in my mind asking myself, "Did I actually touch the toilet with my body, or did my arm hit the stall wall when I was in there?"
*Wash my hands repeatedly afterwards
*Sit on a towel or something else in my car on the way home so I don't get my car contaminated too
*Repeatedly ask others around me if they think I am dirty
*Change and wash clothes when I get home
*Throw out some clothes when I get home
*Take a shower when I get home
*Avoid using public bathrooms (or believe it or not, I've even avoided using my own bathrooms at home sometimes until I had no choice but to use them and then I would take another shower)

I think I've offended someone with something I said and now I believe they are angry with me

*Reconstruct the conversation over and over in my mind to check for anything offensive I might have said or any type of negative reaction the other person might have had
*I will ask others who were there if they thought I had said anything offensive, or I might reconstruct the conversation for someone who wasn't there
*Contact the person I think I've offended on some false pretense ("Oh I was just calling to say hi or ask you a question about that thing . . .") to see if they respond negatively to me
*Contact the offended person and apologize unnecessarily
*Avoid social interactions because I worry about everything that comes out of my mouth

OK - I think you get the picture! Are you able to discover any tricky compulsions that you weren't even aware of? I suspect that if I sat here longer and really thought about it, I could come up with even more.


  1. The replaying of conversations is something that has really debilitated me in regards to relationships. I have such a bad case of scrupulosity that invades every aspect of my life....relationships and interactions with others is one of those areas it loves to torture me.

    1. Hi Elizabeth. I'm sorry you struggle with that, it is very rough. There was a time period when I really pulled back from socializing with a lot of people because I just couldn't take the stress of worrying about it all the time. As I've gotten better I've started socializing significantly more and at times it has been a little challenging, though not nearly as bad as in the past.

  2. It never ceases to amaze me how insidious a disorder OCD can be....you have such insight into your obsessions and compulsions, yet when OCD rears its ugly head, it is so incredibly difficult not to get sucked in by the disorder...still, I'm hoping you found the exercise somewhat helpful.

    1. Hi Janet. Yes, it's crazy how OCD just slips into the smallest of cracks until it takes over! Let's put it this way, when I'm in the middle of an OCD flare I have very little insight, though I am getting better at that. I've been in CBT for almost 2 1/2 years. I think I will soon be "graduating" from it, but it really has taken that long for me to be able to see through the lenses of anxiety.

      I did find the exercise helpful. I should probably do this for all my obsessions, but that would take a long time!

  3. Sunny, Great post! I need to do this exercise! I think it would be very helpful for my CBT appointment next week.

    I replay conversations too, and I have really affected relationships because of my worry over what I said/didn't say and my obsession with the reactions from others. It goes hand in hand with a compulsive need for reassurance from the person in question that I didn't say or do the wrong thing. I have gotten better with this though.

    Thank you for sharing your exercise. I had not thought to write things out in the way you did, but I believe I will really benefit from it. I'll let you know when I do it!

    1. Hey Tina! I'm glad this was helpful. I'm always shocked when I realize how many compulsions I have for just one obsession. We OCDers are a very creative group, you know! ha ha I'd love to me know when you write out your list. It will be interesting to see if you become aware of compulsions that you didn't even realize existed. On my last post Karin reminded me of one I had totally forgotten about, and yet I do it regularly without even thinking about it.

  4. I recently deleted every last email and chat between me and my last boyfriend. In this relationship, I thought that I was nearly OCD-free. And yet in the few emails I read, I could see places where I was asking reassurance questions, or trying to adjust the schedule of things we did together based on my fears, or even not so subtly trying to convince him that he didn't really want that new tattoo.

    So, yeah, the compulsions are all over the place!

    1. Hi Ann. I think it's good though that you are able to read the emails and recognize the really subtle compulsions. I'm sure I still miss stuff all the time. A lot of these compulsions, especially the mental ones and the avoidance ones, are done in such a quick split second that it's almost like second nature and unless you have time to stop yourself every two seconds and double guess every little decision I think we're bound to miss stuff. But hey, every little bit we catch means forward progress!