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, July 16, 2012

Possibly The Lamest ERP Ever

A common concern for lots of people, not just those of us with OCD, is the fear of what other people think. For many, these fears hit their peak in the teen years. However, some people, like me, continue to take this to the next level. In particular, anxiety sufferers seem to be especially vulnerable, at least from what I have seen. For much of my life, I have existed behind a type of veil that I constructed to keep the real me safe from the criticisms of those around me. Through CBT, I have learned to become more confidant with who I am, what I stand for, and what my preferences are. I don't want to give you the impression that I move throughout my day imposing my personal taste on others, but I am more comfortable sharing my opinion these days.


video

Recently, I purchased beautiful bamboo wind chimes. I love wind chimes. I find them to be soothing and the musical notes bring a smile to my face. The other night, while lying in bed, I could hear the wind chimes. Instantly, I was overwhelmed with a terrible dread and anxiety about the noise that they were making. I became consumed with the idea that my neighbors would be kept up by the noise and that they would all be very angry with me because of it. It is very important to me that I'm viewed as a nice and kind person. A "good girl" if you will. I cannot begin to explain how deep-seated and long standing this fear is.

Thankfully, due to my previous CBT training, it only took about a minute for me to realize what my panic was all about. It was then that I understood that I absolutely, without a doubt, had to leave the wind chimes in place. This is probably one of the more silly ERPs I've ever done, but, I believe it is necessary for my greater mental health. It does not matter what my neighbors think. It does not matter if they consider me obnoxious or inconsiderate. Unless, and until, a neighbor knocks on my door and requests that I remove the wind chimes, they will stay in place forevermore. Well, at least until the beginning of winter.

15 comments:

  1. I love the sound of bamboo wind chimes..I am so happy you are leaving them up. It's not a silly ERP Sunny..it is saying that how you feel, the pleasure you experience with the chimes is important. Sometimes I put the comfort of others ahead of my own, in some cases it is a loving gesture or kindness which I think is me trying to treat someone well but in the case of the wind chimes I think you have every right to enjoy them.

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    1. Well, I have to admit that I do feel a wee bit funny about this ERP, Krystal Lynn! But, I also realize that I can't worry obsessively about what others think of me, because when I do that, then I don't live the life that I believe God wants me to live. I end up living the life that I think others want me to live. I do plan on enjoying them!

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  2. I listened to your video of the wind chimes and I think they have a lovely sound to them, very calming and peaceful. Sometimes we can put others needs or percieved needs ahead of ours and to our own detriment. I am glad you kept your wind chimes up, enjoy them.

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    1. Oh I love them too! Isn't the tone of them so pretty?

      You said something very interesting - "perceived needs." How often do we *think* we know what someone else is thinking or needs but we are just making assumptions? That is a really, really good point. Thanks for your comment!

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  3. That's the kind of ERP exposures that I do - unplanned ones. Good job! I hope you keep enjoying them

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    1. Hi Abigail! Yes, I mostly do unplanned ERPs, though, deep down in the recesses of my mind, I can hear my psychologist saying, "Do some planned ERPs, do some planned ERPs . . ." But hey, I say as long as we're doing any ERPs, then good for us!

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    2. Yeah, I just heard my counselor talking about how it works much better to do planned ERPs. I think they are too scarey when I plan them (not to mention it feeling like I'm intentionally torturing myself); they seem easier to handle when they just happen.

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  4. Great job, Sunny. I don't think it was a lame ERP at all. And the chimes make a lovely, calming sound. I like it. Enjoy!

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    1. Thank you, Tina! Yes, they are lovely! I got them from Amazon. I did a search and these chimes had good user ratings. All the reviewers said that the tones were deep and mellow - they were right. Just what I was looking for.

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  5. BEAUTIFUL sound! Very soothing.

    I'm glad you kept them up!

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    1. I'm glad I kept them up too, Elizabeth. The best part, is now that I've made a conscious decision to keep them up, the anxiety has pretty much gone away. It's funny how ERPs work like that sometimes.

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  6. Lovely! And definitely NOT a "lame" ERP. I also have this HUGE need to please others and be seen as the good girl.

    I also thought - I am fantastic at constructing "negative narratives," as my husband calls them. i.e. I will hear see people headed into a church at an unusual time and immediately assume there is a funeral, or hear a tire blow and think it is a gunshot. But in a situation which I'm removed from, like yours, I thought immediately that some of your neighbors might really be enjoying it. We never know, and that not knowing is SO hard for us! This makes me want some bamboo chimes. :)

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    1. Anna, I really like that, "negative narratives." What a perfect description for what I do. It's true, I make up an entire horrible story to describe what I think will happen, but so often that story never comes true. I never even considered that some of the neighbors might actually like it! Thanks for helping me cognitively restructure my thinking. Very helpful comment!

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  7. It's not silly at all. I think you're right - we with anxiety issues tend to feel this more acutely than others do. I can't tell you how many decisions I've made to try and keep that appearance of the perfect, nice, considerate person. So that everyone will like me and no one will hate me. I've often taken on responsibilities and situations that make ME unhappy, just to keep that public opinion the same. And it's only been lately that I've been learning to step out of that box, and do what I truly want.
    Not silly at all. Good for you. :)

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  8. Thanks, Shana. Why in the world are we so afraid that someone will hate us? Ugh. So frustrating. Yep, it's all about appearances for me too, and I'm glad that I'm finally starting to deal with it. I'm glad you are too. It sure is a work in progress, though, isn't it? Thanks for the encouragement!

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