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!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Facing Fear

My husband and I just returned from celebrating our 25th Wedding Anniversary. We decided to celebrate at the House of Mouse. Yes, that's right, we chose Disneyworld. Though we're in our 40s, we're still just little kids at heart. As I've continued to improve and recover from OCD, I find that I'm ready to seek out more adventure. For so long, I've led a sheltered life trying to avoid anything that would trigger my OCD. Of course, my ever steady companion, OCD, accompanied me wherever I went. Though it tried to ruin my trip, I fought against it. There were moments of pain, of course. More on that in another post. However, I would like to concentrate on some victories, because indeed there were some.

I decided to really take Michael Tompkins' advice in his book "OCD:A Guide for the Newly Diagnosed." On page 95 of his book, he states, "Willingness to approach discomfort, rather than to escape it through compulsions or avoiding certain situations and objects, is an essential feature of your recovery from OCD." I did not, however, use this thinking for only specifically OCD types of issues. I tried to use it everywhere.

My husband loves Space Mountain. Me, not so much. But I knew my hubby wanted to go on it so we got a Fast Pass for it. However, before our Fast Pass became available, we noticed that the line was really short, so we went on the ride then. I was petrified. So much so, that by the end of the ride I was actually praying to God, begging him to make it end! When we got off the ride, we realized that our Fast Passes were ready to use. I could tell my husband really wanted to go again, but he also told me that we didn't have to if I was too scared. That's when Dr. Tompkins' advice started floating around in my head. I knew I needed to face it head on. So we went again. What a difference! Because I was so determined to face my fear, it wasn't nearly as frightening the second time. I truly could not believe how much easier it was. I was able to keep my eyes open the entire time, and I focused on looking at the ceiling, which was decorated with stars and solar systems, and the like.

Later on in our vacation, we visited Discovery Cove to go swim with the dolphins. I do not know how to swim, but they had life vests available for use. The dolphin swim was wonderful and not scary at all. The snorkeling, however, was quite another story. I had never snorkeled before. So my husband took me through the task of putting on my mask, and then putting on the snorkel. I took each task slowly. Once I got used to breathing through my mouth (you can't breathe through your nose with the mask on), I then put on the snorkel. That was scary. I had to learn to trust the snorkel. Once I got used to both the mask and snorkel out of the water, it was time to stick my face in the water. Again, very scary. The next thing I knew, I had my face in the water and I was breathing through the snorkel! At that point we set off to swim towards all the fish. WOW. There were all types of coral reefs and a variety of fish, including huge sting rays. Once I got over my fright, I even touched a sting ray as it swam by me. This was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, and I almost missed it because I was too afraid. That day I told my husband that I really felt like I was alive for the first time in many, many years.

I'm really praising God for bringing CBT into my life. I'm also praising Him for all the wonderful support I have through my family, my psychologist, my friends, my blogging family, my support group, and the wonderful books written by people like Dr. Tompkins.

I want to encourage you today. Please, please, take a step. Just a little one. You will never know how far that first little step can take you. You can do it. You really can. Believe me, I've been afraid of my own shadow for years. If I can do it, you sure can!

10 comments:

  1. Wow, I am so proud of you! You rock! (I don't think I've ever said that to anyone before LOL)

    It would have been SO easy to give in to the fear, and you didn't. I had to laugh at the way you described the second ride in Space Mountain--you kept your eyes open.

    The dolphin swim must have been amazing. And snorkeling--that is not easy, from what I've heard (I've never done it)--and you accomplished it and enjoyed.

    I'm so glad you had so many wonderful experiences to go along with the acts of stepping forward with your life. I know your encouragement of others comes from deep within you and is heartfelt. Thank you! I hope I can make some of the same kinds of leaps forward.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love being told I rock! That's such a cool compliment. ha ha

      I'm starting to find that the CBT is self-reinforcing. I'll force myself to do something and then I enjoy it, so I want to do it again. It was definitely not like that in the beginning.

      I KNOW you can make the same steps. Just don't forget, it took me 2 and a half years to get here. So don't be frustrated if it seems like your progress is slow. In fact, my progress has been in fits and starts. The first year things were very slow. By about a year and a half in, I'd made some real progress, but I stalled. So I added a low dose of medication and that plus the CBT really moved me forward. Anyway, I'm rambling here, but I don't want you to get frustrated if things seem slow at first. Hang in there. I know you will do it.

      Delete
  2. CBT is great. If I could only remember to use it :) I do use it almost daily. Whether it is to get off the couch or to stop myself from binging, it is a definite help for me!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jen. I often forget to use the CBT too. Especially if I'm feeling really, really anxious. I'm glad you use it almost daily. Then it really becomes a habit. Even with the improvements I've had, I still have lots of work to do.

      I also struggle with getting off the couch and I sure struggle with over eating. I'm not sure it would be called binging, but I do eat much more than I need to. How do you use the CBT for getting off the couch and not binging?

      Delete
  3. Wow! You are really rocking your new lessons in CBT!!! Good for you. I can relate to letting OCD shelter me for too long. I turned 40 a few weeks ago and that milestone has motivated me to start doing some things that I would never have done before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's awesome, Pure O. Go for it. I can't wait to read about what you're up to these days. Maybe we can push each other to step out and try some new challenges.

      Delete
  4. I'm impressed! Not only with how you use your CBT but that you actually touched one of those stingrays. I have been snorkeling at Discovery Cove and never even considered touching one of them...too scary! Way to go!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Janet! When I first got in the pool with the rays, I screamed a little every time they went by me. But my husband is like a little kid and he was having so much fun letting them come near to him, I finally decided to give it a try. Then I finally got the courage to stick my hand out as one went by. I was scared and excited all at the same time. A day I will never forget.

      Delete