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, March 21, 2012

Commencement

Commencement is a term usually associated with graduations. This terminology is not used to signify an ending, but the beginning of the journey that is to follow. Upon graduation, students are to commence with their new lives. Hopefully, their new lives will be enhanced by the knowledge gained, the failures endured, and the successes achieved through all of the time spent studying, learning, and growing.

Soon, the word commencement will be applied to me. After 2 years, 25 weeks, and 5 days, today I had one of the last sessions of CBT I will most likely ever have. Not that I’m counting. I have one more appointment in a month, then perhaps one more after that. Then it will be over. My psychologist has told me more than once that I can set up booster sessions with her should I ever need them. I suspect I will at some point.

With the termination of regular weekly therapy, I am taking on the full responsibility for my own recovery. Of course, the reality is that I’ve always had it. However, I've truly appreciated all the hand-holding, training, and coaching that my doctor provided. God worked through her to save my life. My psychologist will forever hold a special place in my heart because I believe she cared about me as a person, beyond the minimum required to be an effective therapist.

I’m a little frightened. What if I backslide without her constant presence and encouragement? It’s time though. I’m well enough now. I’m not cured, but I’ve experienced dramatic improvement and I have the tools to move forward. I’m pleased that my leaving her practice means that there is an opening for other patients who need her attention.

Commencement is a scary word. It implies the ending of something familiar and the beginning of the unknown. The OCD translation: uncertainty. It can also be an exciting word. One never knows what the future holds. I could not have imagined being at this level of health 2 years, 25 weeks, and 5 days ago.

11 comments:

  1. What a beautifully written post! Congratulations on your soon-to-be commencement! I know you have worked hard and have been through a lot. I am still a baby at CBT, so I am so inspired and encouraged by you and your progress.

    I understand having a special place in your heart for your therapist. My first therapist was a psychologist I saw when I was in grad school many years ago. She was my first therapist, in my first experience with talk therapy. The help she gave me was immeasurable, and I still remember things she taught me.

    Uncertainty can be scary. But you have dealt so well with it, I have no doubt you will do wonderfully. And it's good to know your psychologist is available for a "booster." We all need a booster sometimes!

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  2. Aw, thanks Tina! I'm so glad you feel encouraged. You really should, as you have such a bright future ahead of you.

    That's wonderful that you still remember things your first therapist taught you years ago. Obviously it was good advice and you're a good student. I think it's so helpful to have a therapist that you really connect with.

    I also appreciate hearing about your current treatment. It's kind of like I'm going through it with you. I'll take all the free therapy I can get! : )

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  3. Feel free to give me tips and pointers along the way!

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  4. Congradulations!!! Great work! I'm so happy for you! And don't worry about the setbacks... you'll probably have one. But now you have all the tools in your back pocket to be able to deal with it or to spring back from it if it overwhelms you. And the more you don't give in to ocd, the less it comes or the less loudly it screams.

    When Suzanne told me she was giving me an exit date i was scared to - even tho i worked really hard so that when she retired i'd be ready to go. I even asked her the next week, after it all sunk in, if i was being kicked out or if i was graduating. I needed to know that SHE thot i was ready to handle things, so when i was caught up in something i'd be able to tell myself that Suzanne said i could do it and hopefully that would give me the courage i'd need, when/ if i got too overwhelmed by something.

    I also read your disney post. Congrats on your 25th anniversary! I didn't know disney did dolphin swims and snorkelling too. I've always wanted to do those.. sounds like you and your husband had a great time.

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    1. Thanks Karin! I like that, "the less loudly it screams." Made me laugh when I read that. A very accurate statement about OCD. ha ha I do expect some setbacks. I think that's pretty normal.

      I'm sorry Suzanne retired. Did she refer you to someone else should you need any booster sessions?

      Thanks for the congrats on the anniversary. Technically, our anniversary is not until this summer, but Disney in the summer? Uh, I think it would be a tad too hot.

      Actually, the dolphin swim and snorkeling was not at Disney, but at a place called Discovery Cove (which is owned by SeaWorld). It's not far from Disney though, about maybe a 20 minute drive or so. It's pretty pricey, so it would not be something we'd do all the time, but for a special occasion it was definitely worth it. It ended up being one of my favorite things on the whole vacation.

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  5. I just found your blog and I've been reading your posts to my son as I'm helping him do his ERP - so far he's done five and has a long way to go, but your story is encouraging to him. Thanks for taking time to write and share.
    Rhonda in Ohio :)

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    1. Hi Rhonda. I'm so happy to be of encouragement to your son. I really respect your son for doing ERP. It takes a courageous person to willingly put themselves in a painful situation. However, that pain has a purpose and hopefully, he will soon see the benefits of that. I also think what an awesome mom you must be, helping your son out with ERP. Coaching a loved one with OCD is a tough job on many levels. If I can be of any assistance with information, or if you both ever need any encouragement, well, I guess you know where I am! I sincerely wish you both the best.

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  6. Congratulations on your upcoming commencement.........what an inspiration you are to all those who are considering CBT or are in the middle of it. We all need to hear "success stories," and you surely are one!

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    1. Thanks for your support Janet. It means a lot to me. I kind of see you as the veteran "mom" in the OCD world. he he So your comments carry weight!

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  7. Thanks for telling us how you saw your leaving as giving another person an opportunity for such help. I still get pretty scared about the idea of leaving my counselor. Especially if the reason I have to leave is money. But hopefully I will be ready someday.

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    1. Hey Abigail! Believe me, I did not always view my leaving like that! For a long time, I was scared to death. In fact, I was always afraid that my doc was going to kick me out of therapy telling me that I wasn't working hard enough or something like that. Not that she ever threatened to do that, it's just that it was how my fear was interpreting things. I'm quite surprised myself that I even feel like this now. It's funny though, because my appt last Weds could have been my last. My doc asked me if I wanted it to be, and I said, "Could we meet just one more time?!"

      You will be ready someday. And I agree, it certainly would be scary to leave therapy for any other reason other than you were ready.

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